Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

So what about the FQXi time essay contest? It's February already.

  1. Feb 15, 2009 #1

    marcus

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    http://fqxi.org/community/vote

    Summer 2008 FQXi started an essay contest, about the nature of time.
    They say they will announce the winners (first prize, second prize, etc...) in February 2008.
    Which is half thru already.

    Here's the essay context FAQ
    http://fqxi.org/community/essay/faq

    Does anybody have a better link to use to check to see how the judging is going and whether they've decided anything?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 16, 2009 #2

    Demystifier

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    I suspect that, due to the recession, they don't have money to pay the prizes. :biggrin:
     
  4. Feb 16, 2009 #3

    marcus

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    You've got to be kidding, Harvey :biggrin:

    How do you rate the other essays, besides your own? Any favorites?
    Which do you think have a chance of winning?

    For anyone just coming in on this, here's the list, ranked by the number of public votes received:
    http://fqxi.org/community/forum/category/10?sort=public
     
  5. Feb 17, 2009 #4

    Demystifier

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    I think Rovelli has good chances to win. (Which does not mean that his essay is the best for me.)
     
  6. Feb 19, 2009 #5

    marcus

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    Do you have some personal favorites (besides your own entry?)

    There are a half-dozen prizes to be awarded. If I remember right there are four that will be awarded based on the decisions of a select panel of judges.

    And then a couple of prizes will be awarded based on the votes of members of the FQXi community.

    Here's the main FQXi page, which has a "breaking news" column:
    http://fqxi.org/community
    If they are going to announce in February, as it says in the FAQ they will, then we should be checking that URL every now and then.
     
  7. Feb 20, 2009 #6

    Demystifier

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Well, to be honest, I have actually read only few essays, so I cannot be objective. Nevertheless, I can say that this one has intrigued me:
    http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/318
     
  8. Feb 27, 2009 #7
  9. Mar 5, 2009 #8

    marcus

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    A news item appeared today at http://fqxi.org/community

    Essay contest announcement is imminent
    Mar 5, 2009
    After a long and interesting process, the jury panel is wrapping up its deliberations -- expect an announcement soon!
     
  10. Mar 7, 2009 #9
    There's also a comment that appeared just before the one Marcus mentions, at http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/402,

    So they claim they've found a consensus on a mishmash of essays. It will be interesting to see what range of essays that consensus will include.

    Presumably FQXi is engineering a splash for the media, which these two squibs are part of, but there seems to be nothing else by google, except, of course, this thread. Here's a little extra noise.
     
  11. Mar 7, 2009 #10

    marcus

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    BTW Peter, weburbia, another long-awaited milestone has actually been reached. Oriti's book of collected expert articles ("Towards a New Understanding of Space, Time, and Matter") is now in stock at Cambridge University Press.

    Amazon still lists it as not yet released. But copies are in stock at CUP and also at a place in Delaware in the USA, delivery time 4 to 5 days.

    Sample chapters, the index and the toc can be read online at this CUP webpage
    http://www.cambridge.org/uk/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=9780521860451

    The amazon page that still thinks it hasn't been released (but also lets you see the table of contents etc) is here:
    https://www.amazon.com/Approaches-Quantum-Gravity-Toward-Understanding/dp/0521860458

    Oriti's book should have come out 2 years ago. the wheels of scholarly deliberation turn slowly. :biggrin:
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2009
  12. Mar 7, 2009 #11
    Great news! :biggrin:
     
  13. Mar 7, 2009 #12
    BTW, what is "imminent" supposed to mean in the USA??? Imminent for me shouldn't take more than 24 hrs!!:bugeye:
     
  14. Mar 7, 2009 #13
    Since so many essays claim that time doesn't exist, the jury had decided that not sticking to the deadline would not be a problem for most participants.
     
  15. Mar 7, 2009 #14

    marcus

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed


    If so, then they are right. Indeed it does not exist, it occurs.

