Behold the Amplituhedron

Have you read about this amplituhedron thing? Here’s an article that describes it: Physicists Discover Geometry Underlying Particle Physics.

You’ll be happy to know that the related improvements to twistor theory vastly simplifty the Britto–Cachazo–Feng–Witten recursion involved in the scattering process. In fact, I suspect you’ll never look at Britto–Cachazo–Feng–Witten recursion the same way again.

What I like about this is that it sounds so much like the crackpot science of mumbling weirdos. Or even better, the whole article reads like the loopy faux-physics back story in science fiction movies. You know, when the geeky scientist guy explains to the protagonist why the time machine works or the faster than light toaster or whatever.

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I mean, this is from the first line of the article: We have “discovered a jewel-like geometric object that dramatically simplifies calculations of particle interactions and challenges the notion that space and time are fundamental components of reality.”

A coruscating jewel at the heart of space-time. Thousands of hours of supercomputer time reduced to a scrap of paper. The foundations of physics buckling and reshaping before our eyes.

Yeah right. Sounds like H.P. Lovecraft to me.

You read this, and you think, oh wait, these people are credible? Institute for Advanced Studies, Harvard, Oxford?

Sometimes a little math does the trick. Sometimes truth is as good as fiction. In 1931, while Einstein and his wife were visiting Caltech, they took a trip to the Mount Wilson Observatory. As Einstein admired the gigantic device, his wife Elsa got the last word.

Like a child at play, [Einstein] scrambled about the framework, to the consternation of his hosts. Nearby was Einstein’s wife, Elsa. Told that the giant reflector was used to determine the universe’s shape, she reportedly replied, “Well, my husband does that on the back of an old envelope.”

(from National Geographic)