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A New Theory of Everything?

CowboyNeal posted more than 6 years ago | from the it's-all-made-of-stars dept.

Math 511

goatherder writes "The Telegraph is running a story about a new Unified Theory of Physics. Garrett Lisi has presented a paper called "An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything" which unifies the Standard Model with gravity — without using string theory. The trick was to use E8 geometry which you may remember from an earlier Slashdot article. Lisi's theory predicts 20 new particles which he hopes might turn up in the Large Hadron Collider."

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GUT from a surfer dude! (5, Funny)

haluness (219661) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372499)

The fact that he's a surfer dude deserves some mention as well - not everyday you see hard core mathematical physics coming from the beach!

Re:GUT from a surfer dude! (2, Funny)

urcreepyneighbor (1171755) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372631)

Strong body, strong mind.

You can't kick ass if you can't get off yours!

Re:GUT from a surfer dude! (5, Funny)

EugeneK (50783) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372687)

Well, sure. It's a little known fact that one time Einstein and Chuck Norris met, and Chuck Norris got his ass handed to him.

Would've been nicer if you said... (0, Offtopic)

DaedalusHKX (660194) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372929)

Stephen Hawking and Chuck Norris met... Chuck Norris got his ass handed to him.

That would've been far more credible than Einstein... whom, I believe was long dead by the time Norris was conceived.

Re:Would've been nicer if you said... (2, Informative)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21373057)

That would've been far more credible than Einstein... whom, I believe was long dead by the time Norris was conceived.

Chuck's an old dude! IMDB says for Chuck Norris: Date of Birth: 10 March 1940, Ryan, Oklahoma, USA

Wikipedia says for Albert Einstein: March 14, 1879 - April 18, 1955

So we've got at latest a 76-year-old Albert Einstein kicking the ass of a 15-year old Chuck Norris. Aw yeah.

Re:Would've been nicer if you said... (2, Informative)

motomike (837698) | more than 6 years ago | (#21373085)

Chuck Norris: born 10 March, 1940.

Albert Einstein: died 18 April, 1955.

Granted, ol' Al would have been 61 years older than Chuck. But geez, is it really that hard to Google something before making an easily-checked claim like, "whom, I believe was long dead by the time Norris was conceived"?

Kids these days.

Re:GUT from a surfer dude! (5, Informative)

rminsk (831757) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372811)

This "surfer dude" resume:

9/91-5/99 University of California, San Diego
5/99 Ph.D. in Physics
G.P.A. - 3.9

Honors Fellowships - UC Regents fellowship, ARCS Foundation fellowship.

9/86-6/91 University of California, Los Angeles
6/91 B.S. in Physics and B.S. in Mathematics
G.P.A. - 3.9 (4.0 in Physics and 4.0 in Mathematics)
Academic Honors - Phi Beta Kappa, Sigma Pi Sigma, Golden Key.

Graduation Honors - College Honors, Highest Honors in Physics, Highest Honors in Mathematics, Summa Cum Laude, Kinsey Prize for The Outstanding Graduating Senior in Physics.
Not quite your average "surfer dude"

Re:GUT from a surfer dude! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21373225)

Gee, not even your average brainiac nerd. Nevertheless, his shit's gotta stand on its own, not on his resume. And no, I didn't RTFA nor would I have grokked it if I did.

Re:GUT from a surfer dude! (5, Funny)

sconeu (64226) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372843)

Guess he's just seriously into Wave Mechanics....

Re:GUT from a surfer dude! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21373129)

Kerry Mullis was also a "surfer dude". It's not uncommon.

might be on to something (5, Funny)

wes33 (698200) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372505)

Lubos Motl thinks it's pure bullshit ... so Lisi might well be on to something :)

Re:might be on to something (1)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372593)

I am not a quantum physicist, so I have to ask, what implications does this have for Quantum Physics and its many strange -and proven- predictions?

How does unifying Gravity with the Standard Model help us get towards a theory of everything that explains the large-scale effects of General Relativity with the small-scale effects of Quantum Physics? What is it about this particular representation that makes it a 'Theory of Everything,' as opposed to a new standard model that contains a definition of a graviton?

