The paper seems to involve a novel mix-up between internal symmetries and spacetime symmetries, including adding particles of different spin. This runs against the spirit, if not precisely the letter, of the Coleman-Mandula theorem. Okay, maybe there is a miraculous new way of using loopholes in that theorem to do fun things. But I would be much more likely to invest time trying to understand a paper that was devoted to how we can use such loopholes to mix up bosons and fermions in an unexpected way, and explained clearly why this was possible even though you might initially be skeptical , than in a paper that purports to be a theory of everything and mixes up bosons and fermions so casually. I could certainly be guessing wrong. Someone who understands this stuff much better than I do will dig into it and report back, and it will all shake out in the end.
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The paper seems to involve a novel mix-up between internal symmetries and spacetime symmetries, including adding particles of different spin. This runs against the spirit, if not precisely the letter, of the Coleman-Mandula theorem. Okay, maybe there is a miraculous new way of using loopholes in that theorem to do fun things. But I would be much more likely to invest time trying to understand a paper that was devoted to how we can use such loopholes to mix up bosons and fermions in an unexpected way, and explained clearly why this was possible even though you might initially be skeptical , than in a paper that purports to be a theory of everything and mixes up bosons and fermions so casually.
I could certainly be guessing wrong. Someone who understands this stuff much better than I do will dig into it and report back, and it will all shake out in the end.
It works, bitches. Thanks for the link. Interesting in many ways. Thanks for the kind words. B, I am very sorry for my gender-ist assumption. As a pro-feminist person, I am ashamed of myself. I have worked as a professional forum moderator, way back in the distant past, and admire your technique.
Hi Tyler, No problem. OK, the hype and my inbox has gotten totally out of control. This is, after all, about an untested theory that may or may not turn out to be true. Mostly, all this media attention just makes me want to go hide for fifteen minutes, and I hope to come back to see physicists pondering this E8 theory, despite the hype.
It gives you time to work up as much as you can the properties of the twenty proposed new particles and publish before they get the beast working at high energies. In which case, if you are right, you may have predicted the new particles they find with the LHC just a few months before they are discovered, much better than a a retrodiction a few months after.
Well, at least people is hearing about exceptional groups. Never liked E8 myself, too many particles. But E8xE8 is more excessive, or course. And the chain up of Dynkin diagrams, adding a point each step, has always been kind of motivating. There has been an slashdot effect in all the physics blogs even if only indirectly linked, at least I am under this impression after looking my own statistics not a factor 3, but a noticeable peak.
It comes up with random choices. Anyone who attended the school in the early 80s will know who I mean. No comment on the above article per se. Indeed, Lisi-alike stuff serves but one purpose, to suck in all superfluous and irrelevant brain power that otherwise would be in the way of serious research. One thing we know for sure, it will definitely not be as the TOE. The foxnews story is incredibly bad. The one by CBC. Cosmic Variance readers like the straight, inside story; so this seems a good opportunity to tell mine.
Ten years ago, I got my PhD and looked at my options. I love differential geometry, general relativity, and particle physics. But the only options available then for a postdoc in those combined areas were in string theory, and I thought string theory was overly speculative. There are many really impressive aspects of strings — anomaly cancelation in particular — but there are other things that just seem wild and physically unsubstantiated.
I had gotten lucky by investing my graduate stipend in a little company many thought was going out of business AAPL , so I decided to go to Maui, learn to windsurf, and work on physics on my own. But even though I spend money like a grad student, after several years I was broke, and things were looking grim. At the same time, the college on Maui, where I had been teaching a physics class, offered me a full-time, tenure track teaching position.
It was a very difficult choice, but I turned it down. I gambled on FQXi. I packed up the best physics I had done over the previous eight years, and sent it off as a grant proposal. And I got it. With this support, I felt the timing was right and that I was somewhat obligated to talk with others about my work. I flew down to the LQG conference in Morelia and presented a twenty minute talk. Once they saw what I had been up to, Sabine and Lee invited me to visit Perimeter — which I accepted, of course, as this had been a daydream of mine since the institute was founded.
During this dinner, she must have made note of me, because two months later there was an email from a reporter asking for an interview. I was in the middle of writing up the paper when I visited PI, a fantastic nerd heaven.
I talked with people there about this new E8 theory, and it went very well. I posted the paper to the arxiv, Sabine made an excellent and reasonable review, and the New Scientist published their article. Apparently, this was the beginning of the perfect media storm. The story spread, fast. I attempted to write accurate responses to the growing queue of inquiries from newspaper reporters.
The media attention will blow over. One way or another, this stuff will all work out. I believe what Sean said — science works — even if sometimes things get a little crazy. Thanks, Garrett. It also baffles me how academics manage to juggle all the responsibilities and research at once.
He died in Pingback: An exceptionally simple theory of everything: Peer review angle at Freedom of Science. Why does anything exist at all? Why does the laws of nature look like math? We cannot use anything that exists to explain why something exits. So what exists comes from nothing.
How is that possible? The mathematics we see in our laws of nature although not fully know at this time is the way this universe is kept consistent. Apart from what already exists, there is nothing by logic. So Nothing keeps on spewing out self-consistent universes regardless of what exists. No wonder some of them have properties such as ours.
Unfortunately the only link between these universes is Nothing. So there is no link, sadly. Thanks for the nice story, Garrett. We have:. Author received a Ph. From a skim of the paper and conversation on Backreaction, it seems that the way this is dealt with is not new, though not without controversy. The author also seems happy to dialogue about other issues. The parts of the paper which I have sufficient background to read sound fine. None of this means that this paper is interesting or correct, much less worth spending time on.
Speaking of bad news coverage, I could not resist the temptation and I am making a quick translation for you of the article that appeared in the online science section of La Repubblica, the first italian newspaper. If you can read italian, the link is here. I find that the style is amusingly similar to the one of the piece in The Onion linked here some time ago. He spends winter in Nevada where he practices snowboard.
A year-old boy like many others, but for the fact that he likes to unveil the secrets of the Universe. It will be possible to test its effectiveness when the LHC, a structure for atomic verification which is ideal for the practical applications of the theory, will be ready in The scientific world is thrilled by this unexpected theory of a Hawaii surfer that sometimes sleeps in the jungle.
But that also is a scholar and that traces his roots back to the study of E8, a mathematical scheme of points discovered in that implements an object that embeds the symmetries of a geometry with 57 dimensions and is a dimension thing itself.
Words that are incomprehensible for someone who is not a physicist, but it looks like Mother Nature has incorporated the meaning of E8 in the foundation of many physics rules, so much that Lisi gets to the point of saying that the Universe might have a precise graphical shape.
What is sure so far is that the experimentation is just at the beginning and we could all be surprised by the discovery of a guy that one day, instead of hitting the waves, decided to stay home writing on a notebook some formulas that most of us cannot understand.
Or maybe the breathtaking description of E8. There are NO gravitons, etc. This explains why gravity is so weak, unless there is a great mass of the other particals present, and how gravity can work over large distances, and seem to propagate its effects faster than light. But I would be much more likely to invest time trying to understand a paper that was devoted to how we can use such loopholes to mix up bosons and fermions in an unexpected way, and explained clearly why this was possible even though you might initially be skeptical, than in a paper that purports to be a theory of everything and mixes up bosons and fermions so casually.
Email Address. Sean Carroll. Skip to content. Posted on November 16, by Sean Carroll. This entry was posted in Science. Bookmark the permalink. B says:.
An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything?
Research concludes there is no 'simple theory of everything' inside the enigmatic E8
The "exceptionally simple theory of everything," proposed by a surfing physicist in , does not hold water, says Emory University mathematician Skip Garibaldi. Garibaldi did the math to disprove the theory , which involves a mysterious structure known as E8. The resulting paper, co-authored by physicist Jacques Distler of the University of Texas, will appear in an upcoming issue of Communications in Mathematical Physics. Although his paper was not peer-reviewed, and Lisi himself commented that his theory was still in development, the idea was widely reported in the media, under attention-grabbing headlines like "Surfer dude stuns physicists with theory of everything. Garibaldi was among the skeptics when the theory hit the news. So was Distler, a particle physicist, who wrote about problems he saw with Lisi's idea on his blog. Distler's posting inspired Garibaldi to think about the issue more, eventually leading to their collaboration.
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Editor's Note: We are re-posting this article from our March issue to highlight big news of the year. The story circulated and quickly achieved widespread notoriety even my dentist asked me about it. The physics blogosphere carried long threads of comments attacking and defending the theory and then attacking the tone of the discussion. The shouting and acrimony have died down, and the mainstream physics community remains largely unconvinced that the theory can stay afloat.