Posted by Bettina Tizzy
Could this be the shape of our universe?
This is a favorite blogpost of mine by Hamlet Au of New World Notes in which he describes the October 2008 unveiling of a virtual E8 Polytope created by Wizard Gynoid with the guidance of renown physicist Garrett Lisi (and sometimes Second Life® avatar, Garrett Netizen).
Today, Bryn Oh teleported me to see what Wizard calls "the best representation of my previous work. The previous E8 Polytopes were like sketches of this." The new mathematical structure consists of 6,672 prims that were generated via script by Wizard with the assistance of Desdemona Enfield. "Desde's giving me a crash course in quantum physics," laughed Wizard, but those of us who know them both realize that this is exactly what is happening.
In Lisi's seminal work from which these mathematical virtual creations stem, "Theory of Everything," the E8 Polytope may at last reveal the link between gravity and the other fundamental forces of nature.
"It has all 240 vertices and if you look straight down from the top, the zenith downwards, you will see a hole through the middle. If it were flattened, it would form the perfect spirograph," Wizard explained.
Here is a TED talk recorded in February, 2008, in which Lisi unenviably attempts to get us up to speed on his unified field theory in just 18 minutes.
I wondered outloud if there is a benefit to realizing an E8 in-world. If it can be realized in CAD, then isn't that enough? Why here? Why now? "This is going to sound paradoxical, but somehow it's more real here. You can almost reach out and touch it. You fly around it and bonk into it," she replied.
Wizard was unaware of any Real Life reconstructions of the E8, and believes that it would be a hugely expensive proposition to try to construct the same sculpture in Real Life. Indeed. Faster, cheaper, easier to create in a virtual environment, and people from all over the world can visit it and share it simultaneously from the comfort of their own homes.
Had Dr. Lisi been involved in some way with the creation of this newest model? "He kept giving me hints and guidance," said Wizard. Did she mean the he wanted her to figure it out herself? She believes so. "I think of him as a mentor or teacher."
Wizard's parting words to me this afternoon about this work brought it all home: "I think it's important. I have an intuition about it."
I like to think that she is right.
This latest E8 is due to disappear any moment, along with the sim it is sitting on. If you hurry, you might still catch it by teleporting directly from here.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Posted by Bettina Tizzy