Geometry is all
2007 11 28

From: economist.com


A shape could describe the cosmos and all it contains

One of the mysteries of the universe is why it should speak the language of mathematics. Numbers and the relationships between them are, after all, just abstract reasoning. Yet mathematics has shown itself to be particularly adept at describing both the contents of the universe and the forces that act on them. Now comes a paper which argues that one branch of the subject—geometry—could form the basis of all the laws of physics.

Physicists are an overbearing bunch. They have long sought a “theory of everything”. Such an opus would unite the fundamental forces—gravity, electromagnetism and the two forces that become apparent only at the atomic scale—with the matter on which they act, in a single, overarching framework. It would describe the universe as it existed at the moment of its creation in the Big Bang.

The nearest thing they have to this—the Standard Model of particle physics—is messy in places and partial, because it omits gravity. Three decades of effort have been expended on string theory, which includes gravity but at the expense of having the universe inelegantly sprout hidden dimensions. Other potential avenues, such as loop quantum gravity, are also proving untidy. That a theory of everything might emerge from geometry would be neat, but it is a long shot.

Nevertheless, that is what Garrett Lisi is proposing. The geometry he has been studying is that of a structure known to mathematicians as E8, which was first recognised in 1887 by Sophus Lie, a Norwegian mathematician. E8 is a monster. It has 248 dimensions and its structure took 120 years to solve. It was finally tamed earlier this year, when a group of mathematicians managed to construct a map that describes it completely.

Dr Lisi had been tinkering with some smaller geometries. Soon after reading about this map, however, he realised that the structure of E8 could be used to describe fully the laws of physics. He placed a particle (including different versions of the same entities, and using particles that describe matter and those that describe forces) on most of the 248 points of E8. Using computer simulations to manipulate the structure, he was able mathematically to generate interactions that correspond to what is seen in reality.

Using geometry to describe the world is not new. Murray Gell-Mann performed a similar trick 50 years ago in an attempt to make sense of the plethora of particles that was then emerging from experiments. He placed these on the points of a geometric structure known as SU(3), and found that, by manipulating the structure, he was able to reproduce the interactions of the real world. Dr Gell-Mann also identified points that had no known particles associated with them—and predicted the existence of particles that would fill those gaps. He was awarded the Nobel prize after they were detected. Interestingly, some 20 gaps remain in Dr Lisi's model. That suggests that 20 particles (or, at least, 20 different identities of particles) have yet to be discovered. If Dr Lisi can calculate the masses of these, he will have made predictions that can be tested experimentally.

The particles must be relatively massive, because they would otherwise have been discovered already. Detecting massive objects takes energy. (Einstein's famous equation, E=mc2, outlines how energy is equivalent to mass times the square of the speed of light.) When it is completed, the Large Hadron Collider, a machine being built at CERN, the European particle physics laboratory near Geneva, will create particles with greater masses than have yet been seen. It is due to start its scientific work in the summer of 2008, so a test of Dr Lisi's theory could come soon.

Although some famous physicists are championing the idea, Dr Lisi, who spends his time surfing and snowboarding and is not employed by a university or research institute, has by no means won the acceptance of all physicists. His work, which has been posted on the internet, has not yet been accepted for publication in any journal, although he has presented his ideas at research institutes and the work on which his paper is based was funded by a grant from a charitable foundation.

Certainly, there are glitches with Dr Lisi's analysis and some of the truly fundamental problems that plague more conventional work remain. Yet the theory has several appealing facets. It is elegant. It is expected to make testable predictions. Unlike some of the more complicated efforts to devise a theory of everything, this one should either succeed relatively rapidly or fail spectacularly. And that is more than can be said for three decades of work by other physicists.

Article from: http://economist.com/science/displaystory.cfm?story_id=10170958



Related Articles
Surfer dude stuns physicists with theory of everything
The discovery of DNA variability, holographic blueprints and the symphony of life
What some Think About Existence
Red Ice Creations Radio - Jay Weidner - Magic Square, Numerology, Geometry & Gematria (Subscription)
Secrets of the Hebrew Letters
The Complete Flower of Life
The Grail Star geometry
The Search for the God particle
Despite Rumors, Black Hole Factory Will Not Destroy Earth
Milky Way Black Hole May Be a Colossal Particle Accelerator
Physicists Probe the Fifth Dimension
Tenth Dimension
Worlds Largest Superconducting Magnet Switches On
How does the Universe work and What is Reality?


Latest News from our Front Page

ISIS offered to swap Foley for ’Lady Al Qaeda’ - neuroscientist MIT-graduate
2014 08 21
An MIT-educated neuroscientist terrorist known as ’Lady al Qaeda’ was named on a ’laundry list’ of demands from ISIS captors holding James Foley named, it was revealed today. Petite mother-of-three Aafia Siddiqui is currently serving 86 years in a Texas jail after being arrested with plans for a ’mass casualty attack’ in the US, including infecting people with Ebola and a ...
James Foley beheaded - Financed by USA
2014 08 21
John McCain is a traitorous piece of garbage. Last year McCain worked with the "Syrian Emergency Task Force" to help overthrow the Syrian government. Investigative work (see the detailed article below) revealed that this task force was just a front organization for AIPAC. McCain met with known terrorists, including the infamous al-Qaeda. Yeah, the terrorist organization that was behind 9/11 received aid ...
’Hammer of Thor’ unearthed: Runes on 1,000-year-old amulet solve mystery of why Viking charms were worn for protection
2014 08 21
In Norse mythology, Thor’s hammer helped prevent giants from destroying Asgard, the celestial home of the gods. Thousands of tiny intricate amulets, similar to this weapon, have been found all over the Viking world since the first millennium CE. But for years, researchers have been unsure whether the amulets, known as ’torshammere’, were a representation of Thor’s hammer or something else entirely. Researchers ...
Mass Produced Security Robots Introduced in U.S.
2014 08 20
While debate continues to rage about the threat of autonomous "killer robots," the mechanized replacement of humans continues across the workforce. In fact, the robotics industry notched record sales in the first half of 2014 in North America, and there appears to be no indications of a slowdown. Security robots have become a special area of interest for developers. Britain ...
Is Michael Brown A National Hero?
2014 08 19
From: Brother Nathanael: I don’t know about you but I revolt against crowning Michael Brown a “national hero.” Better the crown go to Darren Wilson who according to the Ferguson Police Report shot Brown in self-defense. Yet there’s already a bounty on his head. And the media eats it up. For whether it’s NBC; CNN …or the New York Times; the spin is that ...
More News »