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‘Dr. Quantum’ entertains Harpur Forum audience


Fred Alan Wolf, aka “Dr. Quantum,” speaks to members of the Harpur Forum about how quantum physics can change your life Sept. 29 at the Binghamton Club.
Fred Alan Wolf didn’t shy away from the big questions when he spoke to Harpur Forum members Sept. 29 at the Binghamton Club. Wolf sought to find ways to answer “What am I?” and even “Is life cruel and what can we do about it?” with quantum physics.

Wolf, who’s also known as Dr. Quantum, titled his talk “How Quantum Physics Can Change Your Life.” The lecture, accompanied by a lively PowerPoint presentation, opened with the Beatles’ Magical Mystery Tour and concluded with Madonna chanting.

He said he has long believed that ancient ideas and modern science can come together and that the spiritual quantum field influences matter and feeling. He also acknowledged that 30 years ago such ideas qualified him as “a kook.”

“Today there is a recognition that we’ve lost sight of ancient wisdom in our culture,” Wolf said. He feels his ideas are becoming more mainstream, though he still has the power to surprise. At one point, for instance, he said he believes that a person can change the rate at which he ages.

“Quantum physics says we alter reality simply by paying attention to it,” he said.

The universe, Wolf said, “is really a dance of life and death.” Every nucleus of every atom is trying to make something, he said. And, he said, that’s an idea embodied not only in physics but also in Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism.

“Why is understanding the quantum universe important?” he asked. “Because it excites a feeling of delightful deliciousness – life takes on a new appearance.”

Wolf, author of 11 books, earned his Ph.D. in theoretical physics at the University of California-Los Angeles in 1963.

He has taught at the University of London, the University of Paris, the Hahn-Meitner Institute for Nuclear Physics in Berlin, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and San Diego State University. Wolf, who has appeared on the Discovery Channel’s The Know Zone, was featured in the 2004 documentary What the Bleep Do We Know?

Wolf’s wide-ranging talk also touched on ideas about time itself, which he has discussed with aboriginal shamans in Australia. Some people may think of time as a straight line, but the shamans see it as a hoop, which he likened to a memory loop.

“The future and the past communicate with each other,” he said.

The talk also strayed into the philosophical at some points.

“Life moves like a gigantic wave and we are caught atop it,” he said. Wolf believes the key lies in learning to surf that wave, not merely finding ways to survive in its wake.

“Reality is not just the physical stuff that’s all around us,” Wolf said in his conclusion. “It’s the relationship of the mind with the physical world that creates the perception of reality. There is no reality without a perception of reality.”



On the Internet

Learn more about Fred Alan Wolf online at www.fredalanwolf.com.

For more details about the Harpur Forum, visit http://harpurforum.binghamton.edu.
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Last Updated: 10/14/08