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Which of Our Basic Physical Assumptions Are Wrong?
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Will Stites: on 2/21/13 at 3:12am UTC, wrote Dear Ms. Gefter, I enjoyed reading your essay. I must admit a lot of it...

Sridattadev: on 1/16/13 at 15:18pm UTC, wrote Dear Amanda, "We can use the frame of any observer, and yet,...

Letranger: on 1/13/13 at 21:07pm UTC, wrote Dear Amanda I just discovered your wonderful article on Cosmic Solipsism,...

Sridattadev: on 12/28/12 at 20:15pm UTC, wrote Dear Amanda, Congratulations on your prize. I hope you will find the...

Eckard Blumschein: on 12/13/12 at 18:24pm UTC, wrote Will engineers ever benefit from the denial of one common objective...

Karl Coryat: on 12/3/12 at 23:59pm UTC, wrote Amanda: I imagine you were as surprised as I was to win a Special...

Chris Fields: on 10/9/12 at 21:40pm UTC, wrote Dear Amanda, When you say "universe," you appear to mean a classical...

Jayakar Joseph: on 10/9/12 at 15:11pm UTC, wrote Dear Amanda Gefter, As the Coherently-cyclic cluster-matter paradigm of...


Herbal Sejagat: "Suatu keadaan yang tidak pernah saya rasakan sebelumnya minum Obat Herbal ..." in Deferential Geometry

Herbal Sejagat: "herbal sejagat Obat Tradisional Kanker Payudara telah mendapatkan izin ..." in Help Fight Negativity!

Herbal Sejagat: "Obat Tradisional Amazon Alami Penyakit Jantung Koroner ialah pilihan..." in Baez on Quantum...

Herbal Sejagat: "Jus Kulit Manggis yakni Obat Tradisional Alami penyakit Kanker Paru-paru..." in Quantum Distractions

Herbal Sejagat: "Online shop herbal sejagat dikelola oleh pekerja yang berdedikasi tinggi,..." in Open Source Science

Herbal Sejagat: "Batu Ginjal ialah berbentuk benda keras menyerupai batu yang berada di..." in Foundational Physics...

Herbal Sejagat: "Kista harus segera diatasi dan diobati apabila dibiarkan akan terjadinya..." in Is the Moon Alive?

Herbal Sejagat: "Sembuhkan Stroke dengan Amazon Obat Herbal Alami dengan Khasiat yang..." in Impact, Part Two

click titles to read articles

Quantum Dream Time
Defining a ‘quantum clock’ and a 'quantum ruler' could help those attempting to unify physics—and solve the mystery of vanishing time.

Our Place in the Multiverse
Calculating the odds that intelligent observers arise in parallel universes—and working out what they might see.

Sounding the Drums to Listen for Gravity’s Effect on Quantum Phenomena
A bench-top experiment could test the notion that gravity breaks delicate quantum superpositions.

Watching the Observers
Accounting for quantum fuzziness could help us measure space and time—and the cosmos—more accurately.

Bohemian Reality: Searching for a Quantum Connection to Consciousness
Is there are sweet spot where artificial intelligence systems could have the maximum amount of consciousness while retaining powerful quantum properties?

November 25, 2017

CATEGORY: Questioning the Foundations Essay Contest (2012) [back]
TOPIC: Cosmic Solipsism by Amanda Gefter [refresh]
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Author Amanda Gefter wrote on Sep. 4, 2012 @ 12:08 GMT
Essay Abstract

Cosmology is the study of the origin and evolution of the universe – the one we all love and inhabit. In this essay, however, I argue that the basic assumption of a single universe shared by multiple observers is wrong. Synthesizing the implications of black hole radiation, horizon complementarity, dark energy, observations of the cosmic microwave background and quantum logic, I argue that moving toward a true theory of quantum gravity will require us to give up the notion that we all share the same universe. Instead, I argue, each observer has their own universe, which constitutes a complete and singular reality.

Author Bio

I am a science writer, consultant for New Scientist magazine and 2012-13 MIT Knight Science Journalism Fellow. I have a master's degree in the philosophy and history of science from the London School of Economics.

Download Essay PDF File

Yuri Danoyan wrote on Sep. 4, 2012 @ 18:01 GMT

I am agree with you and Max Born.

