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 forums@fqxi.org 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.

Forum Home
Introduction
Terms of Use

Order posts by:
 chronological order
 most recent first

Posts by the blogger 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
RECENT POSTS IN THIS TOPIC

Lev Goldfarb: on 1/19/10 at 23:13pm UTC, wrote Hi Brendan, There was an earlier question (without an answer) as to "how...

amrit: on 1/17/10 at 13:05pm UTC, wrote FQXI is bridging cosmology and physics with ontology. Outcome will be...

Brendan Foster: on 1/15/10 at 17:03pm UTC, wrote How did I forget the date? The results will be posted on Tuesday, Jan 19th...

Jonathan Dickau: on 1/14/10 at 20:43pm UTC, wrote Hello all! I wanted to say that this contest and forum have been a most...

Brendan Foster: on 1/14/10 at 19:17pm UTC, wrote Thanks for the comments all, I will get to responding in a bit. ...

Author Frank Martin DiMeglio: on 1/11/10 at 14:40pm UTC, wrote FQXi and Constantin: Constantin said: "Therefore, FQXi must consider...

Jason Wolfe: on 1/10/10 at 20:59pm UTC, wrote Frank, That is what debate is for. Let ideas engage one another on the...

Constantin Leshan: on 1/10/10 at 20:37pm UTC, wrote Dear Brendan Foster, Imagine the future of FQXi. To be successful, FQXi...


RECENT FORUM POSTS

Robert McEachern: ""all experiments have pointed towards this and there is no way to avoid..." in Review of "Foundations of...

Joe Fisher: "Dear Steve Agnew, Naturally provided VISIBLE realty am not a silly humanly..." in Can Time Be Saved From...

James Putnam: "Light bends because it is accelerating. It accelerates toward an object..." in Black Hole Photographed...

Steve Agnew: "Stringy and loop quantum are the two big contenders, but neither has a..." in Can Time Be Saved From...

Robert McEachern: "Lorenzo, The nature of "information" is well understood outside of..." in Review of "Foundations of...

Georgina Woodward: "Steve, Lorraine is writing about a simpler "knowing " rather than the..." in The Nature of Time

Steve Agnew: "Knowing information necessarily means neural action potentials. Atom and..." in The Nature of Time


RECENT ARTICLES
click titles to read articles

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.

Thermo-Demonics
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.

Dissolving Quantum Paradoxes
The impossibility of building a perfect clock could help explain away microscale weirdness.


FQXi BLOGS
May 20, 2019

CATEGORY: Blog [back]
TOPIC: What's U.P.P.? (Contest Feedback) [refresh]
Bookmark and Share
Login or create account to post reply or comment.

FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster wrote on Dec. 11, 2009 @ 17:34 GMT
Right now, our Panel of Experts is reviewing the 42 finalists in the 2009 essay contest, on 'What Is Ultimately Possible In Physics?'. When their ratings are in, we will combine them with the original Community ratings to determine the final winners.

This is the second essay contest FQXi has run. The first contest on 'The Nature of Time' was a great success in many ways. In particular, it has made it ok to talk about this topic in lunchrooms of "normal" physics institutes. I personally have been in a few conversations with "normal" physicists in which they start by asking about the contest details, then subtly transition into telling me what they think about the nature of time itself. This sort of "abnormal" talk was very rare just a few years ago. Let's hope the latest contest does as much to encourage ongoing discussion of the limits of physics.

We here at FQXi have learned a lot from running the contests, but I suppose it is possible that we are still not perfect. Therefore, I want to ask everyone here for comments, complaints (or compliments even). Whether you entered the contest or were just a fan, I would like to read your thoughts below. We intend to run more essay contests in the future, so feedback will be most helpful.

I will start with a compliment, to the entrants---I was impressed with the high level of good will. People seemed genuinely interested in the entries of others. Questions were asked and often answered in great detail. True, there were a few tense moments now and then, but these were dealt with diplomatically. I feel that everyone strove to focus not on tearing down the competition, but instead on crafting and explaining their own work.

Thanks to everyone, and here's to many more.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Florin Moldoveanu wrote on Dec. 12, 2009 @ 01:32 GMT
First, I want to congratulate FQXi on the opportunity it created in running this contest. I had discovered the last contest just after closing for entries and I was periodically coming back to see if a new essay contest is launched.

My pet peeve with this contest was the refusal of FQXi to accept small paper corrections. I understand this would have imposed a burden on FQXi resources, but a simple redesign of the personal essay page can accommodate a small section dedicated to errata.

I would also like to make a request. Not all of us have automatic rights to upload to the archive. Can FQXi help endorse the winner entries to the archive if requested? Thank you.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Steve Dufourny wrote on Dec. 12, 2009 @ 11:58 GMT
Hello all ,

This platform is wonderful .What is very existing is the future of this platform too.The improvement will permit an optimization.More a number increasing of people.

The fact to can discuss in transparence about physics is so important for the sciences .

A real succes your platform ,thus congratulations .

Good luck for the finalists .

Regards

Steve

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


J.C.N. Smith wrote on Dec. 12, 2009 @ 12:58 GMT
First, a hearty thank you to FQXi for making this forum available! (More on which below.)

I, like Mr. Moldoveanu, discovered last year's competition after the deadline for submissions had passed. I was initially devastated, because the nature of time happens to be my primary area of scientific/philosophical interest. In retrospect, however, that may not have been all bad, because it...

view entire post


Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Ray Munroe wrote on Dec. 12, 2009 @ 19:55 GMT
Dear GOW,

I agree that it would have been better if people like Stephen Wolfram and Gordon Kane had participated in the discussions as well as the contest. They both had good essays, but probably lost 'good will' credit by not participating more. Perhaps they are too busy, or perhaps too many discussions were below their interest thresholds.

Still, there were many interesting discussions, and I appreciate FQXi and the opportunity to participate in such contests and discussions.

Thank You, FQXi!

Sincerely, Ray Munroe

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


J.C.N. Smith wrote on Dec. 13, 2009 @ 14:04 GMT
A question for FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster: As part of the process for submitting essays to the competition, authors were offered an opportunity to name three persons whom they specifically would like to have as reviewers of their essay. Is there any feedback mechanism by which authors will ever learn whether the reviewers they requested actually did or did not review their essay, and if so to what end?

