Tuesday, January 18, 2011

E8 on a T-shirt!

With thanks to Garrett :-)

Click to enlarge, and get your own T-shirt here.


  1. How long ago was that picture taken, Bee? Because you don't look very preggers.

    I'm a big fan of Lisi's, who has taught me many things, not the least of which is that Italian is the most beautiful sounding language. I'll be even a bigger fan if it turns out that he's right. L-)

    But I have to question ... will Garrett make any money off of this, and how much per shirt if so? He seems pretty darn poor, which is a shame in this age of "Nice guys finish last, so arseholes finish first." Not fair.

    I hope he makes a bundle. I'm poor myself, so I'll order two. Wish it could be more.

  2. The photos were taken a few days ago.

    Yes, it's no coincidence many operas are in Italian. Or German. Allegedly German does well too when it comes to singing. I like French better though, it sounds much smoother, but has too many sounds that are difficult to sing.

    I have no clue if Garrett makes money with these shirts, but I hope so.

    Just heard this morning though that men's L shirts are out of stock, so I hope you wear XL ;-) Best,


  3. A few days ago?! Dayam, you're back in fighting shape! Good for you, Bee. I will also note that's the first pic of you and Stefan as parents, you look very happy, and not tired at all. Vunderbar!

    I'm 6'0", 185 lbs., with very broad shoulders, so XL is the only size I take. So, cool.

    French is beautiful, too. German sounds very manly, very macho (but I never thought of what it sounds like as singing ... we don't do opera here in the States). I think German was the base language for Klingon. I just watched Valkyre and Inglourius Basterds this past weekend with my family, and I must admit there is something very enticing just hearing a German speak! Gaelic is very nice too. I will however, never understand a word of someone speaking American Cajun or English Cockney, even though they're in English ... allegedly.

  4. Hi Bee,

    You two look very fine in the pictures, and the T-shirt seems pretty. I wonder if they ship to Brazil.

    Allegedly German does well too when it comes to singing.

    Very, very well! At least, I think so, when it comes to sacred/baroque music. I study Bach cantatas and can sing several of them, although I am not sure you would understand my pronouncing. At least I try my best. :)


  5. Hi Christine,

    They have an option "ship outside the US" which does at least list Brazil. Not sure though how much the postage fee is. Best,


  6. Hi Steven,

    See boy singers singing Bach or Mozart, specially the best boy choral in the world (IMO!), the Tölzer Knabenchor, e.g. here. There is nothing macho about it! Sounds very pleasant.


  7. Thanks for the info, Bee!

    (PS- Our comments crossed on singing in German! So now Steven has at least two good samples...)

  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

  9. Thank you both kindly!

    Blondegeek - The Oxymoron that came true

    Lol ! :-) I just got it.

    WHO is Blondegeek? A mystery! :-)

    Reminds me of a math joke:

    Solving an equation by a Blondie:

    1/n sin x = ?

    Cross out the two n's.

    six = 6

  10. Lovely people wear lovely dress..;-) Although I'd preffer moonshine or some more complex group as an Universal logo on my chest...

  11. Hey, nice shirts! Thanks for posting. :)

    I helped make these shirts because I wanted to see them done right, not as a money making venture. (I invested most of my grants in NFLX stock a few years ago, and... well, I don't have kids yet :D -- so my finances are peachy.) I partnered with Blondegeek (a.k.a. Tess), a physics undergrad at MIT who happens to make delightfully geeky tshirts as a hobby. It cost me a bit up front to make the nine silkscreens needed for the shirt, but they've come out great. Prices are pretty close to cost, with enough going to Blondegeek to cover her effort for handling, with some left over for pizza and textbooks. If I end up in the black I'll probably put the money towards porting the Elementary Particle Explorer to the iphone.

    If you need an XL or L there are some left in Tri-indigo (a lightweight cotton/poly/rayon blend I like), or, we just submitted a restock order to the printer, so you can order any shirt you like now and it should get shipped in about three weeks.

    Yep, we are shipping internationally -- PayPal figures that out.


  12. Click here, and be sure to read the replies. :-)

    Hi, Garrett, thanks and good for you. Seems like you suffer from from the same problem I have, which is to put Truth and Knowledge over personal wealth, ye poor bastard. :-p

    Actually NOT poor, as you invested wisely. Unlike my wife, who invested heavily in Lucent when it was first floated (at 40 I think), and ... we still have it. How low can it go?

