What a great way to start the week: the Foundational Questions Institute has just announced its fifth essay contest. The topic is the physics of information. It could hardly be more timely, and not just because of the cultural Zeitgeist. Going to a physics conference these days is like landing in The Village of the old TV series The Prisoner, where all anyone talks about is information.
Might information be more basic than the material things that carry it? As physicist John Wheeler famously put it, can we get “it from bit”? Does that idea even make sense? Information is always information about something, isn’t it? There is quite a knot of questions to disentangle. I expect that a Who’s Who of physicists and philosophers will enter the contest, not to mention new voices with provocative ideas.
The contest will accept entries through the end of June. The fun part is that you don’t need to submit an essay to participate. All the essays are available online for reading, remarking, and rating. FQXi uses the community ranking to short-list entries for the official judging panel, and the institute plans to announce the winners in October.