Max Born, "My Life & My Views" 1st Edition

"The average person does not realize that there is no way to verify whether his personal view (that tree green, etc.) the same as the view (on the same tree) from another person, and that the word "the same "is not there any sense."

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Yuri Danoyan replied on Sep. 13, 2012 @ 02:49 GMT
What is your opinion about my essay?

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Roger wrote on Sep. 6, 2012 @ 06:07 GMT
Ms. Gefter,

Hi. I think this is a good essay because it deals with the important topic of how different observers in different reference frames might view reality. I've been trying to point this out as well. For example:

1. In my last FQXi essay and in a posting at my website, I try to show that a finite observer within an infinite set of finite balls might view each ball as...

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The Spherical Jedi replied on Sep. 12, 2012 @ 20:01 GMT
Hello thinkers,

Indeed but the determinism is the determinism. We can have indeed different points of vue, that will not change the universal determinism and its evolution spherization. In fact an apple is an apple. An flower is a flower, a paraticule also, and this and that, a star, a planet, a water drop, a wave,this or that, brains, eyes, hands, in fact the mass is the mass and we...

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Wilhelmus de Wilde wrote on Sep. 10, 2012 @ 14:41 GMT
Dear Amanda: It was Yuri who made me attentive to your (well written) essay, and indeed there are paralels which does not mean crossing points. You would perhaps also be interested in reading "THE CONSCIOUSNESS CONNECTION", where your "observer's unique de Sitter horizon" is treated as the "Subjective Simultaneity Sphere" but not in the same way, because the radius of my SSS can change. I also have a solution for the so called "solipsism" by introducing the cutting circles of the SSS's that are forming Objective Simultaneity, this process is also called "decoherence" and qo forms the "history" of our universe.

hope to meet you on my thread.

and good luck in the contest.


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Member Benjamin F. Dribus wrote on Sep. 12, 2012 @ 19:19 GMT
Dear Amanda,

I really enjoyed your essay. It is one of the most thorough and clearly focused contributions on the subject of covariance (i.e. observer dependence/independence) in the contest. I share your deep interest in this important subject. A few itemized remarks:

1. One of the most important points, in my opinion, is the absolutely crucial role of spacetime structure in constraining “particle states.” As you point out, such states arise in Minkowski spacetime via the representation theory of the Poincare group, and altering (or removing) this background changes the picture completely. Many approaches to quantum gravity involve very complicated spacetime microstructure, and this makes the use of covariance in the form of spacetime symmetry to determine particle states problematic even locally. There is another possible interpretation of covariance, however, and this interpretation is much more general than group symmetry. It is based on order theory, and is related to the relativity of simultaneity. In this interpretation, different frames of reference are, in general, no longer related by a group action, but by different refinements of the causal order. I describe this in more detail in my essay here: On the Foundational Assumptions of Modern Physics.

2. You discuss several different types of horizons (black holes versus cosmological horizons, etc.) I’m probably preaching to the choir here, but there is some disagreement about the equivalence of different types of horizons and the implications for observer independence. There is an essay by Tanmay Vachaspati in this thread called “Preferred observers in quantum gravity” that discusses this and may interest you… along with yours, it was one of the more interesting submissions on covariance.

3. You mention Rovelli’s relationism; if you look at my essay you’ll see that I have a lot of sympathy for this point of view. You might be interested in some of the submissions here on that topic; for instance Jorge Pullin’s essay on the measurement problem.

I particularly appreciate your broad point of view and synthesis of several different problems that are usually considered separately. Take care,

Ben Dribus

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Author Amanda Gefter replied on Sep. 13, 2012 @ 02:19 GMT
Hi Ben,

Thank you so much for your encouraging and insightful comments. I'm so glad you share my interest in the profound significance of covariance and observer-dependence/independence. The history of physics seems to suggest that separating the invariant from the observer-dependent is the key to getting at the true reality beneath, and I'm fascinated by the ways in which quantum gravity...

