Quantum Biology


(T) Over the holidays, I discovered the book from Jim Al-Khalili and Johnjoe McFadden “Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology”. Doctor Al-Khalili is a pioneer in quantum biology. Quantum biology aims to discover the underlying quantum physics that can explain some biological processes and phenomena such as the way proteins fold or genes mutate, the way plants harness light in photosynthesis or the way some birds navigate using the Earth’s magnetic field.

Wikipedia has an excellent definition of it:

“Quantum biology refers to applications of quantum mechanics to biological objects and problems. Usually, it is taken to refer to applications of the “non-trivial” quantum features such as superposition, nonlocality, entanglement, and tunneling, as opposed to the “trivial” but ubiquitous quantum mechanical nature of chemical bonding, ionization, and other phenomena that are the basis of the fundamental biophysics and biochemistry of organisms. It is still a tentative field, with research into it often being neglected in favor of other applications of quantum phenomena. It can be defined as the study of quantum phenomena within biological systems. Originally it had been thought that the heat engines of biological systems were not enough to produce quantum phenomena, but as evidence mounts that view has ceased to be popular.

Austrian-born physicist and theoretical biologist Erwin Schrödinger, one of the founders of quantum theory in physics, was also one of the first scientists to suggest a study of quantum biology in his 1944 book What Is Life?.”

Following is one of the most popular lectures from Professor Al-Khalili on quantum biology:

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign has a research department on quantum biology that it is worth checking out: http://www.ks.uiuc.edu/Research/quantum_biology/


Professor Jim Al-Khalili Website: http://www.jimal-khalili.com
Wikipedia Quantum Biology: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_biology

Note: The picture above is from the Tilden botanical garden in Berkeley.

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Categories: Physics