Antony Garrett Lisi

Antony Garrett Lisi (born January 24, 1968), known as Garrett Lisi,[1] is an American theoretical physicist. Lisi works as an independent researcher without an academic position. He is a proponent of balance between scientific research and enjoyment of the outdoors.[2][3][4]

Garrett Lisi
Garrett Lisi interview.jpg
Lisi being interviewed in Los Angeles, 2011
Antony Garrett Lisi

(1968-01-24) January 24, 1968 (age 52)
Alma materUCLA
Known for"An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything"
Scientific career
FieldsTheoretical physics
InstitutionsPacific Science Institute

Lisi is known for "An Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything," a paper proposing a unified field theory based on the E8 Lie group, combining particle physics with Einstein's theory of gravitation. The theory is incomplete and has unresolved problems. The theory has been extensively criticized in the scientific community.[5][6][7]


Education and careerEdit

Lisi was born in Los Angeles and raised in San Diego, California,[8] where he learned to surf.[9] Lisi went on to receive two B.S. degrees with highest honors in physics and mathematics from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1991. Lisi received a Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, San Diego, in 1999.[10] After his Ph.D., Lisi left academia, expressing dissatisfaction with the state of theoretical physics.[11]

Lisi volunteered as a staff member at a local Sudbury school on Maui, taught physics classes at University of Hawaii – Maui College, worked on his physics research, and surfed.[12]

In July 2006, Lisi was awarded an FQXi grant to conduct research in quantum mechanics and unification.[13] In June 2007, Lisi realized that the algebraic structure he had constructed in an attempt to unify the standard model of particle physics with general relativity partially matched part of the algebraic structure of the E8 Lie group.[14][15] In July 2007, Lisi traveled to the inaugural FQXi conference in Reykjavík, Iceland, to give several academic talks.[12]

Lisi's paper, "An exceptionally simple theory of everything",[16] was posted to the arXiv on 6 November 2007. His theory was discussed on major physics blogs[9] and his theory and personal history were reported by media sources in several countries.[17][18][19] Lisi presented his theory at the TED Conference on 28 February 2008,[20] and has since presented several academic talks and colloquia.[21] In July 2010, mathematicians and physicists met with Lisi while at the Banff International Research Station in Alberta, Canada, to discuss his theory.[22]

In July 2009, at a FQXi conference in the Azores, Lisi made a public bet with Frank Wilczek that superparticles would not be detected by 8 July 2015.[23] After a one-year extension to allow for more data collection from the Large Hadron Collider, Frank Wilczek conceded the superparticle bet to Lisi in 2016.[24]

Physics researchEdit

Quantum mechanicsEdit

On 8 May 2006, in an arXiv preprint, "Quantum mechanics from a universal action reservoir,"[25] Lisi proposed that the path integral formulation of quantum mechanics can be derived from information theory and the existence of a universal action reservoir.[26]

An Exceptionally Simple Theory of EverythingEdit

Lisi's main work in theoretical physics is his Exceptionally Simple Theory of Everything. It proposes a unified field theory combining a grand unification theory of particle physics with Albert Einstein's general relativistic description of gravitation, using the largest simple exceptional Lie algebra, E8.[16][27] Lisi stated that gravity, the standard model bosons and fermions can be unified as parts of an E8 superconnection. The theory, called E8 Theory, also predicts the existence of many new particles.[28] He then designed a web application, the Elementary Particle Explorer,[29] for visualizing the charge structure of the elementary particles in the standard model, in grand unified theories, and in E8 Theory.

Lisi's theory has been extensively criticized in the scientific community.[5][6][7] He has responded to this criticism, acknowledging that the theory is incomplete. In a Scientific American post, Lisi stated, "(the 3 generation) ... issue remains the most significant problem, and until it is solved the theory is not complete and cannot be considered much more than a speculative proposal. Without fully describing how the three generations of fermions work, the theory and all predictions from it remain tenuous."[30]

In June 2010 Lisi posted "An explicit embedding of gravity and the Standard Model in E8",[31] and in 2015 an update and generalization, "Lie group cosmology".[32]

Garrett Lisi surfing Ho'okipa, Maui, on January 13, 2012

Invention USAEdit

In 2011 and 2012, Lisi co-hosted (with Reichart von Wolfsheild) Invention USA, a two-season, reality TV series on the History channel.[33] Lisi was replaced as co-host by Scotty Ziegler.


Garrett Lisi is a sports enthusiast – surfing, snowboarding, paragliding, and kitesurfing.[2][9][34] He is a sponsored team rider for an Oregon surfboard manufacturer, 42 Surfboards.


