Having decided not to go to Toronto this summer, I attend a more local conference, namely "String Phenomenology" in Munich. If you would have asked me only a short time ago, if I would ever attend such a conference I would have probably denied it as I consider myself to be more on the fundamental side of things rather than trying to figure out how to build the best semi-(or even more) realistic models. But I will try to find out what these people are up to (and keep you my dear readers informed). And I hope to learn a few things on my latest hobby horse, generalized geometry.
Now I am here after spending a night on a sleeper train from Hamburg (admittedly those have much improved since I last used one roughly ten years ago. There even was laptop power next to my bed so I could watch a dvd before (trying to) falling asleep. Still, I was not really at 100% Battery power when I arrived at 8 am, one hour late.
Today I even survived most of the talks without sleeping for a significant amount of time (and I always woke up well before the applause, good). Unfortunately most of those talks were not exactly in my own area of interest (heterotic (motivated) orbifolds were a common theme) but I would like to mention two presentations: The first speaker this morning was Andrei Linde. This was pretty much standard cosmolgy and KKLT stuff, but he revealed one new feature he found in the WMAP picture: Stephen Hawking has managed to imprint his initials (although the W, that he usually uses is lacking) in the cosmic microwave background.
Later in the afternoon, Stefan Groot Nibbeling talked about his classification of orbifolds of the heterotiv SO(32) string. You know that this is suppoed to be S-dual to type I but it seems there are many more Het SO(32) orbifold models than there are type I models that are free of RR tadpoles. So there is an obvious puzzle that Stefan asked the audience to explain. However, nobody could.