Antony Garrett Lisi is known as Garrett Lisi, he is an American theoretical physicist.
Garrett Lisi, the so called "Surf Bum with a Theory of Everything (or T.O.E.)", is a PhD theoretical physicist who has refused to be captured by the theoretical physics community. By making shrewd investments, he has avoided holding meaningful employment for his entire adult life. Instead, he lives in Maui and travels the world chasing the perfect wave.In this episode Garrett and Eric sit down to discuss the current status of Garrett's ideas for a final theory based on a mysterious object called E8, perhaps the oddest of mathematical symmetries to be found in the universe. Garrett and Eric have held each other in mutual “contempt” for over a decade. By vacationing together and staying in each others' homes, they had hoped to hone and deepen their mutual disgust for each other's ideas. However, as the theoretical physics community moved away from actually trying to unify our incompatible models of the physical world, it became intellectually unmoored, and drifted toward a culture of performative Cargo Cult Physics. The antagonists were thus forced by necessity to develop a begrudging admiration for each other's iconoclasm and unwillingness to give up on the original dream of Einstein to unify and understand our world. The discussion is rough but a fairly accurate depiction of scientific relationships belonging to a type that is generally not shown to the public. This may be uncomfortable for those who have been habituated to NOVA, The Elegant Universe, or other shows produced for mass consumption. We apologize in advance.Skillshare: Get two months free when you sign up at Access: Get $100 off your first purchase of $250 or more at Save up to $300 on Chili sleep systems visit Try it FREE for 7 days AND save 25% off your new subscription
Garrett Lisi Antony Garrett Lisi (born January 24, 1968), known as Garrett Lisi, 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. [1]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. [1]You can find out more about Garret and his current work at Garrett’s Website: TranscriptBarrett: This is a Barrett Leslie with Ballinks. I am here with Garrett Lisi, a theoretical physicist who lives in Maui and has a simple theory of everything, which he uses the E8 to define to connect quantum gravity. Basically a theory of everything. I'll let him explain it better. Um, how you doing Barrett? Barrett: Thanks for having me on. Garrett: Thank you for being on. Garrett: So when you say simple relative, I, I feel the necessity to point out that a simple was being used in the technical, mathematical way. It's simple in the sense that it doesn't separate naturally into other things. It's not simple in the sense of not being complicated. Barrett: Okay. So it applies directly to a mathematical concept or some type of Algebra. Garrett: That's right. So in, in, in mathematics, the mathematical geometric structures I'm using are called Lli groups and they're basically little knots of high dimensional geometry and uh, you can classify all the different, um, structures that you can make this way by basically twisting sets of circles around one another. And when you say that one of these structures is simple, it means it can't be easily detangled and separated into two separate knots. Right. That just one consistent thing. Barrett: Okay. I got you. So it's, it's, it's just that it's, it's simple in the sense that it's not complex with multiple nights. Garrett: That's right. It can't be factored into others. Okay, I got you. So it's not so very often, uh, you know, you'll use a technical term and pretty much the only person who knows what it means is the person using it in science, a lot of people throw around or not in science, people throw around the term theory is that, that gets into trouble because, you know, people will say, Oh yeah, that's just a theory. It's like, well, if they was a lot of experimental support and confidence behind it, so I'm at that point, you start trusting your life did theories with that much behind them. And so the colloquial use of theory, you know, can mean something without a lot of confidence in it. Whereas in science, having a theory can be very different. Or it can mean almost nothing definitive fusion again. Um, so, Barrett: uh, could you tell me a little bit about your work and what you're currently doing with the theory? Garrett: Certainly. Well, um, I actually started out less ambitious that I ended, so I started out back in graduate school just being frustrated, uh, because I really, really loved Einstein's theory of general relativity is geometric description of gravity is a warping four dimensional fabric. And this was a wonderful description me because the mathematics is very rich and interesting and also it's a very sort of natural geometric description where you're describing something in terms of, uh, a bending four dimensional surface. And I thought this was just a wonderful description of gravity and then I went further into particle physics and I started seeing how the other particles were described. And the other forces do have a geometric description. Um, it's not as simple as the description for gravity, but they do have a geometric description, but things like electrons and corks and no matter particles just did not, not at all. Garrett: Uh, they had a description in terms of matrices transforming, you know, under rotations. And so forth, but it was just, it was clearly a very different beast and I found that very dissatisfying. I figured if the universe is just one thing, then there has to be a similarly geometric description for electrons and it's just a matter of figuring out what that is and the strength there is thought they had the answer for what that was, but they were just putting everything in by hand that was any good and the stuff they were coming out of getting out of the theory that wasn't put my hand didn't match reality. So. So it bothered you that it was just equations and it wasn't like a structure. No, I love equation. So I'm a mathematician, but I want, I want equations in the same field equations in the same area, right? Garrett: So if you have, if you have the geometric