Physicists generally avoid discussing consciousness. It seems to be too ethereal a subject for them really to get hold of. It forces them to enter a world outside of calculations and experiments and examine the world of human behaviour which is far less predictable and controllable.
But the past twenty years has seen a shift in science as a whole where the once forbidden topic of consciousness is coming to the forefront. Possibly because it is the last frontier and people are running out of other topics to study for their PhDs.
Yet it was still a surprise when Max Tegmark, a theoretical physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge tackled the problem in 2014 and published a paper suggesting that Consciousness could be a state of matter. You can read the abstract here. http://arxiv.org/abs/1401.1219
You can see his TED talk below.
He is basically arguing that consciousness is not something external that is animating matter, but a consequence of the way in which matter is arranged mathematically.Tegmark himself states that there are many gaps in his idea.
One that really springs to mind for me is what happens when people are clinically dead and then are resuscitated? Or how much of a rearrangement is necessary from moment to moment for a being to be alive at one point and then dead the next?
Questions and gaps aside it is good to see that such a prominent physicist actually tackling the question at all as he open the gates for others to consider the topic too.
Of course here at Paradigm Revolution we have been discussing consciousness and matter for many years. You can get started by exploring this website or checking out Simply Divine which is an easy guide to the Science of Spirituality.
Image: Modified from Shutterstock