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  • Surf, sun, and a theory of everything!

    Whoa, dude! Totally gnarly. This story is getting quite a lot of play in the media, primarily because it's ALSO getting a lot of play in academic circles (including the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, ON, where I'm currently freezing my California tan off!). There are mixed opinions but it could well be that this is a "radical" new perspective on the biggest mystery in physics of all time (and stands to sink string theory, if correct).

    PS: He's apparently also Lex Luthor on "Smallville"!

    ============================================

    Surfer dude stuns physicists with theory of everything

    By Roger Highfield, Science Editor
    Last Updated: 6:01pm GMT 14/11/2007

    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 scientists.

    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).

    ...

    Despite this unusual career path, his proposal is remarkable because, by the arcane standards of particle physics, it does not require highly complex mathematics.

    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.

    Complete article: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/main.j ... tviewedbox

  • #2
    And I thought Penrose wrote the book on the Theory of Everything (and I am less than 20% of the way through it, hey I have a 5- and 11-year old...).

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    • #3
      42

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      • #4
        Re: Surf, sun, and a theory of everything!

        Originally posted by JRM
        He's apparently also Lex Luthor on "Smallville"!
        Michael Rosenbaum is LL on Smallville


        If this is simple:
        "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, 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 beautiful shape.""

        Then I'm a one-celled protozoa.

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        • #5
          Well, duh.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by lonewolf
            Well, duh.


            Bleep!

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            • #7
              Re: Surf, sun, and a theory of everything!

              Originally posted by tafnut
              If this is simple:
              "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, 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..
              Lisi's got too much water in his ears. This is the most elegant and intricate shape known to mathematics. My paper is coming out on Tuesday.

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              • #8
                I was curious about what constituted "exceptional" simplicity among that crowd, so I downloaded the PDF. But it sure isn't simple enough for me ...

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                • #9
                  Math lost me with the concept that pie are square when everyone knows pie are round and cormbread are square..

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                  • #10
                    Re: Surf, sun, and a theory of everything!

                    Originally posted by JRM
                    Whoa, dude! Totally gnarly. Surfer dude stuns physicists with theory of everything

                    By Roger Highfield, Science Editor
                    Last Updated: 6:01pm GMT 14/11/2007

                    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 scientists.
                    Indeed fellow instabro...he's radically stoked and spocked-out over some seriously choiceamundo theoretical shreadage that got whacked off the top. 8)

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by BruceFlorman
                      Oh . . . why didn't he say so in the first place? . . . it's intuitively obvious to the most CASUAL observer . . . I would quibble his cosecant-squared hyperbolic logarithm integration (form zero to negative infinity, of course), but clearly the derivative of the trigonometric function of x to the n is paramount in importance to the theory!

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by BruceFlorman
                        I was curious about what constituted "exceptional" simplicity among that crowd, so I downloaded the PDF. But it sure isn't simple enough for me ...
                        Believe it or not, that page of equations is incredibly "simple", when compared to the alternative. Also note that "exceptional" in his title is a play on words (the E8 Lie group is classified as "exceptional", because it is an exception to the normal way other similar groups are defined).

                        To sum up this simplicity: "it ain't string theory," which proposes between 7 and 25 extra dimensions of space, calls for strange new laws of nature in order to work, and a whole slew of new particles and behaviors that are, in all rights, pretty absurdly over-complicated.

                        His theory takes what we already know and connects a few dots (pardon the pun), with the end result being a modest 20 new particles. This is very similar to past breakthroughs in particle physics, which is why the simplicity is inspiring.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Surf, sun, and a theory of everything!

                          Originally posted by tafnut
                          Originally posted by JRM
                          He's apparently also Lex Luthor on "Smallville"!
                          Michael Rosenbaum is LL on Smallville


                          Taffy -- I'm kidding. But, you never know...

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                          • #14
                            I am with malmo on the exquisite composition of protoplasm on his post. Did you know if you stare at it long enough you will become aware she has changed pivot foot and is spinning clockwise/counter clockwise, depending on when you were first mesmerized.?

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by lonewolf
                              I am with malmo on the exquisite composition of protoplasm on his post. Did you know if you stare at it long enough you will become aware she has changed pivot foot and is spinning clockwise/counter clockwise, depending on when you were first mesmerized.?
                              You stared WAAAY too long 8) - she stays on her left foot.

                              Speaking of staring, anyone she 'Angelina' in Beowulf and wonder what was her and what was CGI??!! :shock:

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