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RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Joe Fisher: on 4/7/15 at 15:41pm UTC, wrote Dear Gerald, I think Newton was wrong about abstract gravity; Einstein was...

Patrick Tonin: on 3/14/15 at 19:47pm UTC, wrote Dear Gerald, Your essay abstract attracted my attention because I also...

Gerald Vones: on 3/8/15 at 8:55am UTC, wrote Conrad, thank you very much for your interest. I do understand your...

Conrad Johnson: on 3/7/15 at 14:16pm UTC, wrote Gerald – I agree with you about the basic role played by information in...

Gerald Vones: on 3/5/15 at 16:32pm UTC, wrote Essay Abstract It is argued that physics is mathematics of...


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FQXi FORUM
November 22, 2019

CATEGORY: Trick or Truth Essay Contest (2015) [back]
TOPIC: Physics as Mathematics of Information by Gerald Vones [refresh]
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Author Gerald Vones wrote on Mar. 5, 2015 @ 16:32 GMT
Essay Abstract

It is argued that physics is mathematics of information, hence any physical entity is mathematical, but not vice versa. As a necessary basis, the concept of “information” is discussed. As a result, there is no freedom in setting physical scales, rather the Planckian scales are to be used according to the density at which nature stores information.

Author Bio

Educated as a physicist, I worked in the field of High Energy Physics at the University of Graz in the 1980ies. After that, I have taken a position in the administration, where I am involved in technology-related activities. In parallel, I have retained and even increased my personal interest in fundamental questions.

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Conrad Dale Johnson wrote on Mar. 7, 2015 @ 14:16 GMT
Gerald –

I agree with you about the basic role played by information in physics. But I think something crucial is lost in your notion that "the concept of information is absolutely simple and transparent: Information... is a pure number."

As Shannon noted, this is only one aspect of information. In my essay on semantics, I emphasized that physics involves many kinds of information – e.g. length, mass, charge, spin etc. The fact that these are all related to each other mathematically doesn't mean they're all reducible to the same thing, or that their differences aren't fundamental. On the contrary, the equations of physics give each one a unique role in the structure of the world, in relation to other kinds of information. The fact that length can be expressed as a number of Planck units doesn't make it the same as electric charge, which is also expressed in basic units. So I doubt that we can get to the heart of physics by abstracting from these important differences.

Electric charge can be meaningfully defined only if length, velocity, force, etc. are also meaningfully defined. This kind of meaning is entirely physical; it doesn't involve human perception or imagination. Since the relationships between physical parameters can be expressed in mathematical equations, no doubt physics is profoundly mathematical. But apparently it takes a very complex combination of very different mathematical structures to support a world like ours, where many different kinds of information are all physically definable in terms of each other. This is not at all the kind of system studied in pure mathematics.

Thanks for the chance to respond to your interesting essay –

Conrad

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Author Gerald Vones replied on Mar. 8, 2015 @ 08:55 GMT
Conrad,

thank you very much for your interest.

I do understand your concern and your aim of „Finding Meaning“ as the title of your essay says. Information appears as inextricably linked with meaning. In this light, it had confused and dismayed me over a long time that what Shannon ended up with is not more than a mathematical formula telling how to compute a number. Maybe I gave...

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Patrick Tonin wrote on Mar. 14, 2015 @ 19:47 GMT
Dear Gerald,

Your essay abstract attracted my attention because I also think that information is fundamental to the Universe.

You have raised some very good points in your essay and I think that you deserve a better score than you actually have.

I propose a model that describes the Universe as a growing sphere of information. If you have a spare moment you can take a look at it here, you will see that some of your ideas are developped in it.

You can also take a look at my essay althought it is mainly a list of equations.

All the best,

Patrick

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Joe Fisher wrote on Apr. 7, 2015 @ 15:41 GMT
Dear Gerald,

I think Newton was wrong about abstract gravity; Einstein was wrong about abstract space/time, and Hawking was wrong about the explosive capability of NOTHING.

All I ask is that you give my essay WHY THE REAL UNIVERSE IS NOT MATHEMATICAL a fair reading and that you allow me to answer any objections you may leave in my comment box about it.

Joe Fisher

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