Saturday, August 20, 2011

Just a little update

Hello all!
It has been a long time since I posted and I figured that I should put something up; just as a little update.

As we are about to enter another school year, I, like many of you fellow Grad students, have just had to sit through hours of meetings concerning TA duties about which we are already familiar. Such is life! This year, I will be only teaching Astronomy labs. Our department isn't very big so being able to teach only one type of class is surprising. However, I will also be TAing the only Astronomy II Lab and for which I have been helping to develop curriculum.

A downside to a small department is the interval between when classes are offered, so here I am: a third year grad student taking QFT 1 and 2. I already took QFT 3 last year, but hey, I am just really taking them for fun! I just hope to glean some more cool physics knowledge along the journey. :)

As for research, I am still holding tightly to my GR roots by continuing some research where my Maple-based Tensor Calculating skills are useful and that is in the field of Horava-Lifshitz gravity. This is a fairly sensational area of research where the scaling between space and time is dynamic and energy scale dependent. Hence, it is a potential theory of quantum gravity. In our group we are looking at gravitational collapse and solar system tests all the while trying to constrain the theory.

The HL theory is my actually secondary area of research. My primary field requires a lot more brain-hurting: string phenomology. In general, my string theory group works on generating gauge models in free fermionic heterotic string theory. My particular focus is on superpotential flat direction analysis and the resulting phenomenology. It's all very interesting, if I could just understand any of it! I am much more interested on the phenomenology side of string pheno but that makes me a loner in my group. As of now, I am still working on converting some old Fortran code to C++ and then automating that code for use in calculating the important phenomological quantities (like mass hierarchies, VEVs etc...) for a given model. Of course we want the program to port well with the model generating program that our group has been working on over the past few years but I also will be making it as a stand-alone program. Over the next few years, I hope to continue to expand upon the program to do more exhaustive studies of the free fermionic portion of the landscape by increasing the number of phenomological parameters that can be searched/calculated.

And just like every other physics grad student, I hope to find something cool, new and maybe even somewhat useful!

Apart from physics, I am still leading a Karate group here on campus and will be traveling around a bit to be able to learn more about physics as it pertains to the body!


  1. Jared, it's great to hear from you.  Sounds like you're doing a lot of fancy math, but what I really want to know if what a D1-D5 black hole looks like.

  2. Jared, it is good to hear from you.  And I'm glad to hear you are doing some work with Horava-Lifshitz gravity.

    I have some questions about your C++ code: You said it is calculating mass hierarchies and vevs etc...  Is it making these calculations based on the manifold you are compactifying on like K3 or G2  and or doing something more general depending on the Hodge structure of the space?  And does it do different types of supersymmetry breaking?  Or is it solving the low-energy beta equations for maintaining Weyl invariance or something? (Or something completely different?)

    I am just interested is what your code is actually doing since there is a lot involved getting a real mass hierarchy we would see in 4D low energy approximation starting from a 10D theory so feel free to write a post about it. :)

  3. Jared, out of curiosity how do you see moral in the string community at the moment?  I've been hearing a lot of negative vibes due to some of the anti-string backlash (Woit, Smolin, etc.) as well as the lack of some expected results at the LHC such as at minimum supersymmetry confirmation. I tend to think all this gets pretty wrapped up in hyperbole so I'd be interested in hearing something from a grad student on the ground.

  4. Nick - when are brains have evolved to visualize higher dimensions, then black string will be quite obvious.  ;)  

    Joe - In free fermionic heterotic strings we tend to compactify on tori, so it's nothing too fancy.  There are hopes to connect free fermions with orbifolds since free fermion theories exist at special points on orbifold, I think.  So that may yield some useful results.  Anyway, I am pretty far from calculating the hierarchies but I will keep you all in the 'loop' once we get that problem 'tied down'.  (Sorry, I had to add the usual awful 'string' jokes.)   

    Clark - Unfortunately, my plans to go to the next few string pheno conferences have fallen through so I can't respond really accurately at all.  Sorry.  Though, I can say that string folks tend to be pretty resourceful at getting around problems like 'reality'.  haha.  Much of the string theory that I am exposed to glamorizes how BIG the string landscape could be and when you have practically infinite numbers of models to play with (10^500) then you start thinking that there's room enough for everyone to work.  I will keep my ears open for any good string 'smack-talk'.   


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