Joe, Rob & James of New York City

Robert “Rob” Flicek
Relation: Melinda (Camber-Porter) and Joe Flicek’s son. Oxford, 2013.
Initiated: Tuesday, January 17, 2012 1:59 AM
Email: Robert Flicek
Others: Joe Flicek,  James Flicek

RE:  Most recent emails will be at the top.

Most recent email: 17 August 2018

Dear Rob –

I wonder if you are still using the same email address.  I hope so.

Remember this note (just below) from you to your father? He forwarded it
along to me and we’ve exchanged a few emails since that point.

Though just an avocational sort of thing, the process of discovery continues; is the current website where I work on it.

A few yeas ago, I began studying John Wheeler’s notions of quantum foam.
More recently I have focused on current work around the concept of
planckspheres (a continuation of Wheeler’s work).  Envisioning
planckspheres was a challenge, but worth the effort.

Might you be interested in reopening that old discussion?


Most sincerely,

Fourth email: 6 August 2015

Thinking of the three savants of the Hotel Des Artistes and Sag
Harbor, hoping that you are all progressing along life’s journey in a
way that profoundly refreshes your soul, I thought I should say, “Hi.”

The years seem to go by so fleetingly.

If any of you ever need a place to rest in the New Orleans area,
especially in a quiet neighborhood, well removed from the French
Quarter, you all have a standing invitation.

I continue on occasion to add a little to that base-2 exponential
notation work of December 2011.  I think that’s when I last asked you
all for your insights and advice.  The latest reflection about it all
is here:

Given the range of scholars with whom I have discussed that simple
little model and how troubled so many are to find something so simple
and so little engaged, I am assured some very bright philosopher- mathematician-physicist-cosmologist will come along and formalize the structure and it’ll break free.

Perhaps even more strangely, I think it may all come down to a soccer
ball with its interaction of the pentagonal and hexagonal within the
very small-scale universe.

Best wishes always,


Third email:  16 April 2012

TO: Rob, James, BEC
FM: Joe

Yes, Robert it was and is common practice to associate math and geometry and science with philosophy and religion through the ages.  Euclid and the Circle etc etc.

Discussion of new math etc lead often to burnings at the stake!

It is only now that people like Richard Dawkins build logical arguments to only look at the facts and not twist them into philosophy or religious rationalizations.

Still what disturbs with all new math [even Richard Dawkins asked you math questions on heavenly bodies and their movements] is the push to the edge of our conceptual understanding even with the facts.  Like what is 5 dimensional space?  Is there really a positron for every electron? Why does time go in one direction and maybe at different rates?

This leads to the philosophy or religious interpretations around things like relativity? Quantum mechanics? Black holes? String theory?

Gravity usually becomes the sticking point….what is the base 2 of gravity on earth or in an atom or in a black hole?  Is there a string theory that ties them all up mathematically first, then the philosophers appear.

My thoughts guys,

April 16, 2012

FM: Bruce
TO: Joe
cc: Rob, James

Thanks, Joe.

I will directly engage Dawkins on that page on base-2 notation.  It may provide an interesting framework for his concept of a meme.  More interestingly it will be very telling to see how he comes to terms with the interior structure of basic structure.

Unlike most within the academic community, I know that he has engaged basic structures.  In his book, A Devil’s Chaplain: Reflections on Hope, Lies, Science, and Love, Dawkins says (page 45). “All crystals ‘self-assemble’ under locally acting rules.” And later, “…all have a precise explanation which lies deep in the patterns of atomic lattice-work.”  He discusses the buckyballs and carbon nanotubes.  He picks it up again in The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution. In his discussion of capsomeres he engages the icosahedron again, yet I suspect he knows very little about the tetrahedron, less about the octahedron, and even less about the icosahedron as 20 tetrahedrons or the basic recurring structure of the  tetrahedral-octahedral chain.

I am rather enjoying a young Dawkins lecture on designoid objects and see where knowledge of the tetrahedral-octahedral chain would have helped to inform that lecture.  Just to see the parallel constructions from polymers, silicates to the structure of hadrons would have been helpful.

Now, although an early part of my career, I am not much interested in the philosophical-religious confession at this stage of my work. Understanding the parameters and boundary conditions of science is quite enough.  The concept of perfection or perfected states in space-time will be quietly in the background, but not the driving force.

And, indeed, perhaps we will discover gravity in some unique ways… within the range between the first notation and the 67th within the small-scale universe and between 67 and 132 in the human-scale universe. And, just perhaps from that we might understand how it works within the large scale, notations 132 to 202.

I am only guessing at this point in time.

Again, I’ll keep you posted.

