When It Happens Panel Get involved: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting 'OXFORD NEWS' to 80360 or email
Quantum idea is ‘catching on’ with the top managers
Quantum physics is the key to better management skills, according to physicist and philosopher Danah Zohar .
Author of eight books and voted “one of the world’s hundred best business brains” by the Financial Times, her academic credentials are impressive.
She studied physics and philosophy at the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and did her post graduate degree at Harvard.
Quantum mechanics, the basic scientific theory of the way the world works, was formulated at the beginning of the 20th century by scientists including Einstein.
It replaced theory based on the 17th-century ideas of Galileo and Newton.
The biggest difference, Ms Zohar says, is that quantum mechanics describes the dynamics of ideas, while the old theory describes the dynamics of machines.
She said: “Quantum mechanics is relevant to 21st-century business management because modern firms are driven by rapidly changing ideas, rather than by slowly changing material factors.
“Therefore, understanding the dynamics of ideas is essential.
“People in today’s companies are better understood and treated as conscious creators and implementers of ideas, rather than as programmable machines.
“Quantum mechanics provides an understanding of the mind-brain connection that is not only completely in accord with intuition and common sense but that also describes the way in which mind-brain processes act to fashion the activities of our brains in the service of our ideas.”
Ms Zohar travels the world giving lectures and running workshops to communicate her theories, including to blue-chip companies such as Shell, Motorola, the Cabinet Office of the last government and space agency NASA.
But the American-born scientist is aware her theories are viewed with scepticism at first sight.
She said: “I arrived to speak at NASA’s headquarters and was told my audience was hostile.
“They were asking, ‘Is she some sort of new-age quack or something?’ “So I opened my talk with, ‘Look guys, I know you think I am crazy but...’”
One of her books is called Finding God in Physics, but she is not religous.
She jokes she has “tried all the world’s religions”, having been born into a Christian family, converted to Judaism while at university and taken up Buddhism at a later point.
But she is spiritual, adding: “Spiritual intelligence is deeper than religion and it’s what makes us invent religion.”
Ms Zohar, who has two grown-up children, lived in Oxford’s Bainton Road for 25 years but recently moved to Eynsham.
She wrote most of her books jointly with her husband Ian Marshall, a physicist and philosopher who died three years ago.
“We did everything together. He had this mega brain that remembered everything he ever read,” she said.
Meanwhile, she continues writing and running workshops about why there should be more quantum physics in management, undaunted by the sceptics.
She added: “This stuff is catching on.”
Comments are closed on this article.