Surfer Catches Quantum Wave
Garret Lisi, a 39 year-old surfer and at-large physicist, recently proposed a new theory that unifies human understanding of the fundamental forces of the physical world, an enigma that some consider to be the Holy Grail of physics. Although Lisi earned a doctorate from the University of California, he works outside of academia so he can pursue the activities and topics he finds most interesting. When not trying to unlock the secrets of the universe, Lisi spends his time surfing in Hawaii and snowboarding in Tahoe.
Last month Lisi presented his ideas in an online paper, “An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything.” The Daily Telegraph reports that some scientists remain skeptical of his attempt to mesh Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity with the speculations of quantum mechanics. But many others are intrigued by the beauty and simplicity of Lisi’s proposal, which describes the entire physical universe as an elegant symphony spanning eight dimensions. Lee Smolin, a noted Canadian physicist, says Lisi’s unification model is “one of the most compelling I’ve see in many, many years.”
The non-scientific world is also taking notice. Their enthusiasm may allow Lisi to forget his usual worry about how he will pay next month’s rent. A representative from a Hollywood film production company has expressed interest in making his story into a feature film, and “at least one major agent is scrambling to sell publishers a book that will tell the story of Garrett Lisi and his struggles to comprehend the cosmos.”
Lisi rejoiced when he figured out his theory: “My brain exploded with the implications and the beauty of the thing,” he said. “I thought: ‘Holy crap, that’s it!’”