Explaining the "Dark Labyrinth" of Particle Physics

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Garrett Lisi is a physicist...and a surfer who lives in a van down by the beach. In his TED Talk from February, he described a way of understanding the world (as a large thing) by looking at the tiniest things we can find. How does the world work at tiny scales? How does the Large Hadron Collider help us figure this out? How is a coral a pretty good metaphor for the patterns of subatomic particles? Lisi explains all of this in surprisingly followable language. (I did find myself rewinding and replaying the video when Lisi talks about the Higgs particle, and I have no idea what his dimensional rotations really are, but I do think I get the gist of what he's saying.)

Discussed: quantum weirdness, Schrödinger's cat, "everything that can happen, does," what can happen, what can't happen, how particle colliders work, subatomic particles and their patterns, the Higgs particle, viewing subatomic particles in multiple dimensions (pretty pictures!), using eight-dimensional mandalas of subatomic particles to find what's missing, the "dark labyrinth," the Large Hadron Collider, and living in a van on Maui.

For more on the Large Hadron Collider, check out Brian Cox's talk from March.

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October 15, 2008 - 10:22am
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