Dear FISers, 

information is a measurable physical quantity.  

Indeed, it has been claimed that the physical world is made up of information 
itself (Bekenstein 2003), so that our Universe is assessable in pure terms of 
information. The idea that information is the fundamental physical quantity 
dates back to F.W. Kantor (1977).  

In our Universe, information cannot be created or destroyed. The conservation 
of information is derived from quantum field theory, via the quantum Liouville 
theorem (Zeidler 2011).

Therefore, information is here, in the Universe, and its total amount never 
changes (exactly like the amount if energy/matter).  It is like a huge Big Data 
that awaits to be extracted by something or somebody.  Indeed, chunks of such 
information can be extracted, and not just by the human mind, as somebody 
mistakenly says.

To make an example:  it's summer.  My body perceives, through its receptors, 
that it's very hot, and, in order to compensate, I start to sweat.  In this 
case, my body (without the need of my mind!) extracts a termic information from 
its surrounding environment and provides a physiological homeostatic response.  

That's all, folks.  Forget the anthropocentric importance that you give to your 
mind: it's just one of the countless tools able to extract part of the 
available cosmic information.  


Here follows the mathematical description of what I said above. 

In thermodynamics, information I can be defined as the negation of 
thermodynamic entropy S (Beck, 2009):

I = -S

Therefore, a bit of thermodynamic entropy stands for the distinction between 
two alternative states in a physical system.

The total entropy embedded inside a system can be quantified through the 
Bekenstein bound. The Bekenstein bound is an upper limit on the thermodynamic 
entropy S (or the information I, according to Shannon (1948)) endowed in a 
space region equipped with a given amount of energy. In other words, the 
Bekenstein bound stands for the maximum quantity of information required to 
describe a physical system down to the quantum level. The universal form of the 
bound can be described as follows (Bekenstein 1973; Bekenstein 1974):

Ssys = ζ

Where Ssys is the cosmic thermodynamic entropy detectable by the observer, A is 
the area of the system, E is the Energy including matter (the total mass-energy 
of the Universe consists of about 1069 Joule), ħ is the reduced Planck 
constant, c is the speed of light, k is the Boltzmann constant, ζ is a factor 
such that 0< ζ<1.

Setting ζ to one in case of the total Ssys, we are allowed to quantify the 
thermodynamic information, by partitioning the factor into a relative 
information component (ζI = 1- ζS) and a relative entropy (ζS = 1- ζI) (Street 

Isys = ζI = (1- ζS)

In case of loss of information from a system, the bits available for the 
observer decrease. This means that information exits from the system, according 
to the formula:

ΔIsys = = Δ ζS

Where T is the temperature. 

> Il 25 aprile 2018 alle 3.47 "Burgin, Mark" <> ha scritto:
>     Dear Colleagues,
>     I would like to suggest the new topic for discussion
>                                           Is information physical?
>     My opinion is presented below:
>        Why some people erroneously think that information is physical
>        The main reason to think that information is physical is the strong 
> belief of many people, especially, scientists that there is only physical 
> reality, which is studied by science. At the same time, people encounter 
> something that they call information.
>        When people receive a letter, they comprehend that it is information 
> because with the letter they receive information. The letter is physical, 
> i.e., a physical object. As a result, people start thinking that information 
> is physical. When people receive an e-mail, they comprehend that it is 
> information because with the e-mail they receive information. The e-mail 
> comes to the computer in the form of electromagnetic waves, which are 
> physical. As a result, people start thinking even more that information is 
> physical.
>        However, letters, electromagnetic waves and actually all physical 
> objects are only carriers or containers of information.
>        To understand this better, let us consider a textbook. Is possible to 
> say that this book is knowledge? Any reasonable person will tell that the 
> textbook contains knowledge but is not knowledge itself. In the same way, the 
> textbook contains information but is not information itself. The same is true 
> for letters, e-mails, electromagnetic waves and other physical objects 
> because all of them only contain information but are not information. For 
> instance, as we know, different letters can contain the same information. 
> Even if we make an identical copy of a letter or any other text, then the 
> letter and its copy will be different physical objects (physical things) but 
> they will contain the same information.
>        Information belongs to a different (non-physical) world of knowledge, 
> data and similar essences. In spite of this, information can act on physical 
> objects (physical bodies) and this action also misleads people who think that 
> information is physical.
>        One more misleading property of information is that people can measure 
> it. This brings an erroneous assumption that it is possible to measure only 
> physical essences. Naturally, this brings people to the erroneous conclusion 
> that information is physical. However, measuring information is essentially 
> different than measuring physical quantities, i.e., weight. There are no 
> “scales” that measure information. Only human intellect can do this.
>        It is possible to find more explanations that information is not 
> physical in the general theory of information.
>     Sincerely,
>     Mark Burgin
>     On 4/24/2018 10:46 AM, Pedro C. Marijuan wrote:
>         > > Dear FIS Colleagues,
> > 
> >         A very interesting discussion theme has been proposed by Mark 
> > Burgin --he will post at his early convenience.
> >         Thanks are due to Alberto for his "dataism" piece. Quite probably 
> > we will need to revisit that theme, as it is gaining increasing momentum in 
> > present "information societies", in science as well as in everyday life...
> >         Thanks also to Sung for his interesting viewpoint and references.
> > 
> >         Best wishes to all,
> >         --Pedro
> > 
> > 
> >          
> >         -------------------------------------------------
> >         Pedro C. Marijuán
> >         Grupo de Bioinformación / Bioinformation Group
> >
> >
> >         ------------------------------------------------- 
> > 
> >          
> >
> > 
> >         Libre de virus. 
> >
> > 
> > 
> > 
> >         _______________________________________________
> >         Fis mailing list
> >
> >
> > 
> >     > 

> _______________________________________________
>     Fis mailing list

Arturo Tozzi

AA Professor Physics, University North Texas

Pediatrician ASL Na2Nord, Italy

Comput Intell Lab, University Manitoba 
Fis mailing list

Reply via email to