Search FQXi

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.

Contests Home

Current Essay Contest

Contest Partners: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, SubMeta, and Scientific American

Previous Contests

Undecidability, Uncomputability, and Unpredictability Essay Contest
December 24, 2019 - April 24, 2020
Contest Partners: Fetzer Franklin Fund, and The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation

What Is “Fundamental”
October 28, 2017 to January 22, 2018
Sponsored by the Fetzer Franklin Fund and The Peter & Patricia Gruber Foundation

Wandering Towards a Goal
How can mindless mathematical laws give rise to aims and intention?
December 2, 2016 to March 3, 2017
Contest Partner: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Fund.

Trick or Truth: The Mysterious Connection Between Physics and Mathematics
Contest Partners: Nanotronics Imaging, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, and The John Templeton Foundation
Media Partner: Scientific American


How Should Humanity Steer the Future?
January 9, 2014 - August 31, 2014
Contest Partners: Jaan Tallinn, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, The John Templeton Foundation, and Scientific American

It From Bit or Bit From It
March 25 - June 28, 2013
Contest Partners: The Gruber Foundation, J. Templeton Foundation, and Scientific American

Questioning the Foundations
Which of Our Basic Physical Assumptions Are Wrong?
May 24 - August 31, 2012
Contest Partners: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, SubMeta, and Scientific American

Is Reality Digital or Analog?
November 2010 - February 2011
Contest Partners: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation and Scientific American

What's Ultimately Possible in Physics?
May - October 2009
Contest Partners: Astrid and Bruce McWilliams

The Nature of Time
August - December 2008

Forum Home
Terms of Use

Order posts by:
 chronological order
 most recent first

Posts by the author are highlighted in orange; posts by FQXi Members are highlighted in blue.

By using the FQXi Forum, you acknowledge reading and agree to abide by the Terms of Use

 RSS feed | RSS help

Sergey Fedosin: on 10/4/12 at 9:39am UTC, wrote If you do not understand why your rating dropped down. As I found ratings...

Hoang Hai: on 10/1/12 at 5:33am UTC, wrote Dear Arnie Berns Conclusion to the mystery:"It is a mystery …" ? You...

Vladimir Tamari: on 9/27/12 at 1:12am UTC, wrote Dear Arnie It was fun reading your writing. My mind works rather slowly,...

Gurcharn Sandhu: on 9/3/12 at 13:32pm UTC, wrote Dear Arnie Berns, I read your essay and found it very interesting and well...

Anonymous: on 8/26/12 at 9:42am UTC, wrote I am not sure what to think about this but it was interesting to read.

Georgina Parry: on 8/17/12 at 22:51pm UTC, wrote Dear Arnie Berns, you have written a really enjoyable essay. Its full of...

Arnie Berns: on 8/17/12 at 20:23pm UTC, wrote Thank you for taking time to respond to this piece, the kind words are...

Dirk Pons: on 8/8/12 at 9:40am UTC, wrote Arnie The artist's epiphany... a neat approach. Best wishes in the...


Steve Dufourny: "Hi Mr Hosein, the MWI of Everett is a philosophical different..." in Good Vibrations

Steve Dufourny: "Hello John and Dr Chiang, Dr Chiang , I have tried to find you on..." in Anatomy of spacetime and...

Nicholas hosein: "Reality is a many-worlds Quantum level event." in Good Vibrations

Kwan Chiang: "Hi John and Steve, When the majority talk about Maxwell equations, it is..." in Anatomy of spacetime and...

Monika Součková: "What do you feel the most exciting or effective learning environment would..." in Quantum Machine Learning...

Jim Snowdon: "Had we evolved on a swiftly rotating planet like the Earth, our..." in The Quantum Clock-Maker...

Jim Snowdon: "If the rotational motion of the moon is 370km per hour, and the rotational..." in The Quantum Clock-Maker...

Lorraine Ford: "Steve, I would like to point out that physics says that the world and..." in How does an Isolated...

click titles to read articles

Good Vibrations
Microbead 'motor' exploits natural fluctuations for power.

Reconstructing Physics
New photon experiment gives new meta-framework, 'constructor theory,' a boost.

The Quantum Engineer: Q&A with Alexia Auffèves
Experiments seek to use quantum observations as fuel to power mini motors.

The Quantum Clock-Maker Investigating COVID-19, Causality, and the Trouble with AI
Sally Shrapnel, a quantum physicist and medical practitioner, on her experiments into cause-and-effect that could help us understand time’s arrow—and build better healthcare algorithms.

