Founding Members - The Kira Institute
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Founding Members

These original Kira members were all active in organizing the Kira Summer Schools and Weekend Meetings through 2002.  During the next few years we continued to hold Weekend Meetings, but over time Arthur, Bas, and Roger shifted the focus of their activities.  This led us to establish a new Board in 2008.  Piet and Steven remain on the board as core Kira faculty.

Piet HutPiet Hut is Professor of Astrophysics and Interdisciplinary Studies at the Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) in Princeton, NJ, where he has been on the faculty since 1985. He is also Head of the Program for Interdisciplinary Studies, a new program at IAS that he founded in 2002 (see for the program and  for his web site).  He has been a founding member for a number of different interdisciplinary initiatives, including the B612 foundation, the GRAPE project, and MODEST and MUSE.

Roger N. ShepardRoger N. Shepard is Ray Lyman Wilbur Professor of Social Science Emeritus in Stanford's Department of Psychology. He is now completing a book based on his 1994 William James Lectures at Harvard, "Mind and World." His previous books include Mental Images and Their Transformations (MIT Press, 1982) and Mind Sights (W. H. Freeman, 1990). Shepard is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, and a recipient of the 1995 National Medal of Science.

Steven TainerSteven Tainer is the Kira Board Secretary. Originally trained in academia as a philosopher of science, he then became one of the first students of Tibetan Buddhist philosophy and practice in the West, earning an advanced degree from his original Tibetan teacher. He has studied Eastern contemplative traditions intensively for thirty-nine years with many Tibetan, Chinese and Korean masters, and has also served on the faculty of the Institute for World Religions and the Berkeley Buddhist Monastery since the mid-1990’s. Working on behalf of his teachers, Steven has written or edited many books on Buddhism and Taoism (including Dragon's Play, and Time, Space, Knowledge), and is the Editor of WoK (

Arthur G. ZajoncArthur G. Zajonc is Professor of Physics at Amherst College. His research has been in the experimental foundations of quantum mechanics and quantum optics. He combines these with studies in the history and philosophy of science, and the relation of science to the humanities. He is the author of Catching the Light and the co-author of The Quantum Challenge.

Bas C. van FraassenBas C. van Fraassen is Professor of Philosophy at Princeton University. He has published several books on the philosophy of science, including The Scientific Image, Quantum Mechanics: An Empiricist View and The Empirical Stance. Besides philosophy of science, his interests include philosophy of literature and the connections between art, literature and science.

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