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

Previous Contests

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

Georgina Woodward: on 4/7/17 at 20:57pm UTC, wrote Hi Sherman, your essay is strange but intriguing. At first I thought the...

Dizhechko Semyonovich: on 4/7/17 at 8:35am UTC, wrote Dear Sirs! Physics of Descartes, which existed prior to the physics of...

sherman jenkins: on 4/4/17 at 18:28pm UTC, wrote Georgina Woodward, I will post on both your topic and my own in the essay...

Don Limuti: on 3/30/17 at 21:07pm UTC, wrote Hi Sherman, Nice dialog of life.... causes, effects, direction, choices,...

sherman jenkins: on 3/25/17 at 7:17am UTC, wrote Gevorg, As the FQXI contest was difficult to approach in a full and honest...

George Kirakosyan: on 3/25/17 at 6:07am UTC, wrote Sherman, I opened your opus and I seen there are written: //Author Bio//...

Satyavarapu Gupta: on 3/10/17 at 21:28pm UTC, wrote Nice essay Jenkins, Your ideas and thinking are excellent , those you have...

Héctor Gianni: on 3/9/17 at 19:51pm UTC, wrote Dear Sherman Loran Jenkins I invite you and every physicist to read my...


Jason Wolfe: "Hi Steve, It sounds like we have similar interpretations of quantum..." in Schrödinger’s Zombie:...

Steve Agnew: "Yes indeed, a wavefunction represents a superposition of locations as well..." in Schrödinger’s Zombie:...

Jason Wolfe: "Science is motivated to sever the connection with Deity. They use fluff,..." in Constructing a Theory of...

Robert McEachern: ""But what do scientists hope quantum computers will be good for,..." in What Will Quantum...

Zeeya Merali: "Over the past couple of months there’s been renewed interest, and quite..." in What Will Quantum...

Jason Wolfe: "If I could write an unconventional model of reality, it would come with a..." in Alternative Models of...

Steve Dufourny: "the fuzzy spheres are very relevant in fact ,they are non commutative, I..." in Alternative Models of...

Jason Wolfe: "Joe Fisher, I'm not sure reality is sensible. But the NDE/ghost stuff is..." in First Things First: The...

click titles to read articles

First Things First: The Physics of Causality
Why do we remember the past and not the future? Untangling the connections between cause and effect, choice, and entropy.

Can Time Be Saved From Physics?
Philosophers, physicists and neuroscientists discuss how our sense of time’s flow might arise through our interactions with external stimuli—despite suggestions from Einstein's relativity that our perception of the passage of time is an illusion.

A devilish new framework of thermodynamics that focuses on how we observe information could help illuminate our understanding of probability and rewrite quantum theory.

Gravity's Residue
An unusual approach to unifying the laws of physics could solve Hawking's black-hole information paradox—and its predicted gravitational "memory effect" could be picked up by LIGO.

Could Mind Forge the Universe?
Objective reality, and the laws of physics themselves, emerge from our observations, according to a new framework that turns what we think of as fundamental on its head.

November 22, 2019

CATEGORY: Wandering Towards a Goal Essay Contest (2016-2017) [back]
TOPIC: Does the Universe have a Purpose, what is the role of life? by sherman loran jenkins [refresh]
Bookmark and Share
Login or create account to post reply or comment.

Author sherman loran jenkins wrote on Mar. 3, 2017 @ 17:29 GMT
Essay Abstract

What’s it all about? Now big is the universe? Why are we here? What lies beyond. Which way to the goal? All such far reaching questions are difficult to form clearly when we use a common language. And we each have a variety of tongue that is ours alone. Responding to such queries is almost in vain. First I must frame the question as my own then state an answer in a voice that may be seen by some in my tribe. The challenge presented by FQXI is open enough to be approached from most any direction. Building blocks of life as we know it on Earth are found at the farthest reaches of our celestial instruments. Calcium shells containing snippets of DNA blast in from all directions of the starry compass and rain down on land and sea. Living creatures provide an environment where these nanobacteria thrive. Each one seems unique with just a blueprint for reproduction and borrowed DNA for structure. Earth’s present creatures are individually and collectively capable of self destruction. Could such lead to a Universal Goal? Butterflies and geese; penguin and caribou - many will take the leed, cut a trail or break the wind but Emperors and Monarchs seldom see the goal. Navigation is very much a community effort. Still a few will follow a strong leader on a course to doom. Gamma ray burst come in two flavors. One natural and one from star - planet systems somewhat like our own. Could these GRBs be evidence of the the last gesture of a failed life form? Efforts to communicate in a common language call upon science, math and logic. We may even resort to rhyme and song or art and dance. In 9 brief pages I will describe how I found my answer.

