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Previous Contests

How Should Humanity Steer the Future?
January 9, 2014 - August 31, 2014
Contest Partners: Jaan Tallinn, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, The John Templeton Foundation, and Scientific American
read/discusswinners

It From Bit or Bit From It
March 25 - June 28, 2013
Contest Partners: The Gruber Foundation, J. Templeton Foundation, and Scientific American
read/discusswinners

Questioning the Foundations
Which of Our Basic Physical Assumptions Are Wrong?
May 24 - August 31, 2012
Contest Partners: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, SubMeta, and Scientific American
read/discusswinners

Is Reality Digital or Analog?
November 2010 - February 2011
Contest Partners: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation and Scientific American
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What's Ultimately Possible in Physics?
May - October 2009
Contest Partners: Astrid and Bruce McWilliams
read/discusswinners

The Nature of Time
August - December 2008
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RECENT FORUM POSTS

Thomas Ray: "" ... finds a causal rationale ... One can rationalize anything, Peter;..." in The Quantum Pet Store:...

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Steve Agnew: "I am just going by the numbers that I read in the vast majority of the very..." in The Quantum Pet Store:...

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RECENT ARTICLES
click titles to read articles

Life's Quantum Crystal Ball
Does the ability to predict the future—perhaps with quantum help—define the fundamental difference between living and inanimate matter?

The Quantum Truth Seeker
Watching particles fly through an interferometer might help to unveil higher-order weirdness behind quantum theory.

Quantifying Occam
Is the simplest answer always the best? Connecting Medieval monks to computational complexity, using the branch of mathematics known as category theory.

Heart of Darkness
An intrepid physicist attempts to climb into the core of black hole.

Why Quantum?
Entropy could explain why nature chose to play by quantum rules.


FQXi FORUM: What's Ultimately Possible in Physics? Essay Contest
October 25, 2014

Here you can read and discuss entries in FQXi's 2009 essay contest. Please remember that the intention of this contest and forum is to provide a meaningful, open, and respectful discussion of the ideas brought forth. Commentary that is unconstructive, insulting, or excessively distracting from the core essay contest goals will be removed. As always, the opinions expressed in the essays and the forums do not necessarily reflect those held by FQXi. That said, feel free to join the discussion!

Please note: Prize Winners announced! Click here for results.


Please note that you can order the essays by:




What Is Ultimately Possible in Physics? by Stephen Wolfram
43 posts  •  created by Stephen Wolfram   •  Oct. 9, 2009 @ 16:33 GMT

Two steps back, one leap forward by Steven Oostdijk
65 posts  •  created by Steven Oostdijk   •  Oct. 8, 2009 @ 11:33 GMT

Might black holes reveal their inner secrets? by Ted Jacobson and Thomas Sotiriou
14 posts  •  created by Thomas Sotiriou   •  Oct. 5, 2009 @ 16:22 GMT

Natural, Integrated, and Interactive Experience and What is Ultimately Possible in Physics by Frank Martin DiMeglio
48 posts  •  created by Frank Martin DiMeglio   •  Oct. 5, 2009 @ 16:22 GMT

Lessons from failures to achieve what was possible in the twentieth century physics by Vesselin Petkov
57 posts  •  created by Vesselin Petkov   •  Oct. 5, 2009 @ 16:22 GMT

Is No Drama Quantum theory Possible? by Andrey Akhmeteli
3 posts  •  created by Andrey Akhmeteli   •  Oct. 5, 2009 @ 16:22 GMT

Physics, Information and Life, Towards a Universal Theory by David W. Hobill
8 posts  •  created by David W. Hobill   •  Oct. 5, 2009 @ 16:22 GMT

Why Physics Knows No Bounds by Enrico Rodrigo
2 posts  •  created by Enrico Rodrigo   •  Oct. 5, 2009 @ 16:20 GMT

The Zero-sum Game of Physics by Ryan S. Westafer
6 posts  •  created by Ryan S. Westafer   •  Oct. 5, 2009 @ 11:28 GMT

