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Arthur Zajonc | About Log Into Editor



Name: Arthur Guy Zajonc

Date and Place of Birth: October 11, 1949, Boston, Massachusetts

Amherst College Office: Physics Department

Amherst College

Amherst, MA 01002



Academic Degrees:

Ph.D., Physics, University of Michigan, August 1976

M.S., Physics, University of Michigan, December 1973

B.S.E., Engineering Physics, University of Michigan 1971

Current Appointment:

Professor of Physics, Amherst College, 1991-present

Director, Academic Program, Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, 2004-present.

Past Appointments:

· Andrew W. Mellon Professor, Amherst College, 2006- 2009

   Senior Program Director, The Fetzer Institute, 1995-1997

· Chairman, Department of Physics, Amherst College, 1987-1989, 1998-2000, 2005-2009

· Associate Professor of Physics, Amherst College, 1984-1991

· Assistant Professor of Physics, Amherst College, 1978-1984

· Scholar-in-Residence, The Fetzer Institute, July-December 1993

· Fulbright Professor, University of Innsbruck, Austria, January-June 1993; teaching and research on the Experimental Foundations of Quantum Physics with A. Zeilinger.

· Visiting Scientist, Department of Physics, University of Rochester, June 1991, and August 1991 with L. Mandel.

· Visiting Scientist, Institute for Quantum Optics, University of Hannover, Germany, June 1986 with Mlynek and Lange.

· Visiting Research Physicist, Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, Garching (Munich), Germany, June-July 1984, with H. Walther.

· Visiting Associate Professor of Physics, Ecole Normale Superieure, Laboratoire de Spectroscopie Hertzienne, Paris, September 1981-July 1982, with M.A. Bouchiat.

· Postdoctoral Research Associate, Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics at the University of Colorado and the National Bureau of Standards, Boulder, Colorado, September 1976-July 1978, with A.V. Phelps and Alan Gallagher.

Other Appointments/Affiliations:

Advisor to the World Future Council, Hamburg Germany. 2006-present

Foreign Correspondent, Center for Research in Applied Epistemology CREA, École Polytechnique, Paris, 2003-present.

Co-director of the Five College Faculty Seminar on New Epistemologies and Contemplation, 2003-present

Board of Directors and also Scientific Advisory Board of the Mind and Life Institute (which convenes conferences with H. H. the Dalai Lama), 1998-2006

President of the Lindisfarne Association, 1997-present; Fellow since 1982.

Founding member and Treasurer of the Kira Institute (interdisciplinary institute for science and values) 1997-present

Advisor to the Fetzer Fellows Program, 1998-2002

Founding Fellow of the Fetzer Institute, Michigan.

Member Advisory Board, The Nature Institute, New York

Member of Advisory Board, E.F. Schumacher Society, Massachusetts

Member of Advisory Board, Whidbey Institute, Washington.

Center for the Contemplative Mind in Society, Academic Program Advisory Board (1996-present) and director of its Academic Program (2004-present)

General Secretary, Anthroposophical Society in America, 1994-2002.

Director, The Owen Barfield School of Sunbridge College, Co-founder and Director, 2003-present.

Editorial Board of Journal of Consciousness Studies from its founding to the present.

Editorial Board of Revision Magazine

Member Editorial Advisory Board of Orion Magazine from its founding until 1998.


· Amherst College Trustee-Faculty Fellowship for research at the Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris, 1981-82

· Fulbright Scholar 1993 for teaching and research at the University of Innsbruck.


Book: The Quantum Challenge: Modern Research on the Foundations of Quantum Mechanics

(Boston, MA: Jones &Bartlett, 1997 & 2nd revised and expanded edition 2005).

A book written for undergraduate science majors or above exploring the foundations of quantum mechanics with a special emphasis on recent experiments (with George Greenstein).


1. “Differential cross section for electron impact excitation of metastable helium measured by the atomic-time-of-flight method," J. Phys. B.: Atom. Molec.Phys. 10, L43-467 (1977).

2. “Differential cross section for electron impact excitation of metastable helium,"

Physical Review A18, pp. 1408-14 (Oct. 1978) with G. Weinrich, J. Pearl and J.C. Zorn.

3. “Electron excitation of Li S and D States," Physical Review A20, pp. 1393-1397 (Oct. 1979) with Alan Gallagher.