Connect the Quantum Dots for a New Kind of Fuel
'Artificial atoms' allow physicists to manipulate individual electrons—and could help to reduce energy wastage in electronic devices.

January 18, 2022

CATEGORY: Questioning the Foundations Essay Contest (2012) [back]
TOPIC: The Shape of Physics 2312 by Arnie Berns [refresh]
Bookmark and Share
Login or create account to post reply or comment.

Author Arnie Berns wrote on Jun. 19, 2012 @ 15:37 GMT
Essay Abstract

Using a science fiction form proposing alternative explanation to the current cosmology.

Author Bio

The late S. Winston Cram ignited a lifelong interest in science in a young student. This essay is in appreciation to a fine mentor, something different. Once we listened to a new moon passing over in October skies …

Download Essay PDF File

Bookmark and Share

Joe Fisher wrote on Jul. 4, 2012 @ 15:54 GMT
Dear Mr. Berns,

I thoroughly enjoyed reading and learning from your exceptionally imaginative well written essay. I would just like to add a comment about the rejection of the Big Bang theory mentioned in your opening paragraph. The urge to have Intelligent Design taught in American Schools grows greater by the day. Stephen Hawking’s latest assertion that God had no part in the creation of the Universe has caused an immense amount of anger in a substantial majority of Americans. I think the Tea-Party led Republican Party will soon start insisting that lessons about God must be taught in the schools as well as lessons about the Godless Big Bang and students must be allowed to judge for themselves the truth of the matter. If the Public Schools refuse to do this, I think the Republican Party will defund them in favor of funding charter schools which will teach both disciplines. The Democrats will pretend to object at first, but because it is more important for a politician to be elected than it is for a politician to be sensible, state and federal laws will be amended to facilitate the teaching about God in the schools.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate
Arnie Berns replied on Jul. 7, 2012 @ 18:04 GMT
Dear Mr Fisher,

I have been remiss in responding quicker as I fear this is not the forum I'd choose for politics, there are many more suited than this. About the only comment I would have is the education necessary to function in and direct a complex society is not being provided. This will not end well.

Normally I find those projecting Intelligent Design, neither intelligent nor capable of recognizing design, and not worth the trouble of giving the time of day let alone precious moments of my lifespan; I refuse to acknowledge that argument as valid nor support it with recognition; I suffer no such fools gladly if at all.

I would only observe that 'The Big Bang' originated as sarcastic satire of the proposal that all observed objects in the universe were receding uniformly in all directions and, using the analogy of a passing train (and the standard icon of the Doppler effect upon its whistle) which reversed these courses back to the originating station. The Big Bang rests upon three legs, the forgoing was one, the essay attempts to address the others as well as other matters in a comprehensive whole. It was a moment's caprice in response to the fundamental question being asked. IIRC reading somewhere Einstein prophetically concluded that answering questions coming from his generations work would require different tools to solve the issues than which he used (or something to that effect). It will prove to be a very shallow universe if the only alternative to the Big Bang is Intelligent Design.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

James Lee Hoover wrote on Jul. 18, 2012 @ 16:32 GMT

I enjoyed your essay. Your last paragraph makes me think of the 4% versus the 96% in our world of the 1% and the 99%.


Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Dirk Pons wrote on Aug. 8, 2012 @ 09:40 GMT

The artist's epiphany... a neat approach.

Best wishes in the competition

Thank you


Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Arnie Berns wrote on Aug. 17, 2012 @ 20:23 GMT
Thank you for taking time to respond to this piece, the kind words are appreciated. This work had its origins at an astronomy presentation back in about 1981. Circumstance had a presentation describing black holes and the phenomenon of infalling matter into the hole being stretched as well as heated by gravity. It so happened, by turning your back to the black hole presentation, on the opposite wall was an illustration of the doppler effect from a sound emitting device swung about on a string, the sound being compressed (blue-shifted) as the device approached and stretched (red-shifted) as the device receded in its circular path. Between the two displays, a synthesis developed, the acceleration that is gravity, given time and distance enough would look exactly like that of an expanding universe that the 'Big Bang' posits without having the problems of shifting 'one universe' to do so. The cosmic background radiation was fairly easy, considering the galaxy as a gravitational point (not collapsing) source the CBR was what heating the galaxy's mass might produce. The third leg was the hardest, the distribution of H, He and Li. The 'BB' posited great concentrations of heat/energy, how would the opposite achieve the same? It was the Einstein/Boise condensate that eventually drew attention by its properties. Could this condensate be brought to low enough temperatures to ice? Maybe not in the present conditions but if the universe started off cold and what is presently is an accumulation of all energy production over the life of the universe, the condensate may at lower temperatures been fragile and the act of shattering provided enough energy to produce the early elements in their observed ratios, the idea fit the observations. Time, if defined as a function of changes to Space removed many constraints as well as freeing up the 4th geometric dimension to be used as a way to account for other phenomena (e.g. photons) as well as quantum descriptions applied to a 3 dimensional world. Once these issues were in place, then it became possible to place a jar of gravity on the laboratory shelf for the first time. Chancing all in the face of finding the Higgs Boson, gravity as well as mass is a result of stable particles incorporating space. The only requirement is that space is quantum. Most all the mathematics of physics is still valid, only its interpretation differs and the investment in education is otherwise sound.

