Garrett’s Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything

November 17, 2007

A theory of everything (ToE) is a hypothetical theory of theoretical physics that explains how our reality behaves.

The history of this question is traced back scientifically to ancient Greece, but I’ll bet humans have been asking how things work almost as long as we’ve been wondering why they do.

Modern physics explains how reality behaves using “fundamental forces” which are combined in the process of “fundamental interaction”. The “fundamental forces” include the Strong Force, the Weak Force, Electromagnetism and Gravitation.

Those four “fundamental forces” belong to different studies (Quantum electrodynamics, Quantum chromodynamics, Electroweak Theory, and Einstein’s theory General Relativity).

These scientific theories don’t really explain how everything works together, rather how each “force” operates.

And please note my mention of General Relativity as “Einstein’s theory”. That’s because it’s based on Einstein’s hope of black holes that operate exactly according to his theory. If black holes hold any surprises they would probably crush General Relativity. Fortunately for General Relativity fanboys, black holes can’t be described without a theory of quantum gravity and they cannot be observed.

Modern theories of everything seek to unite these separate studies into one single theory. All ToE theories fall into two camps; those that can be validated using physical experiments and those that cannot.

String theory is probably the most popular model today. It cannot be proven or disproven with a physical experiment and it requires 22 new dimensions. I don’t like String theory because I only believe in four physical dimensions; Space (x,y,z) and Time. I think Extra Dimensions are String theory’s Black Holes. Again, they are essential to the theory but can NEVER be observed.

I used the same sort of argument as a child regarding my powers of invisibility. I would claim to be invisible, but only if you weren’t looking at me. …Think about the similarities between that and General Relativity or String theory.

The whole idea of reality being made up of independent forces is very old, Wind used to be considered a force of nature. I think it’s funny that science has shortened their list but kept their old argument, but I digress.

I want to be clear that I’m not claiming String theory or General Relativity is wrong. I’m trying to explain why they don’t conform to deterministic experimentation, experimentation capable of proving or disproving a theory.

In my opinion all science falls into two camps; one that suffers the burden of proof and another that seems to be exempt from it. I have more respect for the former then the later.

Most of Theories of Everything don’t allow deterministic experimentation, experimentation capable of disproving the theory. …Most of them don’t, but Garret Lisi’s new theory does!!!

Garret’s Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything can be tested using a particle accelerator. His theory explains how everything might work, how all fundamental forces interact. I like his theory, if for no other reason, because it can be easily proven or disproven. I think he’s doing real science the right way.

So, who is the man behind this new theory? Antony Garrett Lisi, a surfer-bum who just happens to have a Ph D in theoretical physics. And he sounds as exceptional as his paper reads. Garret’s theory is based on a mathematical structure known as E8. Garret thinks it can be used to explain the behavior of everything, literally. This structure was only recently plotted/calculated/drawn by the world’s largest super computer. I won’t try to re-write Garret’s paper or better explain his theory, but I do want to show you what E8 looks like…

That picture jogged my memory. A few years ago someone handed me one of those growing/shrinking sphere toys at a party. I don’t remember how much I’d had to drink, but I was totally memorized by the shadow it cast. I’d completely forgotten about that memory, but it came back in a flash when I first saw the E8 pattern.

After some quick Googling I found the picture above on Google. Isn’t it odd how that spherical toy cases an E8-like shadow? Would the correct structure cast an exact E8 pattern?

Garrett’s theory has been receiving an amazing amount of interest. A new article on this subject appears on http://news.google.com every hour. A lot of people (including distinguished scientists) think Garret might be onto something, but many scientists (especially lovers of String theory) disagree.

String theory fanboys and craky physicists have bashed Garret saying he doesn’t understand the math well enough to approach this topic (did they forget that Einstein’s wife helped with his math). Some of these critics don’t think his theory should have even been published. Sometimes these critics include math in their arguments against Garret’s theory.

Personally, I can’t speak to Garret’s math or that of his critics. I’ve been trying to understand the math behind this and I don’t think I ever will. All I can say is that it’s very complicated. This exercise made me wonder, if mathematicians are so smart why can’t they communicate with words? I realize that many brilliant people are only brilliant on certain topics, and total loons on others. …Is it too much to ask for one brilliant critic who’s also a brilliant communicator?

One argument I did understand against Garrett’s theory is that it would send science back to Keplers idea of one tiny universal particle if it were correct. ….But so what if the universe might be made up of one kind of ultimately tiny particles?

In my opinion mentioning Johannes Kepler only gives Garrett more credibility. Especially since Kepler believed geometry was the key to understanding science. In fact, that premise was the key to many of his discoveries.

One of Kepler’s key discoveries was the rotation of Mars. Below is a picture, the line ends where it would continue in reality. Prior to Kepler it had been thought that things moved on a maze of perfect circles.

Kepler proved there was complex geometry behind orbits. We now acknowledge an abundance of geometry in nature, so why it impossible is that everything operates within the bounds of a single geometry? If I understood the paper, Garrett’s theory contends that everything conforms to the geometry in E8. That seems like a good guess to me.

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