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Yuri Danoyan replied on Sep. 14, 2012 @ 02:04 GMT

i think you are reincarnation from George Berkeley

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Author Amanda Gefter replied on Sep. 14, 2012 @ 02:52 GMT
Hi Yuri,

Thanks - I take that as a compliment! However, the solipsism I'm talking about is not a kind of Berkeleyean idealism. I'm not arguing that everything exists only in the mind; in fact, I'm not talking about "minds" at all, but merely reference frames or causal patches. The "solipsism" lies in the fact that, according to some exciting new ideas in theoretical physics, each reference frame defines its own unique yet objectively existing universe. Covariance demands that we can talk about reality equally well from any frame, but the holographic principle and horizon complementarity demands that we restrict our description to a single frame at a time.

All best,


Yuri Danoyan wrote on Sep. 14, 2012 @ 04:08 GMT
Thank you. Very interesting comment.

Have you read my essay?

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Author Amanda Gefter replied on Sep. 15, 2012 @ 14:50 GMT
Hi Yuri,

I enjoyed reading your essay. I must admit I did not fully understand it, but you seem to be drawing some interesting connections.

All best,


Yuri Danoyan replied on Sep. 30, 2012 @ 19:05 GMT
Did you rate my essay?

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Hadjidakis wrote on Sep. 15, 2012 @ 06:51 GMT
Dear Amanda,

you may have a look to my essay (and rate it). It is related to many aspects with yours.


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Hadjidakis replied on Sep. 18, 2012 @ 09:14 GMT
Dear Amanda,

If you have found the time to read my essays you would note that our thoughts coincide apart from the different way of expression (due of my amateur education in physics). Each observer has his own reference frame and we can not examine any phenomenon taking two (or more) reference frames at the same time. However I propose that the deviating views by different observers is resemblance of their different frames and it does not mean a difference in Reality. It is like a view from an open window. Every observer has his own view that depends from his position and not to another Reality out of the window. Each observer can see a different part of the only one Reality because of his own position in relation to the window and the Reality out there.

The expression inside and outside of a Black Hole (BH) resembles mine real and virtual part in any universe. It is evidence that real observers can realize only the real part of their universe while the virtual observers only the virtual part. It is time however to try to resolve the rules of the virtual part of our Universe (if we consider ourselves as real observers).

During the BH's inhalation the information "lost" is transferred to a new universe which may be of different or the same dimensionality (hence the black holes' jets).

The quantum part of your essay can be related to World Line (WL) individuality of each event through spacetime that for many instances there are equivalent different paths close to the WL of events (see fig. 1).

Thank you for the "Experimental evidence of solipsism?" that is a straight evidence of NCS as well.

Best wishes, Ioannis

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Lorraine Ford wrote on Sep. 15, 2012 @ 12:53 GMT
Hi Amanda,

I thought your essay was very well written and clearly argued.

I have two questions: What is an observer - a particle, an atom, a molecule, a cell or a larger living thing like a human being? If a particle is a type of observer with its own reference frame, would a molecule or a cell etc. be viewed as a type of composite reference frame?


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Author Amanda Gefter replied on Sep. 15, 2012 @ 15:01 GMT
Hi Lorraine,

Thanks very much for reading my essay and for your comment.

I define an observer as a frame of reference. That is, a coordinate frame (to put it in the language of relativity), a causal patch (cosmology), or even a Boolean lattice (quantum logic). I would not consider a particle (or any group of particles up to and including living creatures) as an observer precisely because, once gravity is involved, the very definition of a particle depends on the reference frame (hence, for example, the accelerated observer sees Hawking radiation while the inertial observer does not).

All best,


Member Benjamin F. Dribus wrote on Sep. 17, 2012 @ 01:27 GMT
Dear Amanda,

(Replying down here because the subthread above got a bit long.)

I think Tom Banks starts with a lot more structure than I do... which might, incidentally, be necessary. The most obvious criticism of my ideas is that they may be too parsimonious to achieve sufficient explanatory power, but I do have some reasons to be hopeful that I can get somewhere worthwhile from this direction.

"Made of information" is a good description of my approach, although I wouldn't choose that terminology myself simply because it's already been used to describe a lot of theories that really involve a lot of auxiliary structures. The information is observer dependent, but not the laws of physics.