Author Bio

Question geometry, numbers “dark and light.” How to ask and answer. “How does sun light make shadows?” Seeing our home and garage at (36.933804, -93.055313) one can imagine what this question was for me. The sun set my world aglow with shapes and shadows that swept through the building. Bundles of light presented more questions than words could express. See first contest The Nature of Time. Today I have no doubt about the nature of light nor of the origin and direction of time. Question not the goal of the Universe only how to answer

Download Essay PDF File

Bookmark and Share

Vladimir F. Tamari wrote on Mar. 7, 2017 @ 23:46 GMT
Very enjoyable, fresh stories reflecting a way of life one misses in the big crowded mega-cities like my own Tokyo. From jigsaw puzzles, through ball lightning to an intelligent rooster, the whole of creation and modern life is encapsulated in these odd delightful beautifully written anecdotes. Never mind meandering towards a goal, the fqxi essay question was ill-posed to start with. And nice green coordinates!

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Joe Fisher wrote on Mar. 9, 2017 @ 17:03 GMT
Dear sherman loran jenkins,

Please excuse me for I have no intention of disparaging in any way any part of your essay.

I merely wish to point out that “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955) Physicist & Nobel Laureate.

Only nature could produce a reality so simple, a single cell amoeba could deal with it.

The real Universe must consist only of one unified visible infinite physical surface occurring in one infinite dimension, that am always illuminated by infinite non-surface light.

A more detailed explanation of natural reality can be found in my essay, SCORE ONE FOR SIMPLICITY. I do hope that you will read my essay and perhaps comment on its merit.

Joe Fisher, Realist

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Author sherman loran jenkins replied on Mar. 9, 2017 @ 17:59 GMT

I am starting to appreciate your point of view. And am sure I have a poor understanding of your full picture. My own view which can be seen in my first FQXI essay on The Nature of Time and at other locations on FQXI--am about as simple as simple can be.

Bookmark and Share

Héctor Daniel Gianni wrote on Mar. 9, 2017 @ 19:51 GMT
Dear Sherman Loran Jenkins

I invite you and every physicist to read my work “TIME ORIGIN,DEFINITION AND EMPIRICAL MEANING FOR PHYSICISTS, Héctor Daniel Gianni ,I’m not a physicist.

How people interested in “Time” could feel about related things to the subject.

1) Intellectuals interested in Time issues usually have a nice and creative wander for the unknown.

2) They usually enjoy this wander of their searches around it.

3) For millenniums this wander has been shared by a lot of creative people around the world.

4) What if suddenly, something considered quasi impossible to be found or discovered such as “Time” definition and experimental meaning confronts them?

5) Their reaction would be like, something unbelievable,… a kind of disappointment, probably interpreted as a loss of wander…..

6) ….worst than that, if we say that what was found or discovered wasn’t a viable theory, but a proved fact.

7) Then it would become offensive to be part of the millenary problem solution, instead of being a reason for happiness and satisfaction.

8) The reader approach to the news would be paradoxically adverse.

9) Instead, I think it should be a nice welcome to discovery, to be received with opened arms and considered to be read with full attention.

11)Time “existence” is exclusive as a “measuring system”, its physical existence can’t be proved by science, as the “time system” is. Experimentally “time” is “movement”, we can prove that, showing that with clocks we measure “constant and uniform” movement and not “the so called Time”.

12)The original “time manuscript” has 23 pages, my manuscript in this contest has only 9 pages.

I share this brief with people interested in “time” and with physicists who have been in sore need of this issue for the last 50 or 60 years.


Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Mar. 10, 2017 @ 21:28 GMT
Nice essay Jenkins,

Your ideas and thinking are excellent , those you have shown in forming strategies of solving jig saw puzzles are wonderful. Nice story type telling of complex ideas.