Second email:  16 January 2012

16 April 2012
Hi Bruce,

I read the article you linked to and although I understand the calculation you are doing I still don’t really understand what it is driving at. In our previous exchange of emails you gave a lengthy account of the reasons you think this calculation is important (in the email below). I suppose I understand the first reason you give (that it has not yet been done). I don’t really follow your second reason though, perhaps because I know next to nothing about quantum physics, complicated geometrical figures, or anything to do with string theory. Your final motivation completely lost me as I don’t see how an understanding of geometry could provide insight into things such as ethics, morality, or a sort of spiritual/religious understanding of things (as mentioned in the articles you linked to).

I’m afraid my comments won’t be particularly helpful, but still I wish you luck with your subsequent work on this topic.

Hi Rob,

I am finally back at my desk and thinking about this emergent “board.”

Your mathematical formulation may be perfectly fine but I would not be surprised if it assumes within the word, progression, that the spatial metaphor is a primary real (and I ask, in what ways is it in some way derivative?).  This has been the debate since Plato and Aristotle.  I give Plato the upper hand.  So if there is ever a spatial or temporal metaphor within any calculation, let us open it to be questioned and cross-examined.

You ask, “What are you trying to determined by this calculation?”  There are many answers.

1. We’re playing with models that haven’t been given to us.  Where is there an example of base 2 scientific notation from the smallest measurement (or relation) to the most abstracted and “largest” created by the simplest process, divide by two or multiply by two?

I haven’t seen it.  I haven’t read a discussion about it. I looked for it and perhaps I just didn’t find it.  By opening it up, we open an exploration that at least is new to me.  I claim no special intelligence or insight, just a curious mind.

2.  We are applying models to models.  The five basic solids are well-understood and documented.  What is not understood is their interiority.  Where are the papers about the most-simple, basic composition of the octahedron with its four hexagonal bonds around the centerpoint?  I have asked literally 1000s of academics, scientists, geometers, architects, and children, and none but John Conway at Princeton had an easy answer.  That there is no discussion about the icosahedron being a perfect example within quantum geometry of five-fold symmetry (in the spirit of Daniel Schectman, Nobel-chemistry 2011). There is no discussion about the interiority of the pseudo-dodecahedron made of sixty tetrahedrons — aka  hexacontagon — with the the 48 tetrahedrons within and a tetrahedral icosahedron creating the centerpoint.

I believe some of these models will create a new science around symmetry-breaking, strings, and a supra-symmetry that begets a deeper understanding of the dynamics below the fermi.

3.  Since 1972, I have believed there was a more basic construct for who we are and why we are who we are.  All I could discuss were the generalities but these general constructs unto themselves were helpful, but now we might have an initial structure to take those generalities further.  There may be a TOE.  There may even be “TOES.”

The classical model being developed within string theory bored me.  Kaku and my friend, Patricio Letelier, were not open to any dialogue except within their own.

Now, before going further, let me ask, “Are these answers helpful?”  Shall I continue? Thanks, Rob.


13 April 2012

Hi Joe, Rob, and James,

I just may be digging myself in deeper and deeper and wake up one morning and find myself the laughing stock of the academic community.  Nevertheless, I have gone ahead with that conceptual framework referenced in our earlier emails. As a result of emails and Skype calls and a few face-to-face discussions,  I now find myself in conversations with the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Sciences of the Ukraine, and a host of other academics through this group of geometers with which I have a rather casual affiliation.

The latest iteration is here:

Of course, I welcome your comments, critical and otherwise.



First emails:  January 12, 2012

To: Rob, Joe, James
Sent: Thursday, January 12, 2012 4:42 PM
Subject:  On correcting mathematical errors

Thanks, Joe and Robert.  You are are sensational.   And as a matter of association, James, I am sure you are sensational as well.

Do you all remember that day I visited with Melinda at your home?

Now regarding your feedback, Robert, might  I be able to call you about it?  Your explanation (forwarded along by your Dad) is entirely engaging. You are a perfect mensch for looking more deeply and thoughtfully at that chart.  I thank you.

Actually I had caught some simple math errors that I attribute to late nights and two different starting points.  Though I have been slowly catching the simple ones, the summation issue calls to question the very starting point and the logic of the whole enterprise.  I relish the idea of looking at that logic more carefully (read: intelligently).

If we assume that space and time are derivative (not an absolute frame of reference as in Newton’s physics and Kant’s a priori conditions) and the fundamental starting points (as the not-so-great-a-scholar Bruce Camber holds) are order/symmetry/harmony (outlined here —,  at a point in either progression we may not be talking about a spatial measurement at all.  Of course, the construct begins spatially, but when we get to the blank lines, especially on the small scale, I believe something happens.  Those “measurements”  from 50 to 118 on the small scale may only be mathematical constructs that take us toward non-locality and Planck’s mathematical construct on the edge.

Instead of summation, we may be looking at the nature of transformations.

