From a conference of the Foundational Questions Institute (FQXi) on the physics of observers and events in Banff, August 17-22, 2016

Setting up for a pre-conference "closer to truth" shoot in a spectacular (if windy) location

Trying to be profound amidst the wind with Robert Lawrence Kuhn

Anthony Aguirre on the dirty secrets of cosmology

Matt Leifer on the dirty secrets of quantum foundations

Paul Davies on the dirty secrets of life

Vitaly Vanchurin and Giulio Tononi

Meia Chita-Tegmark and Max Tegmark

Max, XX

Rafting discussion group on whether the universe is a simulation with Vitaly Vanchurin, Giulio Tononi, Sumit Paul-Choudhury and Lee Billings


Lee Billings and Howard Wiseman

Max Tegmark and James Hartle

Panel on quantum experiments with Seth Lloyd, Andrew Briggs and XX

Federico and Elvia Faggin (and a senator from Massachusetts in the background)

Long line at the mike

Charles Bennett and James Hartle

Seth Lloyd on free will

Speed dating with science at the Banff public library with Larissa Albantakis, Sean Carroll, Carlo Rovelli and Bill Unruh

Carlo, Bill and Susanne Still

Carlo, Charles, Sean C., Sean Gryb and Susanne

Young scientists

Larissa on consciousness and integrated information

Explaining why you're living in a simulation

The kids tell me that if we had simulations with simulations the people would get smaller and smaller until they were eventually too small to exist.

I attempt to respond to the kids' challenge.

Speed daters Carlo, Charles, Sean C., XX, XX and Susanne

I changed my topic.

Panel on observers with Adrian Kent, Susanne, David Wallace, Alan Guth, Adam Brown and David Wolpert

Susanne offers a motto for the conference.

The consciousness discussion group worked hard throughout. Henry Lin, Donald Hoffman, Elvia and Federico

Finally an answer to those difficult indexical explanatory questions

Facebook on the mountaintop with Michele Arc and Raj Patel


Gregor Weihs


David Wallace, XX

Emily Adlam and XX

XX, Emily and Michele


Mountaintop discussion group on how observers constrain physics (in one of its more disciplined moments) with Michele, Adrian, XX and Emily

Susanne, David, Max, XX

Greg Kestin and Emily


Claudia and XX

Panel on how science can make an awesome future, with Melanie Swan, Bart Selman, XX and Max Tegmark

Another long line. Jenann Ismael, Max, Melanie Swan, Elise Crull and James Hartle.


Panel decides what exists. With Jenann, Raphael Bousso, Carlo, Andreas Albrecht, Laura Mersini-Houghton and Donald Page

Stephon Alexander's eulogy

Lunchtime discussion of phi collapsing the wavefunction with Bernard Carr, Giulio and Paul



Giulio, Masafumi Oizumi, Larissa and Federico

Jeff and Jayne Tollaksen

Consciousness panel with Giulio, Masafumi, Max, Larissa, Federico and George Musser

Alan and Bill debate the reality of the wave function (with obligatory bear hats).

Raphael and Vitaly debate.

Emily and Bianca Dittrich debate the priority of events and processes.

Debate on observers and the wave function with XX and David

Sean C. and Alan debate the stable quantum state.

Another consciousness survey (B and C tied for first; I voted for C)

George's wrap-up with final thoughts

Joscha Bach's consciousness survey results

Debate on consciousness with Carlo (I'm against it)

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