In Brain and Being

eds. Globus, G., Pribram, K. & Vitiello, G

Emilio Del Giudice


The psycho-emotional physical unity of living organisms as an outcome of quantum physics

Del Giudice discusses how quantum field theory (QFT) could provide an understanding of the pysche. Del Giudice starts his discussion at the point where classical 19th century physics was overtaken by quantum theory. He points out that at the very beginning of quantum theory Max Planck showed that matter had a self-movement produced by quantum fluctuations and unrelated to any external influence. The phase describes the spontaneous oscillation of every quantum particle. Quantum particles and quantum fields, such as the electromagnetic field must oscillate. The quantum field cannot vanish completely, because there would be no fluctuation at an absolute zero, therefore the concept of a vacuum in classical physics is modified, and becomes a mass of fluctuations. There are two proofs of the existence of the underlying quantum fluctuations.

Firstly, there is the Lamb Shift, where measurements of the relationship between the proton and the electron in the hydrogen atom shows a discrepancy which is due to fluctuations in the elctromagnetic field. The second is the Casimir effect, where two metal plates set sufficiently close together exclude the long-wave quanta of the em field, which results in the inward pressure from the external space being greater than the pressure within the plates, proving the existence of vacuum energy.

Del Giudice puts forward the idea of the coherent domain. Every particle made up of charged components, as are all atoms and molecules, is coupled with the em field. Above a certain density and below a certain temperature, and at a lower energy than the gas state, these particles are suggested to enter a coherent state. Here the particles oscillate in tune with the em field that is trapped within the resonating particles. There is a coherent regime of matter and em field that prevails within a space that is the size of the em oscillations. This region is called a coherence domain (CD). Its size ranges from a fraction of a micron up to several tens of microns. Long range forces are suggested to occur at the boundaries of the coherent domains.

Del Giudice claims that analysis of many non-gases, such as water and crystals shows a good agreement with this thoery. The very limited acceptance of the idea is blamed on the tendency of the scientific community to confine its thinking to the ideas of classical physics. The author suggests that the large number sof CDs in living matter creates the possibility of finding the missing bridge between physics and biology. He suggests that the surface of the CDs could have molecules resonating with the surrounding water. The CDs are capable of giving rise to further CDs and these in turn to chemical reactions that by changing the molecules in the system also change the em field. The energy is not disippated in heat but instead produces a coherent excitation, which modulates the em field. This concept is seen as underlying the ordering of living matter. As such it provides us with a theory for life forms and possibly for information and cognition but not for consciousness as such. There is no reason why the property of consciousness should arise from the interchange with the electromagnetic field more than any other component of the physical universe, unless the theory is preapared to go the further step of specifying consciousness as a fundamental anf given property of the field or its quanta.


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