Thanks for any insight you can provide on this.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Arjen Dijksman wrote on Dec. 13, 2009 @ 20:27 GMT
I also would like to congratulate and thank FQXi and the essay organizers for running this contest. I really appreciated the diversity of opinions and openness in the forum. There is a real need for platforms like FQXi where physics interested public may express their thoughts about physics topics. The fact that essay submitters are rated by peer competitors and FQXi members acts as a self-moderating feedback, although the rating system was still a little too harsh (I think everyone could agree with this). I've thought of two features that could somewhat balance it. Rating a 1 or 2 (or a 9 or 10) should be taken seriously. If an essay is really worth such a mark, that would mean that it is out of scope for one or more of the evaluation criteria. Maybe a short justification could then be asked, which will later be communicated to the review panel. The review panel could then decide upon keeping or cancelling that vote. Another feature could be that every competitor, at the close of voting, gets one supplementary rating: his average rating of the other essays. Someone who at average has rated a 5, would get an additional 5. Someone who at average has rated 2, would get an additional 2. This would be an extra motivation to leave balanced ratings.

Is it also possible to have a notification system upon new comments? Owen Cunningham proposed one. That was a good idea. Another feature that could be of interest is to have a printable page with all the abstracts. That would help us in the process of reading the essays. Before choosing on which essays I should focus my attention, I opened all the pages and copied the abstract in a personal file.

I join with Florin for his request to help the contest awardees for an endorsement on arxiv. Vixra has not the same reach. I think this would also make some promotion for FQXi and the essay contest among the scientific community.

Finally, I would like to express the wish for a continuation of live discussions about what's ultimately possible in physics. Maybe it is possible to organize some informal regional FQXi meetings, open to anyone who has participated in the contest or in the discussions? I would be happy to help organizing one in Western Europe.

Best regards,

Arjen

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Helmut Hansen wrote on Dec. 14, 2009 @ 05:02 GMT
I would like to congratulate and thank FQXi and the essay organizers for running this contest. I especially appreciated the openminded attitude of this forum. In the old world I would never get the opportunity to speak about metaphysics. Here, metaphysics is being fought by both sides, from the church as well as from the scientific side. It was therefore pleasing to be able to do it at your forum in the new world.

Thanks for that.

H. Hansen

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster wrote on Dec. 14, 2009 @ 16:29 GMT
Thanks everyone for the comments so far. I will try to keep up with the posts.

@Florin: Not allowing corrections to the essay file was a matter of principle. We simply wanted all possible reviewers to read the same document. Thus, once posted, never altered. A special comment section in the essay forum is something to consider, though.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster wrote on Dec. 14, 2009 @ 16:45 GMT
Steve: Thanks for your enthusiasm throughout the contest.

Mr. Smith: Thanks also. You and Florin bring out the importance of advertising.

About the reviewers---we want to keep the identities of the Review Panelists confidential, so I'm afraid I can't give info there. But as you might imagine, the number of submitted suggested reviewers was very large and diverse, while our panel is fairly small (and diverse). Thus, it is simply the case that some essays were not reviewed by any of the suggested reviewers. The purpose of the suggestions, though, is to get an idea of who the intended audience might have been. Of course, essays should have been written for a general audience, so if an essay was only intelligible to the suggested reviewers, then it probably wasn't a very successful essay.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster wrote on Dec. 14, 2009 @ 16:52 GMT
Ray: Yes, it is something to consider for the future, whether further participation beyond the essay itself should be a component of the contest. That would certainly be a novel sort of contest, but that's what we do best.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Dec. 15, 2009 @ 01:02 GMT
I must also praise FQXI for the wonderful work they do and for this opportunity to expose our ideas amongst such a concentration of interest in the matters of fundamental questions. This is a unique platform and, for some of us (like me) tackling a borderline subject with shallow credentials, it is in fact the only worthy platform available.

We all get very excited about this contest ...

and please excuse my earlier comments ... I just get like that sometimes.

Thanks,

Marcel,

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Narendra Nath wrote on Dec. 15, 2009 @ 08:25 GMT
it is indeed a pleasure to participate in the FQXI essay contests. They are well organized and permit intense participation of both the public and authors from a wide variety of professional backgrounds. Here lies the wealth of knowledge that is available to all , irrespective of their status and professional achievements. This provides richness to the concept of universal humanity.

Before the next theme is decided, the organization may well invite suggestions for topics from the earlier participants.The ranking through continuous grading between 1-10 may be dispensed with and three /four grades may be introduced instead. To increase international participation,the organization may like to get in touch with physics professional societies in different countries on the basis of an agreed MOU. However,i do feel that the number of essays may be kept around the hundred range, as presently.

To conclude, may i again compliment the FQXI Organization for a commendable job to push the noble objectives of basic Physics/Cosmology up, as the interest of the students was on the decline for the past decade or so. Physics serves the foundational aspect while cosmology takes care of the curiosity aspect of fundamental sciences.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


J.C.N. Smith wrote on Dec. 15, 2009 @ 14:30 GMT
". . . if an essay was only intelligible to the suggested reviewers, then it probably wasn't a very successful essay."

Yes, of course, that goes without saying. But you appear to overlook another valid reason for requesting specific reviewers, one which has nothing to do with intelligibility. Would you not agree that reviewers who are most familiar with a topic might be in the best position to judge whether and/or how an essay adds to or diverges from current thinking on the topic?

You might write an absolutely brilliant and groundbreaking essay on string theory, for example, but a reviewer whose expertise lies in the field of microbiology might not be in the best position to judge whether or how your essay makes any worthwhile or novel contribution to your chosen topic, leaving aside all questions of general intelligibility.

Just another possibly valid reason for wanting to enlist the expertise of specific reviewers.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Steve Dufourny wrote on Dec. 15, 2009 @ 14:54 GMT
Hello all ,

Dear Mr Brendan Foster ,

You are welcome ,I am always enthousiast about sciences.And this platform makes me enthousiast indeed ,sometimes crazzy hihihi.I prefer playing guitar and piano but I admit this platform is very well .I like read the ideas of all and their extrapolations .Sharing ,learning ,improvement,discussions ,optimisation,reading....a beautiful equation in fact .

