Stephen Wolfram’s Fundamental Theory of Physics

“We have such a simple rule. Yet applying this rule over and over again produces something that looks really complicated. It’s not what our ordinary intuition tells us should happen. But actually—as I first discovered in the early 1980s—this kind of intrinsic, spontaneous generation of complexity turns out to be completely ubiquitous among simple rules and simple programs. And for example my book A New Kind of Science is about this whole phenomenon and why it’s so important for science and beyond.”

-Stephen Wolfram, “Finally We May Have a Path to the Fundamental Theory of Physics…
and It’s Beautiful
.” StephenWolfram.com

Bookmarking for later.

Mind-Bending “Quantum Darwinism” Theory Passes Experimental Tests

“The main idea of quantum Darwinism is that we almost never do any direct measurement on anything,” Zurek told The Foundational Questions Institute in 2008. “[The environment] is like a big advertising billboard, which floats multiple copies of the information about our universe all over the place.”

—Kristen Houser, “Mind-Bending ‘Quantum Darwinism’ Theory Passes Experimental Tests.” Futurism. July 24, 2019

Or, see the Wikipedia page on Quantum Darwinism.

Found: A Quadrillion Ways for String Theory to Make Our Universe

“According to string theory, all particles and fundamental forces arise from the vibrational states of tiny strings. For mathematical consistency, these strings vibrate in 10-dimensional spacetime. And for consistency with our familiar everyday experience of the universe, with three spatial dimensions and the dimension of time, the additional six dimensions are ‘compacted’ so as to be undetectable.

Different compactifications lead to different solutions. In string theory, a “solution” implies a vacuum of spacetime that is governed by Einstein’s theory of gravity coupled to a quantum field theory. Each solution describes a unique universe, with its own set of particles, fundamental forces and other such defining properties.”

—Anil Ananthaswamy, “Found: A Quadrillion Ways for String Theory to Make Our Universe.” Scientific American. March 28, 2018.

Note to self: read Brian Greene’s Elegant Universe.

Information Realism

“…the universe is a mental construct displayed on the screen of perception.”

—Bernardo Kastrup, “Physics Is Pointing Inexorably to Mind.” Scientific American. March 25, 2019.

Said better by Spoon Boy, in The Matrix:

“Do not try and bend the spoon, that’s impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth…there is no spoon. Then you’ll see that it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself.”

Frauchiger-Renner Paradox Clarifies Where Our Views of Reality Go Wrong

“The experiment, designed by Daniela Frauchiger and Renato Renner, of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, involves a set of assumptions that on the face of it seem entirely reasonable. But the experiment leads to contradictions, suggesting that at least one of the assumptions is wrong. The choice of which assumption to give up has implications for our understanding of the quantum world and points to the possibility that quantum mechanics is not a universal theory, and so cannot be applied to complex systems such as humans.”

—Anil Ananthaswamy, “Frauchiger-Renner Paradox Clarifies Where Our Views of Reality Go Wrong.” Quanta Magazine. December 3, 2018.

Probably the clearest explainer you’ll find. The assumptions are that: quantum theory is universal, quantum theory is consistent, and opposite facts cannot both be true. This thought experiment suggests that at least one is false, and depending on which one either leads to positions that quantum theory collapses into classical physics at scale, observer perspective changes results, or the many worlds hypothesis.

From the Edge of the Universe to the Inside of a Proton

“But we should count ourselves lucky; there have not always been 62 orders of magnitude of universe to explore, and there won’t always be. As Scharf explained, ‘If you turn the clock back far enough to the Big Bang, obviously there was a time when the number of scales that were causally connected were fewer, and space itself was smaller.’ Likewise, ‘if you extrapolate 100 billion years into the future, assuming the current accelerating expansion, it will be essentially impossible for us to see anything much beyond our galaxy or our local group of galaxies.’ Scharf said this seems to mean we’re living at a special time. And he wondered, ‘Would someone in the future be able to figure out how the universe works?’”

—Natalie Wolchover, “A Tour of the Zoomable Universe by Caleb Scharf and Ron Miller.” Quanta Magozine. November 6, 2017

The inspiration for this coffee table book was to update the information in a famous short film, The Powers of Ten (1977):