The Physics of the Possible and the Impossible

The Physics of the Possible and the Impossible: Constructor Theory

Chiara Marletto

Is information fundamental to reality? Did the universe emerge from a bundle of bits? Oxford constructor theorist Chiara Marletto outlines the new theory which seeks to explain life, the universe and everything in it.

  • Chiara Marletto 1080 VC 1720x969
    Chiara Marletto

    Quantum computation researcher at the University of Oxford


About the Course

What are the laws of physics that make life possible? How do we account for knowledge or design intelligence? According to proponents of Contructor Theory, there is a huge flaw in how physics approaches essential questions: information, they say, is missing in the modern conception of science, but it is essential to a proper understanding of our universe and the laws of nature.

In this course, pioneering physicist Dr. Chiara Marletto takes a fresh look at how the prevailing conception of how science approaches problems and demonstrates her radical new approach that may just provide the answers to life, the universe, and everything.

In this course, you will learn:

  • The problem with how physics aims to solve probems in terms of original states and likely outcomes.
  • The benefits of understanding physics in terms of the possible and the impossible.
  • How these counterfactual statements are key physical properties.
  • How the appearance of design in our universe can be properly explained.
  • Why evolution requires certain restrictions to be placed on the laws of physics.
  • That digital information is the key to life on earth.
  • That we need information needs to be a part of the laws of physics.
  • Why knowledge creating systems mean that anything physically possible can be achived.


About the Instructor

  • Chiara Marletto

    Chiara Marletto is a theoretical physicist at Wolfson College, Oxford. As a Junior Research Fellow at the Oxford University Materials Department, she worked with pioneering physicist David Deutsch on the Construtor Theory of Information - the theory that all fundamental laws of nature are expressible as statements of possibility, and explaining how quantum information and classical information are related.


    In particular, Dr. Marletto’s work looks at how features essential to living systems, such as the ability to self-reproduce and evolve, are consistent with quantum physics, formulating ‘The Constructor Theory of Life’.

Course Syllabus

  • Part One: The Limits of Possibility
    Is information fundamental to reality? How do bits, evolution and life fit with the laws of fundamental physics? Oxford constructor theorist Chiara Marletto outlines the theory which seeks radically to change our mode of explanation, bringing information,
  • Part Two: Reconstructing Reality
    How does abstract information take hold of the physical world? What is information revealing to us about physical reality? Are there different kinds of information?