Cajal on Consciousness


Harold J. Morowitz.


    Robinson Professor in Biology and Natural Philosophy
    George Mason University

    Born in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., in 1927, Harold Morowitz earned his Ph.D. at Yale University in 1951. From 1951-1953 he was a physicist at the National Bureau of Standards. Morowitz was on the staff of the National Heart Institute from 1953-1955 before joining the faculty of Yale University in 1955. At Yale, he was associate professor of biophysics (1960-1968), professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry (1968-1988), and master of Pierson College (1981-1986). He joined the faculty of George Mason University in 1988 as a Robinson Professor. Also in this university, Morowitz has directed the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study since 1993.

    The author of several books, Morowitz has written extensively on the thermodynamics of living systems, as well as on popular science topics. In his current research, he is investigating the interface of biology and information sciences and continues the exploration of the origins of life.

    Morowitz has pioneered a new vision on how thermodynamics may be formulated, and to what extent is applicable, to highly structured living sytems, to the biosphere, and indeed to the whole Earth. As a result of the energy flow (his central explanatory concept) the planet Earth stores a lot of energy in its biomass, where it undergoes various transformations, and the planet as a whole is kept far from thermodynamic equilibrium. The energy flow within living organisms involves a great complexity of physico-chemical transformations, as well as space-time organization. Precisely, this intricate space-time structure holds the key to the precise, efficent, and rapid mobilization of both energy and information.

Academic Address

    Krasnow Institute
    George Mason University
    Fairfax, VirginiaVA 22030
E-Mail Address / URL
Some bibliography

    Harold Morowitz has authored and coauthored several books, Life and the Physical Sciences (with Waterman), 1964; Theoretical and Mathematical Biology, 1965; Energy Flow in Biology, 1968; Entropy for Biologists (with Lucille Morowitz), 1970; Life on the Planet Earth, 1974; Ego Niches, 1977; Foundations of Bioenergetics, 1978; The Wine of Life, 1979; Mayonnaise and the Origins of Life, 1985; Cosmic Joy and Local Pain, 1987; The Thermodynamics of Pizza, 1991; Beginnings of Cellular Life (with James Trefil), 1992; The Facts of Life, 1992; and Entropy and the Magic Flute, 1993.

    He contributes a monthly column on science and society to Hospital Practice journal. He is Editor-in-Chief of the journal Complexity.

    The title of his contribution to the Cajal Conference is The Epistemic Paradox of Mind and Matter.