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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

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

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Jayakar Joseph: on 9/29/09 at 12:00pm UTC, wrote Dear Vasile Coman, All biological matters that are live have cosmic...

Vasile Coman: on 9/25/09 at 11:19am UTC, wrote Dear Florin, I do believe we can make domains like economics...

Florin Moldoveanu: on 9/19/09 at 5:06am UTC, wrote Mr. Coman, I liked your essay even though it is greatly at odds with well...

Vasile Coman: on 9/18/09 at 16:10pm UTC, wrote Hi Al, You've been short, so I'll be short... Eating is only one way to...

Uncle Al: on 9/18/09 at 2:18am UTC, wrote To eat but not excrete is hardly a winning strategy. A mouse is every bit...

Vasile Coman: on 9/18/09 at 1:48am UTC, wrote Mr. Smith, Thank you for your kind words. Your comments are really...

J.C.N. Smith: on 9/17/09 at 16:40pm UTC, wrote Mr. Coman, To begin my comment on a positive note, your essay is very well...

Vasile Coman: on 9/16/09 at 17:03pm UTC, wrote Essay Abstract If we scale down ourselves to the size of simple...


Robert McEachern: ""At the risk of stroking physicists’ egos, physics is hard" But every..." in Will A.I. Take Over...

George Musser: "Imagine you could feed the data of the world into a computer and have it..." in Will A.I. Take Over...

Steve Dufourny: "Personally Joe me I see like that ,imagine that this infinite eternal..." in First Things First: The...

Steve Dufourny: "Joe it is wonderful this,so you are going to have a nobel prize in..." in First Things First: The...

Robert McEachern: ""I'm not sure that the 'thing as it is' is irrelevant." It is not. It is..." in Schrödinger’s Zombie:...

Steve Dufourny: "lol Zeeya it is well thought this algorythm selective when names are put in..." in Mass–Energy Equivalence...

Steve Dufourny: "is it just due to a problem when we utilise names of persons?" in Mass–Energy Equivalence...

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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.

October 18, 2019

CATEGORY: What's Ultimately Possible in Physics? Essay Contest (2009) [back]
TOPIC: Energy, Matter, and Scale in an Evolving Universe by Vasile Coman [refresh]
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Author Vasile Coman wrote on Sep. 16, 2009 @ 17:03 GMT
Essay Abstract

If we scale down ourselves to the size of simple bacteria, and look at its processes, we can find that its entire existence relies on three basic abilities. One of them is the feeding process by which it accumulates an “internal energy” for the time when food is scarce, the second is the skill to adapt its basic processes when environment changes, and the third is the “regeneration” process by which it self-replicates when conditions permit. With these three uncomplicated strategies it is very likely that billions of years from now, us will still find bacteria on Earth. And even if our Sun will cease to exist, somewhere else in the galaxy, where similar conditions exist, we assume that the same type of bacteria will continue its existence in a cycle that could last forever. If we can change our scale from the size of the entire Universe to the smaller size of the gravitational particles, what basic processes we could uncover during this journey? At the largest scale we may find what the Big Bang theory tells us, which is that everything had a rough start few billions ago and everything will end few more billion years down the road. However, it is strange that uncomplicated bacteria did discover a way to last forever while the largest structures have their dismissal built into their dawn. Or it is possible that everything we see, stars and galaxies, atoms and quarks, are engaged in a cosmic dance that uses the same basic processes of “regeneration” to fight their inexorable fate... This essay proposes a new theory which views all the matter and all the energy, linked together in a layered context-based hierarchy, structure which makes it possible for everything we see to continue their existence and evolve for eons to come.

Author Bio

VASILE COMAN is the founder of eSkill, an online testing service, and XCLSoft, a consulting company. Vasile’s current practice is focused on the enterprise architecture and the way it is applied in practice. He has more than 15 years experience in the IT industry. He held technical, consulting and management positions with companies like Spyglass, eSkill, Instrumentation Lab, Cigna, and PRTM. Since 1990, Vasile developed the Dynamically Stable Enterprise, an advanced enterprise architecture concept, that draws from his knowledge in aeronautics, software development, and management consulting. He holds an MS in Aeronautics from the Polytechnic Institute, Bucharest, Romania.

