The revolutionary science we will consider this semester will be a mashup of several ideas: 1) Quantum effects in biological systems, 2) Intelligence in slime moulds, 3) Consciousness, and 4) Anesthesia. All of these areas independently have large unknown areas and many controversies surrounding current theories but there is some overlap and this is where we may be able to innovate. There is a recent BBC (February 16, 2017) article (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site. about part of the issue that might stimulate some ideas. Here we should be thinking outside the box but mainly in directions that have some observation or theory that hints at revolutionary promise.
Like most revolutionary science, this project will take more thinking than doing. After considering the ideas that I will present to you in class you will brainstorm some insightful questions, a unique hypothesis, and design simple but elegant experiment to test it. You will run the experiment and write a scientific short paper on the subject and a reflection on the process. Simple. The timeline will depend on your process but you should shoot to have it done in the first 2/3 of the semester to meet the ultimate deadline. You will present and discuss your questions, hypothesis and experimental designs in informal meetings with the professor during class or in office hours. You should do them 1 at a time so if your questions need refining you have not already wasted time designing your experiments.
For those more bold:
I suppose to begin you might want to read the original paper on the ORCH OR Theory by Hamerhoff and Penrose from 2013. The paper is a bit odd, but much has been done on the topic since its publication and 6 of the predictions from the main theory have been verified in experiments and none falsified it sets the stage for our project. This paper is nearly impenetrable even for veteran professional scientists so I recommend getting together with a few of your favorite fiends and see if you can extract the main point and really figure out why this is revolutionary. If this is too much to start try the Creativity of Slime Mould paper since we will be using this organism as our model system for testing these idea. Reading up on Physarum is a great idea in general for this same reason. If just can’t get enough read the Cytoskeleton Intelligence paper, but only if you feel good about the other two, then if you connect all 3 you can explain that to me, because I only have a vague idea of how these are fully related.
Finally, to bring it all around to an application you might check out the paper proposing that anesthetics may work on quantum state changes in cytoskeletal elements.