Gheorghe Curelet-Balan Blog

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Edward Witten's public lecture.

The April Perimeter Institute public lecture will be given by Edward Witten on the fascinating subject of Superstrings.

Here it is the description of the event from the event's page:

Edward Witten, the Charles Simonyi Professor of Mathematical Physics in the School of Natural Sciences at the Institute for Advanced Study, is one of the world's leading theoretical physicists. He was born in 1951 and received his PhD from Princeton University in 1976. He was a fellow at Harvard University (1976-1980) and a professor at Princeton University (1980-1987) before becoming a member of the permanent Faculty at the Institute for Advanced Study in 1987.

He is one of the principal authors of string theory, the framework with which physicists have sought to unify quantum mechanics with gravity. String theorists propose that tiny, high-dimensional strings, closed into loops, vibrate to produce the various components of matter. The mathematics describing these strings, many physicists believe, may one day prove to be the key to one of the main puzzles of physics: the relationship of gravity to other known natural forces. In 1995, Witten initiated what is widely known as the “Second Superstring Revolution” by showing how the five different variations of string theory, then competing with one another, actually all belonged within a single framework.

Professor Witten has been the recipient of numerous prizes and medals, including a MacArthur Fellowship, the Dirac Medal, the Fields Medal, and the National Science Foundation's Alan T. Waterman Award for best young researcher. He is the author of nearly two hundred scientific papers as well as co-author of several books.

Many physicists consider Edward Witten to be Einstein's true successor.

Fun Event

On Thursday, March 31 at 7:30p the Department of Physics of University of Waterloo organizes the Science Circus[pdf] event. Part of the World Year of Physics (WYP), "Dr. Stan" demonstrations will prove that the whole family can have fun with science.

Other WYP links:

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

March 21st - The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.

Since 1960 this day is observed around the world. For info on how Canadians are observing it visit the following site where you'll find a link to these videos.

It is alarming though that in Toronto the Anti-Semitism is on rising.

Lets hope that the young generation will learn to integrate itself in the global village where there are no racial boundaries.

Canadian cinema and television Awards.

The 25th Genie Awards took place last night and was aired by two CHUM stations: Citytv and Bravo!Canada.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Lectures on the interpretation of quantum mechanics.

Perimeter Institute is organizing since January, technical lectures on the current status and future directions in the interpretation of quantum mechanics.

All the lectures (notes and video streams) could be seen on the following page:

Monday, March 14, 2005

March 1st The Romanian Martisor Day.

Ok I'm late with this one, but it is better late than never :)

For Romanians, March 1st is a special day that signifies the beginning of spring. It is a custom that during this day people offer to the loved ones a special gift named Martisor, pronounced Mar-tzi-shor. The gift is a symbol of spring, vitality, luck and regeneration. Martisor is made of 2 silk threads (red and white, symbolizing life and purity) twisted together and knotted in two bows. In order to understand this custom you have to go way back in time and read about the birth of the Romanian nation.

Dacians (Romanian ancestors) were the largest nation among the Thracians. They used to put two woolen threads on the horns of their animals as a symbol of vitality and to keep them healthy. Later on, people started to wear the red and white threads around their neck or hand. The woolen was replaced with silk and the threads were twisted to discourage diseases. Dacians believed that the diseases will stay away since they will be trapped and twisted by the Martisor threads.

At that time Dacians used to wear this symbol all through March and hung it after that on a rosebush or on the first blossoming tree. Today, a small tassel decorates the end of each thread and a small object is added to the threads.
The idea of adding an object to the Martisor comes probably from Romans that colonized Dacia.

For Romans, March 1st was the New Year day. It was a Roman custom to offer object gifts as a sign of fortune and good luck. Nowadays the object can symbolize even love feelings. Romanian Martisor is a living proof of Daco/Roman origin of the Romanian nation.

In some regions of the country the Martisor gift is given only to girls or women. In others, though, anyone can receive the Martisor that usually is pinned to the chest. It is a proof of popularity if your chest is full of "Martisor"s :)

If you want to know more about Thracians:
1. Herodotus writes about Thracians.
2. Thracians mentioned in Bible texts.
3. Spartacus was a Thracian.
4. Thracians and other nations.

Martisor links:
1. in French:
2. in Romanian: