garrett lisi and the theory of everything

In art I feel it is important to be open to influences outside of the field. My dad is an engineer; so math, science, and left-brain thinking were a daily routine along with my make-believe worlds and dinosaurs when I was little. Most of what I enjoyed discussing science-wise were alternate dimensions, event horizons, and theoretical physics. I would have frequent conversations with the high school physics professor and read about it constantly in 6th and 7th grade. My good friend Nathan forwarded me a story recently, which falls in line with the left-brain. You can read the excerpt below if you like this kind of stuff. It’s a real mind-bender…

The E8 pattern (left) and Garrett Lisi surfing (right)

Surfer dude stuns physicists with theory of everything

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.

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.

Click here to read the rest of the story

Click here to read Garrett’s theory in .pdf format

Click here to read an interesting interview