Could quantum information be the key to understanding consciousness? Will the study of consciousness enable quantum information technology? The nature of consciousness and its place in the universe remain mysterious. Classical models view consciousness as computation among the brain's neurons but fail to address its enigmatic features. At the same time quantum processes (superposition of states, nonlocality, entanglement,) also remain mysterious, yet are being harnessed in revolutionary information technologies (quantum computation, quantum cryptography and quantum teleportation.)
A relation between consciousness and quantum effects has been pondered for nearly a century, and in the past decades quantum processes in the brain have been invoked as explanations for consciousness and its enigmatic features. Critics deride this comparison as a mere "minimization of mysteries" and quickly point out that the brain is too warm for quantum computation, which in the technological realm requires extreme cold to avoid "decoherence" (i.e. the loss of seemingly delicate quantum states by interaction with the environment.) However quantum computation would surely be advantageous from an evolutionary perspective, and biology has had 4 billion years to solve the decoherence problem and evolve quantum mechanisms. Furthermore, recent experimental evidence indicates quantum non-locality occurring in conscious and subconscious brain function, and functional quantum processes in molecular biology are becoming more and more apparent.
Much like study of the brain's synaptic connections promoted artificial neural networks in the 1980's, appreciation of biological quantum information processing may promote quantum information technology. Moreover, macroscopic quantum processes are being proposed as intrinsic features in cosmology, evolution and social interactions.
Following the first "Quantum Mind" conference held in Flagstaff at Northern Arizona University in 1999, "Quantum Mind 2003" will update current status and future directions, and provide dialog with skeptical criticism of the proposed synthesis of quantum information science and the brain.
Confirmed speakers include:
Sir Roger Penrose, Paul Benioff, Henry Stapp, Guenter Mahler, Mae Wan Ho, Paavo Pylkkanen, Harald Walach, Jiri Wackerman, Jack Tuszynski, Dick Bierman, Koichiro Matsuno, Stuart Hameroff, Nancy Woolf, Scott Hagan, Paola Zizzi, Alexander Wendt, Jeffrey Satinover, Roeland van Wijk, Guenter Albrecht-Buehler, Ken Augustyn, Sisir Roy, Menas Kafatos, Hartmann Roemer, E. Roy John, Gerald Pollack and Carlo Trugenberger.
Submitted abstracts will be considered for Plenary Talks, Short Talks or Posters. Deadline for abstract submission is December 1, 2002.
Quantum models of consciousness
Quantum information science
Decoherence, anti-decoherence and topological quantum error correction
Cosmology and consciousness
Protein, cytoskeletal and DNA dynamics
Time: physics and perception
Nonlocality and entanglement between macro-systems: experimental evidence
Quantum mind and social science
For further information including abstract submission, registration and lodging see our website.
Sponsored by Center for Consciousness Studies, The University of Arizona; The Fetzer Institute; The YeTaDeL Foundation; The Samueli Institute for Information Biology; School of Computational Science, George Mason University; Mind Science Foundation
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