Could someone put this in layman's terms, or not-quite layman's terms?

Re:might be on to something (5, Informative)

Enlightenment (1073994) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372685)

As I understand it, when we say "gravity," we really mean General Relativity. And when we say "quantum physics," we really mean the Standard Model. Both are the best established explanations for their respective fields. That means once you've unified the Standard Model with gravity in a way that gives the same correct results we knew from General Relativity, you've got a theory of everything.

Re:might be on to something (1)

Anpheus (908711) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372721)

Ok, can someone explain the entirety of the theory or do I need to peruse math sites until I understand what he's saying?

Thank you by the way, I wasn't aware that the Standard Model included quantum theory, which I should have checked.

Please mod parent up informative.

Re:might be on to something (1)

Enlightenment (1073994) | more than 6 years ago | (#21373015)

Well, this comment is tongue-in-cheek, but it does capture the essence of things. It's a lot of complicated group theory that describes symmetries of particles and forces. It was "only fully understood this year" if you believe TFA, which is why no one tried it yet. Want to know more? Go to grad school. ;)

Re:might be on to something (5, Informative)

BlueStraggler (765543) | more than 6 years ago | (#21373173)

The quick-and-dirty explanation is that the E8 "object" is a nasty-ass shape that exists in 248 dimensions, and which is notable for various reasons that only mathematicians can really grasp fully, but can be understood by the layman as pertaining to the concept of symmetry. It was discovered in the 1890s, but due to its size was never fully computed until a couple of years ago (the solution is a massive matrix of polynomials taking up 60 GB of storage). Oddly, various aspects of the E8 solution were reminiscent of formulae in the Standard Model, and Lisi has managed to come up with a coherent explanation of why this is. Various aspects of the E8 object's structure appear to explain formerly mysterious facts, such as why elementary particles are grouped into their various families. They also suggest new and undiscovered particles, which may give this theory a very clear set of test cases if it survives that long.

Re:might be on to something (1)

UnknownSoldier (67820) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372699)

Care to elaborate?

Even if Lubos comes across pretty rude, he sounds he knows what he is talking about [blogspot.com] .

Re:might be on to something (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21373291)

That's part of the problem. He might impress a layman, but Lubos is dogmatic and has a thoroughly antiscientific attitude - Anything that challenges String Mathematics (it's barely a theory...) has him foaming at the mouth. He's derided Einstein-Cartan theory on specious grounds ("look how few papers there are about it") on wikipedia (E-C theory is an expansion of GR to model spin, it's in fact a mathematical necessity), simply because it's a prerequisite for loop quantum gravity which he hates (it's an alternative to strings...).

But note how this theory has made TESTABLE PREDICTIONS - 20 new particles in a specific pattern. That's more than Lubos can claim after years of "research". The theory might be wrong, but at least it's a scientific theory. Lately, in the (rather rarefied) physics community, Lubos really is used as a sort of contrary guide - if Lubos doesn't like it, you might be on the right track.

I'm not sold yet (5, Funny)

JustCallMeRich (1185429) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372809)

I'm just waiting for Dvorak to denounce it. That'll be proof enough for me.

Very interesting. (0, Troll)

sasjamal (855908) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372509)

This is very incredible. Dork!

SLASHDOT SUX0RZ (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21372515)

_0_
\''\
'=o='
.|!|
.| |
a new theory of goatse? [goatse.ch]

just a GUT feeling (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21372519)

I like to masturbate on women's bare feet.

Re:just a GUT feeling (1)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372547)

Fascinating. Were you able to do this without using string theory as well?

Re:just a GUT feeling (2, Funny)

Pulse_Instance (698417) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372605)

I don't know about string theory but there is no way he pulled it off without rope theory.

I have a horrible feeling... (4, Funny)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372541)

that the earth is going to get demolished any minute now.

Re:I have a horrible feeling... (3, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372845)

that the earth is going to get demolished any minute now.

I think the universe will now be replaced by something even more inexplicable, than again, this may have already happened.

