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A Tall Tale that Makes Perfect Sense – An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything – A Tall Tale that Makes Perfect Sense –

October 21, 2015

A Tall Tale that Makes Perfect Sense – The Simple Theory of Everything

Garrett Lisi: An 8-dimensional model of the universe | TED …


Physicist Garrett Lisi has proposed a new “theory of everything” — a grand unified theory that explains all the elementary particles, as well as gravity. Full bio.


“There isn’t disconnect  in and out, back and forward, to and fro, upside down, inside out, backwards, all around we have always been thrown from a potter’s wheel on a gyroscope of cintrifical force spreading both matter energy and dark matter in every direction all at once.”

Editorial Comment


The Simple Theory of Everything is possible

“The universe is connected and alive and we are a part of the metric of space.” –Nassim Haramein

“Every living being is an engine geared to the wheelwork of the universe. Though seemingly affected only by its immediate surrounding, the sphere of external influence extends to infinite distance.” – Nikola Tesla

“A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.” ― Albert Einstein

“You are not IN the universe, you ARE the universe, an intrinsic part of it. Ultimately you are not a person, but a focal point where the universe is becoming conscious of itself. What an amazing miracle.” ― Eckhart Tolle

“You are a function of what the whole universe is doing in the same way that a wave is a function of what the whole ocean is doing.” ― Alan Watts

“We are most probably here for local information-gathering and local-Universe problem-solving in support of the integrity of eternally regenerative Universe.” –Buckminster Fuller

“Space is not empty. It is full…The universe is not separate from this cosmic sea of energy.” – David Bohm

“ Recognize that the very molecules that make up your body, the atoms that construct the molecules, are traceable to the crucibles that were once the centers of high mass stars that exploded their chemically rich guts into the galaxy, enriching pristine gas clouds with the chemistry of life. So that we are all connected to each other biologically, to the earth chemically and to the rest of the universe atomically. That’s kinda cool! That makes me smile and I actually feel quite large at the end of that. It’s not that we are better than the universe, we are part of the universe. We are in the universe and the universe is in us. ” – Neil deGrasse Tyson

“Get over it, and accept the inarguable conclusion. The universe is immaterial-mental and spiritual.” – R.C. Henry, Professor of physics and Astronomy at Johns Hopkins University

The Resonance ProjectI fucking love scienceThe Mind UnleashedSpirit ScienceEvolver Social MovementExpanded ConsciousnessFractal EnlightenmentUniverse ExplorersThe connected universeFestival Earth


An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

“An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything”[1] is a physics preprint proposing a basis for a unified field theory, very often referred to as “E8 Theory”,[2] which attempts to describe all known fundamental interactions in physics and to stand as a possible theory of everything. The paper was posted to the physics arXiv by Antony Garrett Lisi on November 6, 2007, and was not submitted to a peer-reviewed scientific journal.[3] The title is a pun on the algebra used, the Lie algebra of the largest “simple“, “exceptionalLie group, E8. The paper’s goal is to describe how the combined structure and dynamics of allgravitational and Standard Model particle fields, including fermions, are part of the E8 Lie algebra.[2] In the paper, Lisi states that all three generations of fermions do not directly embed in E8 with correct quantum numbers and spins, but that they might be described via a triality transformation, noting that the theory is incomplete and that a correct description of the relationship between triality and generations, if it exists, awaits a better understanding.

The theory received accolades from a few physicists amid a flurry of media coverage, but also met with widespread skepticism.[4] Scientific American reported in March 2008 that the theory was being “largely but not entirely ignored” by the mainstream physics community, with a few physicists picking up the work to develop it further.[5]

In a follow-up paper, Lee Smolin proposed a spontaneous symmetry breaking mechanism for obtaining the classical action in Lisi’s model, and speculated on the path to its quantization.[6]

In July 2009, Jacques Distler and Skip Garibaldi published a critical paper in Communications in Mathematical Physics called “There is no ‘Theory of Everything’ inside E8”,[7] arguing that Lisi’s theory, and a large class of related models, cannot work. They offer a direct proof that it is impossible to embed all three generations of fermions in E8, or to obtain even the one-generation Standard Model without the presence of an antigeneration. In response to Distler and Garibaldi’s paper, Lisi argued, in a new paper “An Explicit Embedding of Gravity and the Standard Model in E8”,[8] peer reviewed and published in a conference proceedings, that some assumptions about fermion embeddings are unnecessary and that the antigeneration is not by itself a problem sufficient to rule out the one-generation Standard Model.[8][9] In December 2010 and May 2011, Lisi wrote in the popular magazine Scientific American a feature article on the E8 Theory of Everything and an entry in the blog section of the magazine addressing some of the criticism of his theory and how it has progressed, noting that the theory is still incomplete and makes only tenuous predictions, with the three generation issue remaining as a significant problem.[9]


