A laid-back surfer has just drawn up a new theory of the universe that is blowing the establishment’s socks off. His theory is seen by some as the “Holy Grail of physics”, and is earning rave reviews from distinguished scientists. In fact, his model appears to be the elusive overarching explanation to unite all the particles and forces of the cosmos, which has been the most baffling riddle of modern physics—stumping even Einstein. Garrett Lisi, 39, may be operating outside of the scientific mainstream, but he’s no idiot. In fact, he’s a beach bum with a doctorate degree. But with almost no money, no university affiliation and no real responsibilities, Lisi spends most of his time surfing in Hawaii, where he occasionally does stints as a hiking guide and bridge builder, sleeping in a jungle yurt.
The Elegant Universe: Part 3 PBS Airdate: November 4, 2003 NARRATOR: Now, on NOVA, take a thrill ride into a world stranger than science fiction, where you play the game by breaking some rules, where a new view of the universe pushes you beyond the limits of your wildest imagination. This is the world of "string theory," a way of describing every force and all matter from an atom to earth, to the end of the galaxies—from the birth of time to its final tick, in a single theory, a "Theory of Everything." Our guide to this brave new world is Brian Greene, the bestselling author and physicist. BRIAN GREENE (Columbia University) : And no matter how many times I come here, I never seem to get used to it.
Among the unsolved mysteries confronting 21st century physics from gravitational waves to dark energy, neutrinos -the "ghosts of the cosmos"- are near the top of the list. These awesomely low-mass subatomic particles , less than a millionth of the mass of electrons, play a key role in weak interactions and come three flavors: electron, muon, and tau. Stars actively flood the universe with new neutrinos along with ancient particles created some two seconds after the Big Bang. CERN announced this week that a muon-type neutrino dispatched from the CERN research laboratory near Geneva had arrived as a tau neutrino at the INFN Gran Sasso Laboratory in Italy, 730 kilometres (450 miles) away.
This is one of the most beautiful infographics we've ever seen: a high resolution view of different levels of the universe. Our favorite parts are the jaw-dropping nebulae and then the point where you see the size of Pluto compared to Texas. Puts things into perspective. Try it out in full-screen mode: Copyright 2012.