Ravi Gomatam in front of the Niels Bohr Institute, Copenhagen, June, 2011
Ravi Veeraraghavan Gomatam (born 1950, in Chennai, India) is the Director of Bhaktivedanta Institute (Berkeley and Mumbai) and the newly formed Institute of Semantic Information Sciences and Technology (Berkeley and Mumbai). He is also Adjunct Professor at Birla Institute of Technology & Science (BITS), Pilani, Rajasthan, India. Gomatam is one of the pioneers in the field of consciousness studies, which is an emerging inter-disciplinary scientific field. He organized the “First International Conference on the Study of Consciousness within Science” in January 1990 in San Francisco. The speakers at the 2-day conference included two Nobel Laureates (Sir John Eccles and George Wald) as well as twelve other distinguished researchers in the field (including Henry Stapp, John Searle, E.C.G. Sudarshan, Karl H. Pribram, Herbert Frohlich).
Subsequently, Gomatam conceived and launched the world's first M.S./Ph.D. programs in "consciousness studies", in collaboration with the Birla Institute of Technology & Science (BITS), Pilani (one of India's foremost technological universities). The program was inaugurated in 1997 by Charles Hard Townes, Nobel Laureate in physics (1964) and recipient of Templeton Prize (2005). Gomatam also teaches graduate students in this program. Graduates of this program have gone on to do further studies at distinguished institutions, including Harvard, Leeds and Utrecht universities. "Consciousness Studies" is a developing, inter-disciplinary scientific field, which Gomatam has particularly reconceived in a novel, original fashion, as a new way of studying matter.
Gomatam’s own field of research is foundations of quantum mechanics, wherein he is introducing a few new ideas, including those of “Objective, Semantic Information” and a notion of "Relational Properties" that is different from that of Rovelli and others. His new ideas have received notice for their potential. He has related research interests in semantic computation, systems sciences, artificial intelligence, philosophy of science and philosophy of language.
- B.E. 1972 Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Annamalai University, India
- M.E. 1974 Electronics Engineering, Birla Institute of Technology & Science, Pilani, India
- Ph.D. 1998 Foundations of Quantum Mechanics, Mumbai University, India. Dissertation Title: Toward a realist interpretation of quantum theory – Integrating Bohr and Einstein.
Early Work in the Industry
In the 70s Gomatam worked with India’s international airline on their software development projects. He then moved to the USA and worked as a freelance consultant for a number of Fortune-500 companies including General Motors, Ford, Chrysler, Burroughs and IBM in the areas of operating system design, data communications and very-large database design.
Starting from the early 80s, Gomatam turned to fundamental scientific research, and started contributing to the development of the Bhaktivedanta Institute(B.I.) in Mumbai and Berkeley. Along the way, based on the work he was doing at B.I., he obtained his Ph.D. in the foundations of quantum mechanics.
Gomatam’s primary area of research is in non-relativistic quantum mechanics (QM), which emerged in 1925 with Erwin Schrödinger's derivation of his now famous “wave equation”. This equation applies, in principle, to both microscopic regimes (atoms, sub-atomic particles) and to other larger regimes (mesoscopic, macroscopic and cosmological scales). However, in practice, quantum mechanics began by applying the wave equation to the micro regime, while treating the macroscopic regime as classical. Since all our laboratory observations are in the macroscopic regime, logically speaking, he says, we should apply the wave equation first to the macro regime before applying it to the micro regime. In his view, failure to do so in the history of QM has resulted in the famous “measurement problem” and a host of deep conceptual puzzles that plague microscopic QM even today. Thus, developing the application of QM to the macro regime, call it Macroscopic Quantum Mechanics (MQM), remains the most pressing, fundamental problem in all of modern physics. See Physics for the 21st Century, a new course at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, designed by Prof. Christopher Stubbs.
Gomatam is developing his own approach to MQM, which is distinct from the ideas of ‘macroscopic dissipative systems’ and ‘macroscopic quantum coherence’, developed in the early 80s by Anthony James Leggett, a Nobel Laureate in physics. In general, Leggett's attempt is to indirectly observe superposition at the macroscopic level by extending current microscopic quantum physics to the macroscopic level.
In contrast, Gomatam is attempting to develop MQM independent of the application of the Schrodinger equation to the micro regime, in such a manner that quantum superposition can be directly observed at the macroscopic level. This involves introducing a new notion of macroscopic objects as quantum kinds, instead of classical objects. In this regard, he is also developing two further new ideas within physics: the ontology of “Objective, Semantic Information” (OSI) and corresponding “Relational Properties” (RPs).
- (2011) "How Do Classical and Quantum Probabilities Differ?", Paper delivered at the conference on Foundations of Physics & Probability - 6 (FPP-6), June 13–17, Vaxjo, Sweden. Conference organized by International Centre for Mathematical Modeling in physics engineering and cognitive sciences, (ICMM), Linnaeus University. Also available as PDF here
- (2010) "Macroscopic Quantum Mechanics and System of Systems Design Approach", Invited talk at the Indo-US Workshop on Systems Engineering, Oct. 26-28, IIT, Kanpur, India
- (2009) "Quantum Theory, the Chinese Room Argument and the Symbol Grounding Problem" In P. Bruza et al. (2009) (eds.) Quantum Interaction-2009, Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence, vol. 5494, pp. 174–183, Springer-Verlag: Berlin, Heidelberg.