Lisi’s model is a variant and extension of a Grand Unification Theory (a “GUT”, describing electromagnetism, the weak interaction and the strong interaction) to include gravitation, a Higgs boson and fermions in an attempt to describe all fields of the Standard Model and gravity as different parts of one field over four-dimensional spacetime. More specifically, Lisi combines the left-right symmetricPati–Salam GUT with a MacDowell–Mansouri description of gravity, using thespin connection and gravitational frame combined with a Higgs boson, necessitating a cosmological constant. The model is formulated as a gauge theory, using a modified BF action, with E8 as the Lie group. Mathematically, this is an E8 principal bundle, with connection, over a four-dimensional basemanifold. Lisi’s embedding of the Standard Model gauge group in E8 leads him to predict the existence of 22 new bosonic particles at an undetermined mass scale.

Lisi states that the fermions enter via an unconventional use of the BRST technique, as Grassmann number fields valued in part of the E8 Lie algebra. The bosons are combined with these fermions as one-form and Grassmann number parts of a kind of superconnection, each valued in separate parts of the E8 Lie algebra. The curvature of this superconnection is calculated, producing the Riemann curvature, gauge field curvature, gravitational torsion, covariant derivative of the Higgs, and the covariant Dirac derivative of the fermions. This curvature is used to build the modified BF action by hand, in an attempt to match the dynamics of the Standard Model and gravity.

In the paper, Lisi describes several deficiencies in this model. The most important deficiency is noted as an incorrect, or “poorly understood”, inclusion of the second and third generations of fermions in E8, relying on triality. This deficiency, and the incomplete nature of the model, precludes the prediction of masses for new or existing particles. Also, Lisi notes the use of explicit symmetry breaking in building his action, rather than offering a more desirable spontaneous symmetry breaking mechanism. And, no attempt is made to provide a quantum description of the theory—this being left for future work. About it, Lee Smolin proposed a spontaneous symmetry breaking mechanism for obtaining the action in Lisi’s model, and speculates on the path to its quantization as a spin foam.[6]

Non-technical overview[edit]


Levels of magnification:
1. Macroscopic level – Matter
2. Molecular level
3. Atomic level – Protons, neutrons, and electrons
4. Subatomic level – Electron
5. Subatomic level – Quarks
6. Lie group geometrical representation level

The fiber bundle of electromagnetism, for example, describes theelectromagnetic field as being made up of circles attached to every point of spacetime.[10] Crucially, each circle can rotate a little relative to its spacetimeneighbors. The so-called connection field of a fiber bundle describes how neighboring fibers are related by these symmetry rotations. The electric and magnetic force fields filling spacetime correspond to the curvature of this fiber bundle—geometrically, the electric and magnetic fields are how the circular fibers twist over time and space. An electromagnetic wave is the undulation of circles over spacetime. One quantum of an electromagnetic wave—a photon—is a propagating particle of light. Each kind of elementary particle corresponds to a different fiber over spacetime. All the electrons of the world result from the twisting of a single kind of fiber—explaining, among other things, why all electrons are identical. The fibers of electrically charged particles, such as electrons, wrap around the circular fibers of electromagnetism like threads around a screw. How fast a particle’s fiber twists around the circle is equal to its electric charge, determining how the particle responds to the force of electromagnetism. Because twists must meet around the circle, these charges are integer multiples of some standard unit of electric charge. Of the elementary matter particles, called fermions, electrons have electric charge –1 (three twists), up quarks have electric charge +2⁄3 (two opposite twists), down quarks have electric charge –1⁄3 (one twist), and neutrinos have 0. The antimatter particles, such as positrons and antiquarks, have twists in the opposite direction around the electromagnetic circle, giving them the opposite electric charges. When particles collide, they may be converted into new types, but the outgoing particles have exactly the same total charge as the incoming ones did. This crucial fact is a consequence of fiber geometry: When any two particles meet, their twists add. In this way, the fiber-bundle picture explains what we know about electromagnetism. The electric charges describe the geometric structure of the combined electromagnetic and matter fiber bundle, determining what interactions are possible between electrically charged particles.[10]

