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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

Current Essay Contest

Contest Partners: The Peter and Patricia Gruber Foundation and Scientific American

Previous Contests

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

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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Russell Jurgensen: on 4/1/11 at 0:20am UTC, wrote Dear Jay, I'm still reading essays even though the deadline is past. What...

Peter Jackson: on 3/9/11 at 16:31pm UTC, wrote Dear Jay I assume no-ones posted and you're languishing because it's not...

Jay Powell: on 2/15/11 at 16:16pm UTC, wrote Essay Abstract By reviewing the findings of 43 years of research...


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September 28, 2021

CATEGORY: Is Reality Digital or Analog? Essay Contest (2010-2011) [back]
TOPIC: On the Horns of a Dilemma by Jay Powell, James Bernauer, and Vishnu Agnihotri [refresh]
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Author Jay Powell wrote on Feb. 15, 2011 @ 16:16 GMT
Essay Abstract

By reviewing the findings of 43 years of research into educational assessment practices, the authors show that learning is both digital (accumulative) and analog (transformational). They challenge current scoring practices of treating it solely as digital and present a procedure that captures both aspects of learning. If one aspect of reality is both analog as digital, as Heisenberg suggests, all reality must be both as well.

Author Bio

J. C. Powell: Born in 1931, he completer his Ph.D. in 1970, focusing upon the interpretation of alternative answers on tests. Along with the late Dr. N. Shklov he developed in the 1980s a statistical procedure that bypasses linear dependency. Since then he has applied this procedure to several data sets and shown the invalidity of current test-scoring practices. J. Bernauer Id a collegue of hie wife at Robert Morris University who became interested in this work. Vishnu Agnihotri is a contact made through IMPS1009 in Cambridge, UK.

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Peter Jackson wrote on Mar. 9, 2011 @ 16:31 GMT
Dear Jay

I assume no-ones posted and you're languishing because it's not seen as a physics essay. I wholly disagree. In fact the essay subject doesn't mention physics anyway!

But what is more it works on many levels. The misunderstanding of the solar system is about poor teaching of nature and conceptualisation. I think it goes way beyond the examples you give. It certainly gets a good score from me.

You may find this interesting. I explained to some 12 year olds how light takes a certain time to traverse a block of ice on the floor, because it does a certain speed in ice. (as n = say 1.3). I than asked how long it would take if the ice was sliding towards the light source. The away from it, then if the light source was sliding towards and away from the block, then if they themselves were sliding up and down. After a little thought they all got it correct. They then also understood that to validly measure it they had to be moving with the block.

I've found that if we ask 30 physics teachers and professors, over 90% would get it wrong. It's not understood that the problem between Relativity and QM is rooted in that fact.

I do hope you'll read my essay, understand the concept (plasma is a refractor as is ice), and remember to give it a community score. I hope yours also gets noticed in the right places. I know the problem!

Best wishes

Peter Jackson

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Russell Jurgensen wrote on Apr. 1, 2011 @ 00:20 GMT
Dear Jay,

I'm still reading essays even though the deadline is past. What an interesting idea that more information can be extracted from the digital data that gives an idea of more complex things behind it. It does seem to make a good case that digital observations in physics are likely to have more complexity behind them than is readily apparent. I think it comes down to how we define a smallest reality device and then what explains that device. My essay touches on this. It seems hopeful we can find a common denominator to existing theories, but beyond that we may be near the limit of what can be known.

I think your observations are great and your essay should have scored higher.

Kind regards, Russell Jurgensen

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