December 1st was the last day to submit an essay on The Nature of Time to FQXi. The contest was open for essays way back on August 4th. I submitted an essay titled Density Operators and Time, back on September 2nd. As of today, there are 127 essays so far. There could be more. There are 48 entries dated December 1st or, interestingly, 2nd. Three of my favorite theoreticians (uh, other than myself) have submitted papers:
Marni Sheppeard wrote Measurement processes and cosmological emergence. This is the only essay that manages to get a mention in for mutually unbiased bases.
Louise Riofrio writes on The Riddle of Time: R = t. This is a revisit of her stuff on R=ct, but with c suppressed, I suppose, so that it doesn’t count as previously published.
David Hestenes writes on the electron Zitterbewegung, Electron time, mass and zitter. This is basically an abbreviation and rewrite of his arXiv article, which, somewhat hilariously, got classified by Cornell as “general physics”: 0802.3227.
Riofrio and Sheppeard got their papers in just before the deadline and may have been a bit rushed. Nevertheless, since these things basically amount to popularity contests, I’ve voted for them. Hopefully, having at least one restricted vote will distinguish them enough that people will read them.
The leading entry for restricted votes is that of Carlo Rovelli, “Forget time” . He argues that we should look for quantum gravity in a form where time plays no role at all.
A jury decided on by FQXi is presumably busily reading the essays and will decide on “jury prizes”, up to 18 prizes as follows:
2nd: 2x $5,000
3rd: 5x $2,000
4th: 10x $1,000.
In addition, there will be up to 3 prizes determined by restricted votes:
2nd: 2x $2,500.
Each essay can win only one prize. Rules are here. Since my essay was turned in fairly early, I am listed at the top of the 5 entries with two restricted votes. (There are 8 essays with 1 restricted vote, and the remaining 100+ entries have none.) So if this keeps up, I could end up with a prize. Winners are to be announced on January 19, 2009, I suppose, unless FQXi was serious when they said that they would announce winners on January 19, 2008.
First, second, and third prize winners will be invited to join FQXi.
Members of the general public can also vote. Your votes are recorded and are shown publicly but they do not count towards the prizes, however, one supposes that they could influence people to read and vote on the essays.