equations of gravity, right where you're talking about curvature and uh, you know, and connections and these geometric objects and basically you're talking about, you know, a warping fabrics and flows of vector fields. Those are very geometric things. But then you go into particle physics and you're talking about matrices. And how matrices transform and uh, it's a whole different area of mathematics, but the universe has to be just one bit of mathematics in my opinion. And so they had to, they had to be something, some way of describing an electron that it was much more compatible with gravity and nobody knew what it was as far as I could tell. Garrett: And that was back, that was back in the late nineties. So, so this is the problem I was working on and when I went around to talk to people about working on it, nobody else was interested in. Nobody else even thought there was a problem here, right? Because the you can, you can match up the description of matter with gravity consistently to some degree. And that was good enough for most people. But, uh, it didn't seem to bother people that everything was being put in by hand and it didn't all seem to be part of one geometric structure, which is what I want in reality to be. Okay. So when you say putting it in my hand, I'm not, and I'm not fully understanding. What do you mean by that? So, so for gravity, it's very naturally described as a, as a curving fabric, right? Garrett: Yep. And you can add dimensions to that fabric. So you can go from a four dimensional fabric, up to a five dimensional fabric, you know, seven dimensional, however high you want, and you can curl up some of those dimensions and by doing that you can actually get a description of the other unknown forces. You can get description of electromagnetism, the weak force, strong force, all by just expanding the same equations of gravity, but expand them with by adding more dimensions that you let curl up. And if you let the same equations described the same system, you'll naturally get a automatically without adding anything by hand. You'll get the equations of motion for those force fields as well as equations for gravity, which is great. The problem is there's nothing you can add in the same geometric way, right? Where it would sort of naturally give you a description of electronics or quirks or neutrinos just doesn't work. Garrett: So what you have to do is you have to go in there and sort of, you know, what electrons are supposed to be, so you can, you can sort of glue this electron description onto the gravitational enforced description and it's just as ugly is as I'm describing right when you, when you glue this on, it just it sticking out in a funny way and it just doesn't want to be there and it's not described even with the same sort of mathematics. It's just not a, it's obviously not mathematically compatible. It's not one thing. So this was a, this is a problem. And so I, I set off looking for a geometric description and uh, I was not satisfied with the string theory approach to this, which was just more of the same. Uh, and I've gotten lucky with my investments. So I said, screw it. I mean, I moved to Maui, surf a lot. Maybe we learn how to windsurf and work on the physics. I want to. Well, I live off my investment savings and not spend very much money because I've been a graduate student for eight years at that point. And I was used to not spending money, so I came out here to why and I started working on the problem on my own. Garrett: Okay. So it wasn't, it wasn't like, this is what I'm going to do. I'm going to solve this thing, I'm going to go to school, I'm gonna do this thing. We just kinda got in there and started going through it and yeah, I mean I started, I started out being good at mathematics and I loved tackling the puzzles of how the universe works using mathematics and as always a good student. But it was really, you know, I got a enchanted with Einstein's theory of gravity and I wanted it or something like it to be able to describe everything. And the one thing you couldn't describe well was electrons and we did have a good description of electronics. It just didn't match up. Right. So I wanted to fix that. I wanted to figure out, oh, what's the solution here? There's got to be one. So I spent years on that. I spent like five years with these extra dimensions and trying to see how electrons could be added in the context of having these extra dimensions so it would work and just nothing worked and it was about is about eight years in when I said, all right, I'm going about this wrong. Barrett: Okay. Garrett: And since I was just a, you know, a guy off on an island, I didn't have students depending on me. I didn't have grants, I didn't have anything holding me down. I basically wiped the slate clean and said, all right, what if we look at it instead of from the point of view of gravity? What if we look at it from the point of view, the other forces? So instead of adding extra dimensions to gravity and using that describe forces I described, the other forces are described with these objects called Lli groups. And by adding the right league group you can actually get a description of gravity and now it turns out that the description of electrons and quirks is fairly natural. In terms of lead groups. Garrett: You can, you can add representations of groups you can add to see how electrons interact with the groups and that's a, that's a more natural description and trying to tack them onto gravity and extra dimensions. And so I, I sit down this path, it was only a few months, maybe, probably not even year. I, I had assembled a description of matter compatible with Lli groups with gravity in it. I'm always one thing and it was unusually coherent. And at that point, um, there was a private foundation. They put out a request for proposals for grants. So I applied for grants to support my research and things were far enough along and looking a sufficiently good that they gave me a grant. So I got a research grant to work on that and which was great because it gave me more time to surf. Then you have to work. Garrett: Um, I could just ask one of my time surfing and working on this research. So I kept going on the research