The interdisciplinary panel "The Nature of Reality" took place at the Folino Theater on March 31, 2011 at 6pm. The event was organized by the Schmid College of Science and Technology in partnership with the Dodge College of Film & Media Arts and the Wilkinson College of Humanities and Social Sciences. Daniele Struppa, Chancellor, moderated the panel discussion.
»The Nature of Reality
The panel discussion started by asking two questions, "Is there an Ultimate Reality?" and if yes, "Can it be accounted for by science such as mathematics, biology and physics?" The panelists addressed the questions and were given a chance to respond to each other and interact. Finally, the floor was opened up to Q&A from the audience.
A variety of views from science and philosophy were presented and the event was lively and informative. The panelists are practicing scientists, authors, health professionals as well as experts in philosophical systems from different fields. As the two main paradigms in science are, in a broad sense, the physical and the biological, these questions were addressed by physicists, biologists, medical doctors, as well as other experts.
The panelists which included scientists, authors and academicians are listed below:
Deepak Chopra, M.D.
Internationally Renowned Bestselling Author of More Than 50 books on Spirituality and Well-Being
Stuart Hameroff, M.D.
Consciousness Expert and Emeritus Professor of Anesthesiology and Psychology, University of Arizona
Menas Kafatos, Ph.D.
Dean of Chapman University's Schmid College of Science and Technology; Vice Chancellor for Special Projects; Director of the Center of Excellence in Applied, Fundamental and Computational Science; Fletcher Jones Endowed Professor of Computational Physics
Leonard Mlodinow, Ph.D.
Caltech Physicist and Co-Author (with Stephen Hawking), The Grand Design
Carmichael Peters, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Religious Studies, Chapman University
Michael Shermer, Ph.D.
Executive Director of The Skeptics Society, Founding Publisher of Skeptic Magazine, Bestselling Author (Why Darwin Matters)
Daniele Struppa, Ph.D.
Chancellor of Chapman University; Professor of Mathematics
Henry Stapp, Ph.D.
Physicist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory; expert on the nature of consciousness as seen through quantum mechanics
Founder and Chairman of the Board of Human Energy System Alliance
Bill Wright, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Biology, Chapman University
Deepak Chopra, M.D., is the Founder of The Chopra Foundation, Senior Scientists with The Gallup Organization, Adjunct Professor of Executive Programs at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, Chairman and Co-Founder of The Chopra Center for Well Being. As a global leader and pioneer in the field of mind-body medicine, Chopra transforms the way the world views physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, and social wellness. Known as a prolific author of over sixty books with eighteen New York Times best sellers in both the fiction and non-fiction categories, his latest book, The Soul of Leadership, was mentioned as one of five best business books to read for your career – FINS – Wall Street Journal.
His Chopra’s Wellness Radio airs weekly on Sirius/XM Stars, Channels 102 and 155, which focuses on the areas - success, love, sexuality and relationships, well-being, and spirituality. He is a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and Washington Post On Faith and contributes regularly to Oprah.com, Intent.com, and The Huffington Post.
Stuart Hameroff is an anesthesiologist and professor at the University of Arizona Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona , known for his promotion of the scientific study of consciousness, and his theories of the mechanisms of consciousness. He is co-author with internationally known Oxford mathematical physicist Sir Roger Penrose on a theory proposing that consciousness is the result of quantum computation mediated by quantum gravity effects (objective reduction, OR) in microtubules in brain neurons that are orchestrated by synaptic inputs, dubbed Orch-OR (orchestrated objective reduction) which suggests a connection between brain activities and fundamental spacetime geometry. Hameroff also directs the Center for Consciousness Studies at the University of Arizona which organizes yearly international, multidisciplinary conferences "Toward a Science of Consciousness", the next one May 2-7, 2011 in Stockholm, Sweden (www.consciousness.arizona.edu). Hameroff's research website is www.quantumconsciousness.org/.
Menas Kafatos is Vice Chancellor for Special Projects and also Dean of the Schmid College of Science and Technology, Director of the Center for Excellence in Applied, Computational, and Fundamental Science, and The Fletcher Jones Endowed Professor of Computational Physics at Chapman University. He received his B.A. in Physics from Cornell University in 1967 and his Ph.D. in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1972. He has published numerous books including "The Conscious Universe", "The Non-local Universe" (with Robert Nadeau, Springer-Verlag), "Principles of Integrative Science" (with Mihai Draganescu, Romanian Academy of Sciences Press), etc. and more than 250 refereed articles on computational science, astrophysics, Earth systems science, hazards and global change, general relativity, cosmology, foundations of quantum theory, and consciousness. He is interested in the dialogue between science and philosophy.