Regards

Steve

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Constantin Leshan wrote on Dec. 16, 2009 @ 19:51 GMT
The truth of scientific knowledge is not decided by majority vote. The history of science contains numerous examples which demonstrate that the majority has frequently been wrong. Therefore, if FQXi will award essays with high public and community ratings only, it do not advance physics. If the essay is popular, it does not mean one will advance physics. FQXi must support also new ideas which are Not Popular but able to advance physics.

For example, the experimental evidence for holes in space-time can change all fundamental physics; it allows teleportation of matter. I ask FQXi to support this theory despite the fact that this essay has low public and community ratings.In fact, the modern physics acts like ancient inquisition: the most journals allow publication of papers in the field of Standard dogma only.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


James Putnam wrote on Dec. 17, 2009 @ 20:13 GMT
I really enjoyed the opportunity to again participate in the essay contest. I prefer the first practice of voting in favor of a few other essays rather than the recent system of ratings. The low ratings for essays written by authors who have their PHD's in physics makes me suspicious of the quality of the rating system. However, I really don't know what happened. Your appraisal is the one that counts. The biggest surprise for me was that this second contest didn't have two or three times the number of essays submitted for the first. I won't come out in favor of limiting the number of entries, even though I can see reasons for doing so, because I might find myself eliminated. Thank you to the organizers and judges.

James

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Eckard Blumschein wrote on Dec. 18, 2009 @ 20:46 GMT
Dear Brendan Forster,

I once again apologize for blaming an essay as written in a hurry. Every author is responsible for the quality of his essay. I just would appreciate to invite prominent authors in time. Also, since I gracefully recall the American Welding Society translating an early manuscript of mine into correct American English in 1991 when my command of English was still very shaky after the Berlin wall was just teared down, I could imagine altruists who are ready to support those who have really something very important to tell but are struggling with the language.

Enough time for getting familiar over months with suggested ideas was important to me. In particular I appreciate getting aware of a lot of discontent with perhaps unresolved questions in physics. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Eckard Blumschein

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Dec. 20, 2009 @ 04:28 GMT
Science is empirical. What does it mean? It means that we recognize not knowing about the underlying reality. It means that we accept this ignorance because we have found about 200 years ago a pragmatic approach to this situation. We simply treat this universe as a black box. We ignore the content of the box and concentrate our study on our interaction or experience (empirical) with the box. By studying our experiences of the box we have come up with regularities and some possible images and ideas of what the box contains. These are our laws of physics and the models that we can infer from them. But no matters how pointed our empirical method is, no matters how sharp and detailed our models are, they are still modeled and framed on the requirements of proof within the empirical system. In other words, the empirical method was meant to study our experience of the box, never to find its content, which must be addressed in a metaphysical approach. No matter how wonderful our science may appear, it is just a small portion of what can be done and known. Without knowing the content of the box, we do not have any idea of what we are really doing. This is the limit of physics. We don’t do or understand as much as we could and should.

Once we understand the Nature (substance and Cause) of the content of the box, we may resume doing physics knowing and understanding what we are really doing. We will do much better than we are now. So, this is a temporary limit. It would be very hard to argue against the need to understand the content of the box. And the content of the box is by definition outside the domain of science. The right tool for that domain is metaphysics. I do not see any other choice. This accepted ignorance or blindness by convention must stop. Everything is now in place and available to answer the question.

Marcel,

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Florin Moldoveanu wrote on Dec. 20, 2009 @ 06:36 GMT
Marcel,

I disagree with your point of view which seems to be an adaptation of the "God of the gaps" approach to ”metaphysics of the gaps". This thread is dedicated to FQXi feedback and I will not present my arguments here. If you are interested we can continue this discussion on my (or your) forum.

Regards

Florin

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Steve Dufourny wrote on Dec. 20, 2009 @ 12:35 GMT
Hi all ,Florin ,Mr Lebel,

Nice to know you .

I have just a question for you Mr Lebel ,What do you mean by Metaphysics please?

If you can resume this metaphysic ,it will be likeable .

Personaly ,I agree about the necessity to have a referential where the domains are understood in their globalities ,physicals and behind walls .Now of course ,all good pragmatic will accept the limits due to our step of evolution ,we are indeed ,us the humans babies of the Universe .Relatively speaking we must accept thus this step of evolution .

I think about Metaphysic since Aristote and others philosophies where the mind ,the soul and body are linked that there too a balance is important between the good pragmatic works ,philosophies or extrapolations.Nietsche ,senèque ,aristote, platon,copernic ,gallileo ,......what is the driving force of these works and quests....the scientific approach ,this empiric logic is the best proof of the pragmatic metaphysic .There I think that it exists thus the universality which encircles all .The superimposing of philosophies shows us always an universality in optimization and improvement .

In his book "Discours sur la méthode",which is very interesting,Descartes and his method implies a logic which unify the metaphysic.It is relatively a link with the others ideas ,moderns or pasts,Leibniz ,Spinoza ,Kant ....the method and its empirism logic seems unifies the extrapolations towards thjis universality in evolution .The quest of the truth is the same thus always everywhere in all civilizations .We can say thus that the creations around us becomes thus an empiric analyze which shows us the beauty of the utim equation .A philosophy which rests is a good philosophy ,perobably synchronized with this universality which is the main part of the puzzle .The conscious is natural and evident on this line of reasoning.

This ubiquity of the ultim and primordial information is everywhere .The culture ,oriental ,indian ,chinese,occidental have a perfect universal link where the metaphysics go towards the same aim of evolution in its physicality and behind our walls ,limits .

An important choice for me is the ultim referential where the time and the space are considered in their pure equation .

If I must resume what is the metaphysics ,for me it is with this question ,but how these elementary particles know what they must become....the universality seems thus the link between all .

Best Regards

Steve

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Marcel-Marie LeBel wrote on Dec. 20, 2009 @ 18:11 GMT
Florin,

Care to meet me in FORUM>ULTIMATE REALITY>TEGKARK'S MATHEMATICAL UNIVERSE ?

Steve,

I define natural metaphysics as the study of the substance and cause that makes the underlying reality, the cornerstone knowledge of what the universe is by itself.

Of course we are part of the universe, but our complexity presents us with intertwined concepts and ideas. We are probably the most complex emergent product of the universe. It be best, I think, to start with understanding the universe in its most simple form first before tackling life and consciousness.

Thanks,

Marcel,

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Florin Moldoveanu wrote on Dec. 20, 2009 @ 20:32 GMT
Marcel,

I had posted my reply to FORUM>ULTIMATE REALITY>TEGKARK'S MATHEMATICAL UNIVERSE and we can continue the discussion there.

