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BASILEIOS GRISPOS: on 11/23/17 at 14:06pm UTC, wrote What a nice topic this is. I am expecting to read some nice essays from all...

austin fearnley: on 11/18/17 at 17:12pm UTC, wrote You could investigate using the Rasch Model to grade the entries. There...

Amrit Sorli: on 11/16/17 at 16:53pm UTC, wrote CONSCIOUSNESS IS FUNDAMENTAL, see my book Physics of TRUTH

thuy lien: on 11/11/17 at 7:26am UTC, wrote The article you shared here is great. This is really interesting...

Jeffrey Schmitz: on 11/6/17 at 13:45pm UTC, wrote Callusgo, knock three times on the seventh red door at midnight. OK, I am...

sherman jenkins: on 11/1/17 at 18:47pm UTC, wrote Dull? Not at all. I believe there is only charge and the pressure that...

Arshi Khan: on 11/1/17 at 12:28pm UTC, wrote Is the space itself fundamental to build up other fundamentals!Or is it the...

Kjetil Hustveit: on 11/1/17 at 9:49am UTC, wrote [fuhn-duh-men-tl] adjective 1. serving as, or being an essential part...


John Cox: "Zeeya, It is past time for an overhaul to get some protection against..." in The Sudoku Universe, Why...

Zeeya Merali: "Do we live in a giant Sudoku puzzle? Are real numbers really real? Does..." in The Sudoku Universe, Why...

Georgina Woodward: "Joe, your credo has very limited explanatory power and is therefore of very..." in Quantum Dream Time

Joe Fisher: "Dear Georgina, You wrote: “I agree that there have been surfaces prior..." in Quantum Dream Time

shery williams: "Office Setup is the full suite of Microsoft productivity software that..." in Are We Merging With Our...

shery williams: "McAfee offers world-class security solutions for Windows & Mac OS as well..." in Are We Merging With Our...

Yelena Hopper: "Its a decent approach to present a few thoughts in material science yet you..." in We Are All Connected

Yelena Hopper: "There is an existence in the wake of death. Spirits and souls are genuine...." in Wandering Towards a Goal:...

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: Blog [back]
TOPIC: What Is “Fundamental”? – FQXi’s New Essay Contest [refresh]
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FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster wrote on Oct. 28, 2017 @ 13:45 GMT
We at the Foundational Questions Institute have often been asked what exactly “foundational” means, and what relation it holds to “fundamental” as a term describing some branches of physics. Today we’re happy to turn the tables.

It is time for the next FQXi essay contest, and so we ask, What Is “Fundamental”?

We have many different ways to talk about the things in the physical universe. Some of those ways we think of as more fundamental, and some as “emergent” or “effective”. But what does it mean to be more or less “fundamental”? Are fundamental things smaller, simpler, more elegant, more economical? Are less-fundamental things always made from more-fundamental? How do less-fundamental descriptions relate to more-fundamental ones?

We invite interesting and compelling explorations, from detailed worked examples through thoughtful rumination, of the different levels at which nature can be described, and the relations between them.

This year’s contest is part of our program Agency in the Physical World, operated with and sponsored by The Fetzer Franklin Fund. Help also comes from co-sponsors The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation.

We are open for entries from now until January 22, 2018. See our contest pages for the usual rules and timeline. Please share this info with all of your fellow thinkers and writers. Good luck!

this post has been edited by the forum administrator

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Joe Fisher wrote on Oct. 29, 2017 @ 15:16 GMT
Dear Dr. Foster,

Please change the scoring of the essays from each voter being allowed to rate an essay from 1 to 10 points, and allow each voter to only be able to award 1 point.

Joe Fisher, ORCID ID 0000-0003-3988-8687. Unaffiliated

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austin fearnley replied on Nov. 18, 2017 @ 17:12 GMT
You could investigate using the Rasch Model to grade the entries.

There are versions of Rasch analysis which cope with missing data (when judges do not rate every essay). My favourite analysis is free online at

DOS BIGSTEPS Rasch Manual:, page 26, Example 13. (Freeware).

I have used this analysis in a vixra paper at The paper is investigating the Rasch analysis wrt just one validity issue in reporting results and takes for granted that the Rasch scale is a good physical ratio scale. So my paper is not really relevant to promoting its use here, but it does illustrate its usage. The advantage of a Rasch scale is that severe and lenient raters do not affect the results of 'high quality entries'/ 'low quality entries' much. You could even produce a table of rater scores in order of leniency/severity [where the quality of essays rated does not interfere much with the rater leniency/severity scale].

With a 10 point scale, a rater has most weight for discrimination over the whole competition by using 50% ratings of '1' and 50% ratings of '10'.

