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EmQM17 – Towards Ontology of Quantum Mechanics and the Conscious Agent

26/10 – 28/10/2017, University of London, Senate House, Beveridge Hall Related
Foundations, Physics

The symposium will explore the possibility of an ontology for quantum mechanics. The resurgence of interest in realist approaches to quantum mechanics, including deterministic and indeterministic ones, challenges the standard textbook view. In this effort, the symposium will direct focus towards the following questions:

● Are quantum ontologies possible or impossible in view of relativity theory? How to avoid the possibility of causal or information paradoxes? How to interpret the non-signalling theorem?

● Is the world local or nonlocal? What is the nature of the connection between two distant measurement observations that manifest EPR-type nonlocal correlations?

● Are nonlocal connections – “action-at-a-distance” – merely a mathematical construct as in the orthodox view, or are they fundamental elements in a radically new conception of reality?

● Does ontological quantum theory call for a new understanding of temporal relations at the quantum level, including possibly time-symmetric or retro-causal effects from the future?

● What new experiments might yield breakthroughs towards answering the question of whether or not ontological approaches to quantum mechanics could ever be validated?

● What is the role of the experimenter agent/scientific observer in realist quantum mechanics? Do free will and consciousness matter? What is agency, including the ability to know and control?

● What is the future of scientific explanation? Is scientific metaphysics, e.g., the notions of reality, causality, or physical influence, obsolete in mathematical accounts of the quantum world?

● Why emergence? What distinguishes weak emergence, e.g., supervenience, from strong, physical emergence? What is the ontological status of epistemically-inaccessible quantum states?

● What is David Bohm’s legacy for the future of quantum physics? What is his contribution to quantum philosophy and to scientific views of reality characterized by monism and relationality?

On the occasion of David Bohm’s 100th birthday, these and related questions will be addressed in search of a possible “deeper-level theory” for quantum mechanics that interconnects three fields of knowledge: emergence, the quantum, and information. The symposium will offer an open forum for critically evaluating the prospects and significance – for 21st century physics – of ontological quantum mechanics, an approach which David Bohm helped pioneer. Contributions will be invited that present current advances in both standard as well as realist approaches to quantum mechanics, including new experiments, work in quantum foundations, and quantum philosophy.

EmQM17 – Logistical Information

Location:      University of London, Senate House, Beveridge Hall

Date:             October 26 – 28, 2017

The symposium convenes in Beveridge Hall at Senate House of the University of London. Senate House is located right next to Birkbeck College where David Bohm worked for several decades starting in the 1960s.

Lunch will be served daily at MacMillan Hall at Senate House where poster sessions will also be held during all three days of the symposium.

Conference gala dinner

A gala dinner will be held after the conclusion of the symposium on the evening of October 28, 2017. Dinner will be served in the Hall of Middle Temple which is one of the finest examples of an Elizabethan hall in the country with a double hammer beam roof carved from the oak of Windsor Forest and an elaborately carved screen made in 1574.

Hotel information

Invited speakers and special guests of the Fetzer Franklin Fund will lodge at the Bloomsbury Hotel which is a 10-min walk away from the conference venue. In the evening of October 25, 2017, speakers and guests will meet at a welcome reception in the Queen Mary Hall at the Bloomsbury.


Jan Walleczek
Fetzer Franklin Fund, USA, and Phenoscience Laboratories, Berlin

Gerhard Grössing
Austrian Institute for Nonlinear Studies, Vienna

Paavo Pylkkänen
University of Helsinki, Helsinki

The Emergent Quantum Mechanics (EmQM) symposium series is sponsored by the Fetzer Franklin Fund of the John E. Fetzer Memorial Trust. For information about past EmQM symposia, including the video presentations of the invited speakers and the conference proceedings, please visit and For information about the Fetzer Franklin Fund visit

Conference registration and travel arrangements

Invited speakers and special guests of the Fetzer Franklin Fund please contact our event organizer MONDIAL for hotel and travel arrangements, the welcome reception, and the ticket for the gala dinner (contact information will be forthcoming soon).

Attendance of the EmQM17 symposium is open to the public and is free of charge. Symposium participants are requested to register (website contact information is forthcoming) and a name tag will be prepared for the registered participant.