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Current Essay Contest

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Undecidability, Uncomputability, and Unpredictability Essay Contest
December 24, 2019 - April 24, 2020
Contest Partners: Fetzer Franklin Fund, and The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation

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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Terry Padden: on 10/9/09 at 9:49am UTC, wrote James I agree with both your main points. Every resolution of a physics...

Eckard Blumschein: on 10/7/09 at 14:18pm UTC, wrote James, A Graber should be a digger, not a skimmer. Try to understand. ....

James Graber: on 10/5/09 at 10:55am UTC, wrote Essay Abstract We propose that just as Bell’s theorem made...


H.H.J. Luediger: "Even darker.... one can not easily downrate a racehorse to a donkey, but..." in Undecidability,...

Steve Agnew: "Well thank-you, you are very kind. I have come to appreciate the fact that..." in Quantum Dream Time

Samuel Parsons: "O also means a whole new universe in a box can be recreated a miniverse..." in Outside the Box

Samuel Parsons: "Is it 127? It's always comes back here. Just saying also I'm trying to..." in Outside the Box

Zeeya Merali: "INSPYRE, INternational School on modern PhYsics and REsearch, organized by..." in Welcome to INSPYRE 2020 -...

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click titles to read articles

Building Agency in the Biology Lab
Physicists are using optogenetics techniques to make a rudimentary agent, from cellular components, which can convert measurements into actions using light.

Think Quantum to Build Better AI
Investigating how quantum memory storage could aid machine learning and how quantum interactions with the environment may have played a role in evolution.

Outside the Box
A proposed quantum set-up that could predict your game-playing strategy resurrects Newcomb’s classic quiz show paradox.

The Quantum Agent
Investigating how the quantum measurement process might be related to the emergence of intelligence, agency and free will.

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.

May 28, 2020

CATEGORY: What's Ultimately Possible in Physics? Essay Contest (2009) [back]
TOPIC: Ultimately, Experimental Metaphysics Will Triumph by James Graber [refresh]
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Author James Graber wrote on Oct. 5, 2009 @ 10:55 GMT
Essay Abstract

We propose that just as Bell’s theorem made possible experimental tests of the Einstein Rosen Podolsky arguments as improved by Bohm, in the future decisive experimental tests will become possible for many of the currently contentious issues at the foundations of quantum mechanics. We predict that some of these experimental resolutions of previously metaphysical questions may come soon, partly as a byproduct of efforts to produce quantum computers, in particular one-way measurement-based computers, and partly as a result of directed efforts such as the attempts to produce ever larger macroscopic Schrodinger cats.

Author Bio

Jim Graber got an undergraduate degree in mathematics approximately fifty years ago and has been working with computers ever since. He has occasionally used computers to build models and study amenable physics problems. He currently reads the abstracts for GR-QC, HEP-EX, QUANT-PH and ASTRO-PH daily and typically skims about four physics papers each day.

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Eckard Blumschein wrote on Oct. 7, 2009 @ 14:18 GMT

A Graber should be a digger, not a skimmer. Try to understand. . Do you expect the LHC providing evidence for SUSY, and do you believe in quantum computers that will work as promised?


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Terry Padden wrote on Oct. 9, 2009 @ 09:49 GMT

I agree with both your main points. Every resolution of a physics problem can only be achieved through data obtained from experiments. If we are to solve the ultimate problems of Emergence & Consciousness we must first have accurate relevant data. We are nearing the computational limits of today's computers. So achieving accuracy may become difficult. New computational machines (and algorithms) will be needed; and science will have to include Computer / Information Science as a fundamental discipline.

Two quibbles: (a) I would not term the problems "metaphysical"; (b) I am not convinced about "quantum" computers, for I share Laughlin's reservations. May be biological is the way to go.

My essay endorses the primacy of experimental data (I denote it "Reasonable") over (Rational) theoretical formulations.

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