Large Grants
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Previous Programs

2020 Consciousness in the Physical World

2019 Intelligence in the Physical World

2019 Information as Fuel

2018 Agency in the Physical World
Awardees; RFP download

2016 Physics of the Observer
Awardees; RFP download

2015 The Physics of What Happens
Awardees; RFP download

2013 Physics of Information
Awardees; RFP download

2010 The Nature of Time
Awardees; RFP download

2008 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
Awardees; RFP download

2006 Foundational Questions in Physics and Cosmology
Awardees; RFP download

Catalina Curceanu
INFN - Laboratori Nazionali di Frascati

Lajos Diósi
Wigner Research Centre for Physics

Maaneli Derakhshani
Rutgers University

Project Title

ICON: Novel intertwined theoretical and experimental approach to test the ORCHestrated Objective Reduction theory as physical basis of consciousness

Project Summary

The nature of human consciousness, the most extraordinary phenomenon experienced by all of us, is the most important of all yet unsolved problems. Is consciousness rooted in the realm of natural sciences? This question is overarching biology, physics, mathematics, philosophy. We plan to contribute answering this question, by setting up and applying an innovative approach. Within the ICON project, we will critically investigate at an unprecedented level, the Orch OR unique theory (Orchestrated objective reduction), put forward by Hameroff and Penrose, theory which places consciousness within the empirical sciences, musing about its connection with quantum mechanics and gravity, and sneaking into the “pretty hard problem” of consciousness: is there a theoretical framework that can determine which physical systems and processes can be associated with consciousness? We will break the chain of long-lasting debates by setting the ground for an intertwined theoretical and experimental validation, performing fundamental dedicated measurements, setting Orch OR on a much more solid ground. Our ICON project represents a major progress in bridging the gap between physical laws and consciousness, by studying the intimate mechanisms of those phenomena proposed to generate consciousness in humans and the Universe, with a potential monumental breakthrough in consciousness studies.

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