Physics of Information
Nowadays physics and information theory are two different fields of science with no connection between them. (*) (**)
If instead we could really understand natural information processing systems, like living beings in general, or in particular the brain, we might learn a lot: we might understand, what “thinking” is, or “consciousness”, and what is “evolution”? Where the information in the Universe comes from, can the information in the Universe be created by the Universe itself?
Of course, nobody will pay us for understanding where the information in the Universe comes from. But there are practical aspects, too:
Nowadays computers can communicate with other computers or with educated operators. But they are surprisingly weak, when it comes to understanding messages from the physical world, like language or images. A physics theory of information would allow computers to process also “natural” messages, like video pictures. That would be a mega business.
The first step towards a physics of information must be, to identify the mathematical properties of its objects, and to connect those to the physical experience.
(*) it seems, that information theory contains at least one physics variable, the “entropy”. In information theory the entropy of a message is the amount of information transmitted by the message. Unfortunately, the entropy of information theory has nothing to do with the thermodynamic entropy of physics – the information of a newspaper does not change with temperature, its entropy does.
(**) In 1929 Szilard did the first steps towards a physics theory of information. We try to continue his work.