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Current Essay Contest


Contest Partners: Jaan Tallinn, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, The John Templeton Foundation, 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
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What Is “Fundamental”
October 28, 2017 to January 22, 2018
Sponsored by the Fetzer Franklin Fund and The Peter & Patricia Gruber Foundation
read/discusswinners

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.
read/discusswinners

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

read/discusswinners

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
read/discusswinners

It From Bit or Bit From It
March 25 - June 28, 2013
Contest Partners: The Gruber Foundation, J. Templeton Foundation, and Scientific American
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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
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Is Reality Digital or Analog?
November 2010 - February 2011
Contest Partners: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation and Scientific American
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What's Ultimately Possible in Physics?
May - October 2009
Contest Partners: Astrid and Bruce McWilliams
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The Nature of Time
August - December 2008
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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Peter Jackson: on 5/26/14 at 13:20pm UTC, wrote Alan, An excellent effort identifying some critical and fundamental...

George Gantz: on 4/25/14 at 1:32am UTC, wrote Alan - What a delightful essay! I share your optimism - but there are...

Joe Fisher: on 4/23/14 at 18:07pm UTC, wrote Dear Alan Lang, Your exuberant essay was a delight to read. I was...

Georgina Woodward: on 4/23/14 at 2:57am UTC, wrote I should have said that dark energy too is a relatively new concept. By...

Georgina Woodward: on 4/22/14 at 11:27am UTC, wrote Hi Alan, that is a really optimistic and enthusiastic essay. The essay is...

Alan Lang: on 4/21/14 at 11:28am UTC, wrote Essay Abstract Physics is all around everything in the world is...


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FQXi FORUM
June 3, 2020

CATEGORY: How Should Humanity Steer the Future? Essay Contest (2014) [back]
TOPIC: How we Can Steer Humanity through Physics by Alan Michael Lang [refresh]
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Author Alan Michael Lang wrote on Apr. 21, 2014 @ 11:28 GMT
Essay Abstract

Physics is all around everything in the world is some how related to the study of Physics.

Author Bio

I am a 9th grader at McGill-Toolen Catholic High School.I have entered this as an external science project for my Honors Physics class

Download Essay PDF File

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Georgina Woodward wrote on Apr. 22, 2014 @ 11:27 GMT
Hi Alan,

that is a really optimistic and enthusiastic essay. The essay is supposed to include some thing about science and be optimistic about the future so you have ticked those boxes. ( Between you and me, not everyone has.)

People haven't been thinking about black holes for thousands of years, that's a relatively new concept, but that's just a minor quibble.

I think you are right about how the younger generation are going to have to think out of the box. We are going to be facing environmental, social and political issues that we have never had to deal with before. We may need scientists and engineers to solve new kinds of problems too. If we do well we may get to see all of the marvelous inventions that you envision and we may even go to Mars sooner than you anticipate.

Thank you for an enjoyable, encouraging read. Georgina

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Georgina Woodward replied on Apr. 23, 2014 @ 02:57 GMT
I should have said that dark energy too is a relatively new concept.

By the way, my youngest son, also a school student, has now read and enjoyed your essay too.

I think you might find my essay quite easy to read "Smooth seas do not make good sailors" as in part it is a story following the day in the life of a future school student. You could skip over most of the information from the knowledge Hub as it may be too technical for you at this stage and would make the essay difficult to read as a flowing journey from sunrise to sunset. The essay raises and gives solutions to some really big issues that need thinking about. Most importantly the exponential function.If you can really grasp and take seriously what that means you will be doing better than most.

Best wishes, Georgina

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Joe Fisher wrote on Apr. 23, 2014 @ 18:07 GMT
Dear Alan Lang,

Your exuberant essay was a delight to read. I was immensely impressed by your skepticism about light. Supposedly, the most highly credentialed scientists in the world believe that light is made of elementary particles and it has a constant speed of movement of about 186,000 mps. As I have pointed out in my comments concerning Professor Timoshenko’s essay, light does not have a surface, therefore light cannot consist of particles, elementary or normal ones. Because light does not have a surface, light cannot move. Light is the only stationary substance in the real Universe.

Please keep your doubts lad. They will protect you from the abstraction distraction disabled zealots.

Joe Fisher

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George Gantz wrote on Apr. 25, 2014 @ 01:32 GMT
Alan -

What a delightful essay! I share your optimism - but there are some really tough problems to tackle!

I hope you get a chance to read some of the other essays in this contest - an incredible range of ideas, technical commentary in math and physics at the post-graduate PHD level, huge disagreements with big ideas contested back and forth..... Science is fun!

Keep up the good work.

-George Gantz (author: The Tip of the Spear)

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Peter Jackson wrote on May. 26, 2014 @ 13:20 GMT
Alan,

An excellent effort identifying some critical and fundamental issues. You'll find that physics is not yet 'joined-up'or coherent. Anomalies are swept under the carpet rather than used to expose incorrect doctrine. You'd do well to read my conversation with Doug Singleton on our blogs.

I worked with some young students to do the experiment defying doctrine by re-producing the "predictions of QM' (as Bell's theorem) with a classical mechanism. It's described in the end notes of my essay. The mechanism the experiment models is not too difficult 3D geometry, i.e.;

Spheres (as planets) have TWO hemispheres, so have both clockwise AND anticlockwise spin. The 'speed' of surface rotation (in the sun's rest frame) depends on latitude, and changes by the COSINE of the angle from the equatorial ('disc') plane to any point on the latitude circle. Now just look up Malus' Law. (But also look up my references).

Unification of physics is allowed, as Einstein's 1952 paper, and retaining a small 'reduced gauge' uncertainty. Both SR and QM are slightly more consistently interpreted, but don't underestimate the wars and suicides that may result in any changes! But it may take decades to penetrate the current paradigms. We need fresh young minds prepared to challenge assumptions (but be careful to also learn the history and doctrine to pass your exams!)

Though your essay is short I understand you had your own limits, and I find it more to the real point than most here. A good score coming. Mine is a bit allegorical and I hope you find interesting to read and also worth a high score. It should render 'QM' understandable with no need for 'spooky action at a distance and faster than light communication. Do let me know how you get on.

Best wishes

Peter

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