Quantum Processes, Your Brain, and Consciousness: Does one Explain the Other?

Can science explain the mystery of consciousness?

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+  After The Emperor’s New Mind was published, Penrose received a letter from Stuart Hameroff, professor of anaesthesiology at the University of Arizona, who also had a long interest in understanding consciousness. In the letter, Hameroff described tiny structures in the brain called microtubules, which he believed were capable of generating consciousness by tapping into the quantum world.

The big difficulty with trying to measure quantum processes in the brain, Penrose points out, is that such effects are destroyed when they are observed or brought into contact with the outside world. “It is going to be very hard to have direct access to consciousness, as to observe it, currently, would be to destroy it.”

+  Hameroff, who has worked as an anaesthesiologist for 45 years, believes anaesthesia may work through specifically targeting consciousness through its action on the neural microtubules. After writing the letter, he met Penrose in 1992, and over the next two years they developed radical ideas about consciousness which ran counter to the thinking of most neuroscientists, and still do.

+  Penrose and Hameroff believe that the human brain works more like a quantum computer than any classical computers. This is because future quantum computers will be designed to harness the ability of quantum particles to exist in multiple locations, states and positions – all at once. These quantum effects arise in the microtubules, they suggest, which then act as the brain’s link to the quantum world.

Source:  The Irish Times.  Seán Duke,  Can science explain the mystery of consciousness?

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