  1. ^ Lisi, A.G. (2008-07-05). "'A' (What, like as opposed to the Garrett Lisi?)". Archived from the original on 23 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-05.
  2. ^ a b Ratliff, Evan (2008-05-01). "Has a surfer / snowboarder who lives in a van rewritten physics? Maybe". Outside Magazine. Archived from the original on 2008-08-28. Retrieved 2008-07-02.
  3. ^ Melekian, Brad (2007-12-03). "Physicist balances waves with world of science". The San Diego Union Tribune.
  4. ^ Wallace-Wells, Benjamin (2008-07-21). "Surfing the universe". The New Yorker.
  5. ^ a b "Surfer makes waves with scientific 'theory of everything'". CBC News. 2007-11-16. Archived from the original on 11 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-02.
  6. ^ a b Collins, Graham P. (March 2008). "Wipeout?". Scientific American. pp. 30–32. Retrieved 2008-06-18.
  7. ^ a b J. Distler & S. Garibaldi (2010). "There is no "Theory of Everything" inside E8". Communications in Mathematical Physics. 298 (2): 419–436. arXiv:0905.2658. Bibcode:2010CMaPh.298..419D. doi:10.1007/s00220-010-1006-y.
  8. ^ Patton, Jim (2007-11-15). "'Physics is beautiful' and a few other thoughts from Garrett Lisi". Fox News. Retrieved 2008-07-02.
  9. ^ a b c Weatherall, James Owen (2008-06-01). "No strings attached". Men's Journal.
  10. ^ Dance, Amber (2008-04-01). "Outsider science". Symmetry Magazine. Archived from the original on 5 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-15.
  11. ^ Carroll, Sean (2008-07-06). "Garrett Lisi's theory of everything". Cosmic Variance. Archived from the original on 23 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-06.
  12. ^ a b Lisi, Antony Garrett (1999-10-13). "The Mauitian Chronicles". Archived from the original on 20 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-02.
  13. ^ "A. Garrett Lisi". FQXi. FQXi Awards. 2006-07-31. Archived from the original on 6 July 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-05.
  14. ^ Merali, Zeeya (2007-11-15). "Is mathematical pattern the theory of everything?". New Scientist. Archived from the original on 12 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-15.
  15. ^ Highfield, Roger (2007-11-14). "Surfer dude stuns physicists with theory of everything". The Daily Telegraph. London, UK. Archived from the original on 2008-05-20. Retrieved 2008-06-15.
  16. ^ a b Lisi, A. Garrett (2007). "An exceptionally simple theory of everything". arXiv:0711.0770 [hep-th].
  17. ^ Porter, Mitch (2010-01-30). "Surfer inspires comparisons to Albert Einstein". The Toronto Star. Retrieved 2011-01-13.
  18. ^ "Geometry is all". The Economist. 2007-11-22. Retrieved 2008-06-15.
  19. ^ "Could the next Einstein be a surfer dude?". Discover Magazine. 2008-02-26. Archived from the original on 9 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-06-15.
  20. ^ Lisi, A.G. (2008-02-28). "Garrett Lisi profile". TED talks. Archived from the original on 18 October 2008. Retrieved 2008-10-17.
  21. ^ Boustead, Greg (2008-11-17). "Garrett Lisi's exceptional approach to everything". SEED Magazine.
  22. ^ Merali, Zeeya (September 2010). "Rummaging for a final theory: Can a 1960s approach unify gravity with the rest of physics?". Scientific American. Retrieved 2011-01-15.
  23. ^ Lisi, A.G. (2009-08-08). "Science Pond". Science Pond. Retrieved 2009-12-13.[permanent dead link]
  24. ^ "Surfer physicist wins superparticle bet with Nobel laureate". New Scientist. Retrieved 2016-08-22.
  25. ^ Lisi, A. Garrett (2006). "Quantum mechanics from a universal action reservoir". arXiv:physics/0605068.
  26. ^ Reilly, John (2007-11-17). "This could end the String Theory industry". The Long View. Archived from the original on 2009-05-29. Retrieved 2008-07-06.
  27. ^ Lisi, A.G. & Weatherall, James Owen (2010). "A geometric theory of everything". Scientific American. Vol. 303 no. 6. pp. 30–37. Bibcode:2010SciAm.303f..54L. doi:10.1038/scientificamerican1210-54. PMID 21141358.
  28. ^ "Ten Quick Questions with ... Garrett Lisi". Science Channel. 2008-03-01. Archived from the original on 5 June 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-02.
  29. ^ Lisi, Garrett; Gardner, Troy & Little, Greg (2008-08-09). "Elementary Particle Explorer". Deferential Geometry. Archived from the original on 17 September 2008. Retrieved 2008-09-04.
  30. ^ Lisi, Garrett (2011-05-04). "Garrett Lisi responds to criticisms". Scientific American (blog post). Retrieved 2011-06-02.
  31. ^ Lisi, A. Garrett (2010). "An explicit embedding of gravity and the Standard Model in E8". arXiv:1006.4908 [hep-th].
  32. ^ Lisi, A. Garrett (2015). "Lie group cosmology". arXiv:1506.08073 [hep-th].
  33. ^ Conroy, Tom (8 December 2011). "Invention USA, a chance to dream". Media Life Magazine. Archived from the original on 2013-01-28. Retrieved 20 December 2011.
  34. ^ Farrar, Steve (2007-11-18). "Einstein on a snowboard". The Sunday Times. London, UK. Archived from the original on 7 August 2008. Retrieved 2008-07-02.

External linksEdit