Re:I have a horrible feeling... (4, Insightful)

Admiral Ag (829695) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372857)

Haha. You aren't the only one. The first thing I thought of was this classic Arthur C. Clarke short story: The 9 Billion Names of God.

http://lucis.net/stuff/clarke/9billion_clarke.html [lucis.net]

Re:I have a horrible feeling... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21372975)

http://img267.imageshack.us/img267/8101/coincidenceph0.jpg [imageshack.us]

Would the front page of Slashdot be considered a coincidence considering the content of this news item???

Re:I have a horrible feeling... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21373013)

Don't panic, that's perfectly normal paranoia.

Everyone gets that.

I don't understand a thing :( (1)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372559)

Can someone explain to me what E8 is? The wikipedia article left me with more questions than answers :(

I think it's some sort of ad. (5, Funny)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372733)

Can someone explain to me what E8 is? The wikipedia article left me with more questions than answers :(

Simply put, it's a complex dimensional algebra with lots of non-trivial, commutative degrees of freedom. It features symmetry groups, conjugation and adjoint representation, and comes with a free manifold which displays automorphism - so it can neatly fit into any space. For a small extra fee, we'll throw in some Vogon Polynomials and a Spin(16) (Z/Z2) which, fundamentally, gets your clothes drier, quicker. The best thing about the E8 is it's R8 Root System(TM), which, with the use of Euclidean Space Vectors is guaranteed(*) to make sure you don't get octonions on your breath. And if you order now, we'll send you a bonus 8x6 photo of Jacques Tits.

But honestly, I foud the wikipedia article pretty useless too. I'm not nerd enough.

Re:I think it's some sort of ad. (1)

FiniteElementalist (1073824) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372913)

Don't feel too discouraged. I was a badass at abstract algebra I in college and I still have only a little idea of what is going on in that wikipedia page.

Re:I don't understand a thing :( (1)

urcreepyneighbor (1171755) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372743)

Same here. My head hurts. :(

Maybe bangin' a surfer chic would help?

Re:I don't understand a thing :( (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372761)

it's the largest of the common lie groups. here's some explanation
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lie_group_E8 [wikipedia.org]

Re:I don't understand a thing :( (1)

2.7182 (819680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372825)

No - it is called an exceptional lie algebra.

Re:I don't understand a thing :( (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372849)

my bad, I get my higher dimensional math confused sometimes...

Re:I don't understand a thing :( (5, Informative)

iabervon (1971) | more than 6 years ago | (#21373093)

(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).

yet again (1)

andreyvul (1176115) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372583)

simplicity comes from complexity

Best quote from the article (4, Funny)

Spy der Mann (805235) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372587)

"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."

I smell an XKCD comic approaching....

Re:Best quote from the article (5, Funny)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372981)

Since you asked:

The author of the paper is claiming
that E8 contains the Standard Model (SU(3)xSU(2)xU(1)),
plus the symmetries belonging to gravity.
   /
/O\         O
---        ---
  |          |
/ \        / \

________________

          When I look at you, you make the
          patterns in the floor tiles
          vanish.
         /
/O\    O
---   ---
  |    \|
/ \   / \

Re:Best quote from the article (1, Funny)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 6 years ago | (#21373007)

Damn slashdot formatting. Pretend that the bodies of the stick figures are shifted over to the left 1em.

Re:Best quote from the article (2, Funny)

thermopile (571680) | more than 6 years ago | (#21373123)

So does your mom. With velociraptors. And Richard Stallman.

Great. Just great. (1)

Z80xxc! (1111479) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372609)

Now I have to relearn everything. Just when I thought I was done with school...

Huh? (5, Funny)

ratguy (248395) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372611)

I think some people have an entirely different definition of 'Simple' than myself.

Re:Huh? (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372901)

It probably is very simple compared to string theory. String theory has been around for about four decades or so and has continually gotten more complicated as time goes on. But theory is misused here because there's no experimental test or verification yet, so it's a very hairy complicated hypothesis.

Re:Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21372965)

I think he's making some sort of insider joke with this 'exceptionally simple', see first paragraph of: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E8_(mathematics) [wikipedia.org]

Re:Huh? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21373011)

It being an "exceptionally simple" theory is a pun.
It's built upon E8, which is the largest, most complicated (i.e. an exceptional case) finite simple Lie group.

