By Hamish Johnston
On the front of the shirt is a 2D projection of the E8 lattice, which itself occupies eight dimensions. The vertices of the lattice are decorated with colourful shapes, each representing a fundamental particle.
On the back of the shirt you’ll find a series of equations and Lisi’s signature. Indeed, Lisi was involved in the design, according to Tess Smidt who runs the California-based fashion house BlondeGeek.
Tess is an undergraduate physics student at MIT and seems to run BlondeGeek in her spare time – or maybe it’s the other way round.
The firm’s other T-shirts include one sporting two bonded glucose molecules and the caption “How Sweet!”. Yikes, that’s a bit too sickly for me but I do like their “Evil geniuses prefer blondegeeks!” take on “Gentlemen prefer blondes”.
Garrett Lisi, by the way, is an independent researcher who burst onto the scene in 2007 when he published “An exceptionally simple theory of everything” on the arXiv preprint server.
Lisi’s theory has received a mixed response, with some leading physicists including the Perimeter Institute’s Lee Smolin praising it while others like Jacques Distler of the University of Texas find fault with it.
Lisi’s 2007 paper has not been published in a peer-reviewed journal, apparently because it has never been submitted.
He posted a related paper to arXiv last year, and this paper was also submitted for publication in the proceedings of the Conference on Representation Theory and Mathematical Physics, which was held in 2009 at Yale University.
You can see the slides from Lisi’s talk at the conference here.