November 16, 2007 at 8:33 am #26030
note; interesting that the latest theory is simpler than other physics and to my eyes, suggests an 8 dimensional bagua to explain all the families of particles. m
SURFER DUDE STUNS PHYSICISTS WITH THEORY OF EVERYTHING
By Roger Highfield
November 14, 2007
An impoverished surfer has drawn up a new theory of the universe, seen by
some as the Holy Grail of physics, which has received rave reviews from
Garrett Lisi, 39, has a doctorate but no university affiliation and spends
most of the year surfing in Hawaii, where he has also been a hiking guide
and bridge builder (when he slept in a jungle yurt).
In winter, he heads to the mountains near Lake Tahoe, Nevada, where he
snowboards. “Being poor sucks,” Lisi says. “It’s hard to figure out the
secrets of the universe when you’re trying to figure out where you and your
girlfriend are going to sleep next month.”
Despite this unusual career path, his proposal is remarkable because, by the
arcane standards of particle physics, it does not require highly complex
Even better, it does not require more than one dimension of time and three
of space, when some rival theories need ten or even more spatial dimensions
and other bizarre concepts. And it may even be possible to test his theory,
which predicts a host of new particles, perhaps even using the new Large
Hadron Collider atom smasher that will go into action near Geneva next year.
Although the work of 39 year old Garrett Lisi still has a way to go to
convince the establishment, let alone match the achievements of Albert
Einstein, the two do have one thing in common: Einstein also began his great
adventure in theoretical physics while outside the mainstream scientific
establishment, working as a patent officer, though failed to achieve the
Holy Grail, an overarching explanation to unite all the particles and forces
of the cosmos.
Now Lisi, currently in Nevada, has come up with a proposal to do this. Lee
Smolin at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo,
Ontario, Canada, describes Lisi’s work as “fabulous”. “It is one of the most
compelling unification models I’ve seen in many, many years,” he says.
“Although he cultivates a bit of a surfer-guy image its clear he has put
enormous effort and time into working the complexities of this structure out
over several years,” Prof Smolin tells The Telegraph.
“Some incredibly beautiful stuff falls out of Lisi’s theory,” adds David
Ritz Finkelstein at the Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta. “This must
be more than coincidence and he really is touching on something profound.”
The new theory reported today in New Scientist has been laid out in an
online paper entitled “An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything”
< http://arxiv.org/pdf/0711.0770> (pdf) by Lisi, who completed his doctorate
in theoretical physics in 1999 at the University of California, San Diego.
He has high hopes that his new theory could provide what he says is a
“radical new explanation” for the three decade old Standard Model, which
weaves together three of the four fundamental forces of nature: the
electromagnetic force; the strong force, which binds quarks together in
atomic nuclei; and the weak force, which controls radioactive decay.
The reason for the excitement is that Lisi’s model also takes account of
gravity, a force that has only successfully been included by a rival and
highly fashionable idea called string theory, one that proposes particles
are made up of minute strings, which is highly complex and elegant but has
lacked predictions by which to do experiments to see if it works.
But some are taking a cooler view. Prof Marcus du Sautoy, of Oxford
University and author of Finding Moonshine, told the Telegraph: “The
proposal in this paper looks a long shot and there seem to be a lot things
still to fill in.”
And a colleague Eric Weinstein in America added: “Lisi seems like a hell of
a guy. I’d love to meet him. But my friend Lee Smolin is betting on a very
very long shot.”
Lisi’s inspiration lies in the most elegant and intricate shape known to
mathematics, called E8 — a complex, eight-dimensional mathematical pattern
with 248 points first found in 1887 < http://tinyurl.com/yunq36>, but only
fully understood by mathematicians this year after workings, that, if
written out in tiny print, would cover an area the size of Manhattan.
E8 encapsulates the symmetries of a geometric object that is 57-dimensional
and is itself is 248-dimensional. Lisi says “I think our universe is this
What makes E8 so exciting is that Nature also seems to have embedded it at
the heart of many bits of physics. One interpretation of why we have such a
quirky list of fundamental particles is because they all result from
different facets of the strange symmetries of E8.