I have my doubts about a lot of aspects of recent black hole physics, simply because we know that it resides near the horizons of validity of the theories involved (no pun intended). I view it as worth taking seriously, and it's certainly worthwhile to explore the consequences, but I would not be surprised if certain aspects of it turn out to be artifacts of theory stretched beyond its bounds. Take care,


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Karl Coryat wrote on Sep. 19, 2012 @ 23:38 GMT
Amanda -- Wow! I've read a lot of FQXi essays over the years, and this is one of the most interesting I've seen. One thing I didn't notice you tackling, though, was an explanation for the consistency among observations. I have an idea on that: The kinds of observers familiar to us -- biological and technological ones -- share a topological connection which makes inconsistent observations impossible. That idea is central to my essay, "Toward an Informational Mechanics," as is Rovelli's relational quantum mechanics (which I was thrilled to see you mention -- Rovelli just doesn't get enough love).

In my essay's comments section, there is some discussion about solipsism. I explained my thought that collective reality is a kind of "collective solipsism," but you're absolutely right that each observer frame corresponds to its own universe. It's just that topologically connected observers necessarily observe common informational features of the universe, and I think it is precisely this commonality and consistency that creates the appearance of a single universe. I hope you have a moment to check it out.

Great work again, and best of luck in the competition.

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Author Amanda Gefter replied on Sep. 22, 2012 @ 20:00 GMT
Hi Karl,

Thanks so much for your kind comment! I'm so glad you enjoyed the essay.

The question of consistency among observations is a fascinating one. For me, the key insight comes from Rovelli and from the lessons of horizon complementarity: there is no view from outside the universe, no superobserver who can see across reference frames. That means that any time two observers "compare notes", the comparison is itself an ordinary quantum mechanical interaction. That is, if I compare my observations with yours, the act of comparison takes place within a single reference frame - mine or yours but never both simultaneously. There's no "view from nowhere" from which we can compare two observers' perspectives independent of a reference frame.

I just had the chance to read your essay and I thought it was fantastic. I'll post some thoughts over on your page.

Thanks again!

All best,


Steve Dufourny Jedi wrote on Sep. 20, 2012 @ 00:01 GMT
Hello Ms Gefter,

I beleive that you speak about the interpretations of this Universe. You know the Universe is the same for all.That said we perceive it with our own emotions correlated with our education. The universe is the same sphere for all. In fact I beleive that you cannot say so your conclusion about the universe. We cannot confound an interpretation with a pure determinism.

Let's take a simple example.Imagine that you like the color of the planet mars, red. and that a friend , him does not like the red color of this planet. It does not mean that this planet mars does not exist or that it exists two planets mars for example.

1+3+5+7+11+13=40 I don't see an other number :)

Best Regards

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Author Amanda Gefter replied on Sep. 22, 2012 @ 20:03 GMT
Hi Steve,

Thanks for reading my essay and for your comment. I appreciate your view; however, the point that I was trying to make in my essay is that while common sense would suggest that we all live in a single universe and that different observers' perspectives are merely different descriptions of one and the same reality, the latest advances in theoretical physics suggest otherwise. That is, we can assume, as you do, that there is one single reality occupied by several observers, but in doing so we actually violate the laws of physics (we clone information, for instance). Put another way, the laws of physics only make sense within a single reference frame at a time. This, to me, is both shocking and profound.



Steve Dufourny Jedi replied on Sep. 23, 2012 @ 22:20 GMT
Dear Ms Gefter,

You are welcome.

ps:The observation permits to improve the knowledges. The dynamics seem universal at all 3D scales. A hymenoptera(a bee) see the same dynamic with a pure relativity. If on an exoplanet, some intelligent creations see, they see the same relativistic dynamic of rotations of spheres. If a bird flies, so it utilizes the same physical laws, like made an...

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Yuri Danoyan wrote on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 12:05 GMT
Dear Amanda

in last issue of Russian magazine

you can read

Letters to the editors

"Einstein Moon"

It seems to me soliptic view.

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Peter Jackson wrote on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 12:41 GMT
Dear Amanda.

Your thesis first sounds shocking, as intended, but; 'the truth will first look wrong as it will be unfamiliar.' (Feynman) so it's in with a shout. I think you find much of the path to truth, but suggest you then drift off to hypothesise and question. I hope you may read my essay which suggests a direct mechanistic and deterministic path in a similar direction, and some causal...