    Let's face it, Count, time happens. :wink:
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2009
  16. Mar 8, 2009 #15

    MTd2

    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    WINNERS!!!!!!!!!
    First Juried Prize:
    Julian Barbour on “The Nature of Time”
    The jury panel admired this essay for its crystal-clear and engaging presentation of a problem in classical dynamics, namely to find a measure for duration or the size of a time interval. The paper argues lucidly, and in a historically well-informed manner, that an appropriate choice for such a measure is not to be found in Newton’s pre-existing absolute notion of time, but rather emerges, in the form of ephemeris time, from the observable motions and the assumption of energy conservation. The paper also suggests how this emergence of duration might be relevant to problems in quantum gravity.
    Second Juried Prizes:
    (1) Claus Kiefer on “Does Time Exist in Quantum Gravity?”
    A fundamental problem in quantum gravity is that the “Wheeler-DeWitt Equation,” probably our most reliable equation of quantum gravity, does not refer to or even suggest anything like time or evolution. In this context time must emerge in the form of relations between a given system and some other system that may be considered a clock. Kiefer beautifully reviews this problem, and argues how, via quantum “decoherence,” time as described by the usual Schroedinger equation in quantum mechanics can emerge from this timeless substratum, via entanglement between physical systems within space, and the spatial metric that controls motion.
    (2) Sean Carroll on “What if Time Really Exists?”
    Drawing on recent developments in string theory, Carroll impressed the panel with an exciting account of how a gravitating spacetime might in fact be just a holographic approximation to a more fundamental non-gravitating theory for which “time really exists.” Contemplating the difficulties raised by strange recurrences in an everlasting universe, he argues for a strong condition on the set of allowed quantum states that would disallow such repetitions. Carroll closes by attempting to reconcile this picture with recent observations that indicate that the expansion of the universe is accelerating, with surprising results.

    First Community Prize: Carlo Rovelli* on "Forget Time"

    Second Community Prizes:

    (1). George F. R. Ellis on "The Flow of Time"*

    (2a). (Tie!): Rodolfo Gambini and Jorge Pullin on "Free will, undecidability, and the problem of time in quantum gravity"*

    (2b) David Hestenes on Electron time, mass and zitter"

    Community Runners-up: Fotini Markopoulou, Cristinel Stoica, David L. Wiltshire

    (*Note: The essays by Ellis and Gambini & Pullin were also selected for a less -- and hence unawarded -- juried prize).

    Third Juried Prizes:

    "What Makes Time Special" by Craig Adam Callender

    "Space does not exist, so time can." by Fotini Markopoulou

    "On the global existence of time" by Ettore Minguzzi

    "Time, TOEs, and UltraStructuralism" by Dean Rickles

    "Many Times" by Steven Weinstein

    Fourth Juried Prizes:

    “Whither Time's Arrow?” by Gavin Crooks

    “The rediscovery of time through its disappearance” by Alexis de Saint-Ours**

    “Time is not the problem” by Olaf Dreyer

    ”Weakening Gravity's Grip on the Arrow of Time” by Maulik Parikh

    “Quantum Measurement as an Arrow of Time” by Curtis Vinson**

    “Condensed matter lessons about the origin of time” by Gil Jannes**

    “The Production of Time” by Adam Daniel Helfer

    ”The Nature of Time: from a Timeless Hamiltonian Framework to Clock Time of Metrology” by Enrico Prati

    ”Is the notion of time really fundamental?” by Florian Girelli, Stefano Liberati and Lorenzo Sindoni



    ** FQXi would like to offer a special commendation to these winning essays written by either students or non-professionals. Nice work!!

    Now for some notes on the judging:

    - First, thank you all for your participation, your interest, and your patience! I hope that it has been interesting.