and at that point I, uh, I moved to Lake Tahoe and I was staying in friend's a ski Kevin. And this structure I'd put together of matter and interacting with the forces, interacting with gravity was unusually coherent. So I started to wonder, well, this is so cute. I wonder if it's just one thing or part of one larger thing. Started started looking at what it might be. Part of it turns out that I hadn't seen these before that. But there are these exceptional league groups that just naturally include exactly the structure I had put together. Exactly. Includes the interaction of matter particles, electrons, and quirks within the group itself. Always one thing sort of who, who showed you the lead groups? Uh, there was a blog post by a mathematician named John Bears. Garrett: Okay. Was it this guy's in Michigan or a. no, he's, um, he wanders around quite a bit. I think he's mostly based in riverside, but he also spends quite a bit of time in Singapore, but he, he wanders around credit, but he's quite a well known mathematician and he's, uh, he has quite a well known blog. So, you know, I knew of it was driven with a lot of it, but I hadn't, you, you don't, you don't see these specific exceptional Lli groups in physics there. They're exceptional in that they, they are, they stand out as being different than the other league groups and they're almost never used in physics. But, uh, it turns out they have exactly the structure I was looking for and it was just a perfect match of the known matter particles into this larger, simple, exceptional legal, which is pretty fantastic. Barrett: Okay. Yeah, because I mean, that's, that's usually like big advances in physics and various fields of science. Usually there's some crazy abstract mathematics. It was invented, you know, 30 or how many ever years previously, and then there was no use for it other than math. Garrett: Yeah, it's exactly like that. And it's where we're at. Uh, the mathematics very often leads the theoretical physics research and because the mathematicians are sort of exploring mathematical territory without regard to reality, right? They're not constrained by reality, but, but sure enough, um, physicists in trying to figure out how to describe you, how he ended up pulling from these mathematical tools and these mathematical discoveries and sure enough, it seems, it almost seems like the prettier the mathematics is that discovered the more likely it's gonna find use in describing physics. It really seems that way. So anyway. Yeah. So I, um, after encountering these Lli groups, uh, I was extremely excited and started writing up papers about it, talking about it at conferences and it got a bunch of attention. Um, but since my theory was a, a proposal for a unified theory and it didn't have any strings in it, it really pissed off the string theorists. So they were, they were selling my harshest critics. They were trying to tear me down as best they could and in my opinion they went about it a little bit unethically, but, uh, but effectively and uh, so I'm back to being this guy on an island working on stuff. Barrett: Okay. So there's a. So there's not much support for it in the, in the theoretical physics community, Garrett: the, or is it? Well, it's certainly, it's certainly known and uh, and there is this small group of people working on it and unrelated things, but there's not a large research program and its direction even 10 years later. No, it's mostly still me Barrett: working on this. Okay. So do, so do you go to conferences and things like that? And Garrett: I do, I go to workshops, conferences. Um, I've even hosted a couple of workshops here, so I'm, I'm running a small science institute here on the island of currently running it out. I've got my house in a few guests. Kevin's on a nice piece of land with Nice view where I was visiting scientists and friends, which has been great. It's called the Pacific Science Institute and we've had a couple of workshops here, unrelated stuff. So that's been very productive. Um, but for the most part ever coming on. Okay. And mostly mostly what I'm doing is. So this, uh, this match I found it wasn't perfect. Garrett: Right? So the, the, the two things that we're missing is one is there aren't just electrons and up and down quirks and electronic chinos there also to other generations of matter particles that are only really seen in protocol accelerators, right? So as well as the electronic, you have a higher energy partner called them yuan and then a third high energy partner called the towel. And every matter particle has these three copies like this where it's, they have the same properties, they only differ by having larger masses. And this is a big mystery in particle physics is why, why are these three copies? And I saw a hint in this elite group of why there are three copies, but it never really worked perfectly, right? So it had a, it just didn't seem to want to work. Right? And I, I knew there was something I was missing, I didn't know it was. So that's, I've been looking for that. The other issue is, even though it's at a mathematical match of the geometric structure, um, it does not include, the geometry itself does not include a description of quantum mechanics. So, uh, and this, this is something nobody goes for because it's too weird or too hard, but ideally one would like to find is a quantum description of reality that is also geometric in the same way that gravity is. Garrett: So that's, and this is something that is as far as I know, almost nobody has looked for or tried to achieve. Um, there's some people, um, is, you know, you worked on models of quantum mechanics are a little bit more in this direction, but uh, what I'm describing would be a matchup between geometry and quantum physics. Quantum physics is a very, very, uh, sort of integral part of it and that's, that's. This is why I've been working on for the last year or so. So it's, uh, it's been exciting. Barrett: Okay. So maybe you could tell me a little bit more about that. So could you give me a basic overview of that model of how. I mean, I kinda, I kinda understand the structure to, to yes, to a degree, you know? Right. I understand. I understand what the model looks