Nima Arkani-Hamed says, “Spacetime is doomed.”

From an October 2017 homepage:

Nima Arkani-Hamed1 of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton, with a sweeping naturalness, proclaims “Spacetime is doomed2 (go to 5:45 minutes of 1.22.44). A little yo-yo like3, his really-real reality is within his ever-so-illusive amplituhedron4 with a string to a planar N.5 He declares that it’s equal to the perturbative topological B-model string theory in twistor space6 (an ever-so-positive Grassmannian7)   (related ArXiv article).

To which I reply, “Yes, of course. We knew that.”

1 The first link goes to our correspondence (mostly emails) to Nima Arkani-Hamed. He has also received a few tweets as well.

2 Spacetime is doomed is a YouTube video. If you go to 5:45 minutes of his 1 hour 22 minute lecture, you will hear that indeed, spacetime is doomed. The entire lecture is his focus on this concept.

3 Yo-Yo-Man is our affectionate name for Nima.  Although Tommy Smothers claimed the name for antics with a yo-yo and there is a wonderful cellist by the name of Yo Yo Ma, Nima got the nickname from his pacing back and forth when he gives a lecture.

4 The amplituhedron has a special place within our work.  It was one of many basic structures and by no means is the most basic.  The transformations between circles and spheres to lines and tetrahedra and then octahedra are.

We knew that:

5  The N=4 supersymmetric Yang–Mills theory within Wikipedia is entirely readable, but not easily understood.

6 Twistor space

7 Grassmannian

Conway, John Horton

John Horton Conway

Fine Hall, Princeton University
Princeton, New Jersey

Articles/books (PDF)- More
Twitter (he has had an account since 2013 but does not use it)

Another email: November 18, 2019

RE:  I remember well a day sometime just before September 2001

Dear Prof. Dr. John Conway:

Strange to think that our day of discussions has led to a base-2 model
of the universe, but it has.  I’ll write up that story soon.

This is the precursor:

Best wishes,

First email: July 9, 2013 @ 4:45 PM

Dear Prof. Dr. John Conway:

You may not want me to reference your work because this article I am struggling to write just might be penultimate foolishness. Your quick comments will be appreciated.

Back now about ten years ago, you allowed an acquaintance and me to spend a day essentially following you around the campus. We chatted often and had a late lunch. My name is Bruce Camber and I had flown in from California. My work at the time was producing a television series, Small Business School, that aired on PBS stations around the USA and on the Voice of America around the world.

Long before — in 1972 — I had been a member of the Philomorphs with Arthur Loeb; and, Bucky’s Synergetics I & II were part of my early education. You may remember that I was particularly hung up on the nesting of simple platonic geometries, particularly the octahedron. David Bohm got me going in that direction.

Two years ago, my nephew asked if I would substitute for him within his five high school geometry classes, “Introduce the platonic solids!” I had been studying a little about Planck’s length and had the kids guess, “How many base-2 notations within would we have to go before we hit at the Planck limit?” We discovered just over 110. We then went out to the Observable Universe* in another 91+ steps, assuming a wide variegation of nested geometries all the way.

I thought it was a neat ordering system, but we couldn’t find it anywhere on the web, so we put it up. And now, we are puzzling over the first 65 notations (steps, doublings, layers, etc).

Here is the beginning of a speculative, entirely idiosyncratic article about that very simple work:

I would be delighted to hear from you.


Bruce Camber
Small Business School
Private Business Channel, Inc.

* PS. In an email, I suggested to Luminet that the universe is probably more like the Pentakis Dodecahedron than a simple dodecahedron….