Tuesday, March 3

The Spirograph of Everything

I've added this pic of an E8 Lie Group. Isn't is neat?

This is a mathematical symmetry - and the highest order (read: "most beautifully complex and simple at the same time") of it's type that can be constructed. I think it's really pretty, and what's more, it's a usable gauge group (read: "something that behaves nicely enough to use in hardcore physics") into which the Standard Model of Matter fits nicely. There's plenty of gaps left to fill - so do any of them really exist as symmetries of particles in our universe?

Bring the LHC, let's find out!

Garret Lisi discusses the implementations of this symmetry in his "theory of everything" on TED.com - check it out. The rotating visuals go a long way to showing you how it works.

ps. yeah, so the LHC needs a bit of tweaking before it can work properly. This was pretty much expected, if not hoped for. If only the journalists would pay attention.
On that note, no-one in physics calls the Higgs boson the "God Particle". Only sensationalist journalists do.
And thirdly, it was a chemist who started the whole "black hole" media frenzy. I use the following parallel:
Imagine you have a mole. You're a bit worried about it. You go to a gynocologist, he tells you it's dangerous melanoma - you go to an oncologist, he tells you "it's a spot, mate". Who are you going to believe? In other words, there is nothing wrong. The LHC won't create black holes which could somehow escape and swallow the world. It can't. Trust us.

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