Conditions of participation 2023

The Kurt Gödel Circle of Friends Berlin with the support of the University of Wuppertal presents the

Kurt Gödel Award 2023

for the promotion and dissemination of Gödel’s work in the natural sciences and humanities:
This prize will again be awarded in an essay contest for the best answers to the following question:

Does incompleteness in Gödel’s sense play a role in the relationship between micro- and macrophysics, and if so, what consequences would that have?     

As an explanation:
The big question in physics for the last 100 years or so has been how Einstein’s theory of relativity and quantum physics should be compatible with one another. Since these approx. 100 years in most areas of physics one decouples a micro (quantum) physics for the sake of simplicity from macrophysics/cosmology, in order to spare oneself the difficulties of an understandable everyday translation and in order not to have to argue in questions of interpretation, which would bring again in each case very different everyday experience interpretations. Besides, models were proposed, according to which the world divides into many-worlds, a world of multiplied dimensions, quantum cosmology, string theory etc.. They are all problematic because they contradict or are incompatible with everyday experience and/or epistemological considerations.

A point of contact and focus between the two basic physical theories about the world is the question of the nature or essence of time. Gödel made a “radical” calculation in 1949, which he discussed in terms of philosophical consequences in 1956, and which has been suppressed or radically marginalized in physics. That is why we made Gödel’s argument that there is no time at all the subject of the third Gödel Award question. But also the question, which relevance Gödel’s incompleteness theorems could have for the relation between micro- and macrophysics, seems to us far from being fully discussed, especially since the philosophical discussion of solid-state physics has started only in the last two decades. Here we think of recent theoretical and experimental results on decoherence, on the question of how large quantum systems can be without collapsing into classical systems, and in general on the ability to distinguish between micro- and macrosystems, or on the inability to decide on the criteria for drawing a boundary between quantum systems and classical systems. In this context, we find interesting, for example, the 2015 paper on the inability to decide on the spectral-gap problem published in Nature by Prof. Michael Wolf together with Toby S. Cubitt and David Perez-Garcia (Cubitt et al.*).

* in addition Cubitt:

1st prize: 10,000 €
as well as five further prizes for particularly good contributions
from the shortlist with 1,000 € each.

Conditions of participation:

  1. By participating in the competition, participants accept the following terms and conditions.
  2. The essay must have a minimum 4000 characters (incl. spaces)
  3. The entries for the contest are to be sent only as an email to:
  4. Contributions can only be written in German or English.
  5. The deadline for entries is 31st of January 2023 at midnight.
  6. All submissions will be submitted to the jury anonymously. The names of the authors will not be communicated to the jury until after the final decision has been taken.
  7. The jury of the Kurt Gödel Award will make a pre-selection among the entries by excluding the contributions that a 2/3 majority of the jury deems less interesting (shortlist).
  8. This pre-selection will be published (until the award ceremony without the authors names) on the Kurt Gödel Circle of Friends website.
  9. Subsequently, the jury will have a discussion to decide on the 6 winners. The shortlist contributions which are finally not awarded, will no longer be published by the Kurt Gödel Circle of Friends after the award ceremony.
  10. The winners will be notified in writing at the latest on the 30th of April 2023.
  11. If a printed publication of the essay is to be realized after the end of the competition, authors who have submitted their essay in German and wish to be involved in the printed publication must have prepared an English translation by the 11th of June 2023 and subsequently submitted it to us.
  12. By submitting an essay, the authors or the author collectives agree that the Kurt Gödel Circle of Friends may store their personal data and use it as part of the competition. All participants must provide their name, date of birth, current address, email address, telephone number and, where applicable, the institutional affiliation when submitting their contribution. At the end of the competition, we will delete all personal data of those participants who did not receive a prize for their contribution.
  13. Please send your personal information in a separate file. The text document must not contain any references to the author. Your personal data will not be shared with third parties without your express consent and will only be used for the purpose of the competition.
  14. Every author of a contribution agrees to waive all claims to the copyright of the submitted contribution when published on the internet by the Kurt Gödel Circle of Friends as editor on its websites. All other copyrights will remain with the authors.
  15. The names of the winners may subsequently be published by the Kurt Gödel Circle of Friends in all forms and in all media. The Kurt Gödel Circle of Friends is permitted to publish photos of the winners created in connection with the award ceremony or submitted by the authors.
  16. The jury is granted the right, in the case of entries of equal quality, to divide the 1st prize equally among the authors of the essays of equal quality,
  17. The decisions of the jury of the Kurt Gödel Award are final. Legal recourse is excluded. [The jury members are determined by the Kurt Gödel Circle of Friends]
  18. The members of the jury may not themselves participate in this competition.
  19. All submitted essays must be previously unpublished and written independently by the author or author collective. No sources other than those quoted may be used. All quotes and cited texts must be marked as such.
  20. A breach of these terms and conditions of participation leads to exclusion from the competition.

Kurt Gödel Freundeskreis, c/o Hans Schwarzlow, Arenholzsteig 3, 12103 Berlin,
For requests by the press about the award, please contact
Hans Schwarzlow: schwarzlow[ät] or Oliver Passon: passon[ät]