In Lisi’s model, the Lie group used is E8, a group with 248 parameters.[11]

In general, in each gauge theory based on a Yang–Mills action, the symmetries of the Lie group are associated to a specific kind of particles known as gauge bosons (like photons, W and Z bosons, and gluons in the Standard Model; in models involving supersymmetry this is a little more complicated). These gauge bosons can interact with each other and with fermions according to the geometry of the group and its fundamental representations. One of Lisi’s challenges is that his theory identifies fermions with the symmetries that are usually associated only with gauge bosons. Generally this is considered not possible and this aspect of the theory still needs to be completed. Another aspect different from the common approaches is that Lisi’s theory includes also gravity in the Lie Group E8. While this aspect has been proven to be possible in supersymmetric theories and impossible in a large class of theories (Coleman-Mandula theorem), it is sometimes attempted in other theories and models that do not strictly belong to those classes. It is still not clear if this feature is achievable in Lisi’s theory.[12]

In general, a unified theory has a Lie group large enough to contain the Standard Model symmetries. There are many such theories, some of which have used E8 for a long time (like string theory). In Lisi’s specific model, as introduced above, each of the 248 symmetries of E8 corresponds to a different elementary particle: Standard Model gauge bosons, gravitons and Standard Model fermions, which can all interact (as usual in this kind of theories) according to the geometry of the group, in this case E8. Lisi states that: “E8 reproduc[es] all known fields and dynamics through pure geometry.”[1]

The complicated geometry of Lie groups, E8 amongst them, is described graphically using group representation theory. Using this mathematical description, each symmetry of a group—and so each kind of elementary particle—can be associated with a point in a weight diagram. The coordinates of these points are the quantum numbers—the charges—of elementary particles, which are conserved in interactions.

In order to form a theory of everything, Lisi’s model must eventually predict the exact number of fundamental particles, all of their properties, masses, forces between them, the nature of spacetime, and the cosmological constant. Much of this work is still in the conceptual stage—in particular, quantization and predictions of particle masses have not been done and the model at the moment cannot reproduce all the known particles.

Lisi himself acknowledges it as a work-in-progress: “The theory is very young, and still in development”,[13] and the three generation “issue remains the most significant problem, and until it is solved the theory is not complete and cannot be considered much more than a speculative proposal. Without fully describing how the three generations of fermions work, the theory and all predictions from it remain tenuous.”[9]

Algebraic breakdown[edit]

Lisi proposes a decomposition of e8, the 248 dimensional Lie algebra of E8, into parts accommodating the gravitational and standard model fields according to the following schema:[1][14][15][16]

\mathrm{so}(7,1) \,
strong B-L
\mathrm{so}(1,7) \,
3 \times (8 \times 8)
\mathrm{so}(3,1) \,
4 \times (2 + \overline{2}) \,
\mathrm{su}(2)_L+\mathrm{su}(2)_R \,
\mathrm{su}(3) \,
\mathrm{u}(1)_{B-L} \,
new bosons
\mathrm{u}(1)+3 \times 6 \,
gen 1
8_{S+} \times 8_{S+} \,
gen 2*
8_{S-} \times 8_{S-} \,
gen 3*
8_{V} \times 8_{V} \,

∗ These two generations are only formally identified as second and third generations, this being a problematic aspect of the theory,[9] as explained above.


By matching 226 known standard model particles to some of the 248 symmetries of E8, the theory is able to predict the existence and quantum numbers of 22 new particles.[1] Three of these are the same new \mathrm{su}(2)_R \, and \mathrm{u}(1)_{B-L} \, gauge bosons as predicted in the Pati–Salam model, the W’ and Z’ bosons. Another is a new \mathrm{u}(1) \, gauge boson, with a corresponding new quantum number. And the remaining 18 new bosons predicted are new colored fields, interacting with the strong force. Lisi states that some of these 22 particles might be seen at the Large Hadron Collider.[17]

Since Lisi does not specify masses for these particles their prediction is not falsifiable by non-discovery in any given experiment, because the masses could exceed the experiment’s reach. However, the discovery of new particles that do not fit in Lisi’s classification, such as superpartners, would fall outside the model, and falsify Lisi’s match to E8. Also, because the theory at the moment fails to predict all the known particles and the matching of the three fermion generations is tentative and problematic in the model, Lisi places a low confidence in these predictions.

Q and A[edit]

Q: How does time arise from symmetry breaking in E8?

Lisi: It’s not precisely clear yet, but there are four time-like directions in E8 that mix to give the direction of time in spacetime.

