Eric Weinstein is a Harvard math Ph. D. who has been working as an economist here in New York for many years, and someone I’ve often enjoyed talking to over the years. Going back to his days as a graduate student, he has been working on some of his own far out of the mainstream ideas about geometry and physics (which I’ve never seen the details of). Eric has finally gotten to the point where he is willing to talk about these ideas publicly, and he is giving a lecture today in Oxford, something that was arranged by Marcus du Sautoy. The Guardian has a long article about him and his work here.
There’s a bit of an analogy with the Garrett Lisi physics outsider story here, although I think Eric will get less media attention since he doesn’t have the surfing angle going for him. Both he and Garrett are pursuing what seems to me one of the deepest questions around: what is the relationship between the SU(3)xSU(2)xU(1) geometry of the Standard Model, and the 4d pseudo-Riemannian geometry of space-time and general relativity? Garrett was trying to understand this in terms of E(8) symmetry, and I’m looking forward to seeing what Eric’s ideas about this are. I’m not sure when he’ll have a paper out on the arXiv, or whether some sort of version of his lecture will be available.
Update: See Jennifer Ouellette for a critical take on the Guardian coverage.
Update: It seems that claims that physicists were not invited to Weinstein’s talk are not true: an announcement and posters were sent to the physics department, but did not get widely disseminated. For a small amount of info about the talk, see the comment here from “Leaker”.