Both Quanta Magazine and New Scientist reported on some renewed interest in an old idea. It was an approach to particle physics, proposed by theoretical physicist Geoffrey Chew in the 1960s, that ignored questions about which particles were most elementary and put a major portion of the weight of discovery on mathematics. […]
Not too long ago I wrote about entropy, and what has come to be known as Maxwell’s demon – a hypothetical creature, invented in 1871 by James Clark Maxwell. The creature was the product of a thought experiment meant to explore the possibility of violating the second law of thermodynamics using information to impede entropy […]
When I read the subheading in a recent Scientific American article, it brought me back to some 18th century thoughts which I recently reviewed. The subheading of a piece by Clara Moskowitz’s that describes a new effort in theoretical physics reads:
Hundreds of researchers in a collaborative project called “It from Qubit” say space and […]
An article published in May in Quanta Magazine had the following remark as its lead:
A surprising new proof is helping to connect the mathematics of infinity to the physical world.
My first thought was that the mathematics of infinity is already connected to the physical world. But Natalie Wolchover’s opening few paragraphs were inviting:
Random is often the word chosen to describe something that has no order. But randomness has become an increasingly useful tool in mathematics, a discipline whose meaningfulness relies, primarily, on order.
In statistics, randomness as a measure of uncertainty, makes possible the identification of events, whether sociopolitical or physical, with the use of probability distributions. […]
In 2011 John Horgan posted a piece on his blog, Cross Check (part of the Scientific American blog network), with the title, Why Information can’t be the basis of reality. There Horgan makes the observation that the “everything-is-information meme violates common sense.” As of last December (at least) he hadn’t changed his mind. He referred […]
Quanta magazine has a piece on a recent conference in Munich where scientists and philosophers discussed the history and future of scientific inquiry. The meeting seems to have been mostly motivated by two things. The first of these is found in the diminishing prospects for physics experiments – energy levels that can’t be reached by […]
I’ve been reading Rebecca Goldstein’s Incompleteness: The Proof and Paradox of Kurt Gödel which, together with my finding David Mumford’s Why I am a Platonist, has kept me a bit more preoccupied, of late, with Platonism. This is not an entirely new preoccupation. I remember one of my early philosophy teacher’s periodically blurting out, “See, […]
Looking through some blog sites that I once frequented (but have recently neglected) I saw that John Horgan’s Cross Check had a piece on George Johnson’s book Fire in the Mind: Science, Faith, and the Search for Order. This quickly caught my attention because Horgan and Johnson figured prominently in my mind in the late […]
I think often about the continuity of things – about the smooth progression of structure, that is the stuff of life, from the microscopic to the macrocosmic. I was reminded, again, of how often I see things in terms of continuums when I listened online to a lecture given by Gregory Chaitin in 2008. In […]