Chronology and reaction[edit]

Three previous arXiv preprints by Lisi deal with mathematical physics related to the theory. “Clifford Geometrodynamics”,[18]in 2002, endeavors to describe fermions geometrically as BRST ghosts. “Clifford bundle formulation of BF gravity generalized to the standard model”,[19] in 2005, describes the algebra of gravitational and Standard Model fields acting on a generation of fermions, but does not mention E8. “Quantum mechanics from a universal action reservoir”,[20] in 2006, attempts to derive quantum mechanics using information theory.

Before writing his 2007 paper, Lisi discussed his work on an Foundational Questions Institute (FQXi) forum,[21] at an FQXi conference,[22] and for an FQXi article.[23] Lisi gave his first talk on E8 Theory at the Loops ’07 conference in Morelia,Mexico,[24] soon followed by a talk at the Perimeter Institute.[25] John Baez commented on Lisi’s work in “This Week’s Finds in Mathematical Physics (Week 253)”,[26] and Lisi was interviewed on Sabine Hossenfelder’s “Backreaction” blog.[27] Lisi’s arXiv preprint, “An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything”, appeared on November 6, 2007, and immediately attracted a great deal of attention. Lisi made a further presentation for the International Loop Quantum Gravity Seminar on November 13, 2007,[28] and responded to press inquiries on an FQXi forum.[29] He presented his work at the TED Conference on February 28, 2008.[30]

Numerous news sites from all over the world reported on the new theory in 2007 and 2008, noting Lisi’s personal history and the controversy in the physics community. The first mainstream and scientific press coverage began with articles in The Daily Telegraph[13] and New Scientist,[31] with articles soon following in many other newspapers and magazines.

Lisi’s paper spawned a variety of reactions and debates across various physics blogs and online discussion groups. The first to comment was Sabine Hossenfelder, summarizing the paper and noting the lack of a dynamical symmetry breaking mechanism.[32] Luboš Motl offered a colorful critique, objecting to the addition of bosons and fermions in Lisi’s superconnection, and to the violation of the Coleman-Mandula theorem.[33] In the presentation “What’s new at the arXiv?” on May 20, 2008, Simeon Warner stated that Lisi’s paper is the most downloaded article on the arXiv.[34][35] Among the physicists early to comment on E8 Theory, Sabine Hossenfelder, Peter Woit and Lee Smolin were generally supportive, while Luboš Motl and Jacques Distler were critical.

On his blog, Musings, Jacques Distler offered one of the strongest criticisms of Lisi’s approach, claiming to demonstrate that, unlike in the Standard Model, Lisi’s model is nonchiral — consisting of a generation and an anti-generation — and to prove that any alternative embedding in E8 must be similarly nonchiral.[16][36][37] These arguments were distilled in a paper written jointly with Skip Garibaldi, “There is no ‘Theory of Everything’ inside E8”,[7] published in Communications in Mathematical Physics. In this paper, Distler and Garibaldi offer a proof that it is impossible to embed all three generations of fermions in E8, or to obtain even the one-generation Standard Model. In a press release from his university, “Rock climber takes on surfer’s theory”,[38][39] Garibaldi states that his article with Distler is a rebuttal of Lisi’s theory. In response, Lisi argues that Distler and Garibaldi made unnecessary assumptions about how the embedding needs to happen.[9] Addressing the one generation case, in June 2010 Lisi posted a new paper on E8 Theory, “An Explicit Embedding of Gravity and the Standard Model in E8”,[8] peer reviewed and published in a conference proceedings, describing how the algebra of gravity and the Standard Model with one generation of fermions embeds in the E8 Lie algebra explicitly using matrix representations. When this embedding is done, Lisi agrees that there is an antigeneration of fermions (also known as “mirror fermions”) remaining in E8; but while Distler and Garibaldi state that these mirror fermions make the theory nonchiral, Lisi states that these mirror fermions might have high masses, making the theory chiral, or that they might be related to the other generations. Addressing the three generation case, Lisi agrees that three generations of fermions cannot be directly embedded in E8, but suggests that a gauge transformation related to triality might be used to relate the 64 mirror fermions and 64 other E8generators to two other generations of 64 fermions.[9]

The group blog, The n-Category Cafe, provides some of the more technical discussions, with posts by Lisi, Urs Schreiber,[14]Kea,[40] and Jacques Distler.[40]

