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  1. #1
    loob lor geezer
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    Surfer dude stuns physicists with theory of everything

    Surfer dude stuns physicists with theory of everything



    By Roger Highfield, Science Editor
    Published: 6:02PM GMT 14 Nov 2007
    4 Comments


    Garrett Lisi, 39, has a doctorate but no university affiliation and spends most of the year surfing in Hawaii


    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).



    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 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.
    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" 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, 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."
    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 says.
    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."

    Surfer dude stuns physicists with theory of everything - Telegraph

  2. #2
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    aging one's Avatar
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    That was a good header and a great read. I would really love it a theory like this was proven. We really dont know shit. Its all theory. Einstein is famous for his theories not facts.

  3. #3
    Thailand Expat raycarey's Avatar
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    it will be interesting to see what the results are from the LHC.

    good article OP.

  4. #4
    The Pikey Hunter
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    ..... but he's still a slaphead and I bet his theory doesn't tell him why.

  5. #5
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    Just confirmed i'm a thick foker as i didn't understand any of that.

  6. #6
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    Just for fun, think of the possibilities this theory could unleash. A finite definition of matter would lead to a host of revelations as well as quantum leaps in just about all areas of science.

    e. g.

  7. #7
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    I have a theory...

  8. #8
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    Fair play to the guy with original thought.

    I couldn't finish the article,it was giving me a headache, evidence of my own lack of intellect.

  9. #9
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    That's a three-year-old article, I wonder what he is up to now and how the theory is holding up.

  10. #10
    Party Animal!
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    Bodacious! surf dude.

  11. #11
    I am in Jail
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    That E8 thing sounds quite interesting, maybe too obscure to be practical or even real ?

  12. #12
    loob lor geezer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nawty View Post
    I have a theory...
    Does it relate to your avatar ? If so, I have one too about what lies beyond X and how it relates to black holes

  13. #13
    Boxed Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bower
    I couldn't finish the article,it was giving me a headache, evidence of my own lack of intellect.
    I did'nt even open it....

  14. #14
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    I just want something that will tell me who will win at the track next Saturday.

  15. #15
    Pronce. PH said so AGAIN!
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    I was told there would be no math.

  16. #16
    Noone here gets out alive
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    As the article was three years ago..I've done some investigation into this guys where abouts..


    Here he is with a couple of buddies...and one of his friends congratulating his achievement....


    This was his learning tool in Hawaii....
    There are no strangers here, just friends you haven't met yet.

  17. #17
    Out there...
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    3 years old..hmmmmmm

    Any follow up?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by aging one View Post
    That was a good header and a great read. I would really love it a theory like this was proven. We really dont know shit. Its all theory. Einstein is famous for his theories not facts.
    The facts we can only accredit to God (whatever that means to you).
    All humans can come up with are theories - some of which we can assign a high degree of probability to.

  19. #19
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    In the future somebody may actually have this figured out. When I wake up in my new form a trillion years from now after I have assumed many different configurations of matter and anti-matter and achieve consciousness again I may be able really learn about the universe.

  20. #20
    Pronce. PH said so AGAIN!
    slackula's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Humbert
    When I wake up in my new form a trillion years from now after I have assumed many different configurations of matter and anti-matter and achieve consciousness again I may be able really learn about the universe.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by fridgemagnet
    (whatever that means to you
    Absolutely fuckall...

  22. #22
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    The world needs original thinkers who think outside the box. Einstein was one. Copernicus and Hippocrates others. People who have been regarded as eccentrics in their time have always been the ones to make the great leaps forward in human knowledge.

  23. #23
    Gohills flip-flops wearer
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    Quote Originally Posted by Panda
    People who have been regarded as eccentrics in their time have always been the ones to make the great leaps forward in human knowledge.
    Look at what Glitterman has done for the art of bycycle riding.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by withnallstoke View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Panda
    People who have been regarded as eccentrics in their time have always been the ones to make the great leaps forward in human knowledge.
    Look at what Glitterman has done for the art of bycycle riding.
    One man's eccentric is another man's cnut.

  25. #25
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    History does have a way of sorting out the wheat from the chaff. Even if it does take a few years, decades or centuries.

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