Islamic Spirituality Amid Quantum Revolution

Ines Safi is a Muslim Tunisian physicist working at the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). She’s interested in the meanings of quantum mechanics, as well as environmental and ethical issues raised by science.

During her PhD, Safi has predicted the charge fractionalization in quantum wires. She achieved this through introducing chiral plasmonic density operators and proposing uni-directional injection of electrons.

Physicists recognize her model since 1996 as the most suited to study quantum transport in quantum wires and carbon nanotubes.

In particular, Safi has discovered a new crucial phenomena, a momentum-conserving reflection of an electron impinging on an interacting wire, which can extend to edge states in the fractional quantum Hall regime.

This interview by TVIslamScience took place during an international conference about the 21st century’s dialogue between science and Islam.

The event was organized by Al Jazeera Center for Studies, the Interdisciplinary University of Paris (IUP) and the Science & Islam project. The attendees were 27 personalities, among whom 2 Nobel Prize recipients. That’s in addition to some prominent Muslim researchers from the universities of Berkeley, Oxford, Cambridge and the Sorbonne.

Fruitful Dialogue

The event seeked popularizing certain philosophical implications of contemporary science among the Muslim public. It aimed to show how a multidisciplinary approach can be the basis of a new dialogue among cultures.

Furthermore, it identified principles around which a reasoned exchange can take place among science, religion, and cultures. Moreover, it seeked constructing a process for delineating science in the search of meaning in a more complex globalized world. This kind of world full of promise, but one which also carries dangers and threats for future generations.

For Dr. Jean Staune, founder of IUP, the gathering was a “creative dialogue between Muslim experts in science and religion and their Western counterparts.” He also suggested that “we must exercise both science and religion with humility.”

Roald Hoffmann of Cornell University, the 1981 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, said that “he didn’t wish to minimize the differences between science and religion,” but that both are “ways of trying to understand the world.”

The key to a positive relationship between the two domains is for science to give up its imperialistic dreams and for religion to be less dogmatic and more open to contributions from other fields.