4. “Novel high-temperature, Na vapor cell," Review of Scientific Instruments 51, pp. 1682-84 (Dec. 1980).

5 “Non-radiative transport of atomic excitation in Na vapor," Physical Review A23, pp. 2479-87 (May 1981) with A. V. Phelps.

6 “Measurement of spectral line splittings with a student-grade, Fabry-Perot interferometer,"

American Journal of Physics 50, pp. 404-406 (May 1982).

7. “Transition probability for Ca (4s4p 1S-4s4p 1P)," Physical Review A25, pp. 2830-33 (May 1982).

8 “Proposed quantum-beats, quantum-eraser experiment," Physics Letters A, 976A, pp. 61-65 (June 1983).

9 “High-precision measurement of lifetimes and collisional decay parameters in Ca 1D2 states using the two-photon Hanle effect," Physical Review A31, pp. 2268-2278 (April 1985) with L. Hunter, G. Watson and D. Weiss.

10. “Delayed-choice experiments in quantum interference," Physical Review A35, pp. 2532-41 (1987) with T. Hellmuth, W. Schleich, and H. Walther.

11. “Quantum interference and the quantum eraser," Nature, December 1991 with L. J. Wang, K.Y. Zou and L. Mandel

12. “Do Quantum Jumps Occur at Well-defined Moments of Time?" American Journal of Physics, (1995) with George Greenstein

13. “Light: Re-considered,” Optics and Photonics News, vol. 3, no. 1 (October 2003) pp. 2-5.

14. Review of book by The Dalai Lama, The Universe in a Single Atom for Physics Today, September, 2006, pp. 60-62.

PUBLICATIONS - Science and the Humanities:


1. Catching the Light: The Entwined History of Light and Mind

(Bantam, 1993; Oxford University Press, 1995).

The book is written for a general audience and examines a wide spectrum of thought about light; both scientific and cultural, from the ancient past to contemporary discussions. Also explores themes of scientific method, imagination and the evolution of consciousness. Translated into six languages.

2. Goethe's Way of Science: A Phenomenology of Nature

(Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 1998) A collection of essays edited with David Seamon, which explore aspects of Goethe's scientific thought and relates it to contemporary philosophical and scientific trends.

3. The New Physics and Cosmology: Dialogues with the Dalai Lama

(NY: Oxford University Press, 2004) The proceedings of a five-day dialogue between six Western scientists and the Dalai Lama, edited and narrated by Arthur Zajonc.

4. The Dalai Lama at MIT,

(Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006) with Anne Harrington. The proceedings of a two-day dialogue between the Dalai Lama, Buddhist scholars and cognitive scientists on emotion, attention and mental imagery, held at MIT in 2003.

5. We Speak as One: Twelve Nobel Laureates Share Their Vision for Peace (Denver, CO: PeaceJam, 2006). Profiles and an imaginary conversation of 12 Nobel Peace Laureates on the peace, the world situation, and the root causes of conflict. Published for the 10th anniversary of PeaceJam, a youth organization that builds the capacity for peace in young people.

6.  Meditation as Contemplative Inquiry: When Knowing Becomes Love (Gt. Barrington, MA: Lindisfarne Press, 2009) Offers an overview of meditation as a means both of establishing equanimity and insight.

Journal Articles:

1. “Goethe's Theory of Color and Scientific Intuition," American Journal of Physics 44, pp. 327-333 (1977).

2. “The Two Lights," The Lindisfarne Letter, 14 (1982), pp. 53-82 and in Homage to Pythagoras.

3. “Facts as Theory: Aspects of Goethe's Philosophy of Science," Columbia Teachers College Record, 85 (Winter 1983), pp. 251-74; and in Goethe and the Sciences: A Reappraisal, F. Amrine, F. Zucker and H. Wheeler, editors (Reidel, Boston, 1986).

4. “The Wearer of Shapes: Goethe's Study of Clouds and Weather," Orion Nature Quarterly. Winter 1984. Reprinted in 1986 The Golden Blade.

5. “Computer Pedagogy? Questions Concerning the New Educational Technology," Columbia Teachers College Record, 85 (Summer 1984), pp. 569-77. also published in book form by Columbia University Press (1986).

