Quantum criticality in biologic protein systems (Introduction)

by David Turell @, Saturday, January 12, 2019, 01:06 (133 days ago) @ David Turell

An article on the new interest in quantum mechanics in biologic systems. I've mentioned that photosynthesis shows quantum activity:

https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/indeterminate-nature-the-resurgence-of-quantum-biology

"An old and quirky collaboration between seemingly incompatible scientific fields is producing fascinating new insights into the nature of the living world.

"Meet the discipline known as “quantum biology”: the idea that the oddities of quantum mechanics such as entanglement, quantum tunnelling, superposition of wave states, the uncertainty principle and quantum coherence play vital roles in the biology of living things.

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"Quantum biology is one such meeting point. And while it is producing remarkable and novel findings about olfaction, photosynthesis and the action of enzymes, the interdiscipline is as old as the quantum revolution itself.

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"As early as 1929, Niels Bohr was making vague allusions to the role of quantum thinking in biology, and although such a vision was not yet fleshed out by Bohr himself....

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"Bohr returned to the topic, too, this time arguing that complimentarity, or wave-particle duality (the idea that quantum objects act as both particles and waves, but never both at the same time) was the organicist “new law” that would uncover the mysteries of the living world. Together with Werner Heisenberg, Bohr wondered if such quantum phenomena played an undiscovered role in the mutation and selection of Darwinian evolution.

"In the 1940s Erwin Schrödinger argued that genes and the laws of heredity were sensitive to quantum mechanical dynamics and that the mutations necessary for natural selection arose through quantum tunnelling (the phenomena whereby subatomic particles can reach lower energy states by bypassing, or tunnelling through, intervening higher energy states).

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" Several scientists kept thinking about the connection between quantum mechanics and life, however, with some, such as British mathematical physicist Roger Penrose, even drawing connections between the quantum world and consciousness. But for the most part, many of the early claims of quantum biology were discredited and the classical sciences remained dominant in biology.

"However, in the past few decades quantum biology has experiencing something of a revival. There is now, the authors state, “sound experimental evidence for quantum coherence in photosynthesis and quantum tunnelling in enzyme action; together with strong theoretical arguments and some experimental evidence supporting the role of quantum entanglement in avian navigation and quantum tunnelling in olfaction".

"There are also some tantalising findings to suggest that the “hot, wet and complex” biological systems, non-equilibrium systems fundamentally connected to their environment, might actually promote interesting quantum dynamics, rather than rule them out has had been thought in the sixties.

"The question has now become how quantum phenomena affect biology, rather than if they do. And given that evolution has had three and half billion years to devise ways to harness the oddities of quantum mechanics, there seems much for quantum biology to explore."

Comment: It will be fascinating. If teh vasis of reality is quantum mechanics, it has to have a basis in biology.


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