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Thursday, November 15, 2007

An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything

Freelance Physicist, A. Garrett Lisi has come up with a simple and elegant Grand Unified Theory (GUT) based on the beautiful geometry of the only recently understood E8 manifold.


Lisi's theory successfully unifies the Standard Model and General Relativity into a single testable framework; describing how all the fields of the standard model and gravity interact with each other; as well as predicting 18 new particles that can be verified as early as next year when the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) comes online in Geneva.

The theory uses the principal bundle geometry of E8 and its curvature to model the Universe and reproduce all known fields and dynamics through pure geometry. This is in contrast to String Theory, which relies on elaborate structures of branes and orbifolds using a number of contrived assumptions.

The theory represents a comprehensive unification program, describing all fields of the standard model and gravity as parts of a uniquely beautiful mathematical structure -- Lisi

Lee Smolin at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, describes Lisi's work as "one of the most compelling unification models I've seen in many, many years."

The theory is not without its skeptics, but most physicists seem content to to wait until the theory can produce results testable by LHC to see which theory, if any, wins.


Some aspects of this theory are not yet completely understood, and until they are it should be treated with appropriate skepticism. However, the current match to the standard model and gravity is very good. Future work will either strengthen the correlation to known physics and produce successful predictions for the LHC, or the theory will encounter a fatal contradiction with nature. The lack of extraneous structures and free parameters ensures testable predictions, so it will either succeed or fail spectacularly. If E8 theory is fully successful as a theory of everything, our universe is an exceptionally beautiful shape. -- Lisi

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