FTFA (4, Funny)

aproposofwhat (1019098) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372625)

it does not require more than one dimension of time and three of space

then...

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."

Well, am I alone in thinking that invoking another 244 dimensions is rather excessive?

Especially when an extension of spinor theory to only 6 dimensions (3 time, 3 space) looks to provide a more elegant explanation?

Sorry, surfer dude - you fail it!

;)

Re:FTFA (4, Informative)

Carnildo (712617) | more than 6 years ago | (#21373029)

The algebra is 248-dimensional. The universe is still only 3+1-dimensional.

Fris(t st0p (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21372629)

Re:Fris(t st0p (-1, Offtopic)

Internet Ronin (919897) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372821)

Look at this?

WTF is this? I've been using Slashdot for a few years now (obviously not a genuine OG, but still, less than a noob), but I've never understood what's going on here?

I mean, look at this? The subject isn't even words. Usually it says something that's totally nonsense, with some relation to 'First,' which is a long standing comments tradition, fight for first post. But what's the context here? And then a link to Goatse. That's sick.

Who the FUCK are you people? What's your motivation for doing this? Attention? Ad revenue? I don't see either as potentially successful. Do you just do this to fuck with my when I'm high?

Can anyone out there, maybe a more seasoned vet, to explain to me what the fuck this is, and why it happens, and why /. has had to build up a system designed to mitigate their presence (obviously the answer is 'volume' but why volume, does having more "Fris(t st0p); Goat.cx" matter to anyone, much less the people spending their time to do this.

Re:Fris(t st0p (1)

Suddenly_Dead (656421) | more than 6 years ago | (#21373049)

Slashdot trolls think they're some infamous, important, uber-annoying counter-culture. No one else really gives a damn about them since most people don't surf at level 0, and modding tends to handle Goatse links quickly. The only exceptions are the clever trolls that manage to occasionally get modded up, but they're a rare and generally completely separate breed.

Re:Fris(t st0p (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#21373217)

Slashdot's new ajaxy comment system displays more comment headers below the current threshold, which encourages the trolls who can fit the troll into the subject line and first line of the post. You can filter out the noise with a simple drag, but the defaults show 'em still.

It's all just noise. They have no motivation, they're just socially retarded kids that stopped chewing their keyboards long enough to make funny screen noise.

Huh? Wat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21372633)

42.

Re:Huh? Wat? (4, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372653)

42.
I'm sorry, what was the question again?

Is it just me... (1)

Saint_Waldo (541712) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372641)

...or does that guy bear an unsettling resemblance to Jeff Gannon/Guckert?

Huh (5, Funny)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372647)

So it's not 42?

Re:Huh (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372769)

Oh its forty-two all right for correct vaules of E, which would seems likely to be 5.25.

42 (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372771)

Well, let's see...42 has no infinities. That makes it better than a lot of the theories out there.

And it has as much experimental evidence to back it up as most of the other theories have.

He's to Physics what Slava Pestov is to PLT. (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21372651)

Garrett Lisi is to Physics what Slava Pestov is to the study of programming language theory: young blood with new theories that will greatly challenge the status quo. Slava Pestov's Factor programming language is essentially the GUT of the PLT domain. It ties together functional programming, stack based programming, imperative programming, OO programming, and even constraint-based programming into one small, tidy package. In short, it is the one and the only.

Re:He's to Physics what Slava Pestov is to PLT. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21372663)

Slava Pestov, is that you?

For the non-mathematicians (5, Informative)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372665)

A set is a collection of things, such as the integers are a set of numbers.

A group is a set with an operation (and a couple of extra properties), such as the integers under addition.

The set of a symmetry group is the set of operations that you can perform to an object and have the object remain unchanged. For example, for an equilateral triangle, rotating it by 120 and 240 degrees leaves you with a triangle. So does flipping it around any of its three axes. Add the identity operation, which leaves the triangle untouched and you have the symmetry set for an equilateral triangle. Add an operation and you have a symmetry group.

The U(1) group is the group of all unitary, 1-dimensional operations that leave the inner (dot) product invariant.

The SU(2) group is the group of all unitary, 2-dimensional operations that leave the inner (dot) product invariant and have a determinant of 1.