like because a belt, the EA model and looked at it and, Garrett: right, well that's, this is actually a, so those root diagrams that result in the various structural models of it, you know, where you put together the 240 points and project it in various ways to get various geometric objects that represent the Lli group. Uh, those, those are basically, they're higher dimensional diagrams Barrett: of the smooth geometric structure of the group. Garrett: So you have insight Barrett: and by smooth are you or is that some mathematical term? I'm over. Garrett: It is a mathematical term, but it means the usual thing which is, you know, it doesn't have any cusps in it or corners or, or, or singularities or anything like that. It's a, it's a smooth, high dimensional surface. Okay. So, so these diagrams are, are actually a way of describing the twists and turns of this surface and high dimensions. So the diagrams themselves don't have a physical existence since they're just diagrams, but we think that our universe is the physical instantiation of one of these, a warping high dimensional smooth objects. If this, if this sort of description is correct. Barrett: Okay. So then. Oh, go ahead. Oh, I don't want to interrupt you, but I, I have, uh, a thing that you said on that. So you said it's just a diagram, right? So it's not, it's not the physical object that is these particles in an eight dimensional space. Right? Right. It's just a mathematical representation. That's right. Okay. And, and you know, I think I've asked you this in the past years ago and it's just a question that I've asked many people is these descriptions are higher dimensional because like a higher dimensional major c is just straightforward. It just, you know, you just put more rows and columns in there, right. And that gives you dementia and mathematically, and that's straightforward, but a physical space which some theoretical physicists claim is, that's a whole other thing. Right? And so in your model, is it both, is it one, is that the other? Is it a known, is it, Garrett: well, you, you, you do add and consider additional physical dimensions to space. So there, there are different directions that theoretically one could move in, but within these groups, since [inaudible] groups are symmetric, when you, when you move in one of those directions, which we do all the time, you don't notice any difference, there is no change. So that's, that's why it's called a cemetery. Cemetery is something that when you, when you moved that way, nothing changes. Okay? So, uh, so when you add these extra dimensions there, there's no, there's nothing that changes about the model, but what happens is when you consider how things can move in these other dimensions and interact, what you get is you do get effects that are measurable in our four dimensions are four dimensional space time. And these in fact are just exactly the forces and particles that see interacting. Okay? All right, these are, these are results of things happening in higher dimensions, which is, which is Kinda cool. And then in a physicist mind, these are physical dimensions. We just can't, we can't walk in that dimension, right? Because it. And if we did, we wouldn't notice any difference. So effectively we're not going anywhere except we are, but nothing's changing. Garrett: It's. But uh, yeah, go ahead. It, I mean, at least you're attempting to answer it. Most people I asked just basically give me some horse shit and move on. But uh, yeah, no, no, no. It's an interesting question. So, uh, and then, you know, this does correspond to mathematically they're being more degrees of freedom for more variables, more columns and rows to your mate, uh, to, to describe this sort of higher dimensional geometry. Yeah, I understand it. I understand it mathematically, you know, to a degree. But the concept that there's a physical unit, a physical space of higher dimensions is. I mean, I'm super fascinated by that, that we can actually measure a higher dimensional space at some point. Well, I mean we are, I mean if you, when you look in, you take four dimensional space, right? You add just one dimension. You say, okay, what happens if this extra dimension that I've added, concur, go around and what you get is you get electric and magnetic fields interacting. Okay. So, so the fifth dimension Barrett: would contain a electromagnetic electromagnetic force. Garrett: It's not that it would contain it, it said it's behavior would manifest itself as electric and magnetic forces, so we know historically we're in living in three dimensional space, moving through time and historically we discover, oh hey, there are these electric fields, are these magnetic fields, and then maxwell says, hey, they're, they're the same thing. They're just different aspects of the same outcome. And then it. And then Einstein comes along and says, well actually spacetime isn't a flat thing. It's a four dimensional warping fabric. And then a client come along and say, Hey, well if you add just one fifth dimension, you get not only the four dimensional fabric but you get from this fifth dimensional fabric. If you constrain it in a certain way, you get the four dimensional fabric of gravity and electromagnetism in four dimensions. Okay, so there's a direct correspondence. There's a direct correspondence between a warping five dimensional space and four dimensional space with electromagnetic fields in it. Barrett: Okay. And then to extend that, does that correspond to like say the sixth is a new cooler or weak or Garrett: It's almost that simple. So you, you, you add another three for the week and you add another eight for the strong dimensions? Yes. Okay. So that'd give you a what, like 16 or something? You have to 12 or so. Okay. Well No, no it's not, it's not quite that simple. So, um, yeah. So you have your 12 for the forces. Yeah, one for like my aunt is in three, four week eight for strong. Alright. So that's 12 and then yeah, 16 if you're going to add four for spacetime, but it doesn't usually work that way because you also have to consider rotations in spacetime. Okay. So for rotations and four dimensional space time, you have the three dimensions of rotation of space, but you