Mission Impossible by Maulik Parikh
14 posts  •  created by Maulik Parikh   •  Oct. 5, 2009 @ 11:27 GMT

Solving the mystery of wave/particle duality---the road to a unified theory of physics by Dennis Crossley
22 posts  •  created by Dennis Crossley   •  Oct. 5, 2009 @ 11:27 GMT

Mountains on the Moon: The Multiverse and the Limits of Physics by Richard Easther
16 posts  •  created by Richard Easther   •  Oct. 5, 2009 @ 11:27 GMT

The No-Signalling Theorems: A Nitpicking Distinction by Kent A. Peacock
3 posts  •  created by Kent A. Peacock   •  Oct. 5, 2009 @ 10:56 GMT

Towards A More Realistic Interpretation of Quantum Mechanics by Terence Nelson
11 posts  •  created by Terence Nelson   •  Oct. 5, 2009 @ 10:56 GMT

Ultimately, Experimental Metaphysics Will Triumph by James Graber
3 posts  •  created by James Graber   •  Oct. 5, 2009 @ 10:55 GMT

The Ultimate Physics Experiment by Ken Wharton
10 posts  •  created by Ken Wharton   •  Oct. 5, 2009 @ 10:55 GMT

What is ultimately possible in physics depends on foundations and philosophy by Peter Lynds
43 posts  •  created by Peter Lynds   •  Oct. 5, 2009 @ 10:40 GMT

Emergent gravity and the spatiotemporal limits of knowledge by Gil Jannes
5 posts  •  created by Gil Jannes   •  Oct. 5, 2009 @ 10:40 GMT

Unification and Emergence in Physics: the Problem of Articulation by Ian Durham
22 posts  •  created by Ian Durham   •  Oct. 5, 2009 @ 10:40 GMT

On the Impossibility of Separating Clocks from Rulers by Armin Nikkhah Shirazi
4 posts  •  created by Armin Nikkhah Shirazi   •  Oct. 5, 2009 @ 10:39 GMT

Unification and the Limits of Knowledge by Marcelo Gleiser
10 posts  •  created by Marcelo Gleiser   •  Oct. 2, 2009 @ 21:46 GMT

Physics and limits of Human Thought by Gagandeep Singh Bhatia
21 posts  •  created by Gagandeep Singh Bhatia   •  Oct. 2, 2009 @ 21:44 GMT

Ultimately, in Physics the Rational shall become Reasonable! by Terry Padden
72 posts  •  created by Terry Padden   •  Oct. 2, 2009 @ 17:01 GMT

Impossible To Sketch The Ultimate Thing In Science by Madhuri Latha Kanukollu
7 posts  •  created by madhuri latha kanukollu   •  Oct. 2, 2009 @ 16:17 GMT

What is Ultimately Possible in Physics, Completeness of Quantum Mechanics, Quantum Gravity, and Consciousness by Janko Kokosar
15 posts  •  created by Janko Kokosar   •  Oct. 2, 2009 @ 16:16 GMT

At the Frontier of Knowledge by Sabine Hossenfelder
23 posts  •  created by Sabine Hossenfelder   •  Oct. 2, 2009 @ 16:16 GMT

Possibilistic Physics by Tobias Fritz
13 posts  •  created by Tobias Fritz   •  Oct. 2, 2009 @ 16:16 GMT

Chaos and the Quantum: Limits of Physics Involving the Physics of Limits by William C. McHarris
15 posts  •  created by William C. McHarris   •  Oct. 2, 2009 @ 16:16 GMT

Interstellar Travel and the Future of Physics by Stephen Lee
7 posts  •  created by Stephen Lee   •  Oct. 2, 2009 @ 16:15 GMT

The limits of cosmology by Amedeo Balbi
18 posts  •  created by Amedeo Balbi   •  Oct. 2, 2009 @ 15:03 GMT

