What is the Universe made of? By Martin Bojowald

This post is also available in: Spanish

“Information” is itself a fuzzy enough notion to encompass everything, so I do not consider it a useful characterization of what is real. “Reality” is an intuitive notion, and when used for physical objects it often seems to designate things that can be imagined with the classical outlook on the world which we grow up with before having to learn about quantum physics. Indeed, in science (as opposed to philosophy) the notion of reality was questioned seriously only after the advent of quantum physics. Thus, an answer to the question of what is real in the Universe, which clearly has quantum aspects, must first provide an extension of the notion of reality to quantum objects. I think that the most fundamental aspect of the universe which can be assigned reality is change. Irrespective of how we notice the change (for instance by a difference in the information we have about an object, or by the process of gathering information) the change itself is real. (As a corollary, time is not real because it is a prerequisite for describing change.)

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