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Author Amanda Gefter replied on Sep. 23, 2012 @ 20:43 GMT
Hi Peter,

Thanks very much for your comment. I look forward to reading your essay.



Pentcho Valev wrote on Sep. 23, 2012 @ 20:17 GMT

Your thesis vitally depends on miraculous theoretical results like this one:

"...Hawking particles objectively exist according to observers outside the black hole and objectively do not exist according to the unlucky observers who fall in."

In my view, juggling with such results, without questioning the underlying assumptions, leads you nowhere. The miraculous results...

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Author Amanda Gefter replied on Sep. 23, 2012 @ 20:42 GMT
Hi Pentcho,

I wholeheartedly agree that questioning our assumptions is crucial to make progress in physics - and of course that is the whole point of this essay contest!

The "miraculous theoretical result" you refer to is very well accepted in the physics community. I have yet to come across any legit disproof of Hawking's calculation, which itself is based on the extremely...

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Pentcho Valev replied on Sep. 23, 2012 @ 21:24 GMT
Hawking assumes the speed of light is constant in a gravitational field (and so contradicts both general relativity and Newton's emission theory):

Stephen Hawking: "Both Mitchell and Laplace thought of light as consisting of particles, rather like cannon balls, that could be slowed down by gravity, and made to fall back on the star. But a famous experiment, carried out by two Americans,...

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William Enos wrote on Sep. 23, 2012 @ 22:36 GMT
Thanks for this provocative and persuasive argument. The notion that reality may be observer-dependent by virtue of it being tied to perception which is necessarily user-specific leads me to wonder if what actually IS can ever be truly known. Also, I wonder if what actually is could be subject to the Hawthorne effect (from the social sciences, I think) whereby that which is being observed changes as a result of efforts to observe it. And then what?

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Hoang cao Hai wrote on Sep. 25, 2012 @ 07:39 GMT
Dear Amanda Gefter

Very interesting to see your essay.

Perhaps all of us are convinced that: the choice of yourself is right!That of course is reasonable.

So may be we should work together to let's the consider clearly defined for the basis foundations theoretical as the most challenging with intellectual of all of us.

Why we do not try to start with a real challenge is very close and are the focus of interest of the human science: it is a matter of mass and grain Higg boson of the standard model.

Knowledge and belief reasoning of you will to express an opinion on this matter:

You have think that: the Mass is the expression of the impact force to material - so no impact force, we do not feel the Higg boson - similar to the case of no weight outside the Earth's atmosphere.

Does there need to be a particle with mass for everything have volume? If so, then why the mass of everything change when moving from the Earth to the Moon? Higg boson is lighter by the Moon's gravity is weaker than of Earth?

The LHC particle accelerator used to "Smashed" until "Ejected" Higg boson, but why only when the "Smashed" can see it,and when off then not see it ?

Can be "locked" Higg particles? so when "released" if we do not force to it by any the Force, how to know that it is "out" or not?

You are should be boldly to give a definition of weight that you think is right for us to enjoy, or oppose my opinion.

Because in the process of research, the value of "failure" or "success" is the similar with science. The purpose of a correct theory be must is without any a wrong point ?

Glad to see from you comments soon,because still have too many of the same problems.

Kind Regards !


August 23, 2012 - 11:51 GMT on this essay contest.

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Georgina Parry wrote on Sep. 27, 2012 @ 09:54 GMT
Dear Amanda,

a very relevant, well written essay. Good luck.

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Author Amanda Gefter replied on Sep. 27, 2012 @ 19:09 GMT
Thanks very much!

Georgina Parry replied on Sep. 28, 2012 @ 22:55 GMT
With not long to the end of community voting your consideration of my own would be very much appreciated. Kind regards Georgina.

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Member Olaf Dreyer wrote on Sep. 27, 2012 @ 11:39 GMT
Dear Amanda:

What a nice and provocative essay.

I have one, very basic, question: For concreteness I will focus on the question of observer dependence of the notion of particles. If one looks at Unruh's calculation that gives a thermal spectrum of particles for the accelerated Rindler observer and no particles for the Minkowski observer isn't it true that the calculation starts from the same state in the same space-time for both these observers? While it is true that the two descriptions by the two observers are different it is also true that there is one description from which both of these can be derived.

