The Mystery of Consciousness
• Antonio Damasio is the Dornsife Professor of Neuroscience, Psychology and Philosophy, and the Director of the Brain and Creativity Institute at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. Trained as both a neurologist and neuroscientist, Damasio has made seminal contributions to the understanding of brain processes underlying emotions, feelings, and consciousness. His work on the role of affect in the process of decision-making has made a major impact in neuroscience and psychology and has been distinguished with the Grawemeyer Award (2014) and the Honda Prize (2010). He is the author of numerous scientific articles and has been named a “Highly Cited Researcher” by the Institute for Scientific Information. Damasio is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Bavarian Academy of Sciences, and the European Academy of Sciences and Arts. He has received the Asturias Prize in Science and Technology (2005), and the Nonino, Signoret (2004) and Pessoa (1992) Prizes, among others. He holds honorary doctorates from several leading universities, some shared with his wife Hanna (the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne [EPFL], 2011 and the Sorbonne [Université Paris Descartes], 2015).
Damasio has discussed his research and ideas in several books, among them Descartes’ Error, The Feeling of What Happens, Looking for Spinoza and Self Comes to Mind, which are translated worldwide and taught in many universities. (For more information go to the Brain and Creativity Institute website)
• David Chalmers is a University Professor of Philosophy and co-director of the Center for Mind, Brain, and Consciousness at New York University, and also holds a position at the Australian National University. He is well-known for his work on consciousness, especially for his formulation of the "hard problem" of consciousness. He also works on many other issues in philosophy and cognitive science, and has articles on the philosophy of artificial intelligence and on philosophical issues arising from the movie The Matrix. His books include The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory (1996) and Constructing the World (2010). He has received the Jean Nicod Prize, has given the John Locke Lectures, and is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Chalmers co-founded the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness and has organized some of the most important conferences in the field.
• Marcelo Gleiser is the Appleton Professor of Natural Philosophy and a Professor of Physics and Astronomy at Dartmouth College. He currently directs the Institute for Cross-Disciplinary Engagement at Dartmouth. He graduated from the Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro and obtained his Ph.D. from King's College London in 1986. After postdoctoral appointments at Fermilab and The Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics in Santa Barbara, he joined the faculty at Dartmouth College in 1991. In 1994, he received the Presidential Faculty Fellows Award (PFF) from the White House and NSF. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and a member of its General Council.
Author of more than 100 peer-reviewed articles, Gleiser is a world-renowned theoretical physicist. His research focuses on the physics of the early universe, the emergence of complexity and the origin of life. Gleiser is the author of five books in English exploring the philosophical and cultural roots of science. His latest is The Simple Beauty of the Unexpected: A Natural Philosopher’s Quest for Trout and the Meaning of Everything (ForeEdge, 2016). His other books include The Island of Knowledge: The Limits of Science and the Search for Meaning (Basic Books, 2014) and A Tear at the Edge of Creation: A Radical New Vision for Life in an Imperfect Universe (Free Press, 2010), published in 12 languages. He is a frequent presence in science and religion documentaries in the U.S. and abroad, and he co-founded and contributes to the National Public Radio blog 13.7 on science and culture