Thanks,

Florin

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Steve Dufourny wrote on Dec. 21, 2009 @ 11:42 GMT
Dear Marcel and Florin ,

Don't complicate the simplicity.

That don't say that my moderl is simple no but even the complexity is simple thus all mathematical extrapolations without limits and synchronizations are a lost of time ,perhaps for the business no ,but for the universality of course it is foundamental .

Yes and after what the multispheres ......no but I am laughing .The Uniqueness dear Friends is essential .

I agree with you dear Marcel ,we are the result of a beautifulm equation and the intelligence probably is the most evolutive system to catalyze our ecosystems with pragmatism .

To find the truth is a big search ,when you see the whole with simplicity ,it is that you have studied the complexity in its pure physicality.If not you don't understand the rule of a flower ,a bee or the water .You shall see the truth everywhere in the nature and all is in the same logic with simplicity and complexity ,thuis complexity is so complex that it is essential to admit our walls .If not it is like a wind .

I have a little resume for you about the evolution .Please wait a little ,I will come.

For the conscious ,I invite you to read the beautiful and relevant paper from Mr Klingman .The maths don't explain all if they are imaginaries .

Best Regards

Steve

Best regards

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


dmfdmf wrote on Dec. 22, 2009 @ 05:43 GMT
Great site... I discovered it after the latest contest was closed. I read a lot of very interesting papers from both professionals and layman. The forming community here and elsewhere on the internet reminds me of the history of the early development of physics (back when it was called natural philosophy) and how many great advances came from people from all walks of life, not just those dedicated to the study of physics (very few in those days). The changes to society from the invention of the internet will take 100 years to play out (read Clay Shirky's article on newspapers) but I think in the end people will look back and see the value in sites such as FQXi.

The only comments I have are please find a way to keep the crackpots out without alienating the freethinkers. This is a delicate balance but like murder convictions it is better to let a few murderers get away (allowing few crackpots in) than to convict an innocent man (inadvertently block someone with original ideas). So far it seems okay but as you get more popular this may become a problem and I would hate to see FXQi destroyed by a low SNR or become insular and exclusive. Physics needs some fresh ideas to get "unstuck" and sites like this are the perfect avenue for change. Also, don't forget to revisit a topic after a couple of years since ideas take time to spread, sink in and germinate.

Finally a few questions -- who picks the contest questions? Is there a suggestion box? Is there a list of possible topics somewhere?

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Jason Wolfe wrote on Dec. 22, 2009 @ 07:39 GMT
Dear dmfdmf,

There already is a physics website that works very hard to keep out crackpots. How do you maintain a "delicate balance" between crackpots and creative thinkers? IMO, creative new approaches are not always dressed nicely and mathematical formulation. Don't you think it's better just to let people clearly identify who they are, and then express their ideas? That way, we learn over time who has good ideas and who doesn't. Crackpots do nothing more then make us have to decide if their ideas are worth reading; unlike murderers who do terrible things. Just let all of the "crackpots" and professionals complete with the best communications skills he/she can muster.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Narendra Nath wrote on Dec. 22, 2009 @ 16:21 GMT
i agree with Jason Wolfe that thie website need not provide protection to anonymous persons commenting on any topic of discussion. Physics is an open science, leaving aside the Governments secretive research for weapons of violence. Scientists working on such developments anyway do not concern the fundamental sciences, which are free from such influences.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Anonymous wrote on Dec. 22, 2009 @ 20:01 GMT
Dear dmfdmf,

Your "theory" is doubtful. I also have the only comments: please find a way to keep out the people who use FQXi to earn money only. They consider FQXi contest as business and tries to increase the number of ratings and posts by all possible methods. You can find such authors by analyzing their pages; usually such pages contain many senseless posts in order to increase the number of posts and create an illusion as if their essays are very very popular.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Ray Munroe wrote on Dec. 22, 2009 @ 20:56 GMT
Dear Anonymous,

I participate on FQXi because I enjoy most of the friends here. To date, I have not earned any money through this FQXi blog site, and I have invested more expenses into my book than I have earned in royalties off of it. My friends, Lawrence and Florin, convinced me to participate in this contest. I am honestly more interested in FQXi membership, meeting new friends, and expanding the popularity of my ideas, than I am in the prize money. Would 113 authors still participate in an essay contest if the prize money was less or zero? I don't know. I still like the idea of having easy access to this forum.

Have Fun!

Ray Munroe

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Steve Dufourny wrote on Dec. 23, 2009 @ 09:30 GMT
Hi all ,

Dear Narendra Nath ,

I am always happy to see your words and your wisdom .It is a real pleasure to have known FQXi ,Just for that ,to know universalists and real scientists .

Thanks for your words dear Narendra Nath and to be you ,the sciences need wisdom.

Dear Ray ,

It is well said that .Don't forget the sciences center ,I am going to try to create it this 2010 year .

Dear all,

FQXi is a very innovant platform and it is important for the sciences community .

The real scientists see always where are the foundamentals and the illusions .The balance always even in an interpretation must be pragmatic and rational .There the confusion appears ,indeed ,but if you don't read these confusions ,thus of course you don't loose your time .

Best Regards

Steve

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Lawrence B. Crowell wrote on Dec. 25, 2009 @ 14:36 GMT
I appears the universe has season's greetings. What is not impossible is ultimately manditory. This is a rather seasonal Hubble image.

Cheers LC

attachments: Christmastree_conerosaHST11.jpg

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Ian Durham wrote on Dec. 25, 2009 @ 17:44 GMT
Seasons Greetings to all! Great Hubble picture there Lawrence.

Just out of curiosity, will the list of 42 finalists be published?

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Jason Wolfe wrote on Dec. 25, 2009 @ 19:01 GMT
Merry Christmas/Season's Greetings to Everyone!!!

I hope Santa Claus was good to you this year. Yes, Santa Claus exists.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


James Putnam wrote on Dec. 25, 2009 @ 21:35 GMT
Just about to have family Christmas dinner with my wife, son and daughter. Thinking about fqxi participants just now. This is a great place to spend time with great people. I find myself checking in here many times during each and every day. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

James

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Jason Wolfe wrote on Dec. 25, 2009 @ 21:43 GMT
You're an FQXI addict, just like the rest of us.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Ben Baten wrote on Dec. 25, 2009 @ 21:53 GMT
Dear Brendan,

Thank you very much for asking for feedback on the contest.