So why shouldn't I call this one description (Minkowski space R^4 together with vacuum state |0>) the one universe? If you want the description for a particular observer just tell me how she moves and I will tell you what she sees.

I think what I said here for particles remains true for the other examples you cite (with the possible exception of quantum mechanics).

All the best.


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Author Amanda Gefter replied on Sep. 27, 2012 @ 19:08 GMT
Hi Olaf,

Thanks so much for taking the time to read my essay, and for your great question.

I agree with you that in the Rindler case, you can think about two observers that start in the same universe, then have radically different but equally correct views of that same universe (rendering particles observer-dependent). As you say, you can translate between them (with a Bogoliubov...

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Philip Gibbs wrote on Sep. 29, 2012 @ 18:27 GMT
This is a very original and thought provoking idea, good luck.

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Frederico Pfrimer wrote on Sep. 30, 2012 @ 19:49 GMT
Dear Amanda

Very interesting essay! Thanks for the suggestion! Now I could for the first time understand some of the basic ideas about the problem of information in black-holes. But I have a question, if the universe is not shared by all the observer, what is shared by all observers?

I have some ideas about it that can possibly give you some insight, well I hope so… One of the main problem was that apparently there was information being cloned if you look from to observers at the same time. However, there should be some correlation between any two observers. In this case, the total entropy (or information) will not be the sum of each observer’s entropy. Actually I think two observers are completely correlated such that their total entropy equals each one’ entropy. This might explain why “we can never speak about more than one at a time.” and also why “according to which each observer’s reference frame defines a complete universe, and anything outside the frame is considered merely a redundant description.”. In information theory, if you add a redundant description the information content is not increased!

I also agree that the existence of more than one reference frame can lead you to non compatible Boolean logics, each frame has a Boolean logic but the comparison cannot be done using a Boolean logic. But I think this notion is different from the notion of quantum mechanics. I mean, your ideas add something new to quantum mechanics (general relativity reference frames and observers), so they cannot be explained by pure QM, we’ll need something new, probably quantum gravity or quantum general relativity.

Wish you all the best! And good luck on this contest!


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Wilhelmus de Wilde wrote on Oct. 1, 2012 @ 14:58 GMT
Dear Amanda,

I liked very much your New Scientist article about mathematics and reality, especially the part about the dodecahedron, it is our consciousness but not in our reality. Tegmaark has some points, especially with the limits of our causal universe and the math's that go untill these limits, it is furtheron that our consciousness takes over and goes ad infintum.

It was Benjamin Dribus who draw again my attention on your essay (I posted before (september 10) in a post on my thread [/LINK] , regarding the aspect of subjective reality that we both are treating.

I understand you are very busy, but perhaps you will find a split moment to read and or rate (or comment) my participation.

best regards


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Conrad Dale Johnson wrote on Oct. 3, 2012 @ 13:38 GMT
Hi Amanda -

I came across this paper today. It's too technical for me, but if you haven't already seen it I think you'll be interested in the introductory section -- as a way of thinking about how the different universes of different observers are connected.

The Principle of Relative Locality


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Wilhelmus de Wilde replied on Oct. 3, 2012 @ 16:07 GMT
Dear Amanda,

The New Scientist special issue "WHAT IS REALITY" is very good, the perceptions of Henry Stapp and Matthew Donald have a lot of paralels with my own perception of reality.

I would like to sent my essay to them, is it possible that you give me their e-mail ,

mine is

If not possible, I understand, but a question is always possible.



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Peter Jackson wrote on Oct. 3, 2012 @ 15:17 GMT

I'd like to pass you a link to the paper I referred above with strong analogies to your work, if you have time to read it and discuss.

I hope you manage to read my essay first as I look forward to your comments.

Best wishes


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Eugeniu Alexandrescu wrote on Oct. 3, 2012 @ 18:18 GMT
Dear Amanda,

Wow! Your essay deserves the highest possible note -- and you got a 10 from me -- because it brilliantly explores (In the right direction!) which of our basic physical assumptions are wrong. Many thanks to Ben Dribus, who told me yesterday evening about your excellent essay.

So I would not argue with you when you "... argue that the basic assumption of a single universe...