Leonard Mlodinow holds a PhD in theoretical physics from the University of California at Berkeley, has been an Alexander von Humboldt fellow at the Max-Planck-Institut fuer Physik und Astrophysik in Munich, and on the physics faculty of California Institute of Technology. He authored numerous publications in academic physics journals as well as in the popular press, and wrote 5 popular science books, which now appear in 25 languages: Euclid's Window: The story of geometry from parallel lines to hyperspace (2001); Feynman's Rainbow: a search for beauty in physics and in life (2003); A Briefer History of Time (2005, co-authored with Stephen Hawking); the New York Times best-seller, editor’s choice, and notable book of the year, The Drunkard’s Walk: the story of randomness and its role in our lives (2008), short listed for the Royal Society book award; and the #1 best seller The Grand Design (2010, co-authored with Stephen Hawking). With Matt Costello, he co-authored the children’s book series The Kids of Einstein Elementary.
Carmichael Peters (Ph.D., Graduate Theological Union/University of California, Berkeley) is director of the Chapman University Honors Program and Assistant Professor of Religious Studies. In addition to a number of scholarly articles, Dr. Peters has written "A Gadamerian Reading of Karl Rahner's Theology of Grace and Freedom" (New York/Oxford: Catholic Scholars Press, 2000). He teaches courses in Buddhism, comparative religions, philosophical hermeneutics, philosophical and political theology, philosophy of religion, and ethics.
Dr. Michael Shermer is the Founding Publisher of Skeptic magazine and editor of Skeptic.com, a monthly columnist for Scientific American, and an Adjunct Professor at Claremont Graduate University. Dr. Shermer’s latest book is The Mind of the Market, on evolutionary economics. His last book was Why Darwin Matters: Evolution and the Case Against Intelligent Design, and he is the author of The Science of Good and Evil and of Why People Believe Weird Things.
Dr. Shermer received his B.A. in psychology from Pepperdine University, M.A. in experimental psychology from California State University, Fullerton, and his Ph.D. in the history of science from Claremont Graduate University (1991). He was a college professor for 20 years, and since his creation of Skeptic magazine he has appeared on such shows as The Colbert Report, 20/20, Dateline, Charlie Rose, and Larry King Live (but, proudly, never Jerry Springer!). Dr. Shermer was the co-host and co-producer of the 13-hour Family Channel television series, Exploring the Unknown.
Henry Stapp is well known for his development of the theoretical framework for the analysis of the scattering of polarized protons on polarized targets, for his developments of a relativistic framework for axiomatic S-matrix theory, for his work on the nonlocality properties of binary quantum systems, and for his analysis of the quantum mechanical connection between our conscious thoughts and our physically described brains. He did his doctoral thesis under Nobel Laureates Emilio Segré and Owen Chamberlain and was then invited by Wolfgang Pauli to work with him in Zurich on foundational issues. In the late sixties he worked on foundational problems with Werner Heisenberg in Munich, and in the early seventies with John Wheeler in Austin. His studies of the quantum measurement problem have led to a rational understanding of the effects of our conscious thoughts upon the physical processes occurring in our brains. His conclusions in this area are described in many technical articles, and, in less technical terms, in his two books, “Mind, Matter, and Quantum Mechanics” and “Mindful Universe: Quantum Mechanics and the Participating Observer”.
Daniele Struppa is Chancellor and Professor of Mathematics and joined Chapman University as Provost in July 2006. He is the author of more than 100 refereed publications, including two books, and he is the editor of several volumes. While at George Mason, Dr. Struppa served as director of the Center for the Applications of Mathematics, as chair of the Department of Mathematical Sciences, and as associate dean for graduate studies. In 1997 he was selected dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at George Mason University, a position he held until he joined Chapman University. Dr Struppa’s recent research deals with mathematical aspects of theoretical biology on one side (as they apply to the understanding of protein pathways) and non-commutative functional calculus on the other side (his latest book is slated to appear in April 2011 and develops a novel treatment for such calculus).
Jim Walsh is Co-Founder and Chairman of the Human Energy System Alliance, or HESA Institute, a research and development company devoted to unlocking the potential of the human energy system and to developing technologies and products that transform human health and increase human flourishing. By funding scientists at research institutions and universities across the United States, HESA explores the propositions that we are not simply material beings, but energetic beings, too, participating in an interconnected web of energetic exchange between all things; that human health, nutrition, longevity, and wellbeing can be evolved and fully actualized through innovation, creativity, and discipline of mind; and that consciousness is a dynamic and vital energetic force which animates all things and which can, once harnessed and focused properly, bring about significant changes in the fields of human and universal energy. He is the Chairman of the Mind-Matter Research Foundation, a not for profit foundation funding scientific consciousness research worldwide.
Bill Wright is Associate Professor of Biology at Chapman University. He is a marine biologist (Moss Landing Marine Laboratories, Ph.D. Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 1985) and cellular neurophysiologist (postdoctoral fellow at Yale University, 1986-90), who uses marine gastropods to investigate the neurophysiological basis and evolution of learning and memory. He teaches General Biology (freshman biology) as a history of life on earth and Marine Biology to juniors and seniors. The latter course is a spring-board for Wright’s investigations into the behavioral ecology of marine organisms. He is the author of 35 articles in peer-reviewed journals ranging from Journal of Neuroscience to Marine Biology to Evolution. His research has included over 50 undergraduate colleagues and has been well supported by the National Science Foundation.