Sixteen arXiv preprints have cited Lisi’s work. Lee Smolin‘s “The Plebanski action extended to a unification of gravity and Yang–Mills theory”, December 6, 2007, proposes a symmetry breaking mechanism to go from an E8 symmetric action to Lisi’s action for the Standard Model and gravity.[6] Roberto Percacci’s “Mixing internal and spacetime transformations: some examples and counterexamples”[12] addresses a general loophole in the Coleman-Mandula theorem also thought to work in E8 Theory.[9] Percacci and Fabrizio Nesti’s “Chirality in unified theories of gravity”[41] confirms the embedding of the algebra of gravitational and Standard Model forces acting on a generation of fermions in so(3,11) \oplus 64, mentioning that Lisi’s “ambitious attempt to unify all known fields into a single representation of E8 stumbled into chirality issues”.[41] MathematicianBertram Kostant discussed Lisi’s work in a colloquium presentation at UC Riverside.[42] In a joint paper with Lee Smolin and Simone Speziale,[43] published in Journal of Physics A, Lisi proposes a new action and symmetry breaking mechanism. In “An Explicit Embedding of Gravity and the Standard Model in E8”,[8] Lisi describes E8 Theory using explicit matrix representations.

On August 4, 2008, FQXi awarded Lisi a grant for further development of E8 Theory.[44][45]

In September 2010, Scientific American reported on a conference inspired by Lisi’s work.[46]

In October 2010, Lisi, Smolin and Simone Speziale published a partially related paper on unification, in a peer-reviewed journal, proposing an action and symmetry breaking mechanism, and using an alternative treatment of fermions.[43] In December 2010 Scientific American published a feature article on E8 Theory, “A Geometric Theory of Everything”,[2] written by Lisi and James Owen Weatherall.

In December 2011, in his paper, “String and M-theory: answering the critics”,[47] for a Special Issue of Foundations of Physics: “Forty Years Of String Theory: Reflecting On the Foundations”, Michael Duff argues against Lisi’s theory and the attention it has received in the popular press.[48] Duff states that Lisi’s paper was incorrect, citing Distler and Garibaldi’s proof, and criticizes the press for giving too much positive attention to an “outsider” scientist and theory.


Antony Garrett Lisi

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Garrett Lisi
Garrett Lisi interview.jpg

Lisi being interviewed in Los Angeles, 2011
Born Antony Garrett Lisi
January 24, 1968 (age 47)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Nationality American
Fields Theoretical physics
Institutions Theiss Research
Alma mater UCLA
Known for An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything

Antony Garrett Lisi (born January 24, 1968), known as Garrett Lisi,[1] is an American theoretical physicist and adventure sports enthusiast. Lisi works as an independent researcher without an academic position. He is a strong proponent of balance in life, in his case between scientific research and enjoyment of the outdoors.[2][3][4]

Lisi is known for “An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything,” a paper proposing a unified field theory based on the E8 Lie group, combining particle physics with Einstein’s theory of gravitation. The theory is incomplete and not widely accepted by the physics community.


Early life[edit]

Born in Los Angeles and raised in San Diego, California,[5] Lisi graduated from the Cate School (south of Santa Barbara, California) in 1986. He learned to surf in San Diego, where he traveled between surf breaks in an old VW Bus.[6] Lisi went on to receive two B.S. degrees with highest honors in physics and mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1991. Lisi received a Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, San Diego, in 1999.[7]

After the Ph.D.[edit]

After getting his Ph.D., Lisi left academia and moved to Maui – expressing his dissatisfaction with the state of theoretical physics:

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.[8]

On Maui, Lisi volunteered as a staff member at a local Sudbury school, and split his time between working on his own physics research and surfing.[9]

While living in a customized van with his girlfriend, Crystal Baranyk, Lisi taught physics classes at University of Hawaii – Maui College.[9] After two years on Maui, Lisi says he was offered a tenure track teaching position at the local college, but turned it down (even though he was nearly broke) because it wouldn’t have given him enough time for his physics research.[1] At the same time, he submitted a grant application to the newly formed Foundational Questions Institute (FQXi). Lisi says the decision to turn down the job offer and hope for FQXi funding was “a hell of a gamble.”[1][10]

Academic reentry[edit]

On July 31, 2006, Lisi was awarded an FQXi grant to develop his research in quantum mechanics and unification.[11] The grant allowed Lisi to devote his full attention to physics and create his personal research wiki, Deferential Geometry.[12] On June 9, 2007, Lisi realized that the algebraic structure he had constructed to unify the standard model of particle physics withgeneral relativity partially matched part of the algebraic structure of the E8 Lie group.[13][14]