Charged Photons? - An Educated Guess of Properties by Enrique Canessa
8 posts  •  created by E. Canessa   •  Oct. 2, 2009 @ 15:02 GMT

Subjective Universe by Daegene Song
9 posts  •  created by Daegene Song   •  Oct. 2, 2009 @ 15:02 GMT

Fundamental Physics of Consciousness by Edwin Eugene Klingman
103 posts  •  created by Edwin Eugene Klingman   •  Oct. 2, 2009 @ 14:11 GMT

The Ultimate Meaning of the Universe. A finger exercise on an all-pervasive machine by Gerhard Groessing
6 posts  •  created by Gerhard Groessing   •  Oct. 2, 2009 @ 12:05 GMT

On the Non-Existence of TOEs by Ari Stophrenic
4 posts  •  created by Ari Stophrenic   •  Oct. 2, 2009 @ 11:59 GMT

On the applicability of quantum physics by George F. R. Ellis
23 posts  •  created by George F. R. Ellis   •  Oct. 2, 2009 @ 11:59 GMT

On the (im)possibility of quantum computing by Gheorghe Sorin Paraoanu
18 posts  •  created by Gheorghe Sorin Paraoanu   •  Oct. 2, 2009 @ 11:58 GMT

A Computational Anthropic Principle: Where is the Hardest Problem in the Multiverse? by Navin Sivanandam
4 posts  •  created by Navin Sivanandam   •  Oct. 2, 2009 @ 10:54 GMT

The Possibility of Unification via a Global Adynamical Organizing Principle by Michael David Silberstein and W. M. Stuckey
29 posts  •  created by Michael David Silberstein   •  Oct. 2, 2009 @ 10:53 GMT

Spacetime and Matter - a duality of partial orders by Hans-Thomas Elze
46 posts  •  created by Hans-Thomas Elze   •  Oct. 2, 2009 @ 09:45 GMT

Finally it is possible to understand our universe and its implications by Gordon Kane
9 posts  •  created by Gordon Kane   •  Oct. 2, 2009 @ 09:43 GMT

The experimental method and the constitutive limits of the mathematical description of physics by Enrico Prati
17 posts  •  created by Enrico Prati   •  Oct. 2, 2009 @ 09:42 GMT

Quantum Physics for Burning Questions by George Schoenfelder
46 posts  •  created by George Schoenfelder   •  Oct. 2, 2009 @ 09:42 GMT

The Fundamental Importance of Discourse In Theoretical Physics by Philip Vos Fellman, Jonathan Vos Post, and Christine Carmichael
19 posts  •  created by Philip Vos Fellman   •  Oct. 2, 2009 @ 09:40 GMT

Conformal Geometrodynamics as the Basis for the Unified Description of Nature by Mikhail Vladimirovich Gorbatenko and Gennady Grigorievich Kochemasov
8 posts  •  created by Mikhail Vladimirovich Gorbatenko   •  Oct. 1, 2009 @ 14:58 GMT

What is the Ultimate Velocity? by Andrew Miller
16 posts  •  created by Andrew Miller   •  Oct. 1, 2009 @ 11:41 GMT

The Ultimate Possibilty Physics.Anthropological Daseinisation by Michael Alexeevich Popov
5 posts  •  created by Michael Alexeevich Popov   •  Sep. 30, 2009 @ 14:28 GMT

Ordinary Analogues for Quantum Mechanics by Arjen Dijksman
74 posts  •  created by Arjen Dijksman   •  Sep. 30, 2009 @ 14:28 GMT

Wigner's weird friends by Pablo Garcia Tello
8 posts  •  created by Pablo Garcia Tello   •  Sep. 30, 2009 @ 14:15 GMT

What's Ultimately Possible in Physics by Paul N Butler
23 posts  •  created by Paul N Butler   •  Sep. 30, 2009 @ 14:15 GMT

The Ultimate Physics of Number Counting by Andreas Martin Lisewski
22 posts  •  created by Andreas Martin Lisewski   •  Sep. 30, 2009 @ 14:15 GMT

