Robert Lawrence Kuhn is the creator, writer and host of "Closer To Truth," a public and multimedia program featuring the world's leading thinkers exploring humanity's deepest questions regarding the cosmos, consciousness and a search for meaning. Kuhn is co-editor (with John Leslie) of The Mystery of Existence: Why Is There Anything At All? Kuhn contributed this article, based on two recent "Closer To Truth" episodes (produced/directed by Peter Getzels), to Space.com's Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.
What are the basic building blocks of the cosmos? Atoms, particles, mass energy? Quantum mechanics, forces, fields? Space and time — space-time? Tiny strings with many dimensions?
A new candidate is "information," which some scientists claim is the foundation of reality. The late distinguished physicist John Archibald Wheeler characterized the idea as "It from bit" — "it" referring to all the stuff of the universe and "bit" meaning information.
But here's how physicist Paul Davies, director of BEYOND: The Center for Fundamental Concepts in Science at Arizona State University, frames the question: "Historically, matter has been at the bottom of the explanatory chain, and information has been a sort of secondary derivative of it," Davies said. Now, he added, "there's increasing interest among at least a small group of physicists to turn this upside down and say, maybe at rock bottom, the universe is about information and information processing, and it's matter that emerges as a secondary concept."
(excerpt from the web: space.com)