On July 21, 2007, Lisi traveled to the inaugural FQXi conference in Reykjavík, Iceland. He was invited to give several academic talks.[9] On invitation from Lee Smolin, Lisi visited the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in October, and posted his paper, “An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything,”[15] to the arXiv on November 6, 2007. Discussions of Lisi’s theory developed rapidly over most major physics blogs,[6] and the story of Lisi’s theory and personal history was reported by many online and traditional media sources around the world.[16][17][18]

Lisi presented at the TED Conference on February 28, 2008,[19] and has since presented several academic talks and colloquia.[20]

On July 8, 2009, at a FQXi conference in the Azores, Lisi made a public bet with Frank Wilczek that superparticles would not be detected by July 8, 2015,[21] that he seems to have won “since it’s July 8, 2015, and superparticles have not been discovered, it seems like my winning this bet is secured”.[22]

In July 2010, mathematicians and physicists met with Lisi at the Banff International Research Station in Alberta, Canada, for a week to discuss his theory.[23]

Physics research[edit]

Work on quantum mechanics[edit]

On May 8, 2006, in an arXiv preprint, “Quantum mechanics from a universal action reservoir,”[24] Lisi proposes that the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics can be derived from information theory and the existence of a universal action reservoir.[25]

Deferential geometry[edit]

Lisi is an early practitioner of open notebook science.[26] Lisi created his “personal wiki notebook in theoretical physics” – the Deferential Geometry website – by using TiddlyWiki and jsMath.[12] Lisi uses this wiki to organize his research notes in theoretical physics, referring to this as “open source physics.”[11][27]

An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything[edit]

Lisi’s main work in theoretical physics is his Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything, which proposes a unified field theorycombining a grand unification theory of particle physics with Albert Einstein‘s general relativistic description of gravitation, using the largest simple exceptional Lie algebra, E8. In a paper posted to the physics arXiv on November 6, 2007,[15] and in a popular article published in Scientific American in December, 2010,[28] Lisi describes his proposal that gravity, the standard model bosons and fermions can be unified as parts of an E8 superconnection. This unified field theory attempts to describe all fundamental interactions observed in nature, as a possible theory of everything, unifying Albert Einstein‘s general relativitywith the standard model of particle physics. The theory, called E8 Theory, also predicts the existence of many new particles.[29]

Lisi designed a web application, the Elementary Particle Explorer,[30] for visualizing the charge structure of the elementary particles in the standard model, in grand unified theories, and in E8 Theory.

Lisi’s theory has been applauded but also criticized in the scientific community.[31][32][33][34] He has addressed the criticism, while acknowledging that the theory is incomplete. In a Scientific American post, Lisi himself stated:

(the 3 generation) … issue remains the most significant problem, and until it is solved the theory is not complete and cannot be considered much more than a speculative proposal. Without fully describing how the three generations of fermions work, the theory and all predictions from it remain tenuous.[35]

Since then, he continues working on the perfection of his theory.[36]

Adventure sports[edit]

Garrett Lisi is an adventure sports enthusiast – surfing, snowboarding, and kitesurfing at the expert level as well as participating in many other adventure sports.[2][6][37] In an interview for Wired News, Lisi says:

Surfing and snowboarding are what I do for fun – to get out and play in nature. We live in a beautiful universe, and I wish to enjoy it and understand it as best I can. And I try to live a balanced life. Surfing is simply the most fun I know how to have on this planet. And physics, and science in general, is the best way of understanding how everything works. So this is what I spend my time doing. I do what I love, and follow my interests. Shouldn’t everyone?[38]


Garrett Lisi surfingHo’okipa, Maui, on January 13, 2012

Lisi brings some of his physics to his sports activities.[39] During graduate school and years in Maui, most of Lisi’s surfboards were adorned with the wave equation as decorative art.[2][40]And when riding an extra-long carving board, for alpine snowboarding, in Colorado and Tahoe, Lisi always wears a long white lab coat.[2][6][41][42] He has also become a sponsored team rider for an Oregon surfboard manufacturer, 42 Surfboards.[38]

Although concentrating on surfing, kitesurfing and snowboarding, Lisi participates in a wide variety of adventure sports.[43] On his online journal, Lisi describes his experiences surfing,snowboarding, windsurfing, sailing, kitesurfing, mountain biking, skateboarding, motorcycling,cliff diving, rock climbing, hang gliding, paragliding, backpacking, water skiing, wakeboarding,flying, sky diving, and scuba diving.[9] Lisi is working on a film about young scientists who combine cutting-edge research with adventure sports.[44]