also have three rotations in time, right? Which are basically going at different speeds in different industry, different directions. Okay. So you have to add in those six and now we're up to like 22 or so. Garrett: Okay. But that's just for the forces now. Now you have to figure out every single matter. Particle including matter, particles of different types, all have to correspond to a different direction. So that's know. And now if you count different generations or up and over 100. Okay. And so this is how you get the 2:46 or is that a or a 248. So, so you, you keep adding these things and you know, maybe you add another 64 to you're, you're 22 or 24, whatever we were at and uh, and yeah, you get up around 110 and then that 100, that set of 100 fits inside this ea group as directions inside the liver. And the way we know that it's a match is because we look at the geometry of these particles to connect an electronic or a cork will have electric charges and also have a weak charge and strong charge. And we'll have spin. Okay. So these are all charges. These, these numbers come out of the geometry. These charges correspond exactly to the twists inside the geometry. Garrett: Okay? So what we're doing is we're, we're, we're, we're finding an exact match of this, a geometric description of particle physics with the this specific age group. So there's an exact match that. And that's what, that's what I found so exciting back in 2008. Um, but like I said, there are a couple missing things, so you can't the charges of the second and third generation particles don't match up perfectly and an obvious way. Um, there's a couple hands for non obvious ways they might match up, but the, uh, it doesn't, it doesn't clearly work. And then there's also, how do you include quantum physics? Garrett: Okay. So for including including quantum physics, uh, basically look. Okay. How do you describe quantum mechanics? Okay, well, there's one way which is short injuries equation in the wave function, but the, the, the first way I was actually with, uh, with matrices and algebraically where you have momentum and position and an between momentum and position. When you look at that Algebra and it's a, it's a Lee Algebra and you can make a group out of that entrepreneur is called a conveniently. It was, yeah. So it was, it was Heisenberg who had this description of quantum mechanics. And so there's this group called the Heisenberg League group. Barrett: Okay. I, I, I studied a little bit of it but never the lead group, Garrett: right? So then, so then what I've been playing with is how to, uh, how, how this sort of Heisenberg naturally combines with these other league groups to make a larger ones until, so if the universe is all one thing, it's a likely to be one of those. Barrett: Okay. So, so let me. So that's the next phase that you're in. You're in this phase of trying to understand it or connect it to a quantum gravity, right? And I use that term, right? Quantum gravity using these league group equations. And then you have lli groups and lead groups connecting gravity to quantum gravity. And then what would that mean for like the theoretic, because you said no one's really doing this. What would that mean for theoretical physics? Garrett: If it would really be a theory of everything? Because most of you, if everything is technically a theory of everything been you're just combining gravity with the other forces in your description. That's what the technical meaning of theory of everything is. But really, that's not entirely satisfying because you also want to description of quantum mechanics. Okay. So if, if this thing works out, you'd have gravity combined with the other forces, but you also have the description of all the matter particles and it would naturally include quantum physics is part of its structure. Barrett: Okay. Garrett: So yeah, that's what I'm, that's what I'm currently after. Okay. So what do you do like each day to, to achieve that? Like what are you doing to achieve the goal of figuring out? Okay. Yeah. So you don't like yourself that are now I'm just going to fourth through the mathematical lynch because mathematicians are always out ahead and um, I, I read up on stuff that other physicists probably missed. Okay. Because I think especially with the, with most of the high energy physics community going off into string theory, um, I think they miss a lot of interesting mathematics from the past, uh, even from the past 30 years Barrett: because I just went down this path and the funding. Garrett: Yeah, they're often their string theory world and I mean it used to be that for awhile mathematics and physics were pretty tightly linked and there's quite a fruitful collaboration, but the strength there is sort of went off in their own direction and said, ah no, we'll, we'll make up our own mathematics and a blaze our own trail. And the mathematic mission said, yeah, have. And they kept doing working on their mathematics that they thought it was interesting and it turns out I think that the mathematics that the mathematicians are working on just because it was interesting. I think that's the stuff that's actually gonna end up describing the real world, not string theory. Barrett: Okay. So, so a little bit more about that. So like your critics would say that your theory doesn't conform to their accepted theories like string theory. Right. And in the past you haven't, uh, you know, you didn't follow the traditional path that it's accepted in the community where you work your way up, you get the 10 year and you didn't in the beginning didn't publish directly in like accepted scholarly journals and things like that. Garrett: That's right. I didn't know it's a publish or perish world and I sort of voluntarily perished early on but kept working in the field. Speaker 4: Okay. And uh, Barrett: you know, and you still have these problems with the, you still have these problems with Garrett: connected to, but I mean these, these problems with the second third generations not matching up within the lead group were identified in every paper I've ever published on the subject, including the ones that got all the press attention. So if you go and read those papers you can