The SU(3) group is the group of all unitary, 3-dimensional operations that leave the inner (dot) product invariant and have a determinant of 1.

The Standard Model obeys the symmetry found by combining the three above groups: SU(3)xSU(2)xU(1).

E8 is another group with some special properties. The author of the paper is claiming that E8 contains the Standard Model (SU(3)xSU(2)xU(1)), plus the symmetries belonging to gravity.

Re:For the non-mathematicians (5, Funny)

OzRoy (602691) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372785)

I still don't understand. Are you able to use a Car Analogy?

Re:For the non-mathematicians (5, Funny)

Lord Byron II (671689) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372931)

Say you're Jay Leno. All of the classic cars in your garage forms a set.

If you swap two cars, that operation with the set of cars forms a group.

Maybe all of your cars are red. Then swapping any two doesn't change the pattern of colors in your garage. You have a color symmetry.

Happy? =)

Help BadAnalogyGuy! (1)

7-Vodka (195504) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372941)

Hey, where is BadAnalogyGuy when you need him?

Re:Help BadAnalogyGuy! (3, Funny)

Bluesman (104513) | more than 6 years ago | (#21373035)

Don't count on any help there. BadAnalogyGuy is like a leftover acorn in the summer, long after the bears have woken from hibernation.

Re:For the non-mathematicians (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21373245)

Is this some kind of gang language because last time I checked a set was a group of things looking to get ahead in life collectively through non traditional means and the last time I checked a group as a set with an operation is an interesting way of talking about a big money scheme and then you follow all of that up with some other gangish jargon that I am not familiar with though I am usually familiar without anyone around.

The more people that are around me the less familiar I become and the less people that are around me the more familiar I become.

Ya digg?

www.whatisearth.com

Understandable Description (5, Informative)

Ghoser777 (113623) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372669)

http://aimath.org/E8/e8.html [aimath.org]

I found this site easier to understand than the wikipedia link. I warned my trig students about higher dimensions - wait till I tell them about 8-d vectors, they'll love it!

Search for particles (-1, Offtopic)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372671)

> particles which he hopes might turn up in the Large Hadron Collider Dude, if you don't find them there, look in my computer keyboard.

PDF (4, Informative)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372691)

Really that's all I wanted [arxiv.org] (complete with useless filename and all - 'An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything.pdf' - copy/paste)

here's the abstract for those wondering if they should download it:

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.


Although it is chock full of pretty pictures as well. If he's right, somebody is going to do a story about how the Star of David came to be important (Ezekiel's Wheel?) and want to talk to those soldiers who saw the ship in the woods in Britain that was decorated with a complex pattern with triangles in the middle.

OK, enough mindless rambling...

E8's Dimensions (4, Funny)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372709)

Underlying any symmetrical object, such as a sphere, is a Lie group. Balls, cylinders or cones are familiar examples of symmetric three-dimensional objects. Today's feat rests on the drive by mathematicians to study symmetries in higher dimensions. E8 is the symmetries of a geometric object that is 57-dimensional. E8 itself is 248-dimensional.
Ha! Take that, 11-dimensional Supergravity SuperString M-Theory!

A breakthrough? (1)

nthwaver (1019400) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372715)

Just from reading the previous /. articles, it seems that the people working on E8 all along expected it to be applied to theoretical physics and a GUT (grand unified theory). I don't understand how it can be called his original idea and thus a breakthrough. Can anyone explain?

New Scientist is a rag (1, Interesting)

Dogun (7502) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372731)

Seriously. Stop posting stories from New Scientist. Or articles in other publications on New Scientist articles.

New Theory Of Everything (1)

jagdish (981925) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372759)

Maybe we can call it Everything2 [everything2.com] .

Re:New Theory Of Everything (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21373091)

You meant Everything 2.0? (Now with superpowers!)

If the LHC experiments prove him right... (2, Insightful)

MichaelCrawford (610140) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372773)

... by discovering the previously-unpredicted particles that his paper predicts, especially of the properties of the new particles match the predictions, then there is no doubt whatsoever that he'll win the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Back in the day, I thought I might win the Nobel when I grew up. But life intervened; as of this month I have twenty years as a software engineer. I'm sick to death of it. But I'm not going back to Physics - download the tracks in my sig, and you can help me go back to school to study musical composition.