    - Second, note that due to the difficulty and subtlety of the issues at hand, there were numerous disagreements within the jury regarding nearly all of the essays. The awarding of a prize signifies that the jury agrees that the winner is a relevant and interesting essay: something that is well written, thought provocative, stimulating, fun, etc. It should not be construed to mean that the members of the panel believe that the approach is complete, flawless, unobjectionable etc.!

    - Along somewhat similar lines, I hope that non-winners won't be too despondent. I think that many gems of insight are lurking in a number of non-winning essays, and I hope that the contest and discussion has given some of these gems and their authors exposure that would otherwise not have been possible.

    - The jury will remain anonymous, and we're not going to release any details beyond what's in the above of how the jurying went. I'm sure many are curious on both counts, but equally sure you can see why we would not think either is a good idea.

    - That being said, I can tell you that the jury had a tough time, and put in a lot of work. All of the essays were read and reviewed by at least two panelists (in fact, there were two panels, a screening panel that narrowed it down to 50 essays, and a judging panel that ranked them), and all of the essays that came out on top were read by all of the jurors. There was quite a lot of discussion of some pretty subtle points within a jury of quite divergent views, and not a whole lot of unanimity.

    Finally, stay tuned for the imminent announcement of the NEXT essay contest topic. Thanks for your participation!

    Anthony on behalf of FQXi
    http://fqxi.org/community/forum/topic/426

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/cosmicvariance/2009/03/08/the-envelope-please/
     
  17. Mar 8, 2009 #16

    marcus

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    My favorites were Barbour, Rovelli, and Ellis. I'm happy that one of them got the first juried prize, one got the first community prize, and the third got the second community prize.

    I'll have to take a look at the Kiefer essay, since the jury had such a high opinion of it.
     
  18. Mar 9, 2009 #17
    Barbour's essay was a shoo-in to win; apart from the fact he's hugely respected in this particular area, the rest of the entries were disappointing (with the exception of Claus Kiefer's paper).


    I appreciate the broad thrust of what the FXQi is trying to achieve with contests such as this, but several of the papers should really have been sent back to the authors with a "Thanks, but no thanks" note attached.
     
  19. Mar 14, 2009 #18

    marcus

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    Anyone who liked Barbour's essay should also read Rovelli's.
    The message is essentially the same: timeless mechanics.
    Rovelli just goes further.
    Barbour stays in a purely classic Newtonian context and shows, in a clear beautifully written and highly accessible way, that a timeless formulation is natural.
    He limits himself to that and says that he hopes this will be suggestive of how a timeless quantum mechanics could be formulated.

    Rovelli essentially writes chapter 2 to Barbour's chapter 1. He reviews the same natural timeless reformulation of 18th century mechanics, and then ups the ante by venturing to sketch out a generalization and a quantum version.

    At the end he hazards a guess as to how a stream of time could emerge as a function of the state of the universe. But this is just the last page or two, on the "thermal time" hypothesis. The bulk of the essay is not about the thermal time hypothesis.

    I think both Rovelli and Barbour were shoo-ins for first prize, and fortunately there were two first prizes! :biggrin:
     
  20. Mar 14, 2009 #19
    No need to worry, some of us did get that note.
     
  21. Mar 15, 2009 #20

    marcus

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member
    Dearly Missed

    Unpleasant as it is to not have an essay accepted, it still does you credit to have written and submitted one. Congratulations. I think it makes sense for them to set some criteria and then try to filter. Just being accepted as an entrant is a form of publication.

    I think it was a great thing for FQXi to do---really advanced their basic aims and had a positive affect.

    It's important that the two firstprize essays were about time not having a fundamental existence. It's part of the GR revolution that started in 1915.
    Much of the rest of physics has not caught up with that basic insight.

    I wish the Wikipedia articles on hamiltonian and lagrangian mechanics could be rewritten in timeless formalism----without the dummy-variable "t" appearing all over the place.

    Anyway congratulations petm1 for taking part in what I believe was a significant public science event.
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook