Sir Roger Penrose & Dr. Stuart Hameroff: CONSCIOUSNESS AND THE PHYSICS OF THE BRAIN
- Published on: 12 May 2020
- January 10, 2020
Roth Auditorium - Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine
La Jolla, CA
An intimate lecture with renowned mathematical physicist Sir Roger Penrose and anesthesiologist Dr. Stuart Hameroff, followed by a conversation with The Science Network co-founder Roger Bingham. Co-organized by The Penrose Institute and the UC San Diego Institute for Neural Computation, with the support of Intheon, Neocortex Ventures, and the Data Science Alliance.
Sir Roger Penrose and Dr. Stuart Hameroff discuss one of the leading theories of consciousness recently selected by the Templeton Foundation for study.
Is the brain a sophisticated computer or an intuitive thinking device? Following on from their conference in Tucson which pitted Integrated Information Theory (IIT) against Orchestrated Objective Reduction (Orch-OR), Sir Roger Penrose OM and Stuart Hameroff discuss the current state of theories that might explain human consciousness.
Sir Roger Penrose describe examples of ‘non-computability’ in human consciousness, thoughts and actions such as the way we evaluate particular chess positions which cast doubt on ‘Turing’ computation as a complete explanation of brain function. As a source of non-computability, Roger discuss his ‘objective reduction’ (‘OR’) self-collapse of the quantum wavefunction which is a potential resolution for the ‘measurement problem’ in quantum mechanics, and a mechanism for non-computable physics.
Dr. Stuart Hameroff reviews neuronal and biophysical aspects of Orch OR, in which ‘orchestrated’ quantum vibrations occur among entangled brain microtubules and evolve toward Orch OR threshold and consciousness. The nature, feasibility, decoherence times and evidence for quantum vibrations in microtubules, their role and correlation with consciousness, effects upon them of anesthetic gases and psychedelic drug molecules will be discussed, along with Orch OR criticisms and predictions of microtubule quantum vibrations as therapeutic targets for mental and cognitive disorders.
Biography: Sir Roger Penrose OM FRS, Emeritus Professor at the Mathematical Institute of the University of Oxford, Emeritus Fellow at Wadham College, and winner of the Wolf Prize in Physics, has made profound contributions across a broad range of scientific disciplines. His work encompasses geometry, black hole singularities, the unification of quantum mechanics and gravity, the structure of space-time, and the origin of our Universe. His geometric creations inspired the works of Escher, and the Penrose steps have been featured in several movies. His tilings adorn many public buildings, including the Oxford Mathematics Institute, and will soon decorate the San Francisco Transbay Terminal. The five-fold symmetry, initially thought impossible or a mathematical curiosity, has now been found in nature. In 1989 Penrose wrote The Emperor’s New Mind which challenged the premise that consciousness is computation and proposes we need new physics to understand it.
Biography: Stuart Hameroff MD is an anesthesiologist at the University of Arizona in Tucson. In the mid 1990s Hameroff teamed with famed British physicist Sir Roger Penrose to develop a quantum theory of consciousness (‘orchestrated objective reduction’, ‘Orch OR’) based on microtubule quantum computing. Highly controversial and harshly criticized, Orch OR is now supported by evidence, e.g. that anesthetics act in quantum channels in microtubules, and that microtubules have multi-scalar resonances, e.g. in megahertz. He and anesthesiology colleagues performed and published the first clinical trial of transcranial ultrasound (‘TUS’) on mental states in human volunteers, showing mood enhancement from brief, low intensity TUS. Beginning in 1994 Hameroff was the lead in starting an interdisciplinary, international conference series ‘Toward a Science of Consciousness’ held in even-numbered years in Tucson, and odd-numbered years elsewhere around the world. Hameroff has written or edited 5 books, over a hundred scientific articles and book chapters, lectured around the world, and appeared in the film ‘WhattheBleep?’ and numerous TV shows about consciousness on BBC, PBS, Discovery, OWN and History Channel.
Biography: Roger Bingham is the Cofounder and Director of The Science Network (http://thesciencenetwork.org/) and a member of the Computational Neurobiology Laboratory at the Salk Institute and the Institute for Neural Computation, UC San Diego. He is the co-author of The Origin of Minds: Evolution, Uniqueness, and the New Science of the Self, and the creator and host of Emmy award-winning PBS science programs on evolutionary psychology and cognitive neuroscience, including the critically acclaimed series The Human Quest. He is the Founding Director of the Collaboratory, a Center within INC, which is developing a Science In Society program of public and student engagement to explore and bridge the chasm between the creators and consumers of science and technology.
- Runtime : 1:52:48
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