16 Nov 2007

“An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything”

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The E8 root system, with each root assigned to an elementary particle field


A. Garrett Lisi, a 39-year-old researcher, equipped with a doctorate in Physics from the University of California at San Diego, and not otherwise affiliated with any university, last month published a paper proposing to link the Standard Model of Particle Physics with Gravity, expressed as an E8* root system of exceptionally simple character in Lie algebra.


*E8 encapsulates the symmetries of a geometric object that is 57-dimensional and is itself 248-dimensional.


Abstract: All fields of the standard model and gravity are unified as an E8 principal bundle connection. A non-compact real form of the E8 Lie algebra has G2 and F4 subalgebras which break down to strong su(3), electroweak su(2) x u(1), gravitational so(3,1), the frame-Higgs, and three generations of fermions related by triality. The interactions and dynamics of these 1-form and Grassmann valued parts of an E8 superconnection are described by the curvature and action over a four dimensional base manifold.



Lisi makes for a wonderful news subject, being a perfect California type, a surfing and rock-climbing ultra-bohemian, the sort of person found dancing around the fire at the annual Burning Man Festival. His theory has a wonderful appeal based upon its simplicity (no pun intended) and elegance, but we will have to wait to see whether it is confirmable by testable predictions.

The Telegraph article quotes some scientists who regard Lisi’s theory as “a long shot,” but there is general agreement already on how interesting and elegant it is. However all this comes out, my own (testable) prediction is that A. Garrett Lisi will be receiving some very good offers of academic appointments at major universities.


Telegraph news story


A. Garrett Lisi

His CV

5 Feedbacks on "“An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything”"

Bill Ivers


This area is certainly beyond my math, but I found these comments about Lisi’s ideas fairly persuasive.


That paper aroused my ambitions to sit down for how-ever-many years and get my math up to speed, too. (sigh)

But, even without adequate math (or adequate familiarity with recent Physics), I experienced the kind of aesthetic pleasure one gets from looking at a really impressive piece of science.



I put all sorts of related links into a blog.

Link= http://exceptionallysimpletheoryofeverything.blogspot.com/

Hopefully, this will make it easier for people to start at the beginning and at least try to understand it.

Motls’s complaints may well turn out to be true, OR the ‘funny addition’ may be one of the most important clues ever discovered. We’ll see…

Dave Armentrout

Part of the difficulty in understanding and testing Lisi’s ideas can be found in the ubiquitous remark that he is “unafilliated with any university”. Brings to mind the manner in which Newton’s family decided that he’d never amount to anything because he was an impractical dreamer. To the contrary, it seems clear that what was needed was non-traditional input, not bound to academic orthodoxy.

Deborah Wheeler Morales

I have a stated goal to generate a good joke ending with the punch line of “the relationship of the radius of a circle to its’ circumference…..barrump bump..clang.

As it is so threaded and embedded throughout intricate mathmatical applications, as in dimensional topology, etc, and I have often thought that if you could tug at it (that relationship) like a string that many long standing concepts ad precepts in particle physics would vanish.

And so I like what Lisi does to string theorists, M theorists, etc.

But my latest placcard in the crowd reads:
“The intricate language of mathmatics–the crutch of the non-omniscient!”



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