Fremont: The Center for Indic Studies at University of Massachusetts Dartmouth held an international conference “Science, Vedanta and Foundations of Physics on 6 and 7 July 2011. This conference was dedicated to examining the foundations of physics, especially quantum mechanics from the perspective of Vedantic philosophy and metaphysics.
Several scholars several universities and centers including UMass Dartmouth, Harvard, Jawaharlal Nehru University (India), Universities of Florida, Montana attended the conference. Psychologist Dr. Jerry Solfvin of the Center for Indic Studies pointed out the centrality of Non- Duality in Vedanta and its realization through subjective exercises. Philosopher Dr. R.P. Singh gave a survey of Western approaches to knowledge and reality from classical Greece to Hegel and Nietzsche, comparing and contrasting with the Vedantic approach. Molecular biologists, Dr. Neeraja Venkateshwaran presented the cause and effect concept of reality, and how body, mind, and intellect approach helps explain the universal principles.
Dr. Vinod Deshmukh, neurophysiologist from the University of Florida presented some recent findings relating to energy distribution in neurophysics and the approach to the problem in Vedanta. Dr. Diana Lurie of the University of Montana presented results showing that combining the Vedic approach (based on Ayurveda) with modern biomedicine can significantly enhance the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders, particularly in elderly patients. Dr. Girish Nath Jha of the Jawaharlal NehruUniversity in New Delhi presented results showing the usefulness of the classical Vedantic grammar of Panini in designing machine translation and other information systems on the computer.
Educationist Pandit Ramadheen Ramsamooj demonstrated the use of ideas from modern set theory in teaching important concepts from the famous philosophic work, the Bhagavadgita. Panelists of the Science and Vedanta Symposium, (L to R) Vinod Deshmukh, NS Rajaram, Anita Goel, and Bal Ram Singh Mathematician Dr. N.S. Rajaram of the Center for Indic Studies pointed out that theoretical results like Bell’s theorem as well as experimental verifications suggest that quantum phenomena take place in a domain that cannot be described by space-time geometry.
He suggested that the idea of ‘orders of reality’ propounded by Madhva of the Dualist Vedanta school combined with the notion of ‘reality as process’ of Alfred North Whitehead and Patanjali (of Yoga-sutra fame) can shed light on the nature of reality in the quantum world. Dr. Sukalyan Sengupta of UMass Dartmouth gave a comparison of the nature of time as perceived in Vedanta and in modern physics. Physicist and biomedical scientist Dr. Anita Goel of Harvard presented results showing how biological models may be relevant in the study of quantum effects in single molecule systems.
Physicist and cosmologist Dr. John Hagelin, formerly of Harvard, presently head of research at Maharishi University suggested that personal experience gained through meditation was essential for a unified understanding of diverse phenomena in quantum physics and cosmology. Dr. Venkat Kodumudi, a biochemist, explained composition of matter and the guiding force in non-dual existence by using the idea of twenty four factors that constitute the universe. Biophysical chemist and Yoga scholar Dr. Balram Singh, Director of the Center for Indic Studies, drew comparisons between the Indian Vaisheshika school of Vedanta and modern chemico-physics.