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Current Essay Contest


Contest Partners: Nanotronics Imaging, The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation, and The John Templeton Foundation
Media Partner: 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
read/discusswinners

What Is “Fundamental”
October 28, 2017 to January 22, 2018
Sponsored by the Fetzer Franklin Fund and The Peter & Patricia Gruber Foundation
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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
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It From Bit or Bit From It
March 25 - June 28, 2013
Contest Partners: The Gruber Foundation, J. Templeton Foundation, and Scientific American
read/discusswinners

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
read/discusswinners

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

Joe Fisher: on 4/9/15 at 15:41pm UTC, wrote Dear Heinrich, I think Newton was wrong about abstract gravity; Einstein...

Alan Kadin: on 3/21/15 at 15:30pm UTC, wrote Dear Mr. Luediger, I enjoyed reading your coherent history of the central...

John Hodge: on 3/11/15 at 19:22pm UTC, wrote You may note the discussion between Ojo and me in this contest. I ended by...

Heinrich Luediger: on 3/10/15 at 18:35pm UTC, wrote Essay Abstract In this essay I shall defend the thesis that physics...


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FQXi FORUM
August 11, 2022

CATEGORY: Trick or Truth Essay Contest (2015) [back]
TOPIC: The Power and Poverty of Mathematics in Physics by Heinrich Hermann Luediger [refresh]
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Author Heinrich Luediger wrote on Mar. 10, 2015 @ 18:35 GMT
Essay Abstract

In this essay I shall defend the thesis that physics is about motion and that motion, as classical Greek philosophy has exhaustively demonstrated, is not tractable in any discrete domain of argument. For more than two millennia to come were Zeno’s Paradoxes respected as the collegial advice: Do not open this box! Physics, as the science of motion, came of age only with Newton’s fluxions and Leibniz’ differentials, which rather than dissolving the paradox of motion, escaped it. Arguments will be presented in support of the thesis that infinitesimal calculus was the reason for the literally un-reason-able effectiveness of mathematics in physics and that the ‘arithmetization of the continuum’, i.e. the ‘opening of the box’, turned physics from the science of motion back to the affirmative logic of states in historical time.

Author Bio

H.H.J. Luediger holds a Dipl. Ing. degree in telecommunications technologies and has a keen interest in the theory of science.

Download Essay PDF File

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John C Hodge wrote on Mar. 11, 2015 @ 19:22 GMT
You may note the discussion between Ojo and me in this contest. I ended by rejecting the arithmetic of division as a characteristic of the universe. Division, like statistics, was invented by humans and has directed us away from the physics of the universe. This should, as Ojo suggested, restore your thesis of motion and the idea of cause-effect in natural physics and natural (discovered) math.

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Alan M. Kadin wrote on Mar. 21, 2015 @ 15:30 GMT
Dear Mr. Luediger,

I enjoyed reading your coherent history of the central aspect of continuous motion in classical physics.

I agree. In my own essay "Remove the Blinders: How Mathematics Distorted the Development of Quantum Theory", I argue that continuous motion also applies to quantum physics on the microscopic level, contrary to what is generally believed. An electron is a real spin-quantized wave packet that follows a continuous trajectory in space, determined by constant frequency in the laboratory reference frame. Indeterminacy and entanglement are artifacts of an incorrect mathematical model. The same physics is present on both microscopic and macroscopic levels. What’s more, this realistic model is directly testable using little more than Stern-Gerlach magnets. The relevant experiments have never been reported.

Alan Kadin

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Joe Fisher wrote on Apr. 9, 2015 @ 15:41 GMT
Dear Heinrich,

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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