say and you know, and although this isn't a good match for the first generation, the second, third generations don't. I don't work right. And that requires more setting so it's not, it's not like I'm trying to hide anything or pull a fast one. It's a, it's a proposal for it. It's an interesting observation of it mathematical match and a proposal for where to go from there. And I'm perfectly happy to be following that up. But I know what the critics did is they did two things. One is a, they took the problems of this hippie which identified it and they proclaimed it because of these problems, it could never work, Garrett: right? So that's one thing they did. The other thing they did is they took part of the geometric structure though, is working with and where that, that part of the group had a fairly traditional interpretation in high energy physics where these, uh, these other, this other structural part was called Mirror neurons and the physics literature, historically they did something weird, which is they, instead of calling a mirror from yawns, which had been considered for many, many years, uh, they called him an anti generation and said because of this anti generation, which is this really weird thing that they can never work. But that's, that's very misleading. I mean, physicists encountered mirror mirror from yawns before encounter this mirror mounted before and there, there are different methods for dealing with it and it's certainly not something that's ever been considered absolutely impossible or deal breaking for a theory there, their techniques for, for dealing with them. So, so, uh, think it was a borderline unethical. The way the great book critics handled the situation and managed to shut any interest in this theory down by, uh, by misleading they're the people they're talking to you. Okay. So, Barrett: I mean, the way I'm understanding is there's a fixed scientific community. They have a lot of money invested in a particular theory. I mean, they've built a lot of equipment and then, you know, invested how many millions or I don't know how much money, uh, to research grants and Garrett: yeah, mean curious. They're so cheap. I mean, there, there's this joke that the reason the battles and academia are so fierce is because the stakes are so small. There's not a lot of money involved in theoretical physics. It's all prestige. Um, it's not even really prestiged. I mean, you're, you're sort of battling for the interest of other intelligent people and students. Barrett: Okay. Garrett: So string string theorists, worst nightmare is that students wake up and realize that string theory is bullshit and we're kinda other stuff and they don't get the bright students anymore. Barrett: Yeah. So, so how would you say, say it turns out, so you do this quantum gravity thing right? And the equations work out, St cop you were able to prove that you submitted to a journal. Um, it comes out, right? Garrett: No, I, I, I just make it publicly available on the archive. Okay. I'm not, I'm not on any career ladder so I don't need to publish in journals. Barrett: Okay. So, so how do you get other people? Is what I'm saying is like, I'll just give an analogy and I'm not saying it's correct, but it's just this analogy makes sense to me. So like I have diabetes, right? And I go to, I go to the endocrinologist and they'd given me a particular diet because the science says this is what you should do. Yes. And I do that. It doesn't work. And I've started reading online. I figured out that if I put my body in Quito, it's like the perfect diet for reversing diabetes. So I start doing that. It's not scientifically accepted, is not accepted by the medical field. And they're actually telling me that it's bad for me and I shouldn't do it. Although it's solving the problem. Um, now I'm clearly fixing the problem, yet they're not gonna change their mind because they believe whatever it is they believe. Garrett: Yeah. The biggest problem. I mean, I, I love science. Yeah. I really do. Man. Is it slow? Yeah. So it's really slow. So I think you're right. I think a ketogenic diet is a wonderful way to start working on curing diabetes yourself without medications and it's, uh, it's very effective because you're, you're basically transitioning your body from burning glucose and you know, dealing with sugar at all to, to burning fat and, you know, converting fat into ketones and I think that's a fantastic way to go. It's also, uh, it's also a fantastic weight loss program for anybody who wants to lose weight. I lost like 40 pounds on it. Yeah, it's amazing. So I've, I've been, I've been doing a ketogenic diet for the last six months or so, and I had similar results and I'm not even diabetic. I just think it's a fantastic. Garrett: That's definitely the way to go. And your mind is study or, or mine is, yeah. It's basically a great hack on your own body. Exactly. And so, uh, so bringing it back to the physics, I mean to even to understand your model, right? To sit down and understand it, it's gonna take probably months of going through equations and you know what I'm saying, like it's gonna take some time and a serious investment, right? You have to build up to understand the, the usual description of particle physics and gravity. Yeah. And then once you, once you can understand the usual description of particle physics, including the application of lead groups in that description, then then you can start looking at the work I've done and think about where to go from that. Okay. So do you have a plan to show that to the, you know, because there's some people at that level. Well, I've spent, I have spent some of my time as a teacher and I do enjoy writing about stuff. Um, but right now I feel like I'm still exploring. So I'm, I'm, I'm more in the exploratory phase that I am teaching it to other people face. Okay. But if I find if I find more really cool stuff, then I won't have any choice. But to write a book or go around lecturing more often, Barrett: there you go. So, so if you, if, if, if you were to give, so what's your best advice to a young want to be someone who wants to be a theoretical physicist a and attempting to get into theoretical physicists, physics, Garrett: