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 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

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

Max Tegmark

Lee Billings and Howard Wiseman

Vitaly and Giulio

Meia Chita-Tegmark

Meia and Max

Panel on quantum experiments with Matthew Fisher, Keith Schwab, Seth Lloyd, Andrew Briggs and Raj Patel

Max Tegmark and James Hartle at the mike

Long line at the mike: Page, Lloyd, Davies, Tegmark, et al

Seth Lloyd on free will

Charles Bennett and James Hartle

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

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

Carlo, Bill and Susanne Still

Carlo, Charles, Sean Carroll, Sean Gryb and Susanne

I changed my topic.

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.

Young scientists

Larissa on consciousness and integrated information

With fellow speed daters Carlo, Charles, Sean, Sean, and Susanne

Susanne offers a motto for the conference.

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

Mountaintop discussion group on how observers constrain physics (in one of its more disciplined moments) with Michele Arc, Adrian, Gregor Weihs, Raj Patel, and Emily Adlam

Banff from above

Facebook on the mountaintop with Michele and Raj

Finally an answer to those difficult indexical explanatory questions

Adrian Kent

Gregor Weihs

Emily Adlam and XX

Gregor, Raj, Emily and Michele

Raj Patel


The consciousness discussion group worked hard: Claudia, Henry Lin, Donald Hoffman, Elvia and Federico

Claudia and Federico

Greg Kestin and Emily Adlam

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


Jenann Ismael on why physics should care about experience but not about the hard problem

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

Panel decides what exists: Jenann Ismael, Raphael Bousso, Carlo Rovelli, Andreas Albrecht, Laura Mersini-Houghton and Don Page

Stephon Alexander's eulogy

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

Giulio on IIT

Max on language data

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

View from the consciousness panel: Giulio, Masafumi, Larissa and Federico

Jeff and Jayne Tollaksen

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

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

Sean Carroll and Alan Guth debate the stable quantum state.

Raphael Bousso and Vitaly Vanchurin debate.

Debate on observers and the wave function with XX and David Wallace

Reverse debate on consciousness with Carlo Rovelli (I'm against it)

Joscha Bach's consciousness survey results

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

George's wrap-up with final thoughts

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