6. “The Geometry of Life: Towards a Science of Form," Orion Nature Quarterly, Winter 1985, pp. 48-59. A discussion of attempts to capture the forms of life in mathematics, especially recent work in projective geometry.

7. “The Earth's Many-Colored Mantle," Orion Nature Quarterly. Winter 1985. On the cultural and scientific history of rainbows, lightning and the aurora.

8. “Light and Cognition: The Imperatives of Science," in Gaia 2: Emergence, the Science of Becoming, edited by William IrwinThompson, papers from the conference "Biology as a Basis of Design," Perugia, Italy, (Lindisfarne Press, 1991).

9. “Science Within an Ecology of Mind: Alternatives in Educational Reform," Holistic Education Review, September 1992.

10. “New Wine in What Kind of Wineskins? Metaphysics and Science in the 21st Century," in New Metaphysical Foundations of Modern Science, edited by Willis Harman and Jane Clark (Institute of Noetic Sciences, 1994).

11. “Buddhism Technology: Bringing a New Consciousness to Our Technological Future," lecture for the E. F. Schumacher Society, 1997. Published in Annals of Earth (1998) and by Schumacher Society as booklet (http://www.smallisbeautiful.org/frameset_publication.html).

12 "Goethe and the Phenomenological Investigation of Consciousness," proceedings from the 1998 conference "Toward a Science of Consciousness III," eds. S. Hammeroff, A. Kaszniak, and D. Chalmers (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1999)

13. “Molding the Self, The Common Cognitive Sources of Science and Religion” in Education as Transformation, edited by Victor H. Kazanjian, Jr. and Peter L. Laurence (NY:Peter Lang, 2000), pp 59-68.

14. “Spirituality in Higher Education: Overcoming the Divide,” Liberal Education, (Journal of the American Association of Colleges and Universities) Winter 2003, vol. 89, no. 1, pp. 50-58.

15. “Survey of the Transformative and Spiritual Dimensions of Higher Education” http://www.contemplativemind.org/resources/pubs.html and in the Journal of Transformative Education, vol. 1, no.3 July 2003, pp.177-211, with Maia Duerr and Diane Dana.

16. Love and Knowledge: Recovering the Heart of Learning Through Contemplation,” Teachers College Record, vol. 108, no. 9, September 2006, pp. 1742-1759. Reprinted also in the Journal of Cognitive Affective Learning under the title “Cognitive-Affective Connections in Teaching and Learning: The Relationship between Love and Knowledge.”


17. “Science and Spirituality: Finding the Right Map,” book chapter in Integrative Learning and Action: a Call to Wholeness, edited by Susan M. Awbrey, Diane Dana, Vachel W. Miller, Phyllis Robinson, Merle M. Ryan and David K. Scott (NY: Peter Lang, 2006) pp. 57-80.

18. “Human Endogenous Development,” Moving Worldviews: Reshaping sciences, policies and practices for endogenous sustainable development eds. Bertus Haverkort and Coen Reijntjes, (Leusden, Netherlands: Compas, 2006). Available at www.compasnet.org as PDF.

19.  “What he can teach us about the brain,” Times Higher Education Supplement, September 15, 2006, pp. 18-19. A feature article on science, education and the Dalai Lama.

20.   Contemplative and Transformative Education” Kosmos vol. 6, number 1, pp. 42-44,  2006.

Selected lectures and other activities:

·        Co-moderator for Mind and Life Dialogue with Dalai Lama on Universe in a Single Atom, Dharamsala, India, April 9-13, 2007.

·        Uncovering the Heart of Higher Education conference, San Francisco. Organizer and presenter, February 22-25, 2007.

·        “Science and Spirituality: Seeking Common Cognitive Ground,” Colorado College, February 1, 2007.

·        “Experiential Ethics: Reconnecting Ethical Judgments to Moral Agents.” Yale University Bioethics Center, January 24, 2007.

·        Advisor to UCLA Higher Education Research Institute’s project on Spirituality in Higher Education, Nov 14-16, 2006

·        Contemplative Pedagogy” keynote, University of Michigan conference, Sept 29, 2006

·        Oxford College of Emory University, keynote talk at conference on cognitive and affective learning, March 24, 2006.

·        Dutch COMPAS meeting on sustainable development, invited participant and presenter, November 27-30, 2005