Exceptionally simple? (0)

Chess_the_cat (653159) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372801)

Adding 20 new, unobserved, unproven particles makes for an "exceptionally simple" theory? Wonder what Occam would say about that.

Re:Exceptionally simple? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21372855)

He'd say Great, cause if we can detect those particles, now knowing what to look for, this theory will start to be validated.

Re:Exceptionally simple? (1)

khallow (566160) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372997)

Given that there's around 400 elementary particles already, including some we haven't observed yet, the Razor isn't going to cut very well here.

This is most likely BS. Please see here. (5, Informative)

Sarusa (104047) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372839)

Please see what a real physicist thinks of this. There's always a chance that he's stumbled onto something awesome of course, but odds are low. Basically he takes some stuff that looks cool and extracts physics from it in various ways.

http://motls.blogspot.com/2007/11/exceptionally-simple-theory-of.html [blogspot.com]

'That's pretty cute! :-) The author is not constrained by any old "conventions" and simply adds Grassmann fields together with ordinary numbers i.e. bosons with fermions, one-forms with spinors and scalars. He is just so skillful that he can add up not only apples and oranges but also fields of all kinds you could ever think of. Every high school senior excited about physics should be able to see that the paper is just a long sequence of childish misunderstandings.'

Re:This is most likely BS. Please see here. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21372925)

Uh... well the guy does have a Ph.D in theoretical physics from UC San Diego.

Are you Lubos or something? (2, Interesting)

Liquidrage (640463) | more than 6 years ago | (#21373139)

Lubos, on Bee's blog has shown himself to be nothing but an clown. He argues as if he's on the SA forums. When he did attempt to make a point he was quickly made to look like an asshat.

Judging by the comments from others there, he certainly intelligent, but close minded, immature, and prone to lapses in judgment.

Re:This is most likely BS. Please see here. (5, Informative)

BoChen456 (1099463) | more than 6 years ago | (#21373239)

Thats what unifying physics is all about. Coming up with one theory to explain everything that used to take multiple, completely unrelated theories to explain

By your analogy, he is showing that apples and oranges are really just different types of fruits.

The best example I can think of is Maxwell's electro-magnetism equations. It might seem obvious today, but it was an amazing breakthrough to realise that electrical fields, currents and magnetism were really just two sides of the same coin. Most lay people of that time must have thought it was a childish misunderstanding to relate lightning and what makes a compass work

I can't speak for whether the theory is flawed or not, but I think you're a little too quick to dismiss it based on high school seniors knowledge.

Re:This is most likely BS. Please see here. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21373277)

No offense to the OP, but Lubos Motl is well known by he physics community to be the academic equivalent of a hate monger. Sure, he's done some decent physics work, but he's pretty much impossible to work with and is instantly dismissive of anyone who doesn't follow the same path as him. And no one outside his circle of friends really listens to him all that much since he has a habit of not looking to carefully at the work of those he is criticizing.

So I wouldn't pay attention to Lubos when he says that someone is a crackpot and their ideas aren't feasible. A lot of physicists just look at his comments as free publicity because if Lubos is criticizing it, it usually means that he feels threatened by it, therefore, it could have some promise if it at least got his attention.

Lubos Motl (0)

Neon Aardvark (967388) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372841)

This is garbage. Pure and simple.

For eg., look at Lubos Motl's blog entry on the subject:http://motls.blogspot.com/ [blogspot.com]

A media-frenzy over horseshit that makes precisely zero sense.

Pure Maths (5, Funny)

BovineSpirit (247170) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372893)

From Wikipedia:

The designation E8 comes from Wilhelm Killing and Élie Cartan's classification of the complex simple Lie algebras, which fall into four infinite families labeled An, Bn, Cn, Dn, and five exceptional cases labeled E6, E7, E8, F4, and G2. The E8 algebra is the largest and most complicated of these exceptional cases, and is often the last case of various theorems to be proved.
"complex simple Lie algebras"?

