Collapsing a number one concept for the quantum origin of consciousness

Home Latest Posts Collapsing a number one concept for the quantum origin of consciousness
Collapsing a number one concept for the quantum origin of consciousness
Collapsing a number one concept for the quantum origin of consciousness

The collapse of a groundbreaking theory of the quantum origin of consciousness

Gran Sasso laboratory with low radioactivity. Credit score: Massimiliano de Dio, LNGS-INFN

The origin of consciousness is among the best mysteries of science. One proposed answer, first proposed by Nobel laureate and Oxford mathematician Roger Penrose and anesthesiologist Stuart Hammeroff at Arizona State College in Tucson, attributes consciousness to quantum computations within the mind. This, in flip, hinges on the concept that gravity might play a job in how quantum results disappear, or “collapse.” However a sequence of experiments in a laboratory deep below the Gran Sasso mountains in Italy failed to search out proof to help the gravity-related quantum collapse mannequin, undermining the viability of this clarification of consciousness. The consequence was reported within the journal Physics Life Evaluations.


“How consciousness arises in the brain is a huge mystery,” says Catalina Corchino, a member of the Middle for Physics Analysis, Institute for Foundational Questions, FQXi, and lead physicist on experiments at INFN in Frascati, Italy. “There are many competing ideas, but few can be tested empirically.”

Quantum physics famously tells us that cats could be alive and lifeless on the similar time, at the least in concept. Nonetheless, in observe, we by no means see cats caught in such an unlucky state of limbo. One frequent clarification for why this is not is that the system’s “wave function” – its quantum character that permits it to be in two contradictory states concurrently – is extra more likely to “crumble” or be destroyed if it had been extra huge, leaving it in a single particular state. State, both lifeless or Alive, for instance, however not each on the similar time. This collapse mannequin, associated to gravity performing on heavy objects similar to cats, was invoked by Penrose and Hammeroff when growing their mannequin of consciousness, ‘Orch OR’ (Concept of Coordinated Goal Discount), within the Nineteen Nineties.

Quantum computations within the mind

Curceanu first grew to become concerned with Orch OR concept when she met Penrose, additionally a member of FQXi, at a convention just a few years in the past. Consciousness shouldn’t be often related to quantum properties as a result of quantum results are fragile and troublesome to take care of even below extremely managed situations and low laboratory temperatures. So it has lengthy been assumed that the mind’s heat, humid atmosphere could be too harmful to permit quantum results to persist. However Penrose defined that he and Hammeroff recognized tiny buildings known as microtubules inside neurons within the mind that may keep quantum results for brief durations — simply lengthy sufficient to carry out quantum computations. The Orch OR concept attributes consciousness to quantum computations administered (“Orch”) by electrical oscillations in these microtubules. “What I loved about this theory is that it is testable in principle, and I decided to look for evidence that might help confirm or falsify it,” Corciano says.

“What I loved about this theory was that it was testable in principle, and I decided to look for evidence that might help confirm or falsify it.”

On the coronary heart of the speculation is the concept that gravity is said to the collapse of the quantum wavefunction and that this collapse is quicker in programs of larger mass. This idea was developed in a lot of paradigms by many physicists within the Nineteen Eighties. One among these was Lajos Diósi, on the Wigner Analysis Middle for Physics and at Eötvös Loránd College in Budapest, Hungary, who co-authored the brand new paper with Curceanu, Maaneli Derakhshani of Rutgers College in New Brunswick, New Jersey, Matthias Laubenstein additionally at INFN and Kristian Piscicchia from CREF and INFN. Penrose approached this concept independently after just a few years and it grew to become the core of his consciousness concept with Hammeroff.

The 2 theories are sometimes referred to by the blanket time period, “Diocy-Penrose Theory”. However there is a crucial distinction behind the frequent title, Corciano notes. Deucy’s strategy predicts that the collapse might be accompanied by the spontaneous emission of a small quantity of radiation, massive sufficient to be detected by refined experiments.

The collapse of a groundbreaking theory of the quantum origin of consciousness

Left to proper: Fabrizio Napolitano, Alberto Clusa, Catalina Corchino, Marco Milucci – all from INFN-LNF. Credit score: Catalina Corchino

go underground

Curceanu’s underground laboratory is situated throughout the Gran Sasso Nationwide Laboratory, 1.4 km below the Italian Gran Sasso Mountains. The laboratory stands on one facet of the 10-kilometre motorway tunnel that crosses the Gran Sasso mountain vary, linking L’Aquila and Teramo. “The site was chosen because it is essentially free from above-ground sources of cosmic ray radiation, which could interfere with the experiment,” Corciano says. The experiment makes use of a extremely delicate cylindrical reagent, not a lot bigger than a beaker, fabricated from ultra-pure germanium. It’s surrounded by a protect fabricated from layers of extraordinarily pure lead and copper to guard it from any background radiation coming from the rocks. After conducting the experiment for 2 months, the workforce didn’t measure the spontaneous radiation alerts, which restricted the feasibility of gravity-related collapse. In 2020, the workforce reported at Nature Physics Their unfavorable consequence helped them rule out the best model of the Diósi-Penrose mannequin.

Of their new paper they explicitly look at the implications of their discovery of Penrose and Hammeroff’s Orch OR concept of consciousness. After reanalyzing probably the most believable eventualities put forth by Hammeroff and Penrose, in gentle of latest experimental limitations on quantum collapse, they’re led to the conclusion that just about not one of the eventualities are believable. “This is the first experimental investigation of the gravity-related quantum collapse plume of the Orch OR model of consciousness, which we hope many others will follow,” Cresino says. “I am very proud of our achievement.”

Multidisciplinary properties

The experiments and analyzes are funded partially by a grant from the Foundational Questions Institute, FQXi. “Without it, this result would not have been possible,” says Carsino. “It is difficult to obtain funding for such projects, based on their interdisciplinary characteristics.”

“It’s really exciting to relate what you can do in the lab and perhaps the biggest mystery in the universe – consciousness.”

Not all is misplaced, Corciano provides. “In fact, the real work is only at the beginning.” she says. In reality, Penrose’s unique collapse mannequin, not like Deussy, didn’t predict spontaneous radiation, so it was not dominated out. The brand new paper additionally briefly discusses how the gravity-related collapse mannequin could be realistically modified. “Such a revised model, which we are working on within the FQXi-funded project, could leave the door open for Orch OR theory,” Curceanu says.

In the meantime, the workforce is getting ready to check these new, refined collapse fashions, to additional examine their implications for the Orch OR mannequin. “It’s really exciting to relate what you can do in the lab and it’s probably the biggest mystery in the universe – consciousness,” Corciano says.


Disassembly of Schrödinger’s cat


extra data:
Maaneli Derakhshani et al, On the crossroads of the seek for spontaneous radiation and the Orch OR concept of consciousness, Physics Life Evaluations (2022). DOI: 10.1016 / j.plrev.2022.05.004

Offered by the Institute for Foundational Questions

the quote: The collapse of a groundbreaking concept of the quantum origin of consciousness (2022, June 13) Retrieved June 13, 2022 from

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