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A Quantum Physicist Ponders Consciousness

The 1999 International Conference on Science and Consciousness held recently in Albuquerque, N.M., might be described in many ways, but "a droning bore" is not one of them. Physicists and psychologists, physicians and philosophers, astronauts and astronomers, even the odd biophysicist and evolutionary biologist, were among the more than 50 speakers who tackled the formidable challenge of linking objective and subjective reality. Although some of the talks were long on vibes and rather short on

Steve Bunk

The 1999 International Conference on Science and Consciousness held recently in Albuquerque, N.M., might be described in many ways, but "a droning bore" is not one of them. Physicists and psychologists, physicians and philosophers, astronauts and astronomers, even the odd biophysicist and evolutionary biologist, were among the more than 50 speakers who tackled the formidable challenge of linking objective and subjective reality. Although some of the talks were long on vibes and rather short on ideas, others were thought-provoking. One of the latter such presentations was by University of Oregon physics professor Amit Goswami, author of several books including the college textbook Quantum Mechanics (McGraw-Hill, 2nd ed., 1997). Following is a summation of Goswami's lucid primer on theories concerning the use of quantum physics in exploring the nature of consciousness.

Quantum mechanics has given three gifts to the integration of science and consciousness:

  1. Discontinuity. Some movement cannot be measured...

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