The careful reader will have noticed that yesterday, my blogging got sparser and sparser. This was probably due to increasing boreodom/annoyance on my part. Often, I thought the organisers should have applied the charta of sci.physics.research that forbits contributions that are so vague and speculative that they are not even wrong. I could not stand it anymore and had to leave the room when the speaker (I am not going to say who it was) claimed that "the big bang is just a phase transition".
Today, I give it a new shot. And the plenary talks are promising. Currently, John Baez has been giving a nice overview on various incarnations of spin foam models (he listed Feynman diagrams, lattice gauge theory and topological strings among them although I am under the impression that in the last point he is misguided as topological strings in fact take into account the complex/holomorphic structure of the background). However, starting from the point "what kind of matter do we have to include to have a nice continuum limit" he digressed via a Witten anecdote (who answered the question if he thinks LQG is right said that he hoped not because he hoped (in the 90s) that there is only one unique matter content (ie strings) consistend with quantised gravity) to making fun of string theorists asking them to make their homework to check the 10^whatever vacua in the landscape.
The next speaker will be Dijkgraaf who hopefully will do a better job than did Theissen yesterday in presenting that stringy people have interesting, deep stuff to say about physics.
Unfortunately, electro-magnetism lectures back in Bremen require me to run off at 11:00 and catch the train so I will not be able to follow the rest of the conference closely.
Baez got back on track with a nice discussion of how Lorentzlian Triangulation fit into the scheme of things and what role the prescribed time slicing might have on large scale physics (introducting further terms than Lambda and R in the LEEA). He showed also a supposed to be spin foam version of it.
Oh no. They have grad students and young postdocs as chairpersons. Bianca Dittrich just announced "Our next speaker is Robbert Dijkgraaf" and nothing happened. It seems Dijkgraaf didn't make it here on the early morning plane. Now, I can fulfil the annonymous reader's wish and report on the presentation of Laurent Friedel, the next speaker.
Before I power down my laptop: Friedel looks at effects of quantum gravity on low energy particle actions. In order to do that he couples matter to the Ponzano Regge model and then will probably try to integrate out the gravitational degrees of freedom.