Schrödinger and the conscious universe

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Most assume that matter is fundamental, and that consciousness arises out of the complexity of matter. But Nobel Prize winning quantum physicist Erwin Schrödinger does not share that assumption. For him, the universe contains a single mind, writes Robert Prentner and Donald D. Hoffman. In February 1943, Erwin Schrödinger, quantum physicist and Nobel laureate (sharing his prize with Paul Dirac and Werner Heisenberg), gave a series of lectures at Trinity College Dublin, which later turned into his book “What is life?” [1]. This work has been highly influential for a generation of molecular biologists such as Francis Crick, one of the discoverers of DNA. Less known perhaps is the fact that during his whole life Schrödinger was an ardent reader of philosophy from the East and West. From the 1950s on, when Schrödinger ceased to actively work on the physics of his time, he focused more on wider philosophical and ethical issues related to science. Back then, his conferences always ended with …

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