Tuesday 26 March 2013

FQXi essay competition on "It From Bit or Bit From It?"

I see FQXi (the Foundational Questions Institute) is running an essay competition on the theme: "It From Bit or Bit From It":
It From Bit or Bit From It?

The past century in fundamental physics has shown a steady progression away from thinking about physics, at its deepest level, as a description of material objects and their interactions, and towards physics as a description of the evolution of information about and in the physical world. Moreover, recent years have shown an explosion of interest at the nexus of physics and information, driven by the "information age" in which we live, and more importantly by developments in quantum information theory and computer science.

We must ask the question, though, is information truly fundamental or not? Can we realize John Wheeler's dream, or is it unattainable? We ask: "It From Bit or Bit From It?"

Possible topics or sub-questions include, but are not limited to:

What IS information? What is its relation to "Reality"?

How does nature (the universe and the things therein) "store" and "process" information?

How does understanding information help us understand physics, and vice-versa?


I couldn't write a better introduction to the contest than FQXi Member George Musser, over at the site of our contest partner Scientific American. As George puts it, "Going to a physics conference these days is like landing in The Village of the old TV series The Prisoner, where all anyone talks about is information." Well, now is the time to break out and join us for the discussion here at FQXi.

You can find out more including official rules and entry information at this link. There, you'll also find links to our previous contest entries, including our previous contest Questioning the Foundations.

Entries are due June 28, 2013. Good luck and good writing.

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