Bailek, William

William Bailek
John Archibald Wheeler/Battelle Professor in Physics
Princeton University
ArXiv: Perspectives on theory at the interface of physics and biology

Most recent email: June 4, 2017

Dear Prof. Dr. Bialek:

A long time ago, John Archibald Wheeler, sent me one of his copies of Frontiers of Time for a 1979 project I developed at MIT based on Schrödinger’s book, What is life? So, you might well-imagine that I am delighted to begin reading your work, Biophysics: Searching for Principles. Your writing is clear and approachable. Your red notes are refreshing. It brings me right back into earlier dialogues about the nature of space and time. One of my all-time favorite quotes from Wheeler was from 1986 when he touted simplicity.

I am a very simple guy. My overly simplistic math has roots within a December 2011 high school geometry class where we went inside the tetrahedron and octahedron — ostensibly base-2 exponentiation — until we were down in the range of the Planck base units. That required 112 notations and then we went out to the Age of the Universe in just another 100 notations.

The simple math is here:

For at least the first year, we thought of it as a wonderful STEM tool, a way of organizing vast amounts of data in a very simple way. Each year, however, the model spoke to us in new ways. The first 60 or so notations open a very different sense of mathematics. I think Langlands, Feigenbaum, Rees, Wolfram and several others are onto something. Here we’ll begin the process of dropping their work into the model hoping that the strings begin to knot and that we can make music.

Right now, I am attributing the thrust of the universe to that exponentiation coupled with the Planck base units and all the formulae from which Planck pulled them, particularly the dimensionless constants with their seemingly infinite run of non-repeating, never-ending numbers.

Yes, I know, a bit crazy.

It is idiosyncratic bordering on crack-pottery for most critical scientists. So, let me beg your forgiveness if I seem to be too far out in left field. I can be pulled back in!  If you think so, please, please try. Nobody has even tried.

Thank you.

Most sincerely,

First email: February 8, 2015
How Many Clusters? An Information-Theoretic Perspective

Susanne Still
William Bialek

Dear Prof. Dr. Suzanne Still and Prof. Dr. William Bialek,

Thank you for your “letter” that was communicated
by Joachim Buhmann (Received June 17, 2003; accepted
May 28, 2004). You have given me quite a lot of work
to do. That’s good. I will be distilling it down for
a high school geometry class that chased the nested
geometries of the tetrahedral-octahedral chain back
to the Planck Length and out to the Observable Universe;
they found just in 201+ “clusters” which we also refer to
as domains, doublings, layers, notations, and steps.
An introduction to that work is here:

It is totally idiosyncratic, quite logical and entirely
mathematical, so we are asking ourselves, “What is right
and what is wrong with this picture? What are the Pros
and what are the Cons?” Attempting to be a scholar is not easy.

Thanks again for your article.

Most sincerely,

Bruce Camber
New Orleans, Boston