- (2008) “Quantum Realism and Haecceity” Published in HSPCIC: Vol. XII: Levels of Reality: Part 5: Materialism and Immaterialism in India and the West: Varying Vistas, Partha Ghose (Ed), India, 2010.
- (2007) "Niels Bohr's Interpretation and the Copenhagen Interpretation -- Are the two incompatible?", Philosophy of Science, December, vol 74(5), pp. 736–748.
- (2005) “Popper’s Propensity Interpretation and Heisenberg’s Potentia Interpretation — A comparative assessment”, History Of Science And Philosophy Of Science: A Historical Perspective of The Evolution of Ideas In Science, Vol. XIII, Part-6, P. Sengupta (Ed), 2010, CSC, Indian Council of Philosophical Research, New Delhi, India
- (2005) “Do Hodgson's Propositions Uniquely Characterize Free Will?”. Invited commentary on a target paper, "A Plain Person's View of Free Will" by David Hodgson, Journal of Consciousness Studies, Vol. 12 (1), p. 32-40, Imprint Academic: UK.
- (2004) “Physics and Common Sense: Relearning the Connections in the Light of Quantum Theory”, HSPCIC, Vol. 11, Part 1, Chattopadhyaya, D.P. & Sen Gupta, A.K. Ed., Philosophical Consciousness and Scientific Knowledge: Conceptual Linkages and Civilizational Background, CSC: New Delhi
- (1999) "Quantum Theory and the Observation Problem", Journal of Consciousness Studies, 6(11-12), pp. 173–90.
Activities and Societies
- "The First International Conference for the Study of Consciousness within Science". Bhaktivedanta Institute. Retrieved 2013-02-28.
- "Bhaktivedanta Institute Graduate Studies". Bhaktivedanta Institute. Retrieved 2013-02-28.
- Gomatam, Ravi (2010-06-12). "What is Consciousness Studies?". Bhaktivedanta Institute. Retrieved 2013-02-28.
- "Some Scholarly Appreciations". Bhaktivedanta Institute. Retrieved 2013-02-28.
- Gomatam, Ravi (1999). "Quantum Theory and the Observation Problem". Journal of Consciousness Studies: 173–90.
- Macroscopic Quantum Mechanics, Unit 6: A New Course at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
- Physics for the 21st Century, Course Overview, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
- Caldeira, A. O.; Anthony Leggett (1981). "Influence of Dissipation on Quantum Tunneling in Macroscopic Systems". Physical Review Letters 46 (4): 211–214. Bibcode:1981PhRvL..46..211C. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.46.211.
- Leggett, Anthony; Anupam Garg (1985). "Quantum mechanics versus macroscopic realism: Is the flux there when nobody looks?". Physical Review Letters 54 (9): 857–860. Bibcode:1985PhRvL..54..857L. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.54.857. PMID 10031639.
- Leggett, Anthony; Iguchi, E; Oohara, Y (2002). "Testing the limits of quantum mechanics: motivation, state of play, prospects". Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter 14 (15): R415–451. Bibcode:2002JPCM...14..415N. doi:10.1088/0953-8984/14/3/311.
- Gomatam, Ravi (17 Sep 2010). "Quantum Realism and Haecceity". In Partha Ghose. Materialism and Immaterialism in India and the West: Varying Vistas. New Delhi.
- Semantic Conceptions of Information, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
- Gomatam, Ravi (2011-06-14). "How Do Classical and Quantum Probabilities Differ?". In A. Khrennikov. Foundations of Probabilities and Physics - 6 1424. American Institute of Physics Conference Proceedings. pp. 105–110. doi:10.1063/1.3688958.
- Gomatam, Ravi (2010-10-26). "Macroscopic Quantum Mechanics and System of Systems Design Approach". Indo-US Workshop on Systems Engineering. India: IIT Kanpur
- Gomatam, Ravi (2009). "Quantum Theory, the Chinese Room Argument and the Symbol Grounding Problem". In P. Bruza et al. Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence.
- Gomatam, Ravi (2007). "Niels Bohr's Interpretation and the Copenhagen Interpretation -- Are the two incompatible?". Philosophy of Science 15 (5): 736–748. doi:10.1086/525618.
- Gomatam, Ravi (2010). "Popper’s Propensity Interpretation and Heisenberg’s Potentia Interpretation — A comparative assessment". In Pradip K. Sengupta. History Of Science And Philosophy Of Science: A Historical Perspective of The Evolution of Ideas In Science. New Delhi.
- Gomatam, Ravi (2005). "Do Hodgson's Propositions Uniquely Characterize Free Will?". Journal of Consciousness Studies 12 (1): 32–40.
- Gomatam, Ravi (2004). "Physics and Common Sense: Relearning the Connections in the Light of Quantum Theory". In Chattopadhyaya, D.P. & Sen Gupta, A.K. Philosophical Consciousness and Scientific Knowledge: Conceptual Linkages and Civilizational Background. New Delhi.
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