Arthur Zajonc

Arthur Zajonc is president of the Mind & Life Institute, former director of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, and a professor of physics at Amherst College, where he has taught since 1978. He received his B.S. and Ph.D. in physics from the University of Michigan. 

He has been visiting professor and research scientist at the Ecole Normale Superieure in Paris, the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, and the Universities of Rochester and Hannover. He has been Fulbright professor at the University of Innsbruck in Austria. 

As a postdoctoral fellow at the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics he researched electron-atoms collision physics and radiative transfer in dense vapors. His research has included studies in parity violation in atoms, the experimental foundations of quantum physics, and the relationship between sciences, the humanities and contemplation. He has written extensively on Goethe’s science and is author of the books Meditation as Contemplative Inquiry, Catching the Light, co-author of The Quantum Challenge, and co-editor of Goethe’s Way of Science. In 1997 he served as scientific coordinator for the Mind and Life dialogue with H.H. the Dalai Lama published as The New Physics and Cosmology: Dialogues with the Dalai Lama (Oxford 2004). He again organized the 2002 dialogue with the Dalai Lama, “The Nature of Matter, the Nature of Life,” and acted as moderator at MIT for the “Investigating the Mind” dialogue in 2003 (see He has also been General Secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in America (1994-2002), president of the Lindisfarne Association, and a senior program director at the Fetzer Institute.

The Frontier of Science and Education


Since Galileo, science has had a bias towards simplification for the very sensible and practical reason that it was all it could handle. Nothing is wrong with this as long as the limitation of the method is not projected onto reality, limiting it.