um, probably don't necessarily follow the crowd. So there's a lot of pressure out of physics to concentrate on what's popular, right? And, and you can make a name for yourself by working on particular problems, but there's already so much attention on the particular problems that you're probably not gonna get anywhere. So if you really want to find new stuff, you're better off looking where nobody else was looking or were or maybe we're just a few people are looking. Okay. And what would be your overall message Barrett: Folks? Like anyone listening that you'd want them to get from your research? Garrett: Oh Wow. Um, well there's, there's like advice for life and then there's, you know, what I found in physics and now what I found in physics is that I think our universe is unusually mathematically pretty, right. I think our universe literally is a beautiful bit of mathematics come to life Garrett: now for advice for life. Um, I mean it's sort of what path, what sort of path and what sort of human you want to want to be. I mean, if you want to be part of the herd, then go with conventional living and do what other people are doing and have fun, but if you want to have a life that's a little bit different and maybe find something that nobody else has, then yeah, don't, don't pay attention to the herd, pay attention to what interests you and chase that down. And I, I find that to be very fulfilling. Um, it can also be a little bit isolating. So while you're doing that, you also want to cultivate good friendships, good relationships and a and how that holding your life up because tackling hard problems that other people aren't very interested in. It's very hard and frustrating. Garrett: So you want to make sure the rest of your life is good if you're doing that. Okay. Yeah. And you've, you know, I've listened to a few interviews with you. I need you serve and spend a lot of time out in nature. Obviously I can hear the birds chirping in the background. That's great. Not sure. Not sure what that is. Right on cue. It's not an east Tennessee, but I can tell you that. No, no, that's a minor bird. Okay. So this is a, once they look like, is there like a, uh, they're quite sartorial with those sort of black outfit feathers with a couple of stripes by their eyes and a white stripes under their wings. They're pretty and they've got attitude. Sounded like it. Yep. Alright. Yeah. And so, uh, so you, you, you've cultivated some sort of your big into balance and yeah, I really am. I mean it's, it's really the best way to be happy in life. You want to balance, you know, a decent amount of physical exercise which keeps your body and your mind happy. Um, you want to have good, good friendships, good relationships, um, not just to your computer and, and then also be tackling, you know, some intellectually challenging and productive problem. Garrett: Okay. So you want to keep all those things going at once. If you can, but if one is not going well, you always have the other two. All right. So, uh, with that in mind, like when you're surfing or when you're practicing, when you're working on a, your theory or trying to visualize, I don't know if you need to visualize higher dimensional spaces or Barrett: things like that, do you in any part of your life, not just necessarily those two examples, but do you have expanded states of awareness and what that would kind of mean to you? Garrett: Well, I have a fairly conventional but perhaps and usually sharp sense of awareness I have who, if I have any intellectual superpowers, it's focus. I can naturally hold focus on something for unusual amount of time. So I haven't, I've never found it necessary to take, you know, tropics, to take drugs that improve the functioning of my mind. I also haven't ever taken LSD or anything mind expanding in that sense. Um, from my expanding experiences, I have mine expanding. Natural experiences are very good at burning man, taking the art and all the wild costumes. Not Fun going on, but I don't need drugs to help the trigger my mind in some weird state to do that. And I think when people do take such drugs, um, the experience of it is, is if they're dancing and other dimensions, right? It's like you're, you have this consciousness of other dimensions or there's this big geometric symmetrical object or a tunnel in front of you, but it turns out that's just what our mind does when stressed out on weird chemicals. Barrett: Okay. Yeah. And I think, but I think some of those chemicals are naturally in our body, you know, and, and I think you can do come across some naturally. I think people have those experiences, you know, I'm not trying to lay a philosophy down or anything, but like, uh, you know, and you have those experiences and the myth, whatever myth is that you, that, you know, right? Like if you're a Christian, you have a Christian method. If your head do you have a Hindu math and then you, your brain kind of uses that to create that myth. Um, so that's a whole other thing. But like a Ta. So have you had those types of experiences? We're not, you know, with a myth involved, but. Garrett: Well I'm a, I'm a capitalist religiously so when I meditate I just see money. I don't know if that happens to other people, but you just use a dollar bill. I'm totally joking. A yeah. No, I've meditated in the past and it's, it's wonderful for clearing the mind. Okay. And for sort of bringing one self more piece, but I got to the point where I'm like, all right, I've got inner peace now do I do. So I decided to go and surf and play and you know, cultivate good relationships and spend my intellectual horsepower working on problems with theoretical physics and uh, yeah, that's sort of how I got here. Barrett: Okay. Yeah, yeah. I would think, I would think it would be for me at least, you know, when I did math it was very, could become very distracting and stressful and meditation are clear in my mind some way helped. Uh, you know, I'm sure. Garrett: Well, it's frustrating more than anything and if you're, if you're trying to work on some mathematical problem and you know it's supposed to work out, but it's not working out. Right. That's more frustrating than anything. So you basically want to do something else