I think the rating system could be improved. I would prefer opening up the rating system -after- all essays have been submitted. This ensures that essays are rated in a similar fashion. I'm not sure this occurs with the current process where ratings are provided as soon as essays are submitted. It might very well be that the current rating system promoted lower scoring over time because current scores are visible. All community scores seemed to converge to below 5 and many essay scores are now so close together that their difference hardly distinguishes quality.

Regards.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Don Limuti (www.zenophysics.com wrote on Dec. 27, 2009 @ 21:48 GMT
Wishing all a happy and prosperous new year.

From another FQXi addict.

PS, Brendan and Anthony we need something to keep us active while this judging goes on.

I have no idea, but you are bright and I trust you can come up with something.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster wrote on Dec. 29, 2009 @ 16:45 GMT
Thanks everyone for the well wishes. I got behind on the comments, so I'll just start at the end.

Don--I will try to think of something. I'm still trying to think of Christmas presents for my parents, so brain time is limited.

Ben--It would be worth looking back at the voting statistics for any sort of time-based trends. One worry with waiting on votes is that people might not get around to it. Active voting also helps draw attention to the site.

But this issue brings up a question I have for everyone---on average, each essay received just 24 Community votes, out of over 200 entrants and FQXi Members. How might we encourage more voting?

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Just another Lurker wrote on Dec. 29, 2009 @ 17:48 GMT
Why are all papers clumped between 2 and 4? Are they all that bad? Shouldn't a ranking of 1 through 10 give us a few sevens?

As a layman, I didn't vote in this contest, but I did read a few papers and follow many of the dialogs. Being somewhat drawn to numbers, and, watching the scoring during the last month of voting, I couldn't help but notice that papers seemed to drop in blocks.

If one were to look at the scoring habits of all the voters, would one see a trend toward dunking? Were some members giving rashes of ones and twos in a effort to elevate their own papers?

I've seen that scenario on another site where dunking got quite out of hand. I suppose it all worked out here by globally lowering all scores from a 1-10 rating system to a 1-5 rating system, but I'm curious how the dunkers fared...

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Florin Moldoveanu wrote on Dec. 29, 2009 @ 20:09 GMT
The voting dynamics in the second part of the contest was mostly negative. Say the top ranking essay was a 7. A new entry would be posted. Then someone who liked it would give it a 10, or a 9 making it the top entry. Then the rest of active voting contestants would give it low scores to rank it according to their preference. Suppose that I like all entries above 5.3 and the new entry is below my...

view entire post


Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Owen Cunningham wrote on Dec. 29, 2009 @ 20:24 GMT
I second Ian Durham's question. When will the full list of 42 finalists be published?

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Ray Munroe wrote on Dec. 29, 2009 @ 21:22 GMT
Dear Florin,

Ultimately, all the voting system did was to separate a 'most-popular' top third (42 of 113) of the essays from the others. The judges get the final say, and more than half of those 42 essays will be elliminated.

Personally, I only voted on essays that I read. I also gave comments on the better papers. I didn't have time to read and comment on all 113 papers, and concentrated my efforts on the higher- and mid-ranked papers. As such, I accidentally overlooked at least one interesting paper during the contest timeline. I gave the full range of scores - some papers (including yours and Emile's) were very good, and some didn't belong in this level of competition, IMO.

Have Fun and Have a Happy New Year!

Ray Munroe

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Florin Moldoveanu wrote on Dec. 30, 2009 @ 05:20 GMT
Dear Ray,

Thank you for your kind words. I agree that in the end community voting (almost) correctly selected the best essays. There were a few notable exceptions, and the selection was based mostly on the popular appeal of the topics and secondary on the technical correctness.

In my earlier post I was trying to justify a proposal for a hybrid system which will satisfy Brendan’s requirement. In any feedback loop system, the time evolution converges to the eigenvectors of the loop, and in this case it is all ultimately driven by the contest rules.

Increasing community voting by changing the scoring rules would also have a side effect: increase in the number of ulcers :) - ha, ha, so maybe it is best to keep the system unchanged.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Narendra Nath wrote on Dec. 30, 2009 @ 10:36 GMT
Physics like humanity as a whole is beyond the number/prize games individual humans may play. The weaknesses and strenghts are shared differently by each individual. I personally feel that let us consider participation in FQXI Essay Contest as a healthy game where we observe the rules of the game through our dedication to Physics in particular and science in general, in the best of universal traditions developed in the entire world, forgetting the east/west, north south distinctions. Universalization of the human spirit will bring out the best in us all and raise hopes for peace and love the world over. Scientific community can help eliminate the miseries and suffering of humanity at large, without favor/distinction!

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Just another Lurker wrote on Dec. 30, 2009 @ 16:33 GMT
Florin, you indicated that you vote not only your own opinion of a paper, but also include a fudge factor to negate the votes of others whose positions do not agree with your ranking of the paper. If other members are using the same tactic to undermine votes, no wonder all the scores are lumped into such a narrow band.

I think, in that light, it might be interesting to hide the votes until the end so that only true opinions are cast and later votes are not swayed by, or carry more weight than, the earlier votes. That, of course, means papers with few reviews might rank inappropriately, but another factor could be correlated to number of votes, or top and bottom two votes could be thrown out. I'm sure the statisticians in the crowd could propose something there.

It would also be useful to be able to change one's vote on a paper. Sometimes, further reading or discussion can shed more light on the author's presentation. But I guess that depends on whether FQXi's purpose is to rank the paper's presentation or the underlying theory it proposes.

Brendan, on my FQXi wish list is the ability to sort the topics by most recent comments. For those of us cruising conversations, it would be handy to see who's talking and who's silent, rather than opening and scrolling to the bottom of a hundred threads. It might also promote more cross dialog or interest in papers not previously read. If this feature already exists and I'm simply not finding it (my apologies), please point me in the right direction.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster wrote on Dec. 30, 2009 @ 16:58 GMT
Florin---I like the Total Point idea. You can work out what that list would be from the stats on the essay list page, and it actually overlaps fairly closely with the highest rated list. I take that as a point towards its validity, and it does seem likely to encourage high voting (in theory, anyway). We'll keep it in mind.

