Is the Universe Digital or Analog? the results

The FQXi essay contest results are out, and I am very proud of my fourth prize place. Thanks to all of you who voted for me in the community round.

The winner is Finnish Lecturer Jarmo Makela with his story based on an imagined encounter with Isaac Newton which looks at the discreteness of black holes.

Wel done to all the other prize winners too.


16 Responses to Is the Universe Digital or Analog? the results

  1. Kea says:


  2. Congratulations Dr Phillip Gibbs… is not only a conquest for you… is also a conquest also for viXra since you was the creator

    Keep up the good work

  3. j says:

    First of all, congratulations to Mr. Gibbs.

    But I can not see why this is “a conquest also for viXra”. I mean, I look at the first, second and third prices and any of these top eight papers contains any reference to viXra. Even Gibbs’ essay contains only two references of twenty, and both are self-references.

    I can’t not see why these results are “a conquest for viXra”. Of course, this does not imply the opposite.

    • Philip Gibbs says:

      Thank for for the congratulations

      Perhaps worth mentioning again that six viXra authors made the final cut of 37 finalists. Make of it what you will. We are frequently called cranks for using viXra, including me. When I submitted a paper related to this work on arXiv it got moved to a “general” category where they put articles not considered worthy of categories like hep-th. Getting a little thumbs up like this makes a big difference to me and indirectly to viXra too I think

      People will have mixed views on the worth of these contests but they are judged seriously enough that cranks would not be able to get such a good result.

      • j says:

        I understand and I agree with you. I am not criticizing viXra. But you cannot overreact. I just believe that your success in this contest can not be extrapolated to a success of viXra _in this context_.

  4. Huping Hu says:

    Hi Phil,

    Congratulations to you and also to Brian Whitworth for winning the Fourth Prize in this FQXi contest!

    Of course, congraulations also goes to all who participated and those who had made to the final rounds!

    I’d like to mention that both Phil and Brian publishes in Prespacetime Journal and, indeed, their respective winning Essay cites their Prespacetime publications – thank you. Phil also sit on the Advisory Board of PSTJ and is an Editor-at-Large of PSTJ.

    Now, the contest is over, I’d like to invite all of you who have sumitted essay to this FQXi contest but has no other publishing plans or commitments (especiallly those who have made to the final round) submit your essays to Prespacetime Journal to be considered for publications. If accepted, your essay will appear in this month (June)’s issue.

    Again, congratulations!


    Huping Hu
    PSTJ Editor

  5. Wilhelmus de Wilde says:

    Congratulations Philip, very good result, because you see even when you are high rated in the first 37 it does not mean that you win a prize.
    Question : Dr Huping Hu informed that there eventually was a possibillity to submit our essays for the Prespacetime Journal, (if accepted) it was my idea to rewrite my essay (you have read it Philip), but perhaps too much is going to change by then, pls advise (I could also write a whole new one with the same basis)
    best regards

  6. Yuri Danoyan says:


  7. Ulla says:

    Jarmo Mäkelä lives 80km away from me. I read his essay but what is so special with it? I voted for him, though. Also for you, congrat, Phil.

    As a non-physicist and amateur I had no expectations to manage well. What can a text without math tell a physicist? Is everything in the numbers? No, although I appreciate that someone do the numbers 🙂

    • Philip Gibbs says:

      Thanks for sharing this info on Jarmo Mäkelä.

      His essay has a nice story which must have got him lots of votes. The physics is also interesting but just describes a black hole as a finite state thermodynamic system. It sticks to ideas in the common ground that a large fraction of physicists would want to agree with, avoiding more radical and controversial concepts such as enthropic gravity or holography, or specific theories such as strings or loops.

      If you want a lesson in how to appeal to the most people and get a prize, this essay is a fine example to look at. For me it is not radical enough to have any lasting impact on physics. His other work suggests he may be capable of deeper thoughts but has wisely not included such things in this essay.

      It is interesting to see that his teaching work at the Vaasa university/polytechnik/highschool is really engineering and not theoretical physics which he does just as a hobby, so he is an independent researcher like myself and many of the people who submit to viXra. However he has been able to submit his essay to arXiv today. My essay has also been submitted to arXiv but has been put on indefinite hold while the moderators think slowly about what they should do with it.

  8. Congratulations.

    I hope that this could also help to change the irrational belief that all respectable is published in “respected” journals. Maybe some day New Scientist has also articles about something published in viXra and journals like Prespacetime.

    Jarmo Makela is indeed from Finland but I do not know him personally.

  9. Lawrence B. Crowell says:

    Congratulations for winning on eof the prizes. Unfortunately I guess I did not make the cut. I will have to see if I can publish the paper elsewhere.

    Cheers LC

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