In 1981 a question appeared, and like the ear-worm of some tune, worked its way and eventually produced the si-fi story presented. The inertia of education will not alter course easily, my estimate has another 300 years, but it does provide an insight to what the future holds, a look at a far and distant land that I will not live to see.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Georgina Parry wrote on Aug. 17, 2012 @ 22:51 GMT
Dear Arnie Berns,

you have written a really enjoyable essay. Its full of wonderful ideas and analogy. I loved the bubbles in the coffee analogy. You wrote: "The artist came to see that each phenomenon demonstrated the effect of mass upon space, attracting space and those things embedded in space, much like bubbles embedded in the surface tension of a cup of coffee when sipped." Which is brilliant! I hadn't imagined it like that but wish I had.

I think your prophesy of the Big Bang concept being superseded is a good one to choose. It seems likely to me too. I am less enthusiastic about the proposed alternative, or any alternative that is a beginning. However as it is a science fantasy presentation you can give whatever speculation you prefer without detracting from the enjoyment of the journey on which your imagination takes us.

I hope you get lots of appreciative readers. You've done a very good job. Its relevant, accessible, enjoyable, innovative and well presented. Good luck in the competition.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Anonymous wrote on Aug. 26, 2012 @ 09:42 GMT
I am not sure what to think about this but it was interesting to read.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Gurcharn Singh Sandhu wrote on Sep. 3, 2012 @ 13:32 GMT
Dear Arnie Berns,

I read your essay and found it very interesting and well written. I highly appreciate your views.

However, in my opinion it should not take three centuries for the contemplated paradigm shift in fundamental physics and cosmology; it could be much earlier.

Kindly read my essay titled,"Wrong Assumptions of Relativity Hindering Fundamental Research in Physical Space".

Best Wishes

G S Sandhu

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Vladimir F. Tamari wrote on Sep. 27, 2012 @ 01:12 GMT
Dear Arnie

It was fun reading your writing. My mind works rather slowly, so it will take me about 300 years to understand it fully :) What I did understand is spot on - that we still do not know what gravity is, only what it does. Here is my take on that and other subjects: my fqxi essay Fix Physics! based on my 2005 Beautiful Universe Theory .Oh and as an artist myself I feel proud of your fictitious artist-physicist protagonist!

Cheers. I would appreciate your rating the fqxi essay.


Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Hoang cao Hai wrote on Oct. 1, 2012 @ 05:33 GMT
Dear Arnie Berns

Conclusion to the mystery:"It is a mystery …" ?

You are very nice.

Kind Regards !


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

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Sergey G Fedosin wrote on Oct. 4, 2012 @ 09:39 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
was the quantity of people which gave you ratings. Then you have
of points. After it anyone give you
of points so you have
of points and
is the common quantity of the people which gave you ratings. At the same time you will have
of points. From here, if you want to be R2 > R1 there must be:
In other words if you want to increase rating of anyone you must give him more points
then the participant`s rating
was at the moment you rated him. From here it is seen that in the contest are special rules for ratings. And from here there are misunderstanding of some participants what is happened with their ratings. Moreover since community ratings are hided some participants do not sure how increase ratings of others and gives them maximum 10 points. But in the case the scale from 1 to 10 of points do not work, and some essays are overestimated and some essays are drop down. In my opinion it is a bad problem with this Contest rating process. I hope the FQXI community will change the rating process.

Sergey Fedosin

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Login or create account to post reply or comment.

Please enter your e-mail address:
Note: Joining the FQXi mailing list does not give you a login account or constitute membership in the organization.