Ray---certainly we wouldn't want to encourage people to blindly vote without considering the essay. I expect, actually, that most community members were fairly responsible that way, and that's why the voting was sparse. I wonder, would the total point idea encourage 'blind' voting?

Owen---We don't intend to state the full list. Doing that would give the impression of bestowing a special commendation to the 10 added. But these were selected after considering additional statistical measures and were not deemed necessarily deserving of a prize. The only prizes we are officially bestowing are the 18 cash prizes, plus a possible 3 special commendations awarded solely at the panel's discretion.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster wrote on Dec. 30, 2009 @ 17:11 GMT
Lurker---hiding the rating is also something I'll keep in mind. Although as Ray pointed out, people tended to use the ratings as a filter for deciding which of the many entries to check out, and that's a positive to my mind. As for the forum features--yes, I expect by the time of the next contest, we will have made assorted upgrades and adjustments. You can find at least the few most recent comments at the front page.

Finally, as suggested in the contest rules, FQXi wants to promote essays with both accessible presentations and sound reasoning. I can tell you that the panel has been looking for both qualities.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Cristi Stoica wrote on Dec. 30, 2009 @ 18:51 GMT
Dear Brendan and all,

I first thank FQX and the participants for this wonderful opportunity to exchange ideas with people interested in foundational issues.

About the problems discussed in the last few comments.

Using totals instead of averages have some advantages, but it will favor the early entries, and the renowned participants, because their essays will be read more often.

It seems that it is very difficult to find a system which will make happy everybody, being in the same time simple. There were raised two main problems:

- how to make the ratings more correct, to reflect how somebody really evaluates an essay, and not to be used as a tool to manipulate the ratings

- how to determine people to be more involved in dialogues, and to evaluate more essays.

I will make two suggestions related to these problems.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Cristi Stoica wrote on Dec. 30, 2009 @ 18:55 GMT
- A Minimum of Reviews -

One thing that may encourage the dialogue is the following. It was suggested that everybody should read and review some essays. It is pertinent that the contestants provide their help to the competition. The help we all need is to discuss with somebody about our work, to have some reviews, which can help us improve our ideas. We can help each other with this, since the jury, as we have seen last time, provided reviews only for few top entries.

In order to provide to each contestant a minimum number of reviews, let's say 10 (or another number which will be considered optimal), I suggest the following rules. Each essay is provided with a list of 10 places for reviewers, and each of the contestants must put his/her name on 10 such lists of other essays. This way, each essay can receive minimum 10 reviews, and each author engages to provide 10 reviews to the others. The list will be limited at 10, and after 10 contestants reserve the positions of reviewers, it is closed. If you don't find a free place on someone's list, you should go to another list. This procedure ensures that each essay receives 10 reviews, and each author provides 10 reviews.

The procedure above doesn't limit to 10 the number of reviews, because you can do as many reviews (and ratings) as you wish. But the extra reviews, which are on top of the 10 mandatory reviews, should not occupy the 10-reviews lists of the essays, to ensure the minimum of 10 reviews for each essay.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Cristi Stoica wrote on Dec. 30, 2009 @ 18:57 GMT
- Rating AND Reviewing -

One possibility for being more careful when you rate, and for stimulating the dialogue, would be to allow rating only together with a review. The review can be signed or anonymous, brief or long, at the wish of the contestant providing the rating. The rating may be secret, until the end of the competition. It is good to be changeable, as it is suggested above, as a result of the feedback received by the review.

The following may not be imposable by the rules, but it would be nice if more of the contestants will do it: Let's say that X posts a review on Y's essay page, containing the main ideas of the essay, some observations, and some questions, if it is the case. Y answers to the comment, clarifying what was misunderstood, replying the observations and answering the questions. This can be repeated as long as the two want. X may rate, but she can change her rating, as a result of the interaction, as she wishes (in all this time the rating may stay invisible, until the end).

I think that this solution will require the participants to be more involved, but they should be careful, so that the atmosphere is not too judgmental. With this respect, I suggest the possibility that the comments have a checkbox which, when checked, makes them visible only for the two participants X and Y. This will also help to avoid X's evaluation to influence the judgment of other participants. If Y wants, they can make public their dialogue at any time.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Stefan Weckbach wrote on Dec. 30, 2009 @ 19:32 GMT
Dear Brendan, Dear Cristi,

Cristi, your idea with the minimum 10 reviews sounds good to me. Also the idea to change the own rating due to more incoming information from the author. I would appreciate these two modi.

Concerning the low votings, i think there are reasons for this firstly due to the very difficult question of the current contest and secondly due to the quality - how to write an essay about this difficult theme.

I for myself had the impression that some (many) of the authors put their pet subject into the contest. Beyond that i personally considered some essays as simply too technical, being not an essay but more a fully technical-elaborated paper, only accessible for specialist apart of review-readers of Scientific American, Nature or Science. Beyond that i hade the impression that for some essays, there wasn't something new, original or creative to find in. Together with a somewhat not well written style and the absence of a conclusion, it at least for me was sometimes hard to give a high score.

Besides this i want to remark that personally i don't see any sense in allowing the public to vote the essays. Surely i would be happy if more fqxi-members had voted and/or commented. But that's due to their free will. But public voting seems to have no function for me concerning a carefull consideration of one or more essays.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Cristi Stoica wrote on Dec. 31, 2009 @ 08:42 GMT
- A Minimum of Reviews - a more flexible version -

I assumed that most of us want to receive some reviews. But there may be persons who don't want to write reviews, as we saw that there were contestants who did not participate to discussions other than those about their own work. Some of them are acknowledged scientists, and it would be interesting to see their opinion about other essays, but FQX may not want to impose this rule to them, so I am proposing a weakened version.

Let's say that, when a participant completes the form and sends the essay, it is asked to select the number of reviews she desires to receive, engaging this way to provide the same number of reviews to the others. Each participant can declare when enters in the competition a personalized number of reviews, say n(i). Then, a list of n(i) entries appears on her page. After that, she puts her name on the lists of other n(i) participants. Next, everybody should provide the reviews until the competition is closed.

---

P.S. It is also possible to have a combination of this proposal with the previous version, namely to have the flexible version, but with a minimum of 3-4 reviews for each entry. If this proposal or the other version is accepted, it would be useful to display, on the page showing the list of essays, how many free positions of reviewers are available for each of essay.

