e-magazine: Φύση και Στοχασμός (ένθετο του για τις θετικές επιστήμες)

Patricio Perez
Departamento de Fisica, Universidad de Santiago de Chile
Casilla 307, Correo 2, Santiago, Chile



Some contributions of physics towards the understanding of consciousness are described. As recent relevant models, associative memory neural networks are mentioned.
It is shown that consciousness and quantum physics share some properties. Two existing quantum models are discussed.
A possible definition for human consciousness is that it is the perception of our own mental states. If we accept that mental states are correlated with physical states in the brain, then a scientific study of the phenomenon of consciousness should be based on an understanding of the properties of this complex organ. Especially during the second half of this century, physics has made important contributions in order to explain significant aspects of the functioning of the brain. A sample of this is the modeling of the mechanism for the propagation of a nerve pulse. We could also mention the application of statistical mechanics to the simulation of associative memory in the brain. Furthermore, quantum physics, which assigns a crucial role to the observer, suggests some possible routes towards the understanding of conscious phenomena. In this paper we describe in some detail these contributions of the physical science.