The Possibility for Answers from Physics by Jonathan J. Dickau
128 posts  •  created by Jonathan J. Dickau   •  Sep. 30, 2009 @ 14:15 GMT

Star Maker: Reshaping the Archipelago of Habitability by Milan M Cirkovic
9 posts  •  created by Milan M Cirkovic   •  Sep. 30, 2009 @ 14:15 GMT

On the impossibility of superluminal travel: the warp drive lesson by Carlos Barcelo, Stefano Finazzi, and Stefano Liberati
7 posts  •  created by Stefano Finazzi   •  Sep. 29, 2009 @ 13:59 GMT

Quantum theory, gravity, and the standard model of particle physics : using the hints of today to build the final theory of tomorrow by Tejinder Singh
74 posts  •  created by Tejinder Singh   •  Sep. 29, 2009 @ 12:13 GMT

Ignoramus and Ignorabimus by Alfred Tang
11 posts  •  created by Alfred Tang   •  Sep. 29, 2009 @ 12:12 GMT

Marblewood: A Gentle Unification of Quantum Theory and General Relativity by Cristinel Stoica
62 posts  •  created by Cristinel Stoica   •  Sep. 29, 2009 @ 12:12 GMT

What Is Ultimately Possible in Physics Will Be Found Within An Observer-Participant Universe Where The Photon Carries The Arrow of Time by Darryl Jay Leiter
43 posts  •  created by Darryl Jay Leiter   •  Sep. 28, 2009 @ 12:33 GMT

Unification of Nuclear Structure Theory Is Possible by Norman D. Cook
26 posts  •  created by Norman D. Cook   •  Sep. 28, 2009 @ 12:33 GMT

What is ultimately possible in physics? by Jeffrey Nicholls
14 posts  •  created by Jeffrey Nicholls   •  Sep. 28, 2009 @ 12:33 GMT

The Imitation of Christ: The Universal Security State, Freedom and Responsibility by Eugene Fredrick Mische
2 posts  •  created by Eugene Fredrick Mische   •  Sep. 28, 2009 @ 12:33 GMT

Is Feasibility in Physics Limited by Fantasy Alone? by Cristian S. Calude and Karl Svozil
19 posts  •  created by Cristian S. Calude   •  Sep. 25, 2009 @ 17:46 GMT

What if ... fundamental mathematics constrains the physics? by Franklin Potter
48 posts  •  created by Franklin Potter   •  Sep. 25, 2009 @ 17:45 GMT

A Historical Approach to Research in Fundamental Physics by Emile Grgin
127 posts  •  created by Emile - Grgin   •  Sep. 25, 2009 @ 11:42 GMT

What is ultimately possible in Physics? Can Quantum Physics lead us to a Transempirical, Transmaterial and Transpersonal Domain of Physical Reality? by Lothar Schäfer
6 posts  •  created by Lothar Schafer   •  Sep. 25, 2009 @ 11:42 GMT

Galilei, Gold, Ren - votes for ultimate realism by Eckard Blumschein
128 posts  •  created by Eckard Blumschein   •  Sep. 25, 2009 @ 11:42 GMT

From Chaos To Consciousness by Basileios Grispos
18 posts  •  created by BASILEIOS GRISPOS   •  Sep. 24, 2009 @ 11:30 GMT

Stardrives and Spinoza by Louis Crane
30 posts  •  created by Louis Crane   •  Sep. 24, 2009 @ 11:30 GMT

The limit of physics,..Science, Consciousness, and Free Will. by Juan Enrique Ramos Beraud
10 posts  •  created by Juan Enrique Ramos Beraud   •  Sep. 24, 2009 @ 11:30 GMT

What Physics Can and Can't Do? by Narendra Nath
71 posts  •  created by NARENDRA NATH   •  Sep. 23, 2009 @ 09:49 GMT

Can God find a place in physics? St. Augustine's philosophy meets general relativity by Ettore Minguzzi
41 posts  •  created by Ettore Minguzzi   •  Sep. 22, 2009 @ 12:08 GMT