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Sergey G Fedosin wrote on Oct. 4, 2012 @ 04:41 GMT
If you do not understand why your rating dropped down. As I found ratings in the contest are calculated in the next way. Suppose your rating is [equation] and [equation] was the quantity of people which gave you ratings. Then you have [equation] of points. After it anyone give you [equation] of points so you have [equation] of points and [equation] is the common quantity of the people which gave...

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Author Amanda Gefter wrote on Oct. 4, 2012 @ 11:24 GMT
Please make note of this correction:

In my essay's section on holographic spacetime, I attributed the theory to Tom Banks. However, it should have been attributed to Willy Fischler as well. My apologies for the omission.

Many thanks,


Jayakar Johnson Joseph wrote on Oct. 9, 2012 @ 15:11 GMT
Dear Amanda Gefter,

As the Coherently-cyclic cluster-matter paradigm of universe describes Homeomorphic segmental-fluctuations of universe, the Causally disconnected multiverse universes is not expressional in this paradigm, in that the Cosmic solipsism is the effect of observer-eccentricity of segment in the holarchy of universe in reference with the observer locality.

With best wishes


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Chris Fields wrote on Oct. 9, 2012 @ 21:40 GMT
Dear Amanda,

When you say "universe," you appear to mean a classical universe, or a universe described on the basis of finite observations, or a description of a universe recorded using classical information. If this is the case, I believe your statement on p. 7 that "I suspect that this is exactly what quantum mechanics has been trying to tell us all along" is correct - what QM has been...

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Karl Coryat wrote on Dec. 3, 2012 @ 23:59 GMT
Amanda: I imagine you were as surprised as I was to win a Special Commendation in this contest. You may recall (above) that I was effusive after reading your essay -- it continues to be my favorite of the lot. So I think it's fascinating, if somewhat unexplainable, that we were both plucked out of the lot and recognized. I believe our essays share profound themes in common, which I didn't get to elaborate upon during the run of the competition. If you might be interested in continuing the discussion, and comparing notes on the contest (I hope you've gotten to read some of the fallout from the winners announcement), feel free to drop me a line at Have a good day.

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Eckard Blumschein wrote on Dec. 13, 2012 @ 18:24 GMT
Will engineers ever benefit from the denial of one common objective reality?

Already Einstein's special theory of relativity abandoned the at least reasonable common time for the sake of taking the point of view of an individual observer.

This led to many obvious paradoxes. On the other hand, the vehemently claimed and defended, by a Wikipedia task force, benefits are not really so obvious. Opponents argue they can be explained otherwise too or even better.

I see in the essay nothing new but nonetheless the provocative style well suited for tabloid journalism.


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Sridattadev wrote on Dec. 28, 2012 @ 20:15 GMT
Dear Amanda,

Congratulations on your prize. I hope you will find the truth of the singularity you have described in Conscience is the cosmological constant.



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Sridattadev replied on Jan. 16, 2013 @ 15:18 GMT
Dear Amanda,

"We can use the frame of any observer, and yet, fundamentally, there is only one."

I "is" that "only one" singualrity in all of us.

zero = i = infinity



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Letranger wrote on Jan. 13, 2013 @ 21:07 GMT
Dear Amanda

I just discovered your wonderful article on Cosmic Solipsism, which I've found to be profound in its implications, scientifically accurate, and totally free of erroneous assumptions. This is a remarkable achievement.

I wonder if you would allow me to reprint the article on my website:

Your article makes the scientific argument for what I have to say much better than I can ever say it.

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Will Stites wrote on Feb. 21, 2013 @ 03:12 GMT
Dear Ms. Gefter,

I enjoyed reading your essay. I must admit a lot of it was over my head - I'm not a physicist. But I have two questions that I hope are valid anyway. What about the awful ethical implications of solipsism? I realize this is outside the scope of your article, but it is such a heavy consequence of the argument that it begs to be addressed. Second, if every frame of reference gives rise to a complete and singular reality, doesn't your argument say that the distinct frames of reference provided by my two eyes mean that my awareness is suspended between two universes? I'm anthropomorphizing. To state it a little more rigorously, aren't you saying that only a pointlike entity like an electron can define an unambiguous universe?

With best wishes,


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