Fisher Information, a New Paradigm of Science [1a-c] : Introduction, Wave Equations, the Cooperative Universe and Related Views of Kant, Plato and Wheeler
B. Roy Frieden, Ph. D., Professor Emeritus
Optical Sciences Center, Univ. of Arizona
To facilitate downloading, this essay is divided into 9 Sections, each of which may be separately downloaded, as listed next. There is also important background material in the Introduction immediately following this listing of Sections.
Over the past 15 or so years, it has become increasingly clear that the fundamental laws of science are expressions of the concept of information. This includes laws governing the small (at subatomic scales), the large (astronomical scales), and everything in between. In between are chemistry, biology and even higher-level effects involving willful human activity, such as economics and sociocultural organization. These laws all derive from a principle of information optimization called extreme physical information, or EPI.
The book "Science from Fisher Information" is the main reference for the approach (see reference [1b] in list at end). The publisher's website is http://books.cambridge.org/0521009111.htm Also see the most recent version [1c] "Exploratory Data Analysis Using Fisher Information," eds. B.R. Frieden and R.A. Gatenby (Springer-Verlag, 2007).
The purpose of this website is to present the ideas behind the Fisher approach. Very little math is used. I invite your reactions to it, via my email address above. See also the book review "An Unexpected Union - Physics and Fisher Information," at http://www.siam.org/news/news.php?issue=0033.06
This site morphs on almost a daily basis. For your convenience, the easiest way to return to it is to enter "Fisher information, Kant, Frieden" on the Google search engine. This site is near the top of the list.
The words in yellow highlights are meant to point out the main ideas of the EPI approach. In a first reading, they can be used as a stand-alone synopsis.
Some preliminary items are first addressed.
The information approach was initially used to derive known physics (see refereed books and papers in "References" section below). This was mainly for purposes of verifying the approach. However, it also served to unify various fields of physics, thereby arousing interest.
Of course it is vastly easier to re-derive known effects than to predict new ones. Hence, some people rightly questioned whether the information approach was capable of operating predictively. Not all new approaches can be so used. But in fact, that is exactly how the information approach is currently being used. New physics and, more generally, new science, are being formed in this way. (See Recent Papers listed at end, and the book "Exploratory Data Analysis Using Fisher Information" (2007) mentioned at the outset.)
Unfortunately, there is a downside to information, and that is misinformation. Along with all the valid information that the internet provides, it also contains much misleading information, false information, and outright hype. And this is as true in the fields of science and science criticism as in any other. Certainly many so-called "discussion groups" and special "book review" websites are good examples of the blind leading the blind. (One such reviewer baldly states that he wrote half a dozen reviews every few weeks! That's about one book every four days, and these are physics texts - not exactly light reading. How much attention should be paid to the views of such "four-day wonders"?) When it comes to the internet, the adage caveat emptor is more valid than ever. By the way, virtually all the ideas reported on in this essay have been reviewed by reputable journals of science, including the Physical Review and the Journal of Theoretical Biology.
This is not to say that minor errors cannot creep in anyhow. The 1st edition of the book [1a] inevitably does contain a few. Fortunately, these were easily corrected, and also are minor enough to have not compromised either the goals of the book or its implementation. The 2nd edition [1b] incorporates these corrections. It also allowed a broader scope of problems to be addressed: elementary particle theory, statistical mechanics, thermodynamics, econophysics, population genetics, and cancer growth. (See Recent Papers at end of essay). The latter three fields are usually regarded as exterior to physics, hence the name change of the book to "Science from Fisher Information." That is, most generally, science follows from the use of Fisher information. Further applications are in ref. [1c] (2007).
Keywords to search on
For the reader's convenience we list key words and phrases which may be located using your Edit/Find key:
ability to know, Abduction, action, autopoietic process, Bayes, black hole, Black-Scholes, Cabibbo angle, cancer growth, carriers of information, channel capacity, coarse grained, complexity, cooperative universe, Cooper pair, creative observation, Deduction, Descartes, dialectic, dimensionality, disorder, dynamics of human groups, entanglement, EPI, epistemic, Escher, Fibonacci, Fisher, Hegel, Heisenberg, Higgs mass, Induction, information demon, information efficiency, information length, invariance principle, Kant, knowledge game, man's role, measurement, noumenon, ontological model, order, participatory universe, Peirce, perturbation, phenomenon, physical information, Plato, pollution, population genetics, predictions, projection, reversing universal expansion, Schopenhauer, Second law, source information, Spinoza, string theory, sustainable technology, (3+1) dimensions, uncertainty principle, unitary space, Weinberg angle, Wheeler, Wick
Last updated 08/20/2012