: How to Rewrite the Laws of Physics in the Language of Impossibility
by Philipp Ammon for Quanta Magazine
Chiara Marletto is trying to build a master theory — a set of ideas so fundamental that all other theories would spring from it. Her first step: Invoke the impossible.
Constructor theory grew out of work in quantum information theory. It aims to be broad enough to cover areas that can’t be described in the traditional ways of thinking, such as the physics of life and the physics of information.
They say that in art, constraints lead to creativity. The same seems to be true of the universe. By placing limits on nature, the laws of physics squeeze out reality’s most fantastical creations.
Limit light’s speed, and suddenly space can shrink, time can slow. Limit the ability to divide energy into infinitely small units, and the full weirdness of quantum mechanics blossoms. “Declaring something impossible leads to more things being possible,” writes the physicist Chiara Marletto. “Bizarre as it may seem, it is commonplace in quantum physics.”...