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Reinventing Physics - the Search for the Real Frontier

From: "andrew cooke" <andrew@...>

Date: Wed, 9 Feb 2005 23:06:22 -0300 (CLST)

Last July I mentioned relating fundamental (quantum) physics to
information theory (and I think I posted a link to a paper on the same
subject a while before that).  In some sense, then, it's possible that
laws about information are the basis for physics.

Reading this article -
http://chronicle.com/temp/reprint.php?id=nmsi7ebjjeu402lhjrlke4ae7wxpakvx
- I wondered if the author was thinking along similar lines.  Then I found
his Nobel Prize acceptance speech -
http://nobelprize.org/physics/laureates/1998/laughlin-lecture.pdf - which
discusses emergent properties of quantum mechanical systems and, from what
I understand (it starts of nice and easy, but gets stickier), that's not
his point.  But maybe there is a connection?  I wish someone smarter than
me would tell me the answer.  Anyway, both those articles are interesting,
and his book - now published
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/046503828X - might be worth
a read.

And finally, which I should have mentioned earlier, the reason I started
with the article is because he is arguing against the assumption that
physics is "almost done" (which I believe likely).  So there's some kind
of claim that emergent properties are the next big area of physics.  I'm a
bit sceptical, because he comes from materials science, which is
complicated, and you could argue that this is "complicated like chemistry"
(ie it's not *fundamental* physics, but rather the difficult details you
build on top of that).  I think his counterclaim is that in fact the
emergent properties turn out to be the fundamental ones.  Maybe it's
clearer in the book.

Andrew

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