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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.
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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

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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
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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

Joe Fisher: on 4/9/15 at 15:59pm UTC, wrote Dear Joachim, I think Newton was wrong about abstract gravity; Einstein...

Georgina Woodward: on 4/9/15 at 5:44am UTC, wrote Hi Alan, Succinct and relevant. Georgina

Alan Kadin: on 3/12/15 at 12:37pm UTC, wrote Dear Dr. Wlodarz: Your essay is very concise and very clear. Mathematical...

Joachim Wlodarz: on 3/11/15 at 19:49pm UTC, wrote Essay Abstract In this short one-page essay it is argued that...


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FQXi FORUM
September 28, 2021

CATEGORY: Trick or Truth Essay Contest (2015) [back]
TOPIC: On reasonably effective mathematical models and physical reality by Joachim J. Wlodarz [refresh]
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Author Joachim J. Wlodarz wrote on Mar. 11, 2015 @ 19:49 GMT
Essay Abstract

In this short one-page essay it is argued that mathematical structures used to describe physics are always nothing more than models prepared in abstraction of the reality, i.e. invented by humans, inspired by Nature and effective by design.

Author Bio

The Author got his PhD in 1991 from the University of Silesia, Poland. He is appointed since 2003 as Senior Lecturer at the Department of Theoretical Chemistry the same Alma Mater, and works also closely with the Computer Science Group at the Faculty of Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry.

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Alan M. Kadin wrote on Mar. 12, 2015 @ 12:37 GMT
Dear Dr. Wlodarz:

Your essay is very concise and very clear. Mathematical models work because they are designed to do so.

I agree, and my own essay, "Remove the Blinders: How Mathematics Distorted the Development of Quantum Theory", focuses on a particularly egregious example of how an incorrect mathematical model became accepted as reality, despite obvious "paradoxes". I argue that contrary to universal belief, a simple realistic picture of the microworld is possible, completely avoiding the paradoxes that plague orthodox quantum mechanics (including entanglement). QM is not a universal theory of matter; it is rather a mechanism for distributed vector fields to self-organize into spin-quantized coherent domains similar to solitons. This requires nonlinear mathematics that is not present in the standard Hilbert-space formalism. This also makes directly testable experimental predictions, based on little more than Stern-Gerlach measurements. Remarkably, these simple experiments have never been done.

So while mathematics can provide important insights into physics, an incorrect mathematical model that becomes established may be seen as virtually religious dogma which is not to be questioned. That prevents further progress.

Alan Kadin

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Georgina Woodward replied on Apr. 9, 2015 @ 05:44 GMT
Hi Alan, Succinct and relevant. Georgina

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Joe Fisher wrote on Apr. 9, 2015 @ 15:59 GMT
Dear Joachim,

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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