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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 forums@fqxi.org 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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RECENT FORUM POSTS

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...


RECENT ARTICLES
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.


FQXi BLOGS
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

Recent Blog Entries

An Opinionated Introduction to Phenomenology by...
By JOHANNES KLEINER
Phenomenology studies the structure and dynamics of conscious experience. Sincxe its inception in the early 20th century, hundreds of thousands of pages of detailed phenomenological analysis have been produced. In the last few decades this work has...
August 22nd, 2020 | 35 comments | view blog entry & comments

Undecidability, Uncomputability, and...
By DAVID SLOAN
FQXi's essay contests are always set up as a challenge for our community to push back on the boundaries of our understanding. This year was no different, as we asked you to decide how something could be undecidable, compute what we would find...
July 29th, 2020 | 17 comments | view blog entry & comments

Film Screening: "Infinite Potential: The Life and...
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[picture]You're invited to a special free film screening and panel discussion event, "Quantum Theories of Consciousness," on July 18th 2020, organized by our friends at The Fetzer Memorial Trust, in partnership with The Center for Consciousness...
July 13th, 2020 | 4 comments | view blog entry & comments

Generalised Integrated Information Theories by...
By JOHANNES KLEINER
Abstract: Integrated Information Theory (IIT), developed by Giulio Tononi and collaborators, has emerged as one of the leading scientific theories of consciousness. At the heart of IIT is an algorithm which, based on the level of integration of the...
July 3rd, 2020 | 4 comments | view blog entry & comments

Structure Invention by Conscious Agents by Chetan...
By JOHANNES KLEINER
Abstract: A scientific understanding of the process whereby physical entities produce consciousness has not come about, despite decades of investigation. This suggests exploring the reversal of the celebrated “hard problem of consciousness,”...
July 3rd, 2020 | 25 comments | view blog entry & comments

Toward a formal model of free will by Ian Durham
By IAN DURHAM
Abstract: Most discussions around the nature of free will center on whether or not it exists or can exist. Lost in this argument is the fact that we at least perceive that free will exists, whether or not it actually does. This is an important...
July 3rd, 2020 | -1 comments | view blog entry & comments

Searching for Physical Models of the Evolution of...
By ADRIAN KENT
Abstract: The scientific consensus is that, although many important details remain to be elaborated, Darwinian evolution can be understood in principle as a consequence of known physical laws. As William James first pointed out, the development of...
July 3rd, 2020 | 12 comments | view blog entry & comments

Integrated information theory: a perspective on...
By JOHANNES KLEINER
Abstract: Integrated Information Theory (IIT) has gained a lot of attention for potentially explaining, fundamentally, what is the physical substrate of consciousness. The foundational concepts behind IIT were extremely innovative, and it has been...
July 3rd, 2020 | -1 comments | view blog entry & comments

On the Mathematical Basis of Models of...
By JOHANNES KLEINER
Abstract: The goal of this talk is to discuss the mathematical basis of models of consciousness, most notably the question of which mathematical structure one is to use to describe experience in any formal theory.

This question is...
July 3rd, 2020 | -1 comments | view blog entry & comments

Awareness: an operational theoretical approach by...
By GIACOMO D'ARIANO
Abstract: I will explore the possibility of drawing definite theoretical assertions about “awareness”, including possible experimental falsification. Awareness will be regarded as a manifestation of a special kind of “information”, and, as...
July 3rd, 2020 | -1 comments | view blog entry & comments

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