OF THE BOOK AND THE SYMPOSIUM
General oversight of the program is provided by a Program Oversight Committee made up of distinguished scientists.
Four Program Development Committee Members provide guidance on the planning and execution of contributions in the four topical areas briefly described below:
Section I: Quantum Reality (Theory)
Questions that may be addressed: Why the quantum? How come existence? What does question-asking have to do with reality? Is this a participatory universe? Does information lie at the core of nature (It from bit?)? Is there a reality deeper than quantum reality?
Section II: Quantum Reality (Experiment)
Questions that may be addressed: How might new innovative experiments (benchtop quantum mechanics) shed light on the nature of reality? What are the most vital future directions to pursue in quantum experiments? Is this a participatory universe? How can the nature of quantum observership be illuminated experimentally?
Section III: Big Ideas
Topics that that may be explored: Inflation and many worlds. Fine-tuning. Significance of mind(s). Questions that may be addressed: Is time real? What is the deep nature of time? Does the future exist? Does life matter for the cosmic future? How can we unify the two disparate worlds of quantum physics and the geometrical physics of spacetime structure?
Section IV: Emergence, Life,
& Related Topics
Topics that may be explored: Links between quantum mechanics and the macroworld, including the phenomena of life, agency, question-asking, and observership. Emergence. Complexity. Integrated descriptions of physical reality. Neuroscience and studies of the mind-body problem. Reductionist versus nonreductionist physics. Related innovations in mathematics. Freedomphysical ontology and the phenomenon of mind. Question that may be addressed: Why do theories successfully modeling nature exhibit a beautiful mathematical structure?
For the book, 30 authors will be commissioned to write chapters addressing the challenge of taking forward Wheelers legacy of bold inquiry. They will discuss big picture questions typical of Wheelers passion and vision leadership in physics. There will be seven contributions to each of the four topical areas plus two plenary contributions. The individual Program Development Committees have identified a balanced roster of senior research leaders and promising younger innovators for each group of seven authors.
The symposium will consist
of sessions spread over three days, plus plenary lectures, a reception
and banquet, and time for informal interaction (see Agenda
on the Web site). Four sessions will be devoted to the individual topical
areas described above. The speakers at these sessions, like the book authors,
have been chosen according to the recommendations of the advisory committees
and, also like the book authors, will be divided between senior scientists
and promising younger scientists. In an additional special session, 15
young researchers chosen competitively from among applicants under age
32 will present short talks. A specially chosen panel of judges will select
seven of these young researchers to win prizes of $5,000 each and an eighth
to win a first prize of $10,000, based on the total evidence of achievement
and promise for the competitors.
The Harrison/Merrill Lynch Conference Center near Princeton provides outstanding facilities for meetings and meals and can provide overnight accommodations for many of the participants. Expected attendance is 300.