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J.C.N. Smith wrote on Sep. 17, 2009 @ 16:40 GMT
Mr. Coman,

To begin my comment on a positive note, your essay is very well and clearly written, and it is obvious that you have given a great deal of thought to these issues. On a less positive note, however, some of your ideas diverge rather dramatically from currently accepted and well verified physical principles, without offering sufficient justification for doing so. In the game of billiards, there is a rule that even while trying to make a very difficult shot a person must keep at least one foot on the floor. I think that perhaps in striving for too ambitious a goal in your essay you've violated this rule of keeping at least one foot on the floor. If you could find ways to relate or to "tie in" your ideas more closely with established scientific principles, however, it would be interesting to see where they might lead. Good luck!

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Author Vasile Coman wrote on Sep. 18, 2009 @ 01:48 GMT
Mr. Smith,

Thank you for your kind words. Your comments are really appreciated.

Regarding the lack of grounding in my essay I think that it comes from the confusion it exists when we try to define the basic concept of information. To use your billiard analogy, we need to "land" two "feet" on the ground to define information:

On one "foot" we can see information and its...

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Uncle Al wrote on Sep. 18, 2009 @ 02:18 GMT
To eat but not excrete is hardly a winning strategy. A mouse is every bit the miracle of life that is an elephant, but the elephant is bigger - and not merely a bigger mouse. To postulate that conservative inverse-square fields exhibit interchageable behavior is simply, demonstrably wrong. Charge separation sparks, magnetic fields do no (1/r^3 but no sparking even close in), and gravitation is a universal pat hand. Bacteria are vigorously self-mixing by diffusion and Brownian motion, a big pot of stew requires physical stirring or iti burns, galaxies are deeply churned by magnetohydrodynamics. It ain't the same stuff.

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Author Vasile Coman wrote on Sep. 18, 2009 @ 16:10 GMT
Hi Al,

You've been short, so I'll be short...

Eating is only one way to "accumulate" energy to face uncertainty. Other way is to go to work and save money, or evolve towards "optimizing" an arrangement for your electrons (like the element of Carbon) which is very stable...

Regarding comparison between the sparks you have between electrical charge and the attraction you have between two magnets I agree is wrong, but not for the same reason you mention. In the charge case we know we have a PHYSICAL separation of negative and positive charges, while in the magnetic field case we know the magnetic monopoles ARE ALWAYS BOUND TOGETHER IN THE ATOM (they are just arranged differently to create the field at the macro level). Assuming that we are able to separate the magnetic monopoles physically (create a different number of magnetic monopoles positive and negative on two separate magnets or electromagnets) I am quite sure you will see a lot more than a spark. This could be true especially when we don't even know how to separate them in the first place...

Regarding mixing, stewing, or churning I don't think it is that important...

Again Al, thanks for your input.

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Florin Moldoveanu wrote on Sep. 19, 2009 @ 05:06 GMT
Mr. Coman,

I liked your essay even though it is greatly at odds with well established physical theories. I am often wondering if other “fuzzier” domains like economics and sociology can be also made mathematically rigorous like physics, and what would be the way of doing it? Your essay provided me with good food for thought. If you are interested, check out my essay: "Heuristic rule for..." and comment on my proposed physics principles. Good luck to you in this contest.

PS: I can make one suggestion for your essay: on Table 1, the temperature scale of the socio-economic realm should be “1/(interest rate)” which follows from simple thermodynamical arguments on the market.

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Author Vasile Coman wrote on Sep. 25, 2009 @ 11:19 GMT
Dear Florin,

I do believe we can make domains like economics mathematically rigorous. The way I see it goes back to how you find optimum when everything around you changes, and each change can trigger other changes. This is what I see it as the adaptability problem for a system that operates in an environment populated by other similar systems. Obviously, just because we don't have the mathematical tools to model such problems that doesn't mean they are not possible. In the last few years I've developed on an information-centric model that models organizations and could be a starting point. You can find some ideas into a paper I'll present in November this year at the AAAI conference.



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Jayakar Johnson Joseph wrote on Sep. 29, 2009 @ 12:00 GMT
Dear Vasile Coman,

All biological matters that are live have cosmic connectivity. For example, the endocrine system in correlation with super-hormones is been observed as influenced by environmental factors such as: Biological clock, gravitational waves etc.

Thereby we need a Coherent-cyclic cluster-matter universe model to explain this and I hope that the emerging physics from this model may resolve the existing paradoxes in physics and may explain the cosmic connectivity of live biological matters by tuning up the existing chemical principles and may emerge with new biochemical phenomena to provide solutions in healthcare. I think there is difference between 'stratum' and 'layer'.


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