News FocusNeuroscience

Cold Numbers Unmake the Quantum Mind

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Science  04 Feb 2000:
Vol. 287, Issue 5454, pp. 791
DOI: 10.1126/science.287.5454.791

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Calculations show that collapsing wave functions of tiny structures in the brain can't explain the mystery of thought. The findings deal a sharp blow to "quantum consciousness," the idea that thoughts arise in the brain through the workings of quantum mechanics. By combining data about the brain's temperature, the sizes of proposed quantum objects, and disturbances caused by such things as ions, a physicist has concluded that possible quantum microprocessors decohere far too rapidly to orchestrate the firings of neurons.