Saturday, October 3, 2009

What's ultimately possible in physics?

I recently applied for the FQXi essay contest on the topic “What is ultimately possible in physics?” FQXi stands for Foundational Questions Institute. It “catalyzes, supports, and disseminates research on questions at the foundations of physics and cosmology, particularly new frontiers and innovative ideas integral to a deep understanding of reality, but unlikely to be supported by conventional funding sources.” It is directed and advised by a wide of array of renown professors and scientists. In fact, like the Perimeter Institute, it is exactly the institution that is concerned about questions which I am involved with for almost twenty years: understanding reality in a deeper way. So, it was not difficult to engage myself in writing an essay. I almost have the topic in my bones. So here's the result: “Ordinary Analogues for Quantum Mechanics”.

There's an evaluation process detailed on the FQXI Essay contest introduction page. The good news is that you may take part in that process as public voters. If you also applied with an essay, you may vote with a different profile: “community voter”. The essays should be “topical”, “foundational”, “original and creative”, “technically correct and rigorously argued”, “well and clearly written” and “accessible to a diverse, highly-educated but non-specialist audience, aiming in the range between the level of Scientific American and a review article in Science or Nature.” So if you feel you can evaluate on these criteria, I encourage you to vote for the different essays and participate in the discussion. Don't let yourself be impressed by some current low ratings. As all authors may vote as community members, there may be some nonconstructive voting from author competitors. Many essays, were rated 1 or 2 on a scale of 10, only a few hours after being posted, while they met the above evaluation criteria (in my view). It is more important to support and discuss good and innovative ideas. So, in order to end up with correctly balanced votes, join us at the essays main page!

For myself, I thought a good way to contribute with balanced votes is to communicate on what I perceive to be the core ideas of each essay I'll read. I intend to read as much as I can. There are currently about 100 essays and there may add some that were posted on the last day October 2nd. I've already read 4 of them and selected some inspiring quotes which I'll post on my twitter profile with hashtag #fqxiquote and here on this blog, apart from the physics quotes of the day.

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