intense for a little while and then come back to it and have a look at it with fresh eyes. So That's Kinda what the surfing is. Yeah. Yeah. It's also just really fun. Yeah. Yes. I mean if I could do that, would I tried at one time at eight at heart? Uh, a try a bigger board if you're a bigger person, use a bigger boy. Yeah, that's what it was. It was when I was about 12 or so out in Carlsbad. So it was, yeah. Yeah, but the island down the coast and that's neat. It's not far from there. Barrett: Okay. Yeah, it's a sport I would like to get into or would have liked to have gotten into, but Garrett: Yeah, it's a, it's a ton of fun. It's not too late or you could always try kite surfing. Kite surfing. You've got this tight pulling up into the sky. So you're weightless, you don't want anything. Barrett: There you go. It'd be hard for me to stick to the board with the legs and all I got. Garrett: Well you've got straps so you can strap yourself to the board. I'm looking for excuses why I can't do it. It's A. I've got a friend who is paralyzed. You manages to go out and kite. If he didn't to do it, you can do it. And to follow the parallels, Barrett: I'd try it. It's A. Yeah. I got a, a math problem that I need to finish solving that I never finished. The Kite surfing will definitely help with that. Finding that balance. It's a folding. The Sierpinski Tetrahedron. I don't know if you a little fraco folding it from today up to three d. So like, no one's ever really folded a fractal from two to three. Garrett: Oh, that's interesting. No, I'm familiar with the Sierpinski triangle. Barrett: Yeah. Yeah. So the three d version of that thing. Yeah. All right, interesting. I'll tell you more about it. Um, the uh, so, uh, just one final question is. So one question. Okay. So string theories over here, your theories and Lli groups, um, is there a way that those two, uh, could both be correct or both be wrong or there's some bigger picture, like the analogy I'm thinking of here is, I don't know if you've ever heard it, is the, it's like an old Indian analogy or something and it's like 11 blind guys are touching an elephant, right? And there, I'm sure I'm just hacking the analogy, but uh, you know, one guy touches it and he's like, it's round and it feels like a big shell and other guys like it's this big floppy thing, you know? Garrett: Yep. They're just a mother. There's so many string theorists using so many different branches of mathematics to build string models and the branches off of string models and it's such a flexible tool kit that whatever it is, I find if it is successful, I'm a bunch of string theorists will work what they're doing to match mine and say it's the same thing, but it won't be okay. Well, I mean, yeah, the string, like I've tried to understand the string a bit and it's like is it almost sounds like we couldn't figure out what it was, so we just said it's a vibrating string and environment. It's not that it's not that bad, but it's string theory is a toolkit for building theories. The problem is the only theory they haven't been able to match our world. Okay. So there are some restrictions on what you can build and it turns out building the world that we see is, is almost impossible for them. They really have to bend over backwards to try to do it. It's not natural within string theory to to build our universe, which you would think would be more discouraging to them than it is, but I don't know. They're so full of what they're doing that's not. And that's, that's a problem that I ended up coming across Barrett: does it gets to the point to where your past mathematics and science and you're into essentially some sort of fantasy world, right? Like it's. Garrett: It really is, it really that, that's really where it is and it's like, it's hard to tell who's claiming what and what's real and what's just made out and certainly the degree to which both my work and strength during match up to the Standard Model I had the degree with which they both match up. They have to overlap. So they, they have to overlap with what actually experimentally tested. No. Barrett: Okay. So, um, yeah, so I'm going to probably end the interview here. Uh, the um, Garrett: so you have the, it's the Pacific Institute in Hawaii at Pacific Science Institute, Civic Science Institute. And so folks who are working on open problems or who, Barrett: who can come to it or that type of thing, um, who's open to who's not open to. Garrett: It's, it's, I mean, since it's, it's basically my house at this point. All right. I do have a, I did, I did recently acquire a larger piece of land that I'm going to build something larger on. So for this point, I want to say it's for, you know, architects, home builders, anybody can help somebody who wants to help me build a big house contract. Um, but uh, but no, it's, it's, it's, it's always been my friends and other scientists coming, coming to visit for the past few years and if people want to find out more about you, they can. Your website is a, it's, it's a really long url. It's lie a lie dot [inaudible] dot com. There is no competition. Like, yeah, I noticed that. Okay. So ally dot s I and yeah. And do you have that particle? Excel? Not Accelerator. Like the manipulator, the javascript being on their ela. Garrett: It's a elementary particle explorer. Okay. Yeah. And that'll, that'll help you see how the elementary particles are part of the elite group. Okay. Yeah, it's quite, it's quite fun to play with and you can make a little animations by rotating things around different dimensions. Barrett: It's fun. Yeah, it's really cool. I've played with it for way too long and then built a model on the Pto, the virtual zone model, you know, so I can figure out how many parts I need to order and everything. Great. But uh, yeah, so I'm gonna end the interview there. Thank you very much Garrett for talking with me. Yeah, sure. You're talking with you bet. Thank you. And so this is Barrett, Leslie with Ballinks and have a good one.
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Creator Details

Jan 24th, 1968
Lahaina, Hawaii, United States of America
Episode Count
Podcast Count
Total Airtime
2 hours, 38 minutes
Podchaser Creator ID logo 827090