Scientists have located a man they believe to be the happiest person on the planet. Matthieu Ricard was born on the 15th of February in 1946, in the commune of Aix-les-Bains in south-eastern France. The son of celebrated French philosopher Jean-Francois Revel and painter Yahne Le Toumelin, Ricard was raised in a vastly intellectual community. He worked a molecular geneticist, and in 1972, after completion of his doctoral thesis, he left his life's work to become a Buddhist monk.
Ricard has been promoting his message of happiness for years, but neuroscientist Richard Davidson at the University of Wisconsin put that it the test. 256 sensors were attached to Ricard's skull, they were scanning the level of gamma waves his brain produced. While the scan commenced, Ricard meditated.
The scans showed that when meditating on compassion, Ricard's brain produces a level of gamma waves -- those linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory -- "never reported before in the neuroscience literature", Davidson said.
The scans also showed excessive activity in his brain's left prefrontal cortex compared to its right counterpart, giving him an abnormally large capacity for happiness and a reduced propensity towards negativity, researchers believe.
Ricard is the author and photographer of several books including Happiness: A Guide to Developing Life's Most Important Skill.