Institute of Neural Computation at University of California, San Diego
Dr. Arnaud Delorme’s Impressions on BI
I was a visiting professor at the Bhaktivedanta Institute for seven weeks in September to November of 2004. My general impression is overall positive. Most of all, I enjoyed the interactions with students twice a week during my course. The course comprises seven students, most of them with an engineering background, but they have been carefully selected among many applicants. They are passionate about the topic of consciousness and want to pursue an academic career in this field, so I had to prepare my course carefully to satisfy their curious and critical mind. This Master program is also unique in the world in the sense that it is the only one that train engineers in the field of cognitive sciences (with a specific emphasis on consciousness in fields of neuroscience, mind-body interaction, quantum mechanics, artificial intelligence, and philosophy).
From what I could experience, the academic rigor is excellent. I attended some classes of a course in quantum mechanics, taught by Professor Unnikrishnan, which were the best I have ever had in physics.
Each student also has its own workstation to write assignments, study PowerPoint slides from the courses, and research literature. Students are also greatly encouraged to study the literature and in this respect (and given the location), the library is impressive with up to date literature and periodicals on most topics linked with consciousness studies.
The scientific laboratory on biofeedback set up by the Institute also seems promising. It provides students with research experience that might even lead to publications in international journals. From the personal point of view, I enjoyed my stay very much. The Bhaktivedanta administration both on the US and the Indian side was irreproachable. In India, the general atmosphere was one of calm and study, at the opposite of the frantic Western life.