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Surfer Dude Explains the Universe

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  • Surfer Dude Explains the Universe

    A "Surfer Dude" stuns physicists with a simple Theory of Everything. And no, it doesn't have to do with pizza.

    Abstract here

    Originally posted by Times
    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."
    This is pretty profound.

    Oh, and Lisi's CV gives a bit more about his background--it's not just surfing (;

    Also, his personal Wiki has his thought process and the math that backs up his claims. Curvature! It's beautiful! No strings attached. If you get my drift.
    Last edited by Rincewind; 11-15-2007, 10:55 AM.
    ~~ Veritas simplex oratio est ~~
    No matter how far a wizard goes, he will always come back for his hat. --T. Pratchett

    <---- You know you're getting old when you rely on your forum meta-data to remind you how old you are.


  • #2
    Re: Surfer Dude Explains the Universe

    Rad!
    | | |

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    • #3
      Re: Surfer Dude Explains the Universe

      Haha, yeah.

      A good summary:

      http://backreaction.blogspot.com/200...eption-of.html

      And to quote the author himself: "This is an "all or nothing" kind of theory -- meaning it's going to end up agreeing with and predicting damn near everything, or it's wrong. At this stage of development, it could go either way."
      ~~ Veritas simplex oratio est ~~
      No matter how far a wizard goes, he will always come back for his hat. --T. Pratchett

      <---- You know you're getting old when you rely on your forum meta-data to remind you how old you are.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Surfer Dude Explains the Universe

        Here's an awesome /. comment that sums up the E8 interactions beautifully:

        Originally posted by Daniel Barkalow
        (I am not a particle physicist or a mathematician of the right sort, but I can kind of follow this sort of thing)

        Okay, the context is that you've got particles, and they're fundamentally all the same, but they're "turned" in different ways. Think of a ball with 3-color LEDs inside: you can rotate it around three axes, and move it in three directions, and you can also cycle its color and change its blinking pattern. Particles are like that, except that the topology is weird: it's not back to the same orientation until you turn it around 720 degrees, instead of 360 like normal objects. The "gauge group" is the rules for how you can change things. For example, the total color of the universe is white: if you turn something from red to blue, you have to turn something else from blue to red; but you can also create a pair of a green and a purple (anti-green). They write all these rules up in math, and it's tricky because a lot of the features vary continuously (that is, you can rotate something an arbitrarily small amount). And due to the interaction of the rules for one property with the rules for other properties, there are only certain combinations of properties that you can get. They work out all the combinations that you can have and those are what you see as "different" particles that your experiments show. Of course, we don't know what the rules are, and we're trying to figure that out from what combinations of properties we've seen and which ones we're speculating are impossible. And it's hard and takes a lot of calculation to figure out what a candidate set of rules would even mean as far as results. And people are looking at known results and trying to describe them better than "we've done a billion things, and a billion things happened".

        Now, the math of rules for how things can interact turns out to be sort of limited; there are basically 4 normal cases, which are boring, and then there are a few exceptional cases, which are interesting. Of these, the hardest to prove stuff about is E8, and it's just now becoming clear what combinations it allows. It's like one of those puzzles where you press a corner and lights change, and you have to turn off all the lights, but it's got dozens of corners and dozens of lights and every time you press a corner a bunch of things change at once, and there are different kinds of corners and it also matters exactly what angle you're holding it at, so there are hundreds of things you can say about each move.

        And the mathematicians working on E8 recently said, "well, you can get positions like this and not like that", where "this" and "that" are big complicated lists. And this physicist read that paper and said, "hey, those lists are familiar; I made similar lists of particle interactions". So the proposal is that particles work like E8 in what kind of rules they follow. And it's a really nice theory, because E8 is essentially the most flexible set of rules you can have without it falling apart into just anything being possible (and some rules or properties just not mattering).
        One thing I would add is that aside from being flexible E8 provides testable (once the Large Hadron Collider is finished) facets. Which is a huge step forward and beyond other ToE's.
        ~~ Veritas simplex oratio est ~~
        No matter how far a wizard goes, he will always come back for his hat. --T. Pratchett

        <---- You know you're getting old when you rely on your forum meta-data to remind you how old you are.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Surfer Dude Explains the Universe

          Exciting news! I never did like string theory as it seems somewhat far-fetched. I look forward to learning more about this, as I have to say I don't really get it yet :).

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          • #6
            Re: Surfer Dude Explains the Universe

            Testable predictions in a ToE? Say it ain't so! ;)

            This should be interesting to follow. I loved the fact that in one article he talked about other particles the model theorizes, but haven't been discovered yet. If he accurately predicts the existence of new particles, that'll be huge for giving the theory some serious validity.
            Beatnik

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