HOME  |   ENGINEERING  |   RESEARCH  |   CONTACT
Quantum Biology

JIM AL-KHALILI: QUANTUM BIOLOGY
June 2015

  • Quantum Biology is not new, it has been around since the 1930s. But it is in the last decade that clear evidence shows that there are certain mechanisms that require quantum mechanics to work.
  • The weirdness at the quantum level is very delicate and difficult to observe in the noisy world of cellular biology.
  • Erwin Schrodinger speculated that quantum machanics played a role in life as living organisms had a certain order in their molecular structure that was absent from similarly complex inanimate matter.
  • Quantum tunnelling: a particle represented as a wave has a small probability of passing through an otherwise impenetrable wall.
  • Enzymes speed up chemical reactions inside living organisms, and it is believed that enzymes transfer subatomic particles from one part of a molecule to another using quantum mechanics.
  • Quantum tunnelling is believed to be responsible for mutations in DNA.
  • Quantum coherence: a particle takes a number of routes at the same time.
  • Quantum coherence is believed to play a role in photosynthesis whereby the photon takes numerous paths through the cell to reach the reactor in the most efficient way.
  • Quantum entanglement: a kind of interaction between particles despite separation.
  • It is a theory that birds might navigate using quantum entangled electrons within the same molecule dancing a special dance that is sensitive to magnetic field fluctuations.
  • Quantum biology is still speculative but is based on solid science.
These notes were taken from Jim's TED talk.
For more information visit TED


© 2020 Cedric Joyce