Friday, November 16, 2007

Is this the shape of the Universe?

This is the E8 pattern, the most intricate shape known to mathematics. It is an 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 small print, would cover an area "the size of Manhattan".

E8 encapsulates the symmetries of a geometric object that is 57-dimensional and is itself is 248-dimensional.
Garrett Lisi, a scientist who rather splendidly seems to spend most of his time surfing or snowboarding, reckons that the mathematics of particle physics conforms to the same pattern, and he predicts that a further twenty particles will be discovered when the Large Hadron Collider comes online next year.
Exciting times to be a physicist!


Anonymous said...


I have replied to you on th Heffer thread. Your silence on the goings on I refer to in Georgia leads me to wonder if abuses only matter to you when they are committed by Russians


Anonymous said...

Lubos Motl, famous string theorist, libretarian and global warming skeptic, says this guy is a charlatan.

Anonymous said...


Why has there been so little public debate about the particle accelaration experiments of the Large Hadron Collider given that there is an (admittedly awfully slender) chance that it might destroy the Earth and indeed possibly the Universe? Does the upside potential discovery really justify the huge gamble?


Cicero said...

Well, it could be another "cold fusion" on the other hand very few theories have been intially greeted with enthusiasm- including Einsteins.

I think the "risk" of the LHC is so tiny that it is one that I am happy to take. We would have really got to have made some massive errors in the laws of physics to be at risk of any kind of environmental, let alone existential threat.

Anonymous said...

Your sanguine attitude is understandable, but if we are so certain that we have grasped the fundamental 'laws' of physics already, why is the experiment awfully vital? If we have lack such certainty then is the experiment as 'safe' as we presently hope? I am concerned that those who are assessing the risk appear to be the most enthusiastic about pushing the experiment. Rather like letting bright traders work without risk oversight, their very brilliance and energy may be the source of our troubles! Wheatley

Anonymous said...

I just took that drawing and added another circles of 30 points around the outside and connected the dots.
Does that mean I just created an even more intricate shape?

Since just looking at something changes it...Maybe I also changed the basic physical principles of the universe too. ;-)


Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

keeps cutting off the link,

Search for " Mankind 'shortening the universe's life'" on the telegraph

Anonymous said...

other anon:

The link is fine, it's just the way blogspot renders it. You can cut and paste it normally.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.