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FQXi BLOGS
April 23, 2014

CATEGORY: Blog [back]
TOPIC: New Podcast: Cosmic Beginnings & Quantum Domination [refresh]
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FQXi Administrator Zeeya Merali wrote on May. 31, 2012 @ 20:53 GMT
Just to let you know a new edition of the podcast is now up: www.fqxi.org/community/podcast. It’s a bit longer than usual because we’ve given some time over to discussing the essay contest launch. Those planning to “question the foundations” can pick up some tips on what the judges do and don’t want to see. (Mainly the latter.)

In this edition, cosmologist Alex Vilenkin asks whether the universe could have existed forever into the past -- without a beginning. In his extended interview (scroll down and click on the individual item) he also looks into whether, if it did have a beginning, there may be some way we could pick up evidence of *where* it happened.

There’s a bit of a “quantum theory applied in unexpected places" theme too. If you enjoyed Sophie Hebden’s profile of FQXi grant winner and “quantum linguist” Bob Coecke, you can listen to her interview with him. Quantum perfumer Luca Turin also talks about his controversial theory of smell.

And finally, string theorist Joe Polchinski and Nobel laureate particle physicist Frank Wilczek take questions on extra dimensions and underwater sound, from listeners.

I’m going to experiment and blog this as well as posting in the automatically-generated podcast discussion thread -- sorry for the double post!

Let me know what you think.

this post has been edited by the forum administrator

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Steve Dufourny wrote on Jun. 2, 2012 @ 15:15 GMT
Incredible , like if they were obliged to continue on these false roads of extradimensions and strings. Baez, Lisi, Witten ??? But what do you do ?

And the integrity in all that ?

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John Merryman replied on Jun. 3, 2012 @ 03:00 GMT
Steve,

It's all about the math. Information is foundational to reality. It's interesting that for billions of years, biology has evolved co-existing systems to process information and energy; The central nervous system processes information, while the digestive, respiratory and circulatory systems process energy. Considering the energy processing systems evolved long before the central nervous system, one would think energy is foundational to information, yet what does biology know? It doesn't have a PhD in physics.

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Paul Reed replied on Jun. 3, 2012 @ 06:59 GMT
John

The systems do not process "information". They receive, and then process, physically existent phenomena which, in that form, existed before the systems started to take 'advantage' of them. Indeed, over the years, these systems have improved to take better 'advantage' of what is available, and we now enhance that with technology. We do not need to know, and it would be preferable if we did not have to get involved in, the process as of the point of receipt. However, unfortunately, the only way we can discern what was received, and hence what originally occurred, is via the outcome of that sensory process.

Paul

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Steve Duifourny replied on Jun. 3, 2012 @ 11:25 GMT
You think what with your about the information? I class animals and vegetals since the age of 16, and you say what, a course of biology.Let me laugh band of strategists.

The information is foundamental indeed, but, your informations no, mine yes !

Let's play !

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John Merryman wrote on Jun. 9, 2012 @ 01:59 GMT
Tom,

"What does it mean for an event to "recede?" Sounds to me identical to dying."

Entities, be they events or objects, are finite in space and time. They do have a beginning and an end. But the processes which create them are continuous. A minute has a beginning and an end, but the hand of the clock moves onto the next. Individuals are born and die, but the species moves onto the next generation. Even in terms of a Big Bang universe, it came into being and will eventually fade away, but the energy will disperse and move on to other fates.

Think in terms of a factory; The products go from beginning to end, but the production line faces the other direction, consuming raw materials and expelling finished product. Your mind is essentially a thought factory; Consuming information and forming particular thoughts and impressions, then replacing them.

Of course processes do die, much as a factory will shut down, or your mind will die, but that is because it is a unit within some even larger process.

This goes to the dichotomy of time, as the present goes from past to future, while the events go future to past. Your life, thoughts, etc. are in the future prior to their occurrence and then recede into the past, yes, die, after they are done. Meanwhile the process moves onto the next thought, or next generation.

So, yes, units do die, but the process moves on.

I suppose I will get the classic Tom hurrumph for this, but it would nice if you tried to use actual logic and not just appeals to authority.

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Paul Reed replied on Jun. 9, 2012 @ 07:00 GMT
John

"They do have a beginning and an end"

'They' do not. This is the whole point. 'They' have one existent state. Alteration then occurs. So, actually, ie in terms of physical existence, 'they' are different. It is really something else. But because similarities persist between these different existent states, we deem them to be 'the same'. Put another way round, we should not speak of 'they' and 'it'.

Paul

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John Merryman replied on Jun. 9, 2012 @ 10:52 GMT
Paul,

That's my point. The process has one existent state. Commonly referred to as the present. It's the interactions within this state which creates discreteness, not a bunch of different presents attached to particular events. Because there is just this one state, in order for new forms to arise, old forms have to be erased.

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John Merryman replied on Jun. 9, 2012 @ 11:03 GMT
So this process is constantly moving onto the new and discarding the old, as these forms go from being new to being old. Much like that factory and its production move in opposite directions.

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