Ismael, Jenann

Jenann Ismael
Department of Philosophy
Columbia University
New York, NY

Articles: Passage, Flow, and the Logic of Temporal Perspectives
Homepage  (Columbia). (QISS)

References within this website:
See: Foundational Questions Institute (FQXi)

Second email: January 30, 2022 @ 5:55 PM

RE: FQXi article by John Farrell, “Can Time Be Saved From Physics?” regarding Craig Callender’s Lakatos award-winning bookWhat Makes Time Special?” Columbia University philosopher Jenann Ismael notes that timing played a role in the meeting’s success. “I think many of us had been coming to the same ideas from different directions, and—with Craig’s book just out for a while, and Carlo Rovelli’s The Order of Time released the first day of the conference—it felt like kind of a moment,” she says. Ismael notes that while participants at the meeting were able to learn from others from different disciplines, there are still huge points of contention between the different academic cultures. Physicists in general, are “more inclined to dismiss passage, flow and the sense of openness of the future as illusions,” she says.


Dear Prof. Dr. Jenann Ismael:

I would like to respond to your comments above from within John Farrell’s article, “Can Time Be Saved From Physics?” My question: “Why can’t we use the Planck base units as a starting point?”

Here is a copy of my post about that article:

Planck Time (tP) opens basic questions. First, tP is a direct correlation and necessary relation with a length and light in much the same way Einstein’s well-known equation, e=mcnecessarily and dynamically relates mass, energy and light. These four Planck base units are each natural units using only the most fundamental universal constants to define them. Could these four base units and light (and the dimensionless constants that contribute to the essential natural of the Standard Model of Physics) be the very first moment in time? Could the universe start cold on one hand and hot on the other? “Light” blasts In on one hand, and an infinitesimally “cold” (close to absolute zero Kelvin) start on the other. Impossible? Planck Temperature light on one side an infinitesimally first particle defined by Planck Length and Planck Time on the other. A primordial, archetypal sphere coming at you at one sphere per unit of Planck Time renders 539 tredecillion spheres per second. That’s a nice expansion. If the light is cooling according to the inverse square law, we have dynamics that John Archibald Wheeler’s creativity never imagined. It’s Johnny’s old quantum foam. Now, what if there is an application of cubic close packing of equal spheres (ccp) at this scale and the stacking amounts to a doubling? Within 202 doublings of base-2 notations these Planck base units have become the age of the universe, the size of the universe, the total mass of the universe, and the total energy of the universe, and yes, it is still happening right now. Crazy, yes! Idiosyncratic, yes! But why not explore such a simple model? Some aspect of all that has been our effort since December 2011:  To see a chart of the numbers and to get a sense of the emergence and natural inflation:

It is too simple, so simple it seems a bit of silliness.  But if you look at the numbers, there is a sweet logic that prevails.

I would be very pleased to hear from you. Thank you.

First email: 19 October 2018

Dear Prof. Dr. Jenann Ismael:

I started seeing references to you and your work regarding the structure of space and time. Then, came FQXi, then symmetry, Rovelli’s work, a conference about time at Perimeter… so I started to investigate. When I do, I create this little reference page along with a copy of my notes as I struggle to see how it all fits together.

Since December 2011 we have been studying an application of base-2 notation from the Planck base units to the age and size of the universe. We know well that it falls outside the normal work within physics-philosophy-mathematics today. But, such a simple concept renders rather unusual-even surprising results:
• There are just over 202 doublings. Our working numbers:
• Too small to measure, the first 64 notations:
• Does it address the derivative structure of space-time?
• The doublings create a natural inflation:
• Perhaps it is just too simple. The first second emerges within the 143rd notation.
• The 202nd notation has a processing speed of 10.9816 billion years and I am not sure what it means to be just 2.8 billion years into it!

I thought you might find it all of interest. I don’t think it’s just poppycock… If it is, it seems we’ll have to re-examine the foundations of logic, mathematics, and integrity, and the concepts of continuity and symmetry!

On leave from Columbia, I hope your work is going very well and you are making very special progress. I would be delighted to hear from you either way, poppycock or not poppycock!

Thank you.



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