  13. Isn't that heartwarming? The kids are in good hands.

    But Garrett, what happens if it is torsion not curvature, arxiv:1101.1958?

    A new PhD/Chem sought employment. During the social phase he displayed his encircling ankle tattoo,


    An interviewer pointed and asked, "isn't that stereocenter reversed?" It is important to know what you know when contingencies arise.

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. Hi Bee,

    That’s a great looking tee shirt, the only way it could have been better is if it was also offered as a golf shirt. To be honest though I don’t have anything near what one might consider a clear understanding of Garret’s theory and thus would find wearing one to lend a false impression. However now that I think about it I could have added on the front below the E8 figure, “I don’t actually understand this theory, simply a GUT level appreciation” :-)



  16. Funny, Phil. For a better laugh, click >here (thanks to Pat Bellew for that one).

  17. Steven,

    I’m glad you liked it, yet I now find myself torn about actually if I should do this as it breaks the symmetry. Then again as I understand it Garrett has been searching for a way to have some broken spontaneously in respect to action and this would certainly represent such an attempt :-)



  18. Oops, it's Pat Ballew not Bellew. Sorry, Pat.

    Whether it's breaking symmetry or cutting off infinities, it's all good, Phil. I can't recommend that mathematical companion book edited by Gowers strongly enough to get your knowledge quotient up about all this. Don't fall for the String Theory crowd's "hiding behind the math." It's not Complex, only Complicated. Proving stuff is Complex, but no one except the Math Pros from Dover are expected to do that.

    Anyway, as Musser and Smolin have said, we need more Philosophers such as yourself in Physics to challenge the assumptions. But if you guys don't know the maths, how can you?

  19. Physics World magazine has a Feature Article posted to its website entitled "Reality Check At The LHC"

    Oh yeah! Sweet!!!

    The LHC may be the great unmasker of the sorry pseudo-science that has plagued theoretical physics for decades.

    Connection to E-8 fantasies? You need to ask?

    Enjoy the article,

  20. With all due respect, Rob, please. is it just me or don't you think you're insulting the very person who came up with the idea for these T-Shirts?

    Because even if it turns out that E8 Lie is just Math and not Physical, so what? It's still beautiful, and there is much work to be done.

    Anyways, Lisi admitted in his first major preprint that he might be wrong, and where do we find THAT kind of honesty these days?

    Also, you can't get mad at me because I started this reply off with "With all due respect." Love what you said at the last post about Order-in-Chaos theory. Keep on truckin'.

    By hook or by crook, we WILL get to the promised land.

    Or not. :-)

  21. /*..I don’t actually understand this theory, simply a GUT level appreciation.. even if it turns out that E8 Lie is just Math and not Physical, so what... */

    E8 Lie group geometry has a good meaning in dense aether model and therefore in observable physics. It's not accidental, it's considered seriously both with proponents of dual quantum gravity theories, both with string theorists, who are "fighting" mutually under normal circumstances. It describes the tightest arrangement of hyperspheres in 3D. It's an example of emergent geometry, which you can find at both quantum, both cosmological scales. You can observe it in dodecahedral structure of CMB fluctuations or maybe even solar system, for example. You can find an explanation of E8 geometry on my blog.

    Actually, if some geometry describes so many generations of elementary particles and their mutual relations, it simply MUST have a physical meaning. I don't believe in coincidence.

  22. Don't worry Steve, I'm not mad.

    It is the pseudo-scientists, with their simple-minded Platonic idealism and their Ptolemaic "model-building" who are truly mad.

    One fine day in the forseeable future they are going to be unmasked, and the LHC could offer the first step in that process. When the dark matter is positively identified, then their childish concepts, no matter how many layers of math they hide them behind, will be revealed.

    Some egos the size of Hindenburgs are in real jeopardy.

    Lisi seems like a nice guy, and I welcome speculation, but I am less thrilled about entrepreneurship, if you know what I mean.

    Got to love it!