Science hostel[edit]

Lisi proposes the creation of a more casual kind of science institute – a science hostel – which he says “would essentially be large houses in beautiful locations where theorists could live and work.”[41] Citing his experience living in Maui and the mountains of Tahoe and Colorado, Lisi says that for theoretical research it is good to have opportunities for hiking and things to do outside in attractive environments.[45][46] Describing the idea more formally, Lisi says:

The physical requirements for conducting scholarly research have changed dramatically with the rise of the internet. It is now viable for researchers with laptop computers to work autonomously – with access to current articles and communication channels on par with the resources available at large universities. These new circumstances motivate the creation of a new kind of research enterprise: a Science Hostel. By providing places to live and work with other researchers, in beautiful locations, a Science Hostel could increase creative productivity and overall quality of life for scholars in the internet age.[47]

Invention USA[edit]

Main article: Invention USA

In December 2011, Lisi began starring, with Reichart Von Wolfsheild, in Invention USA, a History channel documentary television series.[48]


  1. ^ Jump up to:a b c d A. G. Lisi (2007). “An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything”. arXiv:0711.0770 [hep-th].
  2. ^ Jump up to:a b c A. G. Lisi; J. O. Weatherall (2010). “A Geometric Theory of Everything”. Scientific American 303 (6): 54–61.doi:10.1038/scientificamerican1210-54. PMID 21141358.
  3. Jump up^ Greg Boustead (2008-11-17). “Garrett Lisi’s Exceptional Approach to Everything”. SEED Magazine.
  4. Jump up^ Amber Dance (2008-04-01). “Outsider Science”.Symmetry Magazine. Archived from the original on 5 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-15.
  5. Jump up^ Collins, Graham P. (March 2008). “Wipeout?”. Scientific American: 30–32. Retrieved 2008-06-18.
  6. ^ Jump up to:a b c Lee Smolin (2007). “The Plebanski action extended to a unification of gravity and Yang-Mills theory”.arXiv:0712.0977 [hep-th].
  7. ^ Jump up to:a b Jacques Distler; Skip Garibaldi (2009). “There is no ‘Theory of Everything’ inside E8”. arXiv:0905.2658[math.RT].
  8. ^ Jump up to:a b c d A. G. Lisi (2010). “An Explicit Embedding of Gravity and the Standard Model in E8”. arXiv:1006.4908 [gr-qc].
  9. ^ Jump up to:a b c d e f g A G Lisi (2011-05-11). “Garrett Lisi Responds to Criticism of his Proposed Unified Theory of Physics”.Scientific American. Archived from the original on 2011-07-02. Retrieved 2011-07-30.
  10. ^ Jump up to:a b “A Geometric Theory of Everything” (PDF).
  11. Jump up^ “Mathematicians Map E8. AIM. Archived from the original on 2007-12-29. Retrieved 2007-12-30.
  12. ^ Jump up to:a b Roberto Percacci (2008). “Mixing internal and spacetime transformations: some examples and counterexamples”.arXiv:0803.0303 [hep-th].
  13. ^ Jump up to:a b Roger Highfield (2007-11-14). “Surfer dude stuns physicists with theory of everything”. The Daily Telegraph.Archived from the original on 2008-06-19. Retrieved2008-06-15.
  14. ^ Jump up to:a b Urs Schreiber (2008-05-10). “E8 Quillen Superconnection”. The n-Category Cafe. Archived from the original on 2008-06-19. Retrieved 2008-06-15.
  15. Jump up^ Jacques Distler (2007-12-09). “A Little More Group Theory”. Musings. Retrieved 2008-08-30.
  16. ^ Jump up to:a b Jacques Distler (2007-11-21). “A Little Group Theory”.Musings. Archived from the original on 12 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-15.
  17. Jump up^ “The Big Bang: what will we find?”. The Daily Telegraph. 2008-03-25. Retrieved 2008-06-15.
  18. Jump up^ A. G. Lisi (2002). “Clifford Geometrodynamics”. arXiv:gr-qc/0212041.
  19. Jump up^ A. G. Lisi (2005). “Clifford bundle formulation of BF gravity generalized to the standard model”. arXiv:gr-qc/0511120.
  20. Jump up^ A. G. Lisi (2006). “Quantum mechanics from a universal action reservoir”. arXiv:physics/0605068.
