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If you are aware of an interesting new academic paper (that has been published in a peer-reviewed journal or has appeared on the arXiv), a conference talk (at an official professional scientific meeting), an external blog post (by a professional scientist) or a news item (in the mainstream news media), which you think might make an interesting topic for an FQXi blog post, then please contact us at with a link to the original source and a sentence about why you think that the work is worthy of discussion. Please note that we receive many such suggestions and while we endeavour to respond to them, we may not be able to reply to all suggestions.

Please also note that we do not accept unsolicited posts and we cannot review, or open new threads for, unsolicited articles or papers. Requests to review or post such materials will not be answered. If you have your own novel physics theory or model, which you would like to post for further discussion among then FQXi community, then please add them directly to the "Alternative Models of Reality" thread, or to the "Alternative Models of Cosmology" thread. Thank you.

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Brian: "From the Nature abstract cited: "There is no theoretical reason to expect..." in Time to Think

Georgina Woodward: "Sorry, what a pigs ear I've made of that attempt to elucidate. Got muddled..." in Answering Mermin’s...

Stefan Weckbach: "John, "An electron is like a 2sphere, there is no cowlick, the hairs on..." in Answering Mermin’s...

Steve Dufourny: "Hi Jonathan, thanks for developing , I am understanding. I consider like..." in Towards the unification...

Jonathan Dickau: "It all fits together Steve... The optimal case for close-packing of..." in Towards the unification...

Steve Dufourny: "it is the meaning of my intuitive equation, E=m(c^2+Xl^2)+ Y with X a..." in The Effects of Inertial...

Steve Dufourny: "What I tell in resume is that for a good explaination of the..." in The Effects of Inertial...

click titles to read articles

Time to Think
Philosopher Jenann Ismael invokes the thermodynamic arrow of time to explain how human intelligence emerged through culture.

Lockdown Lab Life
Grounded physicists are exploring the use of online and virtual-reality conferencing, and AI-controlled experiments, to maintain social distancing. Post-pandemic, these positive innovations could make science more accessible and environmentally-friendly.

Is Causality Fundamental?
Untangling how the human perception of cause-and-effect might arise from quantum physics, may help us understand the limits and the potential of AI.

Building Agency in the Biology Lab
Physicists are using optogenetics techniques to make a rudimentary agent, from cellular components, which can convert measurements into actions using light.

Think Quantum to Build Better AI
Investigating how quantum memory storage could aid machine learning and how quantum interactions with the environment may have played a role in evolution.

October 29, 2020

New Blog Entries
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Aikyons, Octonions, and Unification by Tejinder Singh
By TEJINDER SINGH • Oct. 10, 2020 @ 07:08 GMT

This elementary video describes a recently proposed theory of unification, the Aikyon theory. The theory builds on the deep connection between the octonions and the elementary particles.

Keywords: Octonions; Quantum Gravity; Standard Model; Quantum Foundations; Aikyons
5 comments | view comments

Towards the unification of the four fundamental forces by Tejinder Singh
By TEJINDER SINGH • Oct. 10, 2020 @ 07:01 GMT

This is a voice narration of a seminar given at the Albert Einstein Institute, Potsdam on September 21, 2020. It describes the new theory of unification reported in arXiv:2009.05574

Keywords: Quantum Foundations; Trace Dynamics; Spontaneous Localisation; Non-commutative Geometry; Division Algebras; Octonions; Standard Model of Particle Physics; Unification; Gravitation: Connes Time; Spontaneous Quantum Gravity; Aikyon; String Theory; M-theory; Exceptional Lie Groups G2, F4; Quantum Measurement Problem; Quantum Determinism; Lorentz-Weak Symmetry; Lorentz Boson; Automorphism Invariance and Unification.
42 comments | view comments

John Barrow
By DAVID SLOAN • Oct. 2, 2020 @ 15:40 GMT

It is with great sadness that we learnt of the death of John Barrow. John was a member of FQXi’s scientific council and contributed in shaping our research direction and focus. John was an accomplished physicist as both researcher and teacher, and played a large part in many successful outreach activities. He was committed to improving the teaching of mathematics at schools, taking on the role of director of the Millennium Mathematics Project, and writing dozens of books for the general public.

John was a central figure in classical cosmology, investigating areas that would prove counter-intuitive or unexpected, such as “big rip” and “sudden” singularities. His academic interests pushed the boundaries of the field - he was also a central figure in understanding the role of anthropic arguments in physics, and together with Frank Tipler wrote the central text on the issue. Just this year he was working on approaches to the fundamental issues - providing a novel method for estimating the entropy of a black hole.

On a personal level, I first met John in 2012 when I went to Cambridge as a postdoc; he was to be my supervisor. He was the driver of a range of fascinating discussions of physics; every week John would suggest a new area to look at citing papers from a remarkably broad array of fields from electrical engineering to philosophy. Beyond that, however, our discussions would consist of his teaching me about aspects of the world of which I wasn’t even aware that I knew nothing. His breadth of knowledge was intimidating - from how to write plays in Italian to the furniture of bishops. He was a fabulous storyteller with a quick wit and keen sense of humour. He was an accomplished athlete; on telling him I was going for a run one day he gave me routes, and times to attempt them in, from his past. I got about half-way through the first one.

John deservedly won a long list of prizes, any one of which would be the highlight of many careers - the Templeton Prize, the Kelvin Prize, the Dirac Medal and many more. He was an excellent physicist, a true renaissance man and fine mentor. We will miss him.
1 comment | view comments

A causal account of spatial experience: IIT and the visual field by Andrew Haun
By JOHANNES KLEINER • Aug. 22, 2020 @ 18:46 GMT

In this talk, Andrew Haun (Assistant Scientist in the Center for Sleep and Consciousness at the University of Wisconsin-Madison) will present an application of the Integrated Information Theory (IIT) of consciousness to the problem of spatial experience. Much of human experience is either spatial or rooted in a phenomenal space. This is clearly the case with visual experience, a fundamental component of which is the visual field, which we normally experience as filled with colors and other features, and which grounds all higher aspects of visual perception. This talk will present an essential phenomenology of the spatial character of the visual field, and show how IIT accounts for spatial experience. The conclusion is that the visual field must be the intrinsic causal structure of a grid network in the brain.

Keywords: Mathematical Consciousness Science Online Seminar Series
4 comments | view comments

The empirical quest to understand consciousness and its functions by Liad Mudrik
By JOHANNES KLEINER • Aug. 22, 2020 @ 18:45 GMT

In the last decades, studies of consciousness - once considered outside the scope of empirical science - have become part and parcel of cognitive science. To meet the challenge of scientifically operationalizing this high-level phenomenon, different experimental manipulations have been developed. In this talk, I will first argue that these operational definitions play a critical role in shaping the questions we ask and the conclusions we reach. I will further question the external validity of some of the findings, and examine the relations between the operational definitions and the theoretical constructs being studied. Then, I will present new, more ecological ways to study consciousness and its function. These will focus on changing the operational definitions, changing the stimuli, and changing the experimental methods, using also virtual and augmented reality. Though sometimes less controlled, I will argue that such experiments pave the way for a fuller, more complete, understanding of consciousness.

Keywords: Mathematical Consciousness Science Online Seminar Series
238 comments | view comments

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