Ever since Maxwell and Boltzmann, physicists have begun to look at information as a fundamental quality of the universe, perhaps as fundamental as matter, energy, space, and time. Outside of information theory proper, the role of information is becoming clearer and clearer in quantum mechanics, biology, and neurology. Many quantum physicists now see photons and other "messenger particles" (which are essentially massless and timeless) as carriers of information, telling electrons and other particles what orbital shell they "belong" in.
Biologists studying biocommunication have looked at such things as "biological clocks," which seem to "time" various cellular rhythms. The study of pheromones and hormones shows that organisms use many kinds of internal and external signaling systems. Some, like Robert O. Becker, even suggest that organic life has a fundamental electromagnetic basis, and that cells may function as a kind of information transceiver.
In neurology, the brain is
now seen to be a dual information-processor. The right hemisphere processes
information analogically and in parallel (all at once); the left hemisphere
processes information digitally
and serially (one bit at a time.) It seems like these two kinds of information
seem to be the two kinds that make up the universe itself - continuously
varying qualities (waves),
and discretely varying quantities (quanta.) Other physicists now suggest
that the universe is somehow made out of information - the "It from Bit"
hypothesis of John Wheeler, or the idea that the fundamental particles
are themselves made of continually varying cellular automata. Others utilize
the holographic paradigm of David
Bohm, who sees the universe as containing a certain kind of enfolded
information which he calls the "implicate order." These theories lead to
the idea that the universe might be a sort of giant computer or information
From: Dan Davison (email@example.com)
Subject: Re: Why reductionism and classical synthesis doesn't work
Date: 1989-02-12 22:02:50 PST
In article <6390@ecsvax.UUCP>, paleo@ecsvax.UUCP (Constantine A. LaPasha) writes:
> (maybe a bit late, but
my 2 cents worth...)
> BTW- the study of the behavior of nonlinear systems has come to
> be referred to as chaos
Well, not really. The Center for Non-Linear Studies here at Los Alamos National Laboratory sort of falls into two camps, jokingly referred to as the "chaos-ers" and the "soliton-ers". So there is more to non-linear studies than meets the eye.
By the way, The Santa Fe Institute (1120 Canyon Road, Santa Fe, NM 87501) sponsors meetings and workshops on a wide range of non-linear studies and publish a newsletter four times a year. The last issue covers economics, the aids-immune system interactions, the Matrix of Biological Knowledge effort, "Complexity, Entropy, and the Physics of Information: A Manifesto", and news about a Complex Systems summer school.
If you are interested in this area, I suggest contacting the Santa Fe Institute. (You might mail to the attention of Ms. Ginger Richardson).
dan davison/theoretical biology/t-10
ms k710/los alamos national laboratory
los alamos, nm firstname.lastname@example.org (arpa)/email@example.com(new)/..cmcl2!lanl!dd
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