  21. Jump up^ A. G. Lisi (2007-06-09). “Pieces of E8”. FQXi forum.Archived from the original on 2 June 2008. Retrieved2008-06-15.
  22. Jump up^ A. G. Lisi (2007-07-21). “Standard model and gravity”.inaugural FQXi conference. Retrieved 2008-06-15.
  23. Jump up^ Scott Dodd (2007-10-26). “Surfing the Folds of Spacetime” (PDF). FQXi article. Retrieved 2008-06-15.
  24. Jump up^ A. G. Lisi (2007-06-25). “Deferential Geometry”. Loops ’07 conference. Retrieved 2008-06-15.
  25. Jump up^ A. G. Lisi (2007-10-04). “An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything”. Perimeter Institute talk. Retrieved 2008-06-15.
  26. Jump up^ John Baez (2007-06-27). “This Week’s Finds in Mathematical Physics (Week 253)”. Archived from the original on 30 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-15.
  27. Jump up^ Sabine Hossenfelder (2007-08-06). “Garrett Lisi’s Inspiration”. Backreaction. Retrieved 2008-06-15.
  28. Jump up^ A. G. Lisi (2007-11-13). “A Connection With Everything”.International Loop Quantum Gravity Seminar. Archivedfrom the original on 22 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-15.
  29. Jump up^ A. G. Lisi (2007-11-20). “An Exceptionally Simple FAQ”.FQXi forum. Archived from the original on 2 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-15.
  30. Jump up^ A. G. Lisi (2008-02-28). “Garrett Lisi: A beautiful new theory of everything”. TED talks. Archived from the original on 18 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-17.
  31. Jump up^ Zeeya Merali (2007-11-15). “Is mathematical pattern the theory of everything?”. New Scientist. Archived from the original on 12 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-15.
  32. Jump up^ Sabine Hossenfelder (2007-11-06). “A Theoretically Simple Exception of Everything”. Backreaction. Archived from the original on 26 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-15.
  33. Jump up^ Luboš Motl (2007-11-07). “Garrett Lisi: An exceptionally simple theory of everything”. The Reference Frame. Retrieved 2008-06-15.
  34. Jump up^ Peter Woit (2008-05-28). “INSPIRE”. Not Even Wrong. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  35. Jump up^ Simeon Warner (2008-05-20). “What’s new at the arXiv?”. HEP Information Resource Summit. Retrieved2008-07-22. (The slide containing this statement was subsequently removed from the presentation file.)
  36. Jump up^ Jacques Distler (2007-12-09). “A Little More Group Theory”. Musings. Retrieved 2008-11-15.
  37. Jump up^ Jacques Distler (2008-09-14). “My Dinner with Garrett”.Musings. Archived from the original on 2008-11-19. Retrieved 2008-11-15.
  38. Jump up^ Carol Clark (2010-03-18). “Rock climber takes on surfer’s theory”. esciencecommons. Retrieved 2011-07-30.
  39. Jump up^ “No ‘Simple Theory of Everything’ Inside the Enigmatic E8, Researcher Says”. ScienceDaily. 2010-03-26. Retrieved2011-07-30.
  40. ^ Jump up to:a b
  41. ^ Jump up to:a b R. Percacci; F. Nesti (2009). “Chirality in unified theories of gravity”. arXiv:0909.4537 [hep-th].
  42. Jump up^ Bertram Kostant (2008-02-12). “On Some Mathematics in Garrett Lisi’s ‘E8 Theory of Everything'”. UC Riverside mathematics colloquium. Archived from the original on 28 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-15.
  43. ^ Jump up to:a b A. G. Lisi; Lee Smolin; Simone Speziale (2010). “Unification of gravity, gauge fields, and Higgs bosons”.arXiv:1004.4866 [gr-qc].
  44. Jump up^ “E8 Theory”. FQXi. 2008-08-04. Archived from the original on 2008-08-09. Retrieved 2008-08-05.
  45. Jump up^ “FQXi Grants”. FQXi. Archived from the original on 3 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-08-08.
  46. Jump up^ Merali, Zeeya (September 2010). “Rummaging for a Final Theory”. Scientific American. Retrieved 2010-08-25.
  47. Jump up^ M. J. Duff (2011). “String and M-theory: answering the critics”. arXiv:1112.0788v1.
  48. Jump up^ Peter Woit (2011-12-07). “String and M-theory: answering the critics”. Not Even Wrong. Retrieved 2011-12-21



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