The "quantum underground": Where life and consciousness originate

Travis J.A. Craddock, Stuart R. Hameroff, Jack A. Tuszynski

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


As our knowledge of reductionist details of living systems continues to grow, the gap in understanding life and consciousness remains wide. Progress has been made, e.g., biological organisms are seen as complex hierarchical amalgamations of elements interacting in self-similar, "scaleinvariant" patterns within and across spatio-temporal scales (" 1/f "). But the mechanism for trans-scalar communication is unknown, as are the origin and foundation, i.e., the "bottom fl oor" of scale-invariant systems in biology. Here, we describe scale-invariant hierarchies in brain and living organisms in general, originating in a biomolecular "quantum underground" pervading neurons, glia and all living cells, most specifi cally within cytoskeletal microtubules. The quantum underground is a non-polar solubility phase composed largely of π-electron resonance clouds of aromatic amino acids, similar to pi-resonance arrays mediating quantum coherence in photosynthesis proteins. In the brain, the quantum underground is identifi ed as the origin of consciousness by the Meyer-Overton correlation, showing where anesthetics act to erase consciousness while sparing non-conscious brain activities. Evidence points to anesthetics acting to dampen quantum dipole oscillations in the "Meyer-Overton quantum underground" within brain neuronal microtubules. These quantum dipole oscillations are seen as the "inward apex," the origin of scale-invariant processes in consciousness and life.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationBiophysics of Consciousness
Subtitle of host publicationA Foundational Approach
PublisherWorld Scientific Publishing Co. Pte Ltd
Number of pages57
ISBN (Electronic)9789814644266
ISBN (Print)9789814644259
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016


  • 1/f
  • Anesthesia
  • Consciousness
  • Emergence
  • Hierarchy
  • Life
  • Meyer- overton
  • Micro tubules
  • Quantum coherence
  • Scale-invariance
  • Tryptophan
  • Tubulin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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