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back to article Cambridge string theorist to succeed Stephen Hawking

A Cambridge physicist who revolutionized the concept of string theory has been tapped to succeed Steven Hawking in one of the world's most prestigious academic posts. String theorist Michael Green will become Cambridge University's 18th Lucasian Professor of Mathematics. The chair has been held in its 340-some year history by …

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The most important question

will he get to appear on The Simpsons?

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Boffin

FSM

As all Pasterfarians know, String theory is the correct description of the Universe. The Strings being the Noodly Appendages of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Parmesan be upon HIM.

R'Amen

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Tick

Great news, I knew Mike when he was at Queen Mary College back in the 80's, nice bloke!

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No pressure, then.

"to succeed Stephen Hawking ... And Isaac Newton. And Charles Babbage"

Still, I have to point out that they've had three centuries to assemble that list AND they're allowed to wait until someone establishes a reputation before appointing them. On the other hand, ten famous academics is probably an even harder game than ten famous Belgians. So is this impressive, or not?

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Boffin

Simple Question for the Lucasian Professor...

... from way in the back of the class. A very simple question for the 18th Lucasian Professor of Mathematics: Why do two bodies in relative inertial motion stay in motion?

A. Nothing is needed to keep them moving. Newton proved that a long time ago.

B. It is all caused by inertia and momentum. Newtonian proved that one too.

C. Physics is not about the why of things but the how.

D. I don't know.

C. All of the above.

E. None of the above.

Soon, a reevaluation of our understanding of the causality of motion will reveal that we are immersed in an immense lattice of energtic particles. Floating sky cities, unlimited clean energy, earth to Mars in hours, New York to Beijing in minutes. That's the future of energy andtravel.

The Lucasian professor could not have made this prediction because he does not really understand motion. If he did, he would know that Aristotle was right to insist that motion requires a cause and he would not accept the position. But then again, neither did his predecessors.

ahahaha... AHAHAHA... ahahaha...

The Problem with Motion:

http://rebelscience.blogspot.com/2009/09/physics-problem-with-motion-part-i.html

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Coat

Age Discrimination

"Hawking stepped down from the professorship on September 30 in accordance with Cambridge custom that dictates the post be vacated when the incumbent reaches the age of 67"

No doubt some people will be claiming age discrimination here :-)

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Anonymous Coward

Only in the 15th dimension

He will succeed Hawkin only in the 15th dimension, after finding yet more problems with string theory, the 15th dimension was added especially to solve them!

In the 15th dimension string theory works and Michael Green is hailed as a genius, whereas in the previous 14 dimensions, his theory falls apart at the drop of a hat and needs more dimensions.

"How can students think out of the box? When I can simply add a dimension and make the outside of the box the inside of the box!", says 15th dimensional Green. "My theory totally works! I rock! You can prove them too, first build an 11 dimensional machine, using 3 dimensional money...."

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Headmaster

Only a mathematics post...

... would require the incumbent to retire at 67. Maybe because it's a prime?

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Boffin

String theory? Pah!

Come back when you have some testable predictions, THEN you can call yourself a theory!

To paraphrase Feynman, "String theory is not even wrong".

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My BIL is still better, though

http://www.physics.harvard.edu/people/facpages/yin.html. He's married to my wife's sister. I mess with him every once in a while by walking past him and pointing to his work and saying: "That's supposed to be a 3"

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According to TNG's "All Good Things"...

...he'll be succeeded by Lt Cdr Data in the 24th century (ignoring the tripe that was Nemesis!).

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@Leon Stringer

"(ignoring the tripe that was Nemesis!)"

Oh I imagine that the 24th century Data was just B-4 after he changed his name by deed poll...

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@Ken Hagan

The post would better have gone to Andrew Wiles given his proof of Fermat's Last Theorem:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andrew_Wiles

Perhaps Andrew prefers to keep his current job at Princeton.

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@Ed

"Not even wrong" is generally attributed to Pauli (who wasn't talking of String Theory, of course). It's easy to imagine Feynman saying it, though.

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Paris Hilton

String observation

Good point Ken, why are we making a septic string theorist a professor of maths?

Have educational standards fallen that low already?

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@copsewood and Alistair J

I think the Lucasian Chair is in the Department of Applied Maths and Theoretical Physics, so I'd have been surprised to see anyone appointed who wasn't at least waist deep in physics.

As for string theory, I don't pretend to understand whether it is any good or not, but the experimental facts are that the theoreticians have not produced anything testable beyond the Standard Model, which dates from circa 1970. The "not even wrong" put-down is exquisitely appropriate. So the chances are that anything which has been popular amongst theoreticians in recent years is probably bollocks. This is an unusual line of argument, certainly, but I think it is valid.

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What's the crack

I have to point out that there's really no point to string theory. (Methematicians will concur on this).

The corollary is that you cannot specify the locus of the centre of gravity of a piece of flying spaghetti. How you shoot it down is anyone's guess.

Interesting that the singular of spaghetti translates from the Italian as "fear". Now you know why.

Join the dots,.. Oops

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Ten Famous Belgians ^_^

Well, as an Aussie of Belgian origin, I'll start the list:

1) Eddy Merckx, *five* times winner of the Tour de France

2) Adolphe Sax, inventor of the saxophone

3) Herge (Georges Remi) , the creator of TinTin

4) Audrey Hepburn, actress (born in Ixelles in 1929, for the record)

5) Plastic Bertrand, punk/rock singer of 'Ca Plane Pour Moi' fame (or should that be infamous?)

6) Peter Paul Rubens, baroque painter

7) Rene Magritte, surrealist painter

8) George Lemaitre, astronomer who invented the Big Bang theory

9) Albert Claude, the first biochemist to isolate a cancer cell

10) Leo Hendrik Baekeland, the inventor of bakelite

While we're at it:

# Edward de Smedt, chemist and inventor of modern-day road asphalt

# Gerardus Mercator, cartographer, mathematician and geographer

# Joseph Plateau, inventor of the stroboscope

# Ernest Solvay, inventor of the Solvey process (ammonia)

# Jean Baptiste "Django" Reinhardt, inventor of the two-finger guitar playing technique

# Jean Joseph Etienne Lenoir, inventor of the internal-combustion engine

# Charles Van Depoele, inventor of the electric railway

# Zénobe Gramme, inventor of the Gramme dynamo

# Constant Loiseau, inventor of the optometer

How about some Nobel Laureates?

# Ilya Prigogine, Chemistry, 1977

# Christian de Duve, Physiology and Medicine, 1974

# Albert Claude, Physiology and Medicine, 1974

# Georges Pire, Peace, 1958

# Corneille Heymans, Physiology and Medicine, 1938

# Jules Bordet, Physiology and Medicine, 1919

# Henri La Fontaine, Peace, 1913

# Maurice Maeterlinck, Literature, 1911

# Auguste Beernaert, Peace, 1909

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@Louis Savain

"Why do two bodies in relative inertial motion stay in motion?"

Wait, wait! Let me guess ::waves hand in air:: ... Because nothing stops them?

Seriously, dude, learn about energy transfer; a little vector math(s) wouldn't go amiss.

It ain't exactly rocket science ... Oh, wait, yes it is!

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