P.P.S. If the number of participants N engaged in the reviewing system is < n(i), it is clear that the i-th participant can't provide or receive more than N reviews, so n(i) will be changed to min(N, n(i)), when the essays submission is closed.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Florin Moldoveanu wrote on Dec. 31, 2009 @ 16:01 GMT
Cristi,

I disagree with the reviews. I can name at least one participant I would not want to review my essay. The essay forum page is a fair and transparent mechanism to provide feedback and ask questions. I feel that the whole review idea is just a minefield in terms of rebuttals, judgmental atmosphere, and bad blood.

Now what I would like to see is FQXi maintaining a list of (secret) referees and the 3 reports coming back from them, just like in a standard peer-review process in a journal. This should not be very hard; the current FQXi members could be required to participate as referees as part of the obligations of membership and giving back to the community. In turn, this would benefit the authors if they want to improve their work before attempting to upload it to the archive, or publishing it in a journal.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Ray Munroe wrote on Dec. 31, 2009 @ 16:25 GMT
Dear Cristi and Florin,

I can read between the lines, and I agree with Florin. Three secret professional referees would be far superior than ten mixed (professional, amateur or fruitcake - 'tis the season!) referees. Feedback relevant to publishing these papers would be good.

Have Fun!

Ray Munroe

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Cristi Stoica wrote on Dec. 31, 2009 @ 17:38 GMT
Dear Florin and Ray,

It would be great if each of the essays would receive three professional reviews. Here (Judgment Day at the End of Time) you can see that at the previous edition there was no review from the jury, except some appreciation words for the top 3 winners only. Considering that each essay was evaluated by at least two members of the jury, I requested the reviews several times, even in draft, without success. I suspect that at the current edition we will see even less, but maybe you will be more successful in your proposal, which I support. But if you won't, and the professionals will not provide reviews, what is wrong in helping ourselves? Please consider that the more flexible version of my proposal allows the participants to choose whether they want or not a number of such reviews, by selecting 0. So, you are not forced to accept/provide reviews, what is wrong if others want them for themselves?

Ray, could you please tell me in lines where and what did you read between the lines?

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Ray Munroe wrote on Dec. 31, 2009 @ 19:00 GMT
Dear Cristi,

I left comments on many of the papers. I don't think I got to yours and I apologise for that. I read between the lines of Florin's prior post because I don't want to call names - I prefer to maintain a relatively peaceful relationship with most of the FQXi Friends, but I see Florin's point.

Have Fun!

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Ray Munroe wrote on Dec. 31, 2009 @ 19:42 GMT
Dear Cristi,

Now I remember "Marblewood". I read it quickly, but didn't have any comments at the time. I will post more on your essay blog site.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Cristi Stoica wrote on Jan. 1, 2010 @ 06:49 GMT
Dear Ray,

You are kind to apologize for not reading all essays. There were many entries, some of them difficult to read, and very little time. I wish myself to had time for reading more, including yours, and since you initiated this, I apologize too :)

Happy New Year!

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Anonymous wrote on Jan. 1, 2010 @ 16:56 GMT
Brendan,

Can we know at least how many judges are there in the panel?

Thanks!

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Constantin Leshan wrote on Jan. 8, 2010 @ 19:21 GMT
Dear Brendan Foster,

I disagree to use the standard peer-review process as in a journal. It will transform FQXi into a “Classical and Quantum gravity” journal. There are a lot of such journals everywhere therefore FQXi will do nothing here. If FQXi wish to find new ideas, discoveries, new physics, then we must invent new judgment methods in order to avoid the Dictatorship of Majority. All modern physics is the dictatorship of majority. However, the truth of scientific knowledge is not decided by majority vote. The history of science contains numerous examples which demonstrate that the majority has frequently been wrong.

For example, let us analyze the last contest. You see, the majority voted for J. Barbour’s essay. It is a very good essay but I do not believe that such essays can advance physics; What experiments can propose such essay – to prove that time do not exist? I can prove that time and space really exists. And now the majority votes the same essays which cannot advance physics. You see, the criticism is very useful and can change the results of competition. The authors of poor papers only are afraid of criticism. The critique may help us to find the essays able to advance physics. Therefore I support the Cristi’s proposal: when a participant completes the form and sends the essay, it is asked to select the number of reviews he/she desires to receive, engaging this way to provide the same number of reviews to the others.

The problem is how to avoid rebuttals, judgmental atmosphere, and bad blood in the review process. We all prefer to maintain a relatively peaceful relationship with most of the FQXi Friends. Therefore I propose that all reviewers must be anonymous. And public will not have access to the review page. Another possibility is that the reviews have a checkbox which, when checked, makes them visible only for the two involved participants. Also, after the contest the review page can be deleted. In order to stimulate the reviewers, FQXi may award the best criticism or review.

It is the best the voting/rating/judging system because the people cannot manipulate the ratings; all authors will be engaged in discussion. We will transform FQXi contest into the battlefield for ideas. FQXi will be the example for all physics community. Such methods will help FQXi to find a true discovery and open New Physics.

Happy New Year!

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Author Frank Martin DiMeglio wrote on Jan. 9, 2010 @ 18:46 GMT
It is clear that the scope of "what is physics", "what is ultimately possible in physics", and "what should be ultimately possible in physics" has been permanently expanded and improved upon in this contest. That is undeniable, and it is a good thing. In this regard alone, this contest is certainly a success. It is also clear that certain individuals on here do not necessarily like or appreciate this -- and, sadly, they may not even be interested it either -- although it is obvious that they certainly should be. Certain specialists are not going to like the shifts in funding, interest, and prioritization that these changes inevitably bring. Some essay authors on here have displayed a lack of interest in certain essays (but may have rated them poorly), as they did not give them (or attain to) the time, understanding, and consideration that these essays deserved. It is clear that certain essays received unfair/inaccurate overall ratings for various reasons. In the future, I would respectfully recommend that other essay authors leave ratings (with detailed comments) under the others' essay pages for all to see and consider, but that such ratings should not be a part of determining the winners. I also think that FQXi should (generally) strongly urge author participation regarding addressing questions and comments that are left under the essays. Another thing that this contest has effectively demonstrated is how much is unknown in physics. Indeed, we have seen that there is much resistance (or lack of interest) regarding the very consideration or acceptance of significantly different, alternative, or expanded ways of thinking and presenting ideas.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Ray Munroe wrote on Jan. 9, 2010 @ 21:05 GMT
Dear Frank,

Well said. This contest offered a variety of participants with many different backgrounds, interests, and countries of origin. During the contest, I saw many scores of '1' thrown around without corresponding detailed comments. Is this the nature of a contest based on popularity, or did the participant's interests vary that much, or was it indication of people sticking to their preconceived biases and paradigms? Either way, the judges are considering the top third most popular papers, and they have an opportunity to balance out whatever unfairness may or may not have occurred during the voting stage of the contest.