Mathematics needs some new words, I think. And they need to stop using 'simple' in this kind of context. What about; instead of 'simple' they use 'mindbogglingly complicated' and instead of 'complex', 'totally headfucking' making the statement a more accurate 'totally headfucking mindboggleing complicated Lie algebras'.

Genius? (5, Funny)

kaiynne (181440) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372955)

From the wiki article

It was discovered by Wilhelm Killing (1888-1890).
Man at 2 he had already mastered complex mathematics. To think what he could have done if his life had not been tragically cut short...

Re:Genius? (1)

liquiddark (719647) | more than 6 years ago | (#21373311)

He would have made large sums of money. From which we get the synonym "make a killing, but die at the age of two, only to be remembered years later in half-assed attempts at humor".

What is this new unit? (4, Funny)

viking80 (697716) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372971)

From TFA: "if written out in tiny print, would cover an area the size of Manhattan."
Is that more than a LoC(Libraries of congress)?

It's not a solution, per se (3, Interesting)

pugugly (152978) | more than 6 years ago | (#21372985)

If I'm reading this right anyway, which I may well not be.

It's more a very good argument for what he thinks the solution will looks like. The mathematics is low enough that I can (barely) understand it well enough to follow the general argument, but certainly not well enough to be able to catch any oversights. But it's the first thing I've seen in a long time that looked simple enough I felt like I could hit the books and maybe get to a point where I *could* understand it properly. (He says, as if he's really done the last three or four things like that he promised himself he would do. My head exploded reading the first volume of "Art of Computer Programming" and I haven't got in gear to finish *that* yet either.)

But it sure *looks* pretty.

Pug

ok (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 6 years ago | (#21373025)

I was going to make an Alpha Centauri joke but it's been a long, sleep-deprived week so I'm drawing a blank. Anyone want to make up one for me?

Re:ok (1)

fred fleenblat (463628) | more than 6 years ago | (#21373183)

I made up a great joke but it will take 4 years to get here at the speed of light.

Management Speak (2, Funny)

chill (34294) | more than 6 years ago | (#21373031)

He calls it "An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything", but it is based off of E8 mathematics -- ...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.

He must be using a form of the word "Simple" that I am not familiar with.

Re:Management Speak (1)

BoChen456 (1099463) | more than 6 years ago | (#21373293)

Its math speak actually. Well, math speak and a pun. He is talking about an exceptional Lie group that is also a simple Lie group. Both of which have exact mathematical definitions.

Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything (1)

Atilla (64444) | more than 6 years ago | (#21373115)

Ah shit. The vogons will be here any time now to blow us all the fuck up.

Good going, surfer dude.

Over and over (1)

Ep0xi (1093943) | more than 6 years ago | (#21373147)

no simple theory can be explained with numers and formulas.-

Why aging occurs... (0)

bradbury (33372) | more than 6 years ago | (#21373205)

One might be able to come up with a "TOE" in physics, But it should be recognized that this is highly limited. It does not for example explain why aging occurs, something which also effects each of us.

While it is highly interesting to understand how the universe works -- it would be equally interesting to understand precisely what kills each and every one of us -- so perhaps we could engineer solutions to it.

So here are two questions in life -- "How is the Universe constructed?" and "Why does aging occur (and how can I stop it)"? I believe the importance of answers to the second far far outweigh answers to the first.

The amount of energy and attention devoted to the first question seems to me to be far in excess of the amount of attention which should be devoted to the second.

Robert

Re:Why aging occurs... (1)

paiute (550198) | more than 6 years ago | (#21373317)

One might be able to come up with a "TOE" in physics, But it should be recognized that this is highly limited. It does not for example explain why aging occurs, something which also effects each of us.

While it is highly interesting to understand how the universe works -- it would be equally interesting to understand precisely what kills each and every one of us -- so perhaps we could engineer solutions to it.

So here are two questions in life -- "How is the Universe constructed?" and "Why does aging occur (and how can I stop it)"? I believe the importance of answers to the second far far outweigh answers to the first.

The amount of energy and attention devoted to the first question seems to me to be far in excess of the amount of attention which should be devoted to the second.

Robert


Just a guess, but if you were to total up all the money - public and private - spent on cosmology vs. that spent on biology, biology wins by a wide margin.
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