文章来源:未知 文章作者:meng 发布时间:2010-03-29 01:37 字体: [ ]  进入论坛

The "exceptionally simple theory of everything," proposed by a surfing physicist1 in 2007, does not hold water, says Emory University mathematician2 Skip Garibaldi. Garibaldi did the math to disprove(反驳) the theory, which involves a mysterious structure known as E8. The resulting paper (http://arxiv.org/abs/0905.2658 ), co-authored by physicist Jacques Distler of the University of Texas, will appear in an upcoming(即将来临的) issue of Communications in Mathematical Physics.

"The beautiful thing about math and physics is that it is not subjective," says Garibaldi. "I wanted a peer-reviewed(同行评议;同行审阅) paper published, so that the scientific literature provides an accurate state of affairs, to help clear up confusion among the lay(外行的,世俗的) public on this topic."

In November of 2007, physicist Garrett Lisi published an online paper entitled "An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything." Lisi spent much of his time surfing in Hawaii, adding a bit of color to the story surrounding the theory. Although his paper was not peer-reviewed, and Lisi himself commented that his theory was still in development, the idea was widely reported in the media, under attention-grabbing headlines like "Surfer dude stuns3(使晕倒,使惊吓) physicists4 with theory of everything."

Garibaldi was among the skeptics(怀疑主义者)  when the theory hit the news. So was Distler, a particle physicist, who wrote about problems he saw with Lisi's idea on his blog. Distler's posting inspired Garibaldi to think about the issue more, eventually leading to their collaboration5(合作,通敌) .

Lisi's paper centered on the elegant mathematical structure known as E8, which also appears in string theory(弦理论) . First identified in 1887, E8 has 248 dimensions and cannot be seen, or even drawn6, in its complete form.

The enigmatic(高深莫测的,神秘的) E8 is the largest and most complicated of the five exceptional Lie groups, and contains four subgroups that are related to the four fundamental forces of nature: the electromagnetic force(电磁力) ; the strong force (which binds7 quarks); the weak force (which controls radioactive decay); and the gravitational force(地心引力,重力) .

In a nutshell(总而言之,根本上说) , Lisi proposed that E8 is the unifying8 force for all the forces of the universe.

"That would be great if it were true, because I love E8," Garibaldi says. "But the problem is, it doesn't work as he described it in his paper."

As a leading expert on several of the exceptional Lie groups, Garibaldi felt an obligation to help set the record straight(澄清问题,弄清真相) . "A lot of mystery surrounds the Lie groups, but the facts about them should not be distorted," he says. "These are natural objects that are central to mathematics, so it's important to have a correct understanding of them."

Using linear algebra9(线性代数) and proving theorems(定理,原理) to translate the physics into math, Garibaldi and Distler not only showed that the formulas proposed in Lisi's paper do not work, they also demonstrated the flaws(缺陷,裂缝) in a whole class of related theories.

"You can think of E8 as a room, and the four subgroups related to the four fundamental forces of nature as furniture, let's say chairs," Garibaldi explains. "It's pretty easy to see that the room is big enough that you can put all four of the chairs inside it. The problem with 'the theory of everything' is that the way it arranges the chairs in the room makes them non-functional."

He gives the example of one chair inverted10(反向,颠倒) and stacked(堆放) atop another chair.

"I'm tired of answering questions about the 'theory of everything,'" Garibaldi says. "I'm glad that I will now be able to point to a peer-reviewed scientific article that clearly rebuts11(反驳,揭露) this theory. I feel that there are so many great stories in science, there's no reason to puff12 up(肿胀 ,膨大) something that doesn't work."


1 physicist oNqx4     
  • He is a physicist of the first rank.他是一流的物理学家。
  • The successful physicist never puts on airs.这位卓有成就的物理学家从不摆架子。
2 mathematician aoPz2p     
  • The man with his back to the camera is a mathematician.背对着照相机的人是位数学家。
  • The mathematician analyzed his figures again.这位数学家再次分析研究了他的这些数字。
3 stuns 665500bd52ea3f8441b1ac501846cfe3     
v.击晕( stun的第三人称单数 );使大吃一惊;给(某人)以深刻印象;使深深感动
  • But sometimes, a moment stuns us as it happens. 但总有那么一个瞬间让我们惊喜。 来自互联网
  • Shield Stun: Stuns the top of the aggro chart, 3s stun. 盾牌昏迷:最大眩晕,3秒钟晕眩。 来自互联网
4 physicists 18316b43c980524885c1a898ed1528b1     
物理学家( physicist的名词复数 )
  • For many particle physicists, however, it was a year of frustration. 对于许多粒子物理学家来说,这是受挫折的一年。 来自英汉非文学 - 科技
  • Physicists seek rules or patterns to provide a framework. 物理学家寻求用法则或图式来构成一个框架。
5 collaboration bW7yD     
  • The two companies are working in close collaboration each other.这两家公司密切合作。
  • He was shot for collaboration with the enemy.他因通敌而被枪毙了。
6 drawn MuXzIi     
  • All the characters in the story are drawn from life.故事中的所有人物都取材于生活。
  • Her gaze was drawn irresistibly to the scene outside.她的目光禁不住被外面的风景所吸引。
7 binds c1d4f6440575ef07da0adc7e8adbb66c     
v.约束( bind的第三人称单数 );装订;捆绑;(用长布条)缠绕
  • Frost binds the soil. 霜使土壤凝结。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • Stones and cement binds strongly. 石头和水泥凝固得很牢。 来自《简明英汉词典》
8 unifying 18f99ec3e0286dcc4f6f318a4d8aa539     
使联合( unify的现在分词 ); 使相同; 使一致; 统一
  • In addition, there were certain religious bonds of a unifying kind. 此外,他们还有某种具有一种统一性质的宗教上的结合。
  • There is a unifying theme, and that is the theme of information flow within biological systems. 我们可以用一个总的命题,把生物学系统内的信息流来作为这一研究主题。
9 algebra MKRyW     
  • He was not good at algebra in middle school.他中学时不擅长代数。
  • The boy can't figure out the algebra problems.这个男孩做不出这道代数题。
10 inverted 184401f335d6b8661e04dfea47b9dcd5     
adj.反向的,倒转的v.使倒置,使反转( invert的过去式和过去分词 )
  • Only direct speech should go inside inverted commas. 只有直接引语应放在引号内。
  • Inverted flight is an acrobatic manoeuvre of the plane. 倒飞是飞机的一种特技动作。 来自《简明英汉词典》
11 rebuts a06ae24e60c6fdb0f70889a58a4d6971     
v.反驳,驳回( rebut的第三人称单数 );击退
12 puff y0cz8     
  • He took a puff at his cigarette.他吸了一口香烟。
  • They tried their best to puff the book they published.他们尽力吹捧他们出版的书。
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