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Why Time Might Not Be an Illusion
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Sounding the Drums to Listen for Gravity’s Effect on Quantum Phenomena
A bench-top experiment could test the notion that gravity breaks delicate quantum superpositions.

March 17, 2018

CATEGORY: Show Me the Physics! Video Contest (2014) [back]
TOPIC: The Geometry of Particle Physics by Garrett Lisi [refresh]
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Member Antony Garrett Lisi wrote on Jun. 10, 2014 @ 16:57 GMT
Video Image

Video URL

Video Description

Elementary particle physics is one of humanity's greatest achievements. Our description of the fundamental structure of the universe is often described as "beautiful," but the mathematics of differential geometry, representation theory, and quantum field theory needed to see that beauty is inaccessible to most people. Must we resort to using bad analogies? Or is it possible to describe the geometry of particle physics, including the Higgs mechanism, faithfully and accurately but without equations, using only some graphics, an arrow, and some pool floaties... in twelve minutes?

Video Co-Creator(s)

Katie McMillan, TEDxMaui
Sara Tekula, TEDxMaui

Video Creator Bio

Garrett Lisi is a theoretical physicist who escaped academia and obtained a FQXi grant in 2006 to pursue a novel approach towards unifying General Relativity and particle physics. Katie McMillan, founder of TEDxMaui, works to amplify the voice of innovative people and companies in Hawai'i. Sara Tekula is a producer, digital marketing and communications consultant, and college professor living on Maui. With over 15 years' experience working in film and television, she brings a love of storytelling into everything she does.

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Turil Sweden Cronburg wrote on Jun. 24, 2014 @ 15:12 GMT
Your ideas using group theory have been a large part of giving me this weird idea that the universe is structured like Pascal’s triangle, with the universe starting off at the top, as a single unitary “everything” and then, though a continuing pattern (as in cellular automata) of simple rules of division and recombination (with the neighbor division), creating an ever expanding universe of complexity and detail and diversity. Pascal’s triangle describes all the possible combinations of fractions of things (a.k.a, all the different symmetries of reality), and if the universe is expanding, then we will continue to see more and more details, which is what we do seem to be doing (the elements, atomic particles, quarks, Higgs particles, etc.).

It’s too simple of a pattern for most folks to believe, but why do we think that the laws of physics need to be complex? Why can’t they be simple, at the very core?

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Cristinel Stoica wrote on Sep. 9, 2014 @ 06:00 GMT
Dear Garrett,

I was very happy to watch again this video, which I enjoyed very much!

If you have time, I would appreciate if you will watch and rate my videos The puzzle of quantum reality and Can a black hole keep a secret?.

Best regads,


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Member Marc Séguin wrote on Sep. 11, 2014 @ 03:27 GMT

Thank you for commenting and rating part 1 of my trilogy of videos "This Is Physics". You asked for feedback on the way you presented the geometry of particle physics to a popular audience in your video, and I am happy to provide some.

There are many strong points to your video: the use of props (the arrow, the inflatable ball and torus), the description of research on the...

view entire post

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Member Antony Garrett Lisi replied on Sep. 11, 2014 @ 07:37 GMT
Thanks for this review, Marc! I think you're right about the sombrero and Feynman diagrams. I included them as background images for Higgs history because they're so well known to physicists, but you're right that these are too scary to hit people with.

Very happy you liked all those points -- I put a lot of effort into it.

I'll have a look at your other videos.

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Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Sep. 11, 2014 @ 03:46 GMT
Well done Garrett!

I think you were indeed successful at showing how symmetry breaking in Physics can be derived from Geometry, without getting complicated or technical. The most innovative use of pool toys I've ever seen! As it turns out; I get to mention your work in my video on the Mandelbrot Set. My research explores the relationship between symmetry and symmetry breaking via that object, and the possible applications to Physics. Of course; a lot of the Physics relevance is because the trends I explore extend into octonionic space, but I have yet to publish that work. Good luck in the contest!



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Member Antony Garrett Lisi replied on Sep. 11, 2014 @ 07:45 GMT
Thanks Jonathan; good luck to you as well!

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James Lyons Walsh wrote on Sep. 11, 2014 @ 08:02 GMT

You told me many things I didn't know and very much want to find out more about. I think that your talk was well-delivered, accessible, and inspiring. Thanks for the chance to see it.


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Schatzie Dudee wrote on Sep. 12, 2014 @ 19:36 GMT
I always enjoy hearing you speak, whether it's at a TED Talk or the Science Channel -- thank you so much! Great shirt, by the way.

If you can please vote on our 2 short videos, we would be most grateful:


Have a great day,

Schatzie Dudee and kids

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Michael muteru wrote on Sep. 13, 2014 @ 11:04 GMT
Hi garett

First let me take this opportunity to express my honour of writing to a Physics GREAT like you .Very Wonderful physics from you,ive come across E8 theory on TED talks earlier on,i have worked on m-theory,I agree that all reality commutes to maths and geometry.I love your idea about the science hostel.i adopted it and have wholly worked on the immense theory at home.I publish on too have a simple video -,On the geometry of the fundamental physics of the universe on a notebook .Kindly vote for me i think its in the red,meanwhile i vote for yours.

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Stephane Durand wrote on Sep. 27, 2014 @ 04:01 GMT
Just voted !

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