Synergy Physics - A Holistic View by Stephen A. Brenner
5 posts  •  created by Stephen A. Brenner   •  Sep. 22, 2009 @ 12:08 GMT

A Geometrical Approach Towards A Theory of Everything by Ray B Munroe
264 posts  •  created by Ray B Munroe   •  Sep. 22, 2009 @ 12:08 GMT

It's the Temperature! by Buz Craft
18 posts  •  created by Buz Craft   •  Sep. 22, 2009 @ 12:08 GMT

The fairness principle and the ultimate theory of not everything by Giovanni Amelino-Camelia
76 posts  •  created by Giovanni Amelino-Camelia   •  Sep. 17, 2009 @ 10:20 GMT

A New Kind of New Kind of Science by Owen Thomas Cunningham
51 posts  •  created by Owen Thomas Cunningham   •  Sep. 17, 2009 @ 10:20 GMT

Quantum Mechanics and the Source of Awareness by Casey Blood
56 posts  •  created by Casey Blood   •  Sep. 16, 2009 @ 17:04 GMT

On Explaining Existence by Dean Rickles
37 posts  •  created by Dean Rickles   •  Sep. 16, 2009 @ 17:04 GMT

Gravity From the Ground Up by Don Limuti
58 posts  •  created by Don Limuti   •  Sep. 16, 2009 @ 17:03 GMT

Energy, Matter, and Scale in an Evolving Universe by Vasile Coman
8 posts  •  created by Vasile Coman   •  Sep. 16, 2009 @ 17:03 GMT

The Ultimately Possible in Physics by Sascha Vongehr
15 posts  •  created by Sascha Vongehr   •  Sep. 16, 2009 @ 17:03 GMT

What is Ultimately Possible in Physics? Physics! A Hero’s Journey with Galileo, Newton, Faraday, Maxwell, Planck, Einstein, Schrodinger, Bohr, and the Greats towards Moving Dimensions Theory. E pur si muove! by Dr. Elliot McGucken
50 posts  •  created by Dr. Elliot McGucken   •  Sep. 16, 2009 @ 14:14 GMT

The Infinite Fractal Universe by Robert L. Oldershaw
100 posts  •  created by Robert L. Oldershaw   •  Sep. 15, 2009 @ 15:59 GMT

The Intrinsic Structure of the Quantities by Peter van Gaalen
65 posts  •  created by Peter van Gaalen   •  Sep. 15, 2009 @ 15:43 GMT

Physics Stops where Natural Metaphysics Starts by Marcel-Marie LeBel
36 posts  •  created by Marcel-Marie LeBel   •  Sep. 11, 2009 @ 12:42 GMT

Turing's Landscape: decidability, computability and complexity in string theory by Abhijnan Rej
23 posts  •  created by Abhijnan Rej   •  Sep. 11, 2009 @ 12:31 GMT

Quantum mechanics from a stochastic least action principle by Joakim David Munkhammar
19 posts  •  created by Joakim David Munkhammar   •  Sep. 11, 2009 @ 12:26 GMT

Could we physically replicate our universe? by Malcolm Macleod
5 posts  •  created by Malcolm Macleod   •  Sep. 11, 2009 @ 12:21 GMT

Taming of the One by Helmut Hansen
30 posts  •  created by Helmut Hansen   •  Sep. 11, 2009 @ 12:20 GMT

Ultimate Possibilities of Physics by Ben Baten
29 posts  •  created by Ben Baten   •  Sep. 9, 2009 @ 12:13 GMT

What is Ultimately Possible in Physic? by James L De Spears
11 posts  •  created by James L De Spears   •  Sep. 9, 2009 @ 11:15 GMT

Is There a System Beyond the Particle? by Mohammed Sanduk
27 posts  •  created by Mohammed Sanduk   •  Sep. 4, 2009 @ 11:29 GMT