Lisi’s breakthrough came when he noticed that some of the equations
describing E8’s structure matched his own. “My brain exploded with the
implications and the beauty of the thing,” he tells New Scientist. “I
thought: ‘Holy crap, that’s it!'”
What Lisi had realised was that he could find a way to place the various
elementary particles and forces on E8’s 248 points. What remained was 20
gaps which he filled with notional particles, for example those that some
physicists predict to be associated with gravity.
Physicists have long puzzled over why elementary particles appear to belong
to families, but this arises naturally from the geometry of E8, he says. So
far, all the interactions predicted by the complex geometrical relationships
inside E8 match with observations in the real world. “How cool is that?” he
The crucial test of Lisi’s work will come only when he has made testable
predictions. Lisi is now calculating the masses that the 20 new particles
should have, in the hope that they may be spotted when the Large Hadron
Collider starts up.
“The theory is very young, and still in development,” he told the Telegraph.
“Right now, I’d assign a low (but not tiny) likelyhood to this prediction.
“For comparison, I think the chances are higher that LHC will see some of
these particles than it is that the LHC will see superparticles, extra
dimensions, or micro black holes as predicted by string theory. I hope to
get more (and different) predictions, with more confidence, out of this E8
Theory over the next year, before the LHC comes online.”November 17, 2007 at 4:04 am #26031
This will of course be a revolution if he is able to find something from the theory that wasn’t known before and prove it, then he will be the modern Einstein. It’s interesting stuff when you are able to ad the gravity into the other three forces. Like the pictures in the paper he wrote. would be interesting to have some of it explained more popularly.
Do you know any therory from theoretical physics deeling with something like qi?
Sincerely Swedich DragonNovember 18, 2007 at 1:46 am #26033
Here is a link to a diagram of the E* structure:November 19, 2007 at 10:44 pm #26035
Physics doesn’t consider “energy” to be intelligent, and Qi represents universal intelligence and substance that is implied in something LIVING that is BREATHING. So Qi, is subtle breath. Big difference. The Big Physics Boys aren’t allowed to speculate too much about consciousness yet, might step on the toes of religion.
I don’t think the E-8 image in Wiki – which is nice – is the same as what this guy is proposing. Its a hundred years old.November 20, 2007 at 2:48 am #26037
Heres a link to the guys site with a PDF of his theory for those who can speak the language, the “deferential geometry” has the article:November 20, 2007 at 4:45 am #26039
Yes the difference is huge. You are partly right but there are quite alot of speculation anyway isn’t it.
One of my own favorites in this field is David Bohm. I think he has come up with something that might be similar to qi. Mathematicaly a force that doesn’t decrease over distance. It is used to explain quantum physics. A field that explains the propability wave. Maybe I write more about this later but isn’t in to it at all for the moment.
An idea is to look at Rubert Scheldrake morphological fields and qi and this theory of David Bohm and combine them together. A kind of therory of everything also. I think that Scheldrake has an interesting view of gravity also described from the theory of morphological fields. The gravity at least the part of the gravity that is from acceleration is described as moving the object out from its own morphological fields and thats why there is a force trying to stop this movement.
Also the book “The Holographic Paradigm” by Ken Wilber I think is quite outstanding in connecting counscious with theoretical physics especially David Bohm theory of a holographic universe with Pribrams theory of a holographic brain.
Some of the effects of qi is definitely part of the physics. Like if you burn someting with the qi from your hand. But perhaps it’s possible to explain this from the physics already existed if you just pick out just some aspects of the qi.
The most interesting should of cours be if the physics also took into acount counsiousness in there models. But perhaps this is far away in the future.
Some own thoughts about this interesting field
Sincerely S DNovember 20, 2007 at 4:59 am #26041
The picture is from the mathematics about E-8 that is quite old. The new thing the guy has done is to use this already well known math to fit it into the theory of the forces and particles in theoretical physics today. The part that not fits where the E-8 model is bigger than the known physics is where he puts in new particles not jet known and some “new” particles speculatet about in the rest of the physics but not jet detected and seen. Some of the “new” particles explaining gravity and match the guys atempt to put in gravity force and match gravity with the rest of the forces. This is the theory of everything wich noone has achived jet but people have tried to do since Einsteins early atempts.
As I see it might be some error in it.
Sincerely S D
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.