Home About Login Current Archives Announcements Editorial Board
Submit Now For Authors Call for Submissions Statistics Contact
Home > Archives > Volume 13, No 4 (2015) > Article

DOI: 10.14704/nq.2015.13.4.877

From Quantum Photosynthesis to the Sentient Brain

Donald Mender


Energy harvesting by photosynthesis in “brainless” plants and green algae is identified as the root non-trivially quantum process powering neural correlates of consciousness in humans and other “brainy” animals. Thermofield attributes of solar energy flow through the biosphere’s food chain are suggested as a “bottom up” mediator between quantum-coherent aspects of photosynthesis and emergent dynamical architectonics of transmembrane electrical potentials in neurons. This quantum-ecological approach to energetics of brain function as part of an open dissipative world system offers a segue, experimentally grounded by empirical evidence for photosynthetic coherence, into qualitatively gauged links between quantum tunneling and the Hard Problem of consciousness.


anthropic; coherence; chlorophyll; dissipative; entanglement; Explanatory Gap; food chain; Fourier duality; fractal; Hard Problem; Heisenberg; observable; photosynthesis; qualia; thermofield; transmembrane; tunneling; Z-process

Full Text



Barrow J, Tipler F. The anthropic cosmological principle. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986.

Chalmers D. Facing up to the problem of consciousness. J Consciousness Studies 1995; 2:3, 200-219.

Chalmers D. The conscious mind: in search of a fundamental theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1996.

Collini E, Wong C, Wilk K, Curmi P, Brumer P, Scholes G. Coherently wired light-harvesting in photosynthetic marine algae at ambient temperature. Nature 2010; 463: 644-647.

Coughlan C, Dodd J. The ideas of particle physics: an introduction for scientists. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991.

Engel G, Calhoun T, Read E, Ahn T, Mancal T, Cheng Y, Blankenship R, Fleming G. Evidence for wavelike energy transfer through quantum coherence in photosynthetic complexes. Nature 2007; 446; 782-786.

Falkowski P. Life’s engines: how microbes made earth habitable. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2015.

Freeman W, Vitiello G. Nonlinear brain dynamics as macroscopic manifestation of underlying many-body field dynamics. Physics of Life Reviews 2006; 3: 93-118.

Gale G. The anthropic principle. Scientific American 1981; 245(6): 154-171.

Gardner M. WAP, SAP, PAP, & FAP: The anthropic cosmological principle. New York Review of Books, May 8, 1986; pp.22-25.

Globus G. Quantum closures and disclosures. Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publs, 2003.

Hagan S, Hameroff S, Tuszynski J. Quantum computation in brain microtubules? decoherence and biological feasibility. Phys Rev E 2002; 65: 061901.

Hameroff S, Penrose R. Orchestrated reduction of quantum coherence in brain microtubules: a model for consciousness? In: S.R. Hameroff, A.W. Kaszniak, and A.C. Scott (eds.) Toward a science of consciousness - the first Tucson discussions and debates, Cambridge: MIT Press, 1996; pp.507-540.

Howard J. Quantum mechanics has little relevance in the soft, warm world of biology. Live oral/Powerpoint presentation as part of the Yale seminar series on Psychiatry in the Era of Quantum Biology. January 20, 2015.

Jibu M, Yasue K. Quantum brain dynamics and consciousness. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 1994.

Lane N. The vital question: energy, evolution, and the origins of complex life. New York: W. W. Norton, 2015.

Levine J. On leaving out what it's like. In: M. Davies and G. Humphreys (eds.) Consciousness: psychological and philosophical essays, Oxford: Blackwell, 1993; pp.543-557.

Lowenstein W. Physics in mind: a quantum view of the brain. New York: Basic Books, 2013.

Mender D. DSM, Groups, And Phases: Beyond the Laundry List. Bulletin of the Association for the Advancement of Philosophy and Psychiatry 2010a; 17(1): 7-8.

Mender D. From Quantum Wetware to Mental Illness: A Section Editor’s First Interim Progress Report. NeuroQuantology 2010b; 8(2): 115-119.

Mender D. Modes of dissipation: the green episteme and it’s not-so-green psychopathologies. NeuroQuantology 2011; 9(3): 572-576.

Mender D. QuEMs lensing as an arbiter of the hard problem. NeuroQuantology 2015; 13(2): 192-195.

Mender D. The cunning of the observable: generalized Fourier duality, the hard problem, and natural kinds of psychopathology. Quantum Biosystems 2013b; 5(2): 43-53.

Mender D. The implicit possibility of dualism in quantum probabilistic cognitive modeling: a commentary on the work of Pothos and Busemeyer. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 2013a; 36(3): 298-299.

Nagel T. What is it like to be a bat? Philosophical Review 1974; 83(4): 435-450.

Palermo Declaration of 2013 regarding Quantum Paradigms of Psychopathology at the Quantum Bionet website, URL http://www.quantumbionet.org/eng/index.php?pagina=278

Penrose R. Shadows of the mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994.

Penrose R. The emperor's new mind. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1989.

Penrose R. The road to reality: a complete guide to the laws of the universe. New York: Knopf, 2005

Pothos E, Busemeyer J. Can quantum probability provide a new direction for cognitive neuroscience? Behavioral and Brain Sciences 2013; 36(3): 255-274.

Sklar L. Space, time, and spacetime. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1976.

Smolin L. The life of the cosmos. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997.

Tarlaci S, Pregnolato M. Quantum neurophysics: from non-living matter to quantum neurobiology and psychopathology, Int J Psychophysiol. 2015 Feb 7. pii: S0167-8760(15)00046-X. doi: 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2015.02.016.

Tegmark M. The importance of quantum decoherence in brain processes. Phys Rev 2000; E61: 4194-206.

Tuszynski J. Personal communication at the second international meeting of the initiative on Quantum Paradigms of Psychopathology, Palermo. April 26-2, 2013.

Tuszynski J. Statistical mechanics of a q-deformed boson gas. Physics Letters A 1993; 175(3-4): 173-177.

Umezawa H. Advanced field theory: micro, macro, and thermal. Woodbury: AIP Press, 1993.

Vitiello G. My double unveiled: the dissipative quantum model of the brain. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2001.

Vitiello G. The use of many-body physics and thermodynamics to described the dynamics of rhythmic generators in sensory cortices engaged in memory and learning. Current Opinion in Neurobiology 2015; 31: 7-12.