Consciousness and the Brain, Part Two: The Mystery of Anesthesia,withStuart Hameroff

Books Mentioned In This Interview

stuart hameroff toward a science of consciousness

Stuart Hameroff, MD, is a professor of anesthesiology and psychology at the Banner University Medical Center of the University of Arizona in Tucson. He is also co-founder and director of the Center for Consciousness Studies at the University of Arizona. He is author of Ultimate Computing: Biomolecular Consciousness and Nanotechnology. Since 1994, he has organized the “Toward a Science of Consciousness” conferences at the University of Arizona and elsewhere. Working with Sir Roger Penrose, he is the co-author of the “Orch OR” theory of consciousness.

Here he points out that, while under anesthesia, the nervous systems of patients – albeit somewhat quiescent – is, nevertheless, active in many ways. Nerve signals are still conducted throughout the body. Furthermore, the variety of anesthetic gases are capable of inducing anesthesia is virtually all species, without engaging in chemical reactions. Hameroff’s search for the basis of anesthesia has led him to the conclusion that it primarily occurs in proteins within the microtubules of the nervous system. He also noted that the hydrocarbon molecules associated with the microtubules were associated with quantum superposition. This is where, he suggests, consciousness actually resides. The microtubules provides a link between the nervous system and the realm of quantum processes.

(Recorded on August 4, 2015)

Published on August 17, 2015


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