And now, I’ll be the first to admit that I am just playing with words and constructs.  We only begin to know what it means when there is some agreement that is is in fact meaningful (from instantiations to hypostatizations vis-a-vis the Oxford don, Austin Farrer in his book, Finite & Infinite, circa 1942).

Now, at closer examination you might even find simple, simple math errors.  The first blush to create the chart went in both directions. We began with a tetrahedron with edges that measured 2.5 inches.  Then, a few days later I realized that it should start with a standard unit of measurement such as the meter. Or, perhaps it should start with the Planck Length!  At that point, the simple required attenuation that late nights or early mornings did not provide.

Now, I’m going to consult with one of my mentors about the issues around summation. I feel entirely privileged to have your thoughtful engagement.

Also, it is quite interesting to know that you are following Kaku and Dawkins.  Long ago in 1970, I was part of a think tank called Synectics.  WJJ Gordon was our group leader and we were engaged by businesses from around the world.  At that time I began questioning the essential nature of locality and non-locality as “understood” by quantum mechanics. There were enough scientific anomalies to suggest  that there were perfected states in space-time.  I didn’t know what it meant or how to exegete the statement.  I became involved with a lecture series at Boston University that involved the best physicists from the city (MIT, Harvard, Tufts, BC, etc).  My string theory friends introduced me to Kaku.  And when I got too close to this perfection issue, they reminded me of Dawkins work.  So, it has been a long trek for this simple mind.

It is a periodic activity yet certainly part of a life’s work.

This week I am in meetings to take our legacy — 14 years of weekly television productions — and hand them off to people who are currently using them. That group, USASBE  — US Association for Small Business & Entrepreneurs,  is a group out of the faculty from all the business schools in the country.


First email:  10 January 2012

RE:  You’re a smart person, would you advise me where I am going wrong in this thinking?

Hi Joe,

Out there in South Dakota on a dark night when you can see the Milky Way and attempt to envision the entire universe, it is easy to  feel that it is not easy. Though not relevant for most people, I think having the entire universe mathematically related on one chart seems to me to be a bit enchanting and possibly quite helpful.

In preparation for a class that I taught on December 19,  I worked on scientific notation, using base 2, orders or magnitude from 1 meter dividing in half until I reach the smallest at Planck’s length.  Then I multiply by two until we reach the largest, at the edge of the observable universe.  I expected thousands of steps in either direction.  118 going smaller and 91 going larger.  What?  How?   I reduced it a chart, printed it up and called it a Big Board for our Little Universe.

It started with Plato’s five basic solids and thoughts about “the interiority of basic structure.”  Nobody has given it much thought, so somebody has to… at least that’s my rationality.   It appears that it has not been done.

A working model for the universe should have some merit…

Do you know if it has been done?

I based it all on these first principles:
The Big Board introduction to it is here:
And the working model for that big board is here:

I’ll provide a little longer background story below.
Your comments?  …questions?



A more detailed background story:   I was invited to substitute for a high school geometry class for the purpose of further introducing the students to Plato’s five most basic solids.  It was my second time with these kids.This time it would be the day just prior to their Christmas break. The first time in March 2011, I actually had them build the objects in class and then divided the edges and see the first group of objects inside.

They had fun and I learned a little.

In September  I was asked if I could substitute again on December 19.  It was easy to say, “Of course”  but December came quickly.  As it approached, I found myself thinking about the nested objects inside each tetrahedron and octahedron and wondered, “What’s the limit? How deep does it go? What is the ordering principle? Is it related to Zeno and his wonderful little paradox?”

These were all cursory questions for Sunday afternoons.

A week and a day before that class, Sunday afternoon, I thought, “How many steps would there be going within all the way to Planck’s length, the smallest possible measurement in physical space-time”  My guess was “somewhere around 1000.”  The answer is “just 118.”  I was shocked and rhetorically asked,  “Where have you been?  What’s wrong with my education that I hadn’t learned something so simple?”

Then, using base 2 (versus base 10), it seemed logical to ask the question going out.  Instead of dividing by 2, multiply by  2. How many steps does it take to get to the edge of the observable universe?  I thought, “That’ll be a big number.”

No. Not quite. A quick search put that out in the range of 10-to-the 27 meters.    “Impossible!”  I had  figured thousands of steps and found out it is only 91 steps.

“What? 118 steps in one direction and 91 in the other.  The whole universe in 209 steps. Something is wrong with this logic. What’s the mistake?”  I looked under scientific notation and orders of magnitude and could not find this work on the web.  I was sure that somebody had done it.

Well, who? And, is it significant? Does it help to create an ordering template for the entire universe? I don’t know. I only know that it nurtures me.

The kids on December 19 seemed to find it of interest.  Do you find it interesting?  -BEC