I request to have look at my essay too.

For your information Dynamic Universe model is totally based on experimental results. Here in Dynamic Universe Model Space is Space and time is time...

view entire post

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

George Kirakosyan wrote on Mar. 25, 2017 @ 06:07 GMT

I opened your opus and I seen there are written: //Author Bio// and such a text under that chapter:

//Question geometry, numbers “dark and light.” How to ask and answer. “How does sun light make shadows?” Seeing our home and garage at (36.933804, -93.055313) one can imagine what this question was for me ....//!!!

Then it become for my very difficult to imagine anything! Thus, I have seen that it will too difficult to continue ....

I just would to understand - Sorry, to what purpose you are here?

Maybe it will more right directed this question to FQXi administration?

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Author sherman loran jenkins replied on Mar. 25, 2017 @ 07:17 GMT

As the FQXI contest was difficult to approach in a full and honest manner I chose to summarize a response in the abstract and then describe a few occasions in my life that lead to my views concerning the question and answer.

My years aged 5 and 6 were living in the building at (36.933804, -93.055313). You may be able to view the now deserted building on Google maps or Bing or? But there are windows in the sloping roof on all 4 sides. Sun light or moon light coming in these windows was broken into beams by the window panes and further sliced by the roof supports and then leaving ever changing patterns on walls and floors. Smoke or motes of dust revealed 3D shapes that gave me a lifelong love of geometry and fascination with light.


Bookmark and Share

Don Limuti wrote on Mar. 30, 2017 @ 21:07 GMT
Hi Sherman,

Nice dialog of life.... causes, effects, direction, choices, puzzles, nature, beauty, danger, love.....Life even brings us mathematics which we use as a tool to examine life.

And I was surprised to see another dialog, we are now a team :)

Thanks for your science and art, and for visiting my site!

Don Limuti

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Author sherman loran jenkins wrote on Apr. 4, 2017 @ 18:28 GMT
Georgina Woodward,

I will post on both your topic and my own in the essay contest.

Enjoyed your essay as usual. And agree with most of your observations. I would like to make a couple of comments. The first relates to giving the lower ranked life forms a little more credit. My essay originally included my experience with slime mold but due to size restrictions - something had to go; and anyway, who would believe such simple creatures could have goals and anticipate the future? And a second has to do with time. I know that you have expressed a long interest in the nature of time. So much of physics is more beautiful when viewed with a working understanding of time. My essay in the first FQXI contest on the nature of time describes how time and the laws of physics come from one underlying principle.


Bookmark and Share

Dizhechko Boris Semyonovich wrote on Apr. 7, 2017 @ 08:35 GMT
Dear Sirs!

Physics of Descartes, which existed prior to the physics of Newton returned as the New Cartesian Physic and promises to be a theory of everything. To tell you this good news I use «spam».

New Cartesian Physic based on the identity of space and matter. It showed that the formula of mass-energy equivalence comes from the pressure of the Universe, the flow of force which on the corpuscle is equal to the product of Planck's constant to the speed of light.

New Cartesian Physic has great potential for understanding the world. To show it, I ventured to give "materialistic explanations of the paranormal and supernatural" is the title of my essay.

Visit my essay, you will find there the New Cartesian Physic and make a short entry: "I believe that space is a matter" I will answer you in return. Can put me 1.


Dizhechko Boris

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate

Georgina Woodward wrote on Apr. 7, 2017 @ 20:57 GMT
Hi Sherman, your essay is strange but intriguing. At first I thought the puzzle solving was just about geometry and topology of shapes and their relations in material reality. Then when you start the puzzle without reference to the end picture I can see how that could relate to evolution and development of forms, that happen without knowing the outcome. Yet in hindsight, knowing the form, the production of it can seem to have been directed by having that end in sight. The " intelligent" chicken choosing its name made me think of how random events can seem purposeful by observers connecting unrelated information -as happens in cold reading. I wondered if, when you wrote about the box and tools " I hope someone gets and appreciates them and may just figure how to put them together" it was also a reference to the essay itself. Though I also wonder if i too am looking at the final product and reading intention into it that you didn't have. It is either a clever piece of writing or bizarre or possibly both. Thank you for an enjoyable read and puzzle!

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.