Foundations of Physics

, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 1–10 | Cite as

Unification of the State with the Dynamical Law

  • Lee Smolin


We address the question of why particular laws were selected for the universe, by proposing a mechanism for laws to evolve. Normally in physical theories, timeless laws act on time-evolving states. We propose that this is an approximation, good on time scales shorter than cosmological scales, beyond which laws and states are merged into a single entity that evolves in time. Furthermore the approximate distinction between laws and states, when it does emerge, is dependent on the initial conditions. These ideas are illustrated in a simple matrix model.


Evolution of laws of physics Matrix models Evolving Laws 



This worked evolved from joint work with Roberto Mangabeira Unger [9, 10, 11, 12, 13] on the implications of the hypothesis that the laws of physics evolve, and I am very grateful to him for many suggestions and discussions as well as for critical comments on this manuscript. I am grateful also to Andrew Albrecht, Andrzej Banbursk, Sabine Hossenfelder and Matthew Johnson for perceptive comments on the manuscript. I am also grateful to FQXi and the Templeton Foundation for generous support of my research. Research at Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics is supported in part by the Government of Canada through NSERC and by the Province of Ontario through MRI.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Perimeter Institute for Theoretical PhysicsWaterlooCanada

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