Science needs more people like Garrett Lisi, writes Roger Highfield at the Daily Telegraph. Lisi kitesurfs on Maui, lives in a yurt, snowboards at Tahoe—and has wowed physicists with his "theory of everything." The surfer dude scientist claims to have solved the biggest problem in physics by finding a model of the universe that works on both the large scale of general relativity and the minute scale of quantum physics.
Lisi's theory, based on an eight-dimensional, 248-point mathematical object called E8 whose equation would cover an area the size of Manhattan if written out in tiny print, has found both fans and critics in the scientific community. But whether or not the theory holds true, Lisi's unconventional spirit—when he came up with the theory, he had a doctorate but didn't work in the establishment—offers scientists a maverick role model.