  23. I don't see what the big deal is about an MIT grad student trying to make a buck, do you Rob? It's not like they're setting up a massive Ponzi scheme. Most grad students are poor. They get paid something like $15,000 per year to teach the undergrads, and have to study and do research on top of that. And they can choose anything to work on that they wish, as long as it's the one thing their mentor is working on. :-)

    So they have high IQ's, they're poor, they have to teach slackers who either miss class from a hangover or who think they'll be the next Mark Zuckerberg, and work on a project they have next to no chance of choosing.

    Sounds like a winning lifestyle to me! Reminds me of the book: Surviving Your Stupid, Stupid Decision to Go to Grad School by Adam Ruben.

    THEN, once they get out, they find only 1-2% of those their age with the same degree can find a job at a top research institution in their field. Sheesh.

    It was not my intention to depress. But majoring in Accounting, Finance, or Law looks better every day. Or Earth Science. That's hot.

  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

  25. If you click on the photo of Bee and Stefan's backs turned, you can almost read the equations.

    However, if you click again, they enlarge (for Phil Plait: embigginate), and you can clearly read them.

    There are 5:

    - Connection
    - Curvature
    - Action
    - two Possibility equations

    Possibility equations?! What the ... ?!

    I've never heard of a Possibility equation, other than:

    Zephir + English-as-a-second-language course = Possibly able to communicate

    However, Possibility equations seem simple, like F=ma or E=mc^2

    So ... there may be hope to reach out to the public.

    Hey Garrett, are you thinking of writing a book? I'll brainstorm some snappy titles for you if you wish. I'm pretty creative.

    Here's one off the top of my head:

    "E8 Lie: No Fooling"

    OK, ok, needs work, I know. That's why I said "brainstorm."

    How's this?

    "How to Teach E8 Lie Algebra to Your Porpoise with a Purpose", or, "There's More to Life Than Catching Fish"

  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

  27. Hi Steven,

    As I’ve said before, I’m neither a philosopher nor a physicist, yet merely a wonderer. I would however agree that physics needs more philosophers, with some also being physicists. The thing is Garrett himself represents as being such a person, with his philosophy for life not only what guides and drives him, yet more so what lends his life to have meaning. That is being concerned with philosophy is hollow, if all it provides one is an increased understanding of the form and purpose of things in the absence of joy.

    ”Now, the only way to maintain sanity and achieve happiness in the midst of this uncertainty is to keep balance and perspective in life. I try to balance my life equally between physics, love and surfing, my own three charge directions. This way, even if the physics I work on comes to nothing, I still know I've lived a good life.”

    - Garrett Lisi, Ted Lecture (2008)



  28. Thanks for that, Phil, good quote by Lisi. Of course if he gets married he'll have to pick 2 of those 3 and if he has even 1 kid doing more than 1 of those will be tough. :-)

    From the article Rob Oldershaw referred to at Physicsworld.com:

    "Supersymmetry is a much deeper idea than extra dimensions, and there are also strong circumstantial hints that low-energy SUSY is correct," says Arkani-Hamed. "So if I had to bet, I would bet (by a lot) that some variation of SUSY will show up at the LHC."

    Hmm, OK, I give up. I know what "circumstantial evidence" is in Law but what the heck is a "circumstantial hint"?

    That's a very good article btw Rob thanks. Here is the link.

    I must admit that's the first time I've even heard of E6 diquarks, colorons, and leptoquarks. It's like the more you learn the more you realize you have to learn. I don't know how the Pros keep up.

  29. "E8 Lie group geometry has a good meaning in dense aether model and therefore in observable physics. "

    Haha! Thanks Zephir, I needed a good laugh.

    One regrettable aspect of this whole business is the automatic association, in the minds of some interested laymen, of Lisi with E8. The algebra has been known, and even used in physics, for decades, and there are probably many people who understand its structure better than Lisi (he may even say the same himself).

  30. The exceptional Lie groups of types G2, F4, E6, E7, E8 have dimensions 14, 52, 78, 133, and 248. There is also a group E7½ of dimension 190.

    E7½ ?! I have to admit that's a new one, to me.

    Anyway, E8 Lie is 248 dimension.

    To visualize that ...

    Dr Lisi with 222 very close personal friends, each corresponding to one of the 240 roots of E8. If his next 18 very close personal friends match the theory, it will be proven. "It's not finished yet, of course," he says. "I did have to establish the angle of the right eyebrow empirically."


COMMENTS ON THIS BLOG ARE PERMANENTLY CLOSED. You can join the discussion on Patreon.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.