Information in Physics

Auteur Saakshi DULANI
Directeur /trice Dr. Christian Wuthrich
Co-directeur(s) /trice(s)
Résumé de la thèse

Lured by John A Wheeler’s adage ‘it from bit’, theoretical physicists are increasingly tempted to interpret the foundations of physics as consisting of information (‘bit’), rather than substances such as particles or fields (‘it’). The consequences of this ‘informational turn’ in physics are many and profound, including at the frontier of contemporary physics where the question arises whether bits of information get lost in black holes. Moreover, there is widespread disagreement about what the relevant notion of information is. The overarching research question of my project is simple yet profound: what is the ontological status of information in physics? To put it differently, is information an independent substance, or is it a subjective tool relative to a knower? My methodology will combine sociological evidence with robust theoretical analysis. I intend to write one article per year over the course of three years. Each year represents a distinct phase of the research. During Phase 1 (the first year), I will analyze Leonard Susskind’s [2008] complementarity solution to the paradox of whether or not objects falling into a black hole get incinerated at the event horizon. The positivist framework of complementarity will help me understand what an observer-dependent definition of information looks like. During Phase 2 (the second year), I will analyze the Black Hole Information Paradox, which provides a fertile theoretical laboratory to compare different notions of entropy (in their objective and epistemic incarnations) as well as to probe their links to information. During Phase 3 (the third and final year), I will analyze the Holographic Principle to explore the relationship between information storage and geometrical boundaries. By clarifying the conceptual foundations of information, I can facilitate a resolution to the Black Hole Information Paradox, which would leave indelible marks on the foundations of statistical mechanics and accelerate progress in quantum gravity.

Statut au début
Délai administratif de soutenance de thèse 2022