Physics in Mind


“In his new book, Physics in Mind, Loewenstein takes readers on a delightful journey through one of the greatest scientific challenges of our time: the quest to understand how physics can explain brain function and consciousness. With precise, engaging, and often provocative prose, Loewenstein dares to delve into fundamental questions at the intersection of physics, biology, neuroscience, and philosophy…. Every page explodes with enthusiasm, metaphors, and food for thought. It is not common to find science books that are accurate, without oversimplifications, and yet read like pieces of fiction that cannot be put down. …Loewenstein’s masterpiece of scientific outreach and discourse. This must-read book will promote vigorous scientific discussion in many circles.”
—Gabriel Kreiman, Harvard University, Trends in Cognitive Sciences

“This book is vital and wide-ranging…an absorbing account. Loewenstein’s conception of the brain in terms of quantum physics gives us a way to understand its capacity to process truly astronomical amounts of information.”
—Jane Smiley, Harper’s Magazine

Physics in Mind…offers a unification of physics and biology on a higher, more sophisticated level than one usually finds… a significant contribution to outlining the bigger picture. … The book outlines a complete evolution of structured organic matter, to the point where, quite naturally, quantum parallel processing ensues…. Loewenstein is very much an advocate for the view that our ultimate cognitive capability is as host to quantum computers.”
—Michael Anderson, Metapsychology Online Reviews

“Defying the usual disciplinary boundaries, Lowenstein deploys a Darwinian physics (replacing the daunting mathematics with clear bioneurological narrative, laced with sprightly humor) to explain how the cosmic volley of information arrows loosed by the Big Bang set the course for evolution.”

Booklist, starred review

“Werner Loewenstein’s Physics in Mind is a passionate exploration of how biological systems process information. Starting from how molecules transform information and energy at the most microscopic level, where quantum mechanics plays a central role, Loewenstein provides clear and elegant explanations of the mechanisms of sight and smell, of senses and neural signals, culminating with the phenomenon of consciousness itself. Erudite, witty, and highly accessible, Physics in Mind proves once and for all that the unquantized life is not worth living.”

—Seth Lloyd, Professor of Quantum-Mechanical Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and author of Programming the Universe

“The more we think about it, the more challenging it becomes to answer the apparently simple question: how do we think? Here, eminent scientist Werner Loewenstein has assembled recent insights from biology and physics to give us his richly textured new view of this great challenge.”

—Jared Diamond, Professor of Geography, UCLA, and Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Guns, Germs, and Steel
Copyright © 2013 by Basic Books