Perfect Symmetry by Peter A Jackson
139 posts  •  created by Peter Jackson   •  Sep. 1, 2009 @ 15:17 GMT

Can we see into a black hole? by Lawrence B Crowell
142 posts  •  created by Lawrence B Crowell   •  Sep. 1, 2009 @ 14:46 GMT

Matter-universe to Cluster-matter-universe by Jayakar Johnson Joseph
221 posts  •  created by Jayakar Johnson Joseph   •  Sep. 1, 2009 @ 14:46 GMT

Mechanics of a Self-Creating Universe by Anton W. M. Biermans
27 posts  •  created by Anton W.M. Biermans   •  Sep. 1, 2009 @ 14:46 GMT

What is Possible for Theoretical Physics? by James A Putnam
62 posts  •  created by James A Putnam   •  Aug. 26, 2009 @ 12:32 GMT

The Return of the Gods - Cosmology at its Limits by Ernst Fischer
8 posts  •  created by Ernst Fischer   •  Aug. 20, 2009 @ 13:54 GMT

ant among giants. . .a fable by Richard P Dolan
16 posts  •  created by Richard P Dolan   •  Aug. 20, 2009 @ 13:54 GMT

What is possible in physics depends on the chosen representational formalism by Lev Goldfarb
105 posts  •  created by Lev Goldfarb   •  Aug. 7, 2009 @ 05:28 GMT

How to create an absolute vacuum and a perfectly isolated system by Constantin Zaharia Leshan
36 posts  •  created by Constantin Zaharia Leshan   •  Jul. 27, 2009 @ 08:24 GMT

Interferometric detection of gravitational waves: understanding if Einstein's General Relativity is the correct and definitive theory of gravity will be Ultimately Possible in Physics by Christian Corda
81 posts  •  created by Christian Corda   •  Jul. 21, 2009 @ 07:56 GMT

Nature of the Universe by Ranganath Gururaj Kulkarni
5 posts  •  created by Ranganath Gururaj Kulkarni   •  Jul. 20, 2009 @ 05:50 GMT

A Logical Physical Theory by Nainan K. Varghese
13 posts  •  created by Nainan K. Varghese   •  Jul. 17, 2009 @ 08:17 GMT

Heuristic rule for constructing physics axiomatization by Florin Moldoveanu
283 posts  •  created by Florin Moldoveanu   •  Jul. 17, 2009 @ 08:16 GMT

On the Impossibility of Time Travel by J. C. N. Smith
219 posts  •  created by J. C. N. Smith   •  Jul. 17, 2009 @ 08:16 GMT

A Very Short Story of What is to Come by Alexandre Paradis
4 posts  •  created by Alexandre Paradis   •  Jul. 17, 2009 @ 08:16 GMT

Identical Crisis by Joe Fisher
6 posts  •  created by Joe Fisher   •  Jul. 17, 2009 @ 08:16 GMT

The Math of Hua Luogeng - Another Game in Town by Frank Dodd Smith
6 posts  •  created by Frank Dodd Smith   •  Jul. 17, 2009 @ 08:16 GMT

An Intuitive Explanation for the Existence of Everything by Irvon Eugene Clear
12 posts  •  created by Irvon Eugene Clear   •  Jul. 17, 2009 @ 08:16 GMT

Pursuing the Limits of Failed Symmetry by Alan M. Schwartz
99 posts  •  created by Alan M. Schwartz   •  Jul. 17, 2009 @ 08:16 GMT

Ultimately, anything is possible by Hrvoje Nikolic
35 posts  •  created by Hrvoje Nikolic   •  Jul. 17, 2009 @ 08:16 GMT

To be or not to be strictly deterministic? by Stefan Weckbach
63 posts  •  created by Stefan Weckbach   •  Jul. 17, 2009 @ 08:16 GMT

Awakening of the Observer in Physics by Amrit Srecko Sorli
180 posts  •  created by Amrit Srecko Sorli   •  Jul. 17, 2009 @ 08:16 GMT

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