We interviewed Garrett Lisi on explaining one of the most abstract concepts circling within the physics community; E8. If you get through E8 the rest is easy, it’s that complex. We figured we could get the scariest stuff done first so the rest would be a breeze. But more than just being able to condense a fantastically complex representation of a Lie group, Lisi offers great insight and advice for what the air is like in the scientific community and how it’s changing, why he chose to surf after graduating at the top of his class (among 42 other graduates), and how he has managed to keep life balanced. We often have the image of the theoretical physicist, coffee in one hand, piece of chalk in the other, writing frantically on the board throughout the night, day in, day out, never leaving the building. Garrett explains (and both Jen and I concur, she does yoga and I run) that going out and exercising, engaging in a sport or activity actually helps the thinking, offers a place to go when the thinking gets stuck, and provides the balance we should often seek in our lives between work, play, and rest.
As far as E8? I’ll do my best to offer online resources and supplemental material along with Garrett’s summery (big breath!) Here is the TED talk on E8 to start you off;
Here is the 1.5 hour long lecture that goes INTO E8 if you are still hungry:
here is Lisi’s personal website with an interactive Particle Explorer (I lost hours playing on that thing)
And as always you can check back on Facebook with either Jenny or Jes and though I will not be able to enlighten you, I can direct you to legitimate sources and humour you along the way. Happy Learning 🙂