Have Fun!

Ray

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Author Frank Martin DiMeglio wrote on Jan. 10, 2010 @ 20:03 GMT
FQXi, Ray -- the point is that higher truth(s) are often concerning, disturbing, shocking, and unpopular -- and not only because they contradict and invalidate many others' [relatively contradictory or incomplete] essays/ideas/thinking. The essay that deserves to win this essay contest (Think about it.), would be the one that necessarily contradicted most others -- it would not only NECESSARILY be...

view entire post


Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Constantin Leshan wrote on Jan. 10, 2010 @ 20:37 GMT
Dear Brendan Foster,

Imagine the future of FQXi. To be successful, FQXi must find a scientific DISCOVERY. For example, the new particle has been predicted at FQXi contest. Or, the new type of warp drive has been found at FQXi contest.

To find a discovery, FQXi must eliminate the Dictatorial Regime of the Majority. The majority hates invention of new particles and New Physics. Therefore, FQXi must consider essays with low ratings.

I ask the FQXi to support my theory about the vacuum holes and absolute vacuum. I can prove the existence of holes in space-time by help of FQXi. Then we'll prove experimentally the hole teleportation. It is a great discovery. If FQXi will support the Hole teleportation, it will be the MAIN contribution of FQXi for science. Also I plan to create the warp drive based on holes (levitation). FQXi will remains in the history of science as the first Scientific foundation that supported the Hole Teleportation theory.

If FQXi will support only essays selected by majority (like non-existence of time or quantum mechanics), you’ll never find any scientific discovery.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Jason Wolfe wrote on Jan. 10, 2010 @ 20:59 GMT
Frank,

That is what debate is for. Let ideas engage one another on the field of intellectual battle. Personally, I don't think you should have to be a super-genius with multiple PhD's to win such a competition. You should have to be articulate arguments with mechanisms that make sense. This whole idea of maximizing the "information content" of a ten page essay is a pathway to dogma and confusion. Let's see if some of these mathematical proofs that we take for Absolute Truth, really make sense or are just nonsensical gibberish.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Author Frank Martin DiMeglio wrote on Jan. 11, 2010 @ 14:40 GMT
FQXi and Constantin:

Constantin said: "Therefore, FQXi must consider essays with low ratings."

This is undoubtedly true; for if FQXi does not have the ability to select the best essays, then what good is the contest?

Also, the limits of both physics and mathematical description cannot be understood apart from the [known] mathematical union of Einstein's GR and Maxwell's theory...

view entire post


Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster wrote on Jan. 14, 2010 @ 19:17 GMT
Thanks for the comments all, I will get to responding in a bit.

Meanwhile, we are now set to announce the Contest Prize Winners. The Panel has done its work, their ratings have been combined with the original Community ratings, and all the math has been done. We'll make the announcement on the Community site via a special blog post, and put up a convenient page with all the prize winners and links to the essays.

Until then, spread the news.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Jonathan J. Dickau wrote on Jan. 14, 2010 @ 20:43 GMT
Hello all!

I wanted to say that this contest and forum have been a most interesting experience for me, especially in light of the most excellent treatment my essay received from the community, in their ratings. But I have learned a lot by reading some of the other essays and their comments and by responding to the comments and questions of my own readers.

And it was not just theory, that was discussed. I learned of the recent Fermi probe results on these forum pages (distant photons arrive at almost the same time), so I had an intelligent question to ask Gerard 't Hooft when I had a chance to speak with him after his talk at FFP10 - this past November.

But I also learned that experimental results have disproved predictions of one of the authors I cited in my essay, Alain Connes, by not finding a Higgs particle in the predicted range. Now; to my understanding, this does not invalidate every aspect of the understanding that comes out of Noncommutative Geometry, but it does rule out the specific structure he envisioned as a workable possibility.

So; I learned a few things after the essay was finished. Overall I'd say my experience of the essay and forum were very positive. I agree with some of the comments above, about how things might be improved, but I feel the contest was handled pretty well. My greatest regret is that I could not finish reading another six or eight essays before the contest ended. Almost all the contest essays are excellent.

I'm not so sure about the ratings system, and how to get the fairest possible result. I will admit that I got the urge to be somewhat calculating in my own ratings, at times. Though I rated other's essays higher than their previous rankings in every case where I cast a vote, I probably abstained from voting or gave an essay a lower rating than it really deserved as I was too mindful of the 'running average' and the rankings.

The fact that none of the essays earned a community rating of 5.0 or higher clearly demonstrates that others were also influenced in their voting by similar concerns. Honestly stated; I think there are more than a handful of essays entered into this contest that more than half-way accomplish the objectives of the organizers, or effectively answer the question. Ergo; we would hope that the panel of experts will, in their rankings, elevate the ratings of some finalists according to the excellent quality of their papers.

There are some truly excellent papers and authors here, and it has been a privilege to be part of this contest.

All the Best,

Jonathan

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


FQXi Administrator Brendan Foster wrote on Jan. 15, 2010 @ 17:03 GMT
How did I forget the date? The results will be posted on Tuesday, Jan 19th at 2PM Est.

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


amrit wrote on Jan. 17, 2010 @ 13:05 GMT
FQXI is bridging cosmology and physics with ontology. Outcome will be science where rational scientific mind will be enriched with flower of consciousness. In this way science that is taking shape here on FQXI is integrating religiousness. Believing is growing into knowing.

yours amrit

Bookmark and Share
report post as inappropriate


Lev Goldfarb wrote on Jan. 19, 2010 @ 23:13 GMT
Hi Brendan,

There was an earlier question (without an answer) as to "how many judges there were in the panel".

Is it possible to reveal this "secret" information?

Does the 'panel' consist of 1-2 judges?

Thank you!

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.