Good news for theoretical physics graduate education: the unofficial buzz is that Perimeter Institute will be making their “Perimeter Scholars International” (PSI) lectures publicly available through the institute’s PIRSA video archive.

For those of who don’t know, PSI is a new masters-degree course for training theoretical physicists. The program has a unique breakdown of intense 3-week terms where students focus on progressively specialized material. The choice to have more terms with fewer courses (and I assume more weekly hours per course) allows the program to recruit some really big-name faculty from around the world to come and lecture.

The course also includes a research component and I suspect the inaugural batch of students will have quite an experience interacting with the lecturers and each other. This aspect of the program, of course, cannot be reproduce online — but I suspect that the online lectures will serve as an excellent advertisement for prospective students while also acting as a unique archive of pedagogical lectures for those of us who have already started our PhDs. 🙂

Since we appear to be in the business of summer school announcements, it is perhaps worth passing along the date and title for next year’s SLAC Summer Institute:

Revolutions on the Horizon
3 – 14 August 2009

The SLAC Summer Institutes are only half the length of TASI and tend to be at a more introductory level, but they are great ways to dive into a research area. One can get a sample by viewing some of their recorded lectures. (To the best of my knowledge they were the first summer school ot regularly do this.)

The school website does not yet exist, but the following blurb is posted:

The topic is a study of all the upcoming experiments turning on soon and the big discoveries they will make. Website coming soon.

`Upcoming experiments’ certainly includes the LHC. But what else could be included to differentiate the school from their 2006 LHC program? Given SLAC’s shift towards cosmology, GLAST is also a likely `upcoming experiment.’ And then perhaps some flavour physics to round out the discussion?

The TASI 2009 website is up and the program looks very good. Sorry string theorists, this year will be phenomenology (for the second consecutive year), with lots of focus on the LHC, and cosmology. [Perhaps reflecting the apparent hiring shift toward astro-particle physics?]

Particle Physics:

  • Hsin-Chia Cheng  (Davis) – Introduction to extra dimensions
  • Roberto Contino (CERN) – The Higgs as a Pseudo-Goldstone boson
  • Patrick Fox (Fermilab) – Supersymmetry and the MSSM
  • Tony Gherghetta (Melbourne) – Warped extra dimensions and AdS/CFT
  • Eva Halkiadakis (Rutgers) – Introduction to the LHC experiments
  • Patrick Meade (IAS) – Gauge mediation of supersymmetry breaking
  • Maxim Perelstein (Cornell) – Introduction to collider physics
  • Gilad Perez (Weizman Inst.) – Flavor physics
  • David Shih (IAS) – Dynamical supersymmetry breaking
  • Witold Skiba (Yale) – Effective theories and electroweak precision constraints
  • Kathryn Zurek (Fermilab) – Unexpected signals at the LHC


  • Rachel Bean (Cornell) – Dark Energy
  • Daniel Baumann (Harvard) – Inflation
  • Manoj Kaplinghat (Irvine) – Large Scale Structure
  • Elena Pierpaoli (USC) – Cosmic Microwave Background
  • Richard Schnee (Syracuse) – Dark Matter Experiment
  • Michael Turner (Chicago) – Introduction to Cosmology
  • Neal Weiner (NYU) – Dark Matter Theory

The speakers appear to have been chosen to represent the `next generation’ of young faculty who have already started to shape physics in the ever-extended pre-LHC era. A few especially hot topics include Neal Weiner speaking on Dark Matter theory, Patrick Meade on [general] gauge mediation, and Tony Gherghetta on AdS/CFT “for phenomenologists.”

TASI is one of the ‘big’ summer schools in particle physics. Its primary clientele are later-stage PhD students who can take advantage of relatively broad programs to improve their breadth in physics. It is a fantastic way to get to know many of the up-and-coming people in one’s field.

With a little luck TASI will continue their recent trend of providing video lectures for those who are unable to attend.

A couple of days ago I found that my arXiv RSS feeds were a bit wonky — the author list disappeared! The arXiv feeds had been having trouble with properly displaying the author list for some time, but having it removed annoyed me so much that I e-mailed the good folks at the arXiv.

They responded and told me that the RSS 2.0 arXiv feed has everything fixed. Indeed, I’d been using an older version of the feed. The new versions, I’m happy to announce, works beautifully. Here are the RSS links for hep-ph, hep-th, and hep-ex:

I personally use Google Reader. For more information about the arXiv feeds, see

For those that might be interested, here is the e-mail announcement:

Announcing the 4th CERN-Fermilab Hadron Collider Physics Summer School

Dear Colleague

The 4th CERN-Fermilab Hadron Collider Physics Summer School will be held at CERN from June 8-17 2009. The CERN-Fermilab Hadron Collider Physics Summer School is targeted particularly at young postdocs in experimental High Energy Physics (HEP), as well as senior PhD students in HEP phenomenology, working towards the completion of their thesis project.

The School will include ten days of lectures and discussions, with one free day in the middle of the period. Scholarship funds will be available to support some participants. Updated information and online applications are available at the school web site:

The deadline for applications and reference letters is February 21st, 2009.

Please circulate this announcement to whomever could be interested to participate in this school.

Best Regards,

[Local organizing committee]

One can look at previous schools to get a feel for the content of the lectures. Note that this does appear to conflict with TASI09 and part of the SUSY09 conference.

By the way, the deadline for the Spring School on Superstring Theory is in a month. Those of you of the stringy persuasion might want consider applying since there appear to be no other major string schools in 2009. (We’re still waiting to hear whether Perimeter will be hosting a summer school this year.)