Arthur Zajonc is the former President of the Mind & Life Institute. He is also emeritus professor of physics at Amherst College, where he taught from 1978 to 2012, and former director of the Center for Contemplative Mind, which supports appropriate inclusion of contemplative practice in higher education, from 2009 to 2011.

He was a 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 was a Fulbright professor at the University of Innsbruck in Austria. His research includes studies in electron-atom physics, parity violation in atoms, quantum optics, the experimental foundations of quantum physics, and the relationship between science, the humanities, and contemplative traditions.

He has written extensively on Goethe’s science work, and is the author of Catching the Light: The Entwined History of Light and Mind. He coauthored The Quantum Challenge, and co-edited Goethe’s Way of Science. In 1997, he served as scientific coordinator for the Mind & Life dialogue published as The New Physics and Cosmology: Dialogues with the Dalai Lama; organized the 2002 dialogue “The Nature of Matter, the Nature of Life;” and acted as moderator at MIT for the “Investigating the Mind” dialogue in 2003. The proceedings of the Mind & Life-MIT meeting were published under the title The Dalai Lama at MIT.

As director of the Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, Zajonc fostered the use of contemplative practice in college and university classrooms, and developed the foundations for contemplative pedagogy. He coauthored The Heart of Higher Education: A Call to Renewal with Parker Palmer. Out of this work and his long-standing meditative practice, Zajonc authored Meditation as Contemplative Inquiry: When Knowing Becomes Love, and contributed to the Psychology Today blog on meditation. He served as general secretary of the Anthroposophical Society in America, was a co-founder of the Kira Institute, president of the Lindisfarne Association, and a senior program director at the Fetzer Institute.

This profile was last updated on February 14, 2020

Mind & Life Connections

2015
2014

Mind & Life Videos

Mind & Life Institute: ISCS 2014 highlights

Mind and Life Institute • November 2, 2014

Topics: Brain & Cognitive Science | Contemplative Wisdom | Education | Mental Health

2014 International Symposium for Contemplative Studies Session

Pre-Conference Closing Keynote

Sheryl Petty, Arthur Zajonc

Topics: Contemplative Wisdom | Interconnection | Mindfulness

Audio AvailableVideo Available

2014 International Symposium for Contemplative Studies Session

Keynote Dialogue with His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama

His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Richard J. Davidson, Amishi Jha, Arthur Zajonc

Topics: Brain & Cognitive Science | Contemplative Wisdom | Mindfulness

Audio AvailableVideo Available

Blog

The Bright Knight of the Soul  

Arthur Zajonc • September 18, 2014

Topics: Compassion & Empathy | Interconnection

Blog

The Paradox of Passion

Arthur Zajonc • July 24, 2014

Topics: Education | Interconnection

Mind & Life Videos

Mind & Life XXIX – Session 2

Mind and Life Institute • April 11, 2014

Topics: Brain & Cognitive Science | Contemplative Wisdom

Mind & Life Videos

Mind & Life XXIX – Session 1

Mind and Life Institute • April 11, 2014

Topics: Brain & Cognitive Science | Contemplative Wisdom

2014 Mind & Life Dialogue XXIX

Mapping the Mind

Topics: Brain & Cognitive Science | Contemplative Wisdom

2013

Mind & Life Videos

Mind & Life XXVII – Session 1

Mind and Life Institute • November 1, 2013

Topics: Contemplative Wisdom | Mental Health

2013 Mind & Life Dialogue XXVII

Craving, Desire, and Addiction

Topics: Contemplative Wisdom | Mental Health

Mind & Life Videos

Mind & Life XXVI – Session 5

Mind and Life Institute • January 22, 2013

Topics: Brain & Cognitive Science | Contemplative Wisdom

Mind & Life Videos

Mind & Life XXVI – Session 4

Mind and Life Institute • January 22, 2013

Topics: Brain & Cognitive Science | Contemplative Wisdom

Mind & Life Videos

Mind & Life XXVI – Session 3

Mind and Life Institute • January 22, 2013

Topics: Brain & Cognitive Science | Contemplative Wisdom

Mind & Life Videos

Mind & Life XXVI – Session 2

Mind and Life Institute • January 22, 2013

Topics: Brain & Cognitive Science | Contemplative Wisdom

Mind & Life Videos

Mind & Life XXVI – Session 1

Mind and Life Institute • January 17, 2013

Topics: Brain & Cognitive Science | Contemplative Wisdom

2012

Mind & Life Videos

Mind & Life XXV – Part 10

Mind and Life Institute • October 20, 2012

Topics: Contemplative Wisdom | Mindfulness | Stress & Resilience

2007

Mind & Life Videos

Mind & Life XIV – Session 2

Mind and Life Institute • April 14, 2007

Topics: Contemplative Wisdom

Mind & Life Videos

Mind & Life XIV – Session 1

Mind and Life Institute • April 14, 2007

Topics: Contemplative Wisdom

2007 Mind & Life Dialogue XIV

The Universe in a Single Atom

Topics: Contemplative Wisdom

2003

Mind & Life Videos

Mind & Life XI – Session 4

Mind and Life Institute • September 14, 2003

Topics: Brain & Cognitive Science | Contemplative Wisdom

Mind & Life Videos

Mind & Life XI – Session 3

Mind and Life Institute • September 14, 2003

Topics: Brain & Cognitive Science | Contemplative Wisdom

Mind & Life Videos

Mind & Life XI – Session 2

Mind and Life Institute • September 14, 2003

Topics: Brain & Cognitive Science | Contemplative Wisdom

2002
1998
1997

1997 Mind & Life Dialogue VI

The New Physics and Cosmology

Topics: Contemplative Wisdom

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