Screen Shot 2019-09-06 at 11.39.31 PM.png

The BrainMind Summit Special Event on the Science of Consciousness will convene on October 14, 2019.

On October 14, 2019, BrainMind and the Templeton World Charity Foundation is hosting a Special Event on Consciousness as part of the BrainMind Summit at Stanford with the world’s leading researchers and philosophers involved in consciousness research and philosophy of mind.

This gathering will be the first of an annual series of consciousness retreats, wherein the world’s top minds in the field will share their newest ideas with their smartest peers. Our goal is to ultimately bring this impact to the public, but to maintain the intimate environment of the summits, inclusive of select members of the BrainMind Ecosystem.


  • Selection of multi-disciplinary speakers and attendees dedicated to the exploration of the neural basis of consciousness

  • Powerful short talks on multiple theories of consciousness and their experimental testing grounds

  • Intimate Q&A sessions and shared meals with expert neuroscientists and philosophers

  • Special sessions on the neuroscience of meditation, construction of the self, comparative states of consciousness, and applications of these insights in society today

  • Expansive community space for members the BrainMind ecosystem to connect with each other



Speakers at this gathering have been are chosen for their contributions to the exploration of the neural basis of consciousness. All speakers are available to engage with participants and will host small discussions relating to their talks over lunch.



By convening the world’s top thinkers, researchers, and innovators on the convergence of neuroscience and the study of consciousness, we open the door to collaborations and discoveries that will shape the future of this field. Beginning with this one-day retreat, the Templeton Foundation and BrainMind will cultivate this gathering as the "Sun Valley" of consciousness research and philosophy.


Sunday, October 13th, 2019

Kickoff Dinner for Consciousness Day

6:00 PM Cocktail Hour

7:00 PM Welcoming Remarks with Heather Berlin, MPH, PhD, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Michael McCullough, MD, Founder, BrainMind

7:30 PM Keynote address by Dr. Christof Koch, Chief Scientist and President of the Allen Institute for Brain Science

8:30 PM Special performance by hip-hop artist and playwright Baba Brinkman

9:30 PM After-hours gathering TBD

A Note on the Program:

This highly interactive meeting is by invitation only: hosted locations will be disclosed privately to participants.

An intimate atmosphere allows for open discussion of topics that would be too controversial, or too early, to be discussed in a public forum. We are seeking to bolster and legitimize the research of consciousness, while creating powerful new collaborations to shape the future of this field. These gatherings will evolve over time from a think tank of sorts to a public venue for humanity where these ideas emerge.

This gathering is part of a coordinated effort initiated by the Templeton World Charity Foundation to drive the field of consciousness research forward. We will work with the leaders of the most prominent theories of consciousness to head through a six-stage process that directly tests incompatible theories. This initiative aims to decisively kill off some of the current theories and thereby increase the legitimacy of the remaining theories. This commitment was borne from a larger vision to build a stronger community of consciousness researchers and bridge the gap between academia and society.

Consciousness is at the heart of crucial issues like mental health, pain management, and AI. If successful, we would expect this work to lead to new practices that give us greater control over our subjective experience and more useful interactions between humans and machines. We encourage members of the BrainMind community to get involved in this effort, and this with gathering, we hope to inspire members of our vibrant community to help champion this vision.

Monday, October 14th, 2019

8:00 AM Breakfast

9:00 AM Welcome with Heather Berlin, Michael McCullough, and Dawid Potgieter

9:20 AM Plenary Session:

Fireside Chat: When does Consciousness Emerge? Practical Applications in Society Today
Christof Koch, MS, PhD, Chief Scientist and President of the Allen Institute for Brain Science and Alison Gopnik, PhD, Professor of Psychology and Affiliate Professor of Philosophy, Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley

Conscious Perception as Controlled Hallucination
Anil Seth, DPhil, Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience, University of Sussex, Co-Director, Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, Co-Director, Leverhulme Doctoral Programme: From Sensation & Perception to Awareness, Editor-in-Chief, Neuroscience of Consciousness

Altered States: Psychedelic Medicine and the Brain
Heather Berlin, PhD, MPH Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

Fireside chat with Anil and Heather, moderated by Dawid Potgeiter, DPhil, Senior Program Officer, Head of Program Management, Templeton World Charity Foundation

10:45 AM Break

How the Brain Monitors Its Own Processes: What is Metacognition, and Why Do We Have It?
Megan Peters, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of California, Riverside

The 3Cs Project: Collaborating to Crack Consciousness
Lucia Melloni, PhD, Research Assistant Professor, Department of NeurologyDepartment of Neurology, NYU School of Medicine, US; Department of Neuroscience, Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics, Frankfurt

Generating Consciousness: Beyond Looking for Correlates
Lisa Miracchi, PhD, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Departmental Wellness Advisor, University of Pennsylvania

11:40 AM Break

Consciousness Depends on Quantum Vibrations in Microtubules Inside Brain Neurons
Stuart Hameroff, MD Professor, Anesthesiology and Psychology, Director, Center for Consciousness Studies, The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona

Fireside Chat: Mind, Consciousness, the Body, and Relationships: Exploring the interconnections among these four aspects of being human and their implication for personal and planetary flourishing.
Daniel Siegel, MD, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, UCLA School of Medicine, Executive Director, Mindsight Institute and Antonio Damasio, MD, PhD, Dornsife Professor of Neuroscience, Psychology & Philosophy, Director, Brain and Creativity Institute, University of Southern California

12:45 PM Lunch with Speakers

1:45 PM Closing Remarks



This is a closed-door meeting. All participants are invited members of the BrainMind ecosystem and are carefully selected based on their demonstrated interests. Because only a small subset of the ecosystem can participate, only the most active members of the community will attend. If you would like to inquire about attending, apply here.


Dates: Monday, October 14th, 8am-2pm

Location: This is a private gathering. Further detail will be disclosed to invited participants. Visit the application page here.

Lodging: Please refer to Stanford’s comprehensive lodging guide.

Supporters of Consciousness Day

We would like to thank Stanford’s Cardinal Commitment program and the student group SCOPE for co-sponsoring this gathering hosted at Stanford. We would also like to honor and thank Bo Shao, Colin Fan, Rita Chen, Summerly Horning, and Dan Schulman for their generous support. This special event was made possible by the following supporters of BrainMind’s Consciousness vertical:


The Templeton World Charity Foundation that aims to make progress on the science of consciousness by using adversarial collaboration and a range of other open science practices.

Evolve Foundation makes philanthropic grants and pursues direct philanthropic initiatives that reduce human suffering and facilitate the evolution of consciousness.