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Since long time, researchers have suspected that information is connected to the physical universe. Many paradoxes and thought experiments were used to investigate how or why this information might be encoded in matter. This field of research was accelerated by the digital age, which suggests that these questions can be applied across many branches of computing and physics.
In AIP Advances, a University of Portsmouth researcher attempts to shed light on exactly how much of this information is out there and presents a numerical estimate for the amount of encoded information in all the visible matter in the universeapproximately 6 times 10 to the power of 80 bits of information. Although this is not the first such estimate, it does use information theory.
Melvin M. Vopson, author of "The Information Capacity of the Universe" said that it has been a subject of discussion for more than half a century. Although there have been many attempts to estimate the information contents of the universe, this paper presents a unique approach that also postulates how much information can be compressed into one elementary particle.
Shannon's information theory was used by the author to calculate the amount of information encoded within each elementary particle of the observable universe. This is 1.509 bits. This method of quantifying information was created by Claude Shannon (mathematician, known as the Father of the Digital Age) in 1948.
Vopson stated that this is the first time such an approach has been used to measure the information content in the universe. He also said that it offers a clear numerical prediction. The numerical prediction is a promising avenue for experimental testing, even though it may not be 100% accurate.
Recent research has shed light on how information and physics interact. For example, how information escapes from a black hole. Although it is not clear what information means physically, there are many radical theories that claim information can be measured.
Vopson had previously proposed that information was a fifth form of matter, along with solid, liquid and gas. This elusive dark matter could also be information. Vopson's study also involved the derivation of an equation that accurately reproduces the well-known Eddington Number, which is the total number protons in the observed universe.
Although this study did not consider antiparticles or neutrinos, and it made assumptions about information storage and transfer, it provides a unique tool to estimate the information content of elementary particles. These predictions can be tested and refined through practical experiments, as well as research to disprove or prove the hypothesis that information constitutes the fifth state in matter.
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More information: "Estimation of the information contained in the visible matter of the universe" AIP Advances, aip.scitation.org/doi/full/10.1063/5.0064475 Journal information: AIP Advances "Estimation of the information contained in the visible matter of the universe"