SciMeter: A New Way to Search ArXiv
16 July 2018 | 1:00 pm

I have a bad memory for names. But it's not equally bad for all names. I recall Germanic and Anglo-saxon names more readily than Indian or Chinese names. I recall short names better than long names. I recall common names better than uncommon ones. So, when I organize a conference, how do I avoid a bias for people whose names my brain happens to have stored?

I used to ask my colleagues, and scan participant lists of similar conferences, and browse papers on the conference topics. But often I wished there was a way to just bring up a list of all physicists who worked on a topic or a combination of topics. This, so I thought, wouldn't only be useful to organize a conference, it would also help journalists who search for an expert's comment, or editors who search for reviewers.

And - drums please! -  you can now do such a search on our just-launched website SciMeter. Just enter one or several topics, hit submit, and you get a name of everyone whose arXiv papers have focused on the topics you look for.

Wait, that's not all. On our website you can also create a keyword cloud from your arXiv papers, you can learn how broadly distributed your research topics are (over all arXiv topics), and you can search for authors with similar research interests. For example, here is the keyword cloud for Brian Greene:

This website was made possible by a mini-grant from FQXi. Frontend and backend became reality thanks to my collaborators Tobias Mistele and Tom Price.

On the Cosmological Constant in a Conformally Transformed Einstein Equation
29 June 2018 | 1:50 pm

Dor Gabay and Sijo K. Joseph of Tel Aviv University, in Israel, have a new paper (arXiv:1801.00161), currently submitted for peer review, that they would like to discuss with the FQXi Community.

Here is Dr Joseph's introduction:

[i]The value of the cosmological constant obtained using the General Theory of Relativity and the value suggested by Quantum Field Theory disagree greatly, still this is an unresolved problem in Physics called the cosmological constant problem. Einstein's General theory of relativity is purely a geometric theory, while quantum theory is a probabilistic theory. The way to understand quantum theory in a cosmological context is to reformulate it from a probabilistic theory to a geometrical one. Treating Einstein's theory and the quantum theory on an equal geometrical footing, both theories can be merged together with a Lagrange multiplier. Then the resulting theory can give the cosmological constant contribution from a scalar field and the Lagrange multiplier. The key underlying idea is, one should bring quantum theory into a geometric form before merging the theory with General Theory of Relativity, then both theories are consistent and the cosmological constant can be easily evaluated. These results are highly important, since nobody were able to predict the value of the cosmological constant using quantum mechanical arguments. These results also suggest that we need to go beyond Einstein's General Theory of Relativity to Scalar-Tensor theory to incorporate quantum mechanical effects.[/i]

Usurping Quantum Theory (article)
28 June 2018 | 12:00 am

The search is on for a fundamental framework that allows for even stranger links between particles than quantum theory—which could lead us to a theory of everything.

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