Rating one entry at '10' and all others at '1' will probably reduce overall weight for that rater but will concentrate all the discrimination weight on the score of just that one entry.

As well as tabulating the severity and leniency of judges, the analysis can reveal inconsistent judges which are say putting entries in the opposite rank order to the overall order of all judges. What you do, if anything, with ratings for very atypical judges is another matter.

The disadvantage of the Rasch scale is a lack of transparency for anyone not familiar with the analysis.

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Bashir Yusuf wrote on Oct. 29, 2017 @ 20:00 GMT
Dear Brendan.

This is a quick response of the essay announcement.

I hope that this question can lead good understanding of nature's most important Fundamental issue.

Only questionings without open and awakened mind can't we succeed it.

I have some difficult to understand, the relations of FQXI's Foundational questions and Fundamental of the nature, but I am sure that...

view entire post

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Jim George Snowdon wrote on Oct. 29, 2017 @ 20:06 GMT
The Earth`s rotational motion is the fundamental physical mechanism responsible for maintaining our confusion about the nature of time.

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Sanmay Ganguly wrote on Oct. 30, 2017 @ 18:42 GMT
While describing a physical world, the minimal set of dynamic degrees of freedom required to describe the complete evolution of a system can be termed as fundamental. The list of fundamental quantities changes if we probe a system with different energy scales.

For example, while building a house one can consider each piece of brick (~ 1kg mass ) to be fundamental. While studying the boiling of a glass of water we can safely consider water molecules (~ 10e-23 grams) to be fundamental. On the other hand for studying atomic spectroscopy electron, protons are considered as fundamental objects (electron weighs 10e-31 kg) and lastly when we smash proton beams at Large Hadron Collider at ultra high energy scales, what really fundamental are the tiny objects called quarks & gluons (gluons are massless). Hence what is fundamental depends on which system we are referring to.

Now when we talk about "fundamental questions" etc. we mean a single understanding which will refer to maximal queries.

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Pentcho Valev wrote on Oct. 31, 2017 @ 14:54 GMT
A reasonable topic again, after five lost years (the last reasonable topic was in 2012: "Questioning the Foundations: Which of our basic physical assumptions are wrong?"). I will definitely take part in the contest.

Pentcho Valev

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sherman loran jenkins wrote on Oct. 31, 2017 @ 23:12 GMT
Fundamental is both small and large. The “smallest” bits from which all else is composed. And the structure of those bits which fill the Universe. Nothing we know could exist without the one characteristic of the bits and the Universal restraint that gives space the structure we know. Both the most elemental and the pressure of the total Universe are fundamental to the reality we know.

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Kjetil Hustveit wrote on Nov. 1, 2017 @ 09:49 GMT


1. serving as, or being an essential part of, a foundation or basis; basic; underlying:

fundamental principles; the fundamental structure.

2.of, relating to, or affecting the foundation or basis:

a fundamental revision.

3. being an original or primary source:

a fundamental idea.

4. Music. (of a chord) having its root as its lowest note.


5. a basic principle, rule, law, or the like, that serves as the groundwork of a system; essential part:

to master the fundamentals of a trade.

6. Also called fundamental note, fundamental tone. Music.

the root of a chord.

the generator of a series of harmonics.

7.Physics. the component of lowest frequency in a composite wave.

I already love this contest!

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Arshi Khan wrote on Nov. 1, 2017 @ 12:28 GMT
Is the space itself fundamental to build up other fundamentals!Or is it the bonds that matter forges, at basic levels. Beyond the four fundamental forces, it would be a dull place if we only had electrons in the universe. For that matter if everything was taken out of the universe, what would remain?Will there be a single equation which would give rise to every other equation!I doubt, but i cannot say either ways!A lovely topic to ponder and discuss.Best of luck to everyone....

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sherman loran jenkins replied on Nov. 1, 2017 @ 18:47 GMT
Dull? Not at all. I believe there is only charge and the pressure that restrains and gives structure to space. And that time, matter and all we know derives from this relationship.

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thuy lien replied on Nov. 11, 2017 @ 07:26 GMT
The article you shared here is great. This is really interesting information for me. Thank you for sharing!

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Amrit Srecko Sorli wrote on Nov. 16, 2017 @ 16:53 GMT

see my book

Physics of TRUTH

attachments: Physics_of_TRUTH_-_Book_2.pdf

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BASILEIOS GRISPOS wrote on Nov. 23, 2017 @ 14:06 GMT
What a nice topic this is. I am expecting to read some nice essays from all over the world.I will submit also my own ideas about this subject, if I have enough time to finish it.

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