Conference Talks and Discussions

Following are some of the talks presented and results of discussions at the FQXi 2009 International Conference. All presentations are copyrighted by the authors and may not be copied or distributed without prior written permission.

WELCOME TALKS:

TIME AND QUANTUM GRAVITY:

COSMOLOGY:

QUANTUM GRAVITY I:

QUANTUM GRAVITY II:

QUANTUM MECHANICS:

DISCUSSION: WHAT IS POSSIBLE?

Attendees devoted much time to discussing the ultimate future of physics. The organizers asked them, what might possibly happen in the next 10 years? What about the next 1,000 years? Speculation commenced on new ideas, new technology, and new phenomena. It was even kindly suggested that FQXi might continue into the next millenium (although, in the form of a "world-dominating machine society").

For the full list of suggested possibilities, click here.

The organizers then asked the attendees, how likely was each possibility? How interesting was it, if it should occur? How important an event would it be? The answers: In 10 years, it was judged most likely that Moore's law will fail, and least likely that the multiverse will be definitely observed. It will be most interesting and most important if deviations from quantum mechanics are found. In 1,000 years, it was judged most likely that the Second Law of Thermodynamics will still hold true, but least likely that we will pay ready visits to other universes. It will be most interesting if we have made contact with extra-terrestial intelligence, but most important if quantum mechanics still holds true.

For more rankings details, click here.

The statistics collected to make the rankings suggest a curious trend, shown by the following scatter plots. Here, we numbered each possibility according to place in the three rankings lists (so, 14th highest ranking is numbered 14, etc.).







There appears to be a correlation between what the attendees judged most interesting and most important; but no reliable correlation between these and what is most likely. This result speaks to the idea at the heart of FQXi's mission: the safest research bet is not always what's most interesting and important.