Re-imagining Spacetime -- Is Physics only about Physics?

March 4, 2019

And do physicists own the sole rights to it?

 

Physics is the study of stuff that happens---or, at least, that's how it began. As its reputation deepened and its cultural baggage expanded, it became---like every other specialization---pickled in its own special culture and norms, as the preserve of what physicists consider their own territory. But physics is useful in other disciplines too: Information Technology, for one, though the language is not well adapted to it. Should physicists have the sole rights to narratives that are so important on all levels? Do physicists get to decide on the boundaries of physics? My new book is about just this topic, and I argue that there is much to be learned in both directions by rethinking the hallowed ideas of space and time, and appying them to the modern world.

 

Time for a wider view?

 

As a physicist who has wandered between disciplines in a way that academia generally frowns upon, I've found great inspiration and solace in the methods, and meta-principles of physics---and have had some success in applying them to the realm of modern computing. Many computer scientists balked at the audacity of trying to describe computing as physics. I see them as trapped in a single scale description of computer code and Turing Machine ideology. Many physicists tried to dismiss it, in turn, as reasoning by analogy---a kind of pitiful attempt at pedagogy by someone who strayed from the true path. What is discovered in physics is `objective truth', and everything else should be application of that. But this professional snobbery that abounds in science overlooks an important opportunity---to challenge conventional ideas with new information, if we only look.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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