E8: the Most Beautiful Structure in Mathematics

A two minute animation of a potential Theory of Everything. The first 30 seconds explains a few terms and then the structure, the E8 Lie group, “what many consider the most beautiful structure in mathematics”, starts to rotate. Maybe in 8 dimensions, but I’m not sure. It’s striking.

Scientists often discover ideas or theories are true because of their elegance and beauty. Currently the two major theories of physics, relativity and quantum mechanics won’t gel.

Garrett Lisi may have advanced a possible resolution using the E8 Lie group.He assembled the known elementary particles like quarks and leptons within the E8 structure and then using the elegance of the structure added particles that as yet did not fit into any one holistic form. That was in 2007. He say he still has work to do on the theory but he’s optimistic.

The other major theory currently trying to unity all the elementary particles and forces of nature is string theory. It however has become more complex than what it is trying to explain. That is not a good sign of either beauty, or probably truth.

“Beauty! Where shall one begin on a subject so vast, one that has stirred so many celebrated writers? What a theme! An endless one, and let it be said in passing, just such questions as these are the most interesting, because with them, the last word is never said and because everyone can have a different opinion.”
—Eugene Delacroix

Part 1 of The Search For Beauty Video Series – Introduction

Here’s part one of my video series, ‘The Search For Beauty.’


This episode serves as an introduction to the series.  In each part, I look at the root of a word: art, form, muse, perception and revelation, and how if affects our relationship to beauty.  We take a lot of these words for granted, and I find it incredibly interesting where they come from, and why we use them the way we do.

You can find the rest of the series on my vimeo page: vimeo.com/ianrobertsartist