Tag Archives: quantum

~Quantum Biology~

Physicists have known about quantum effects for well over a hundred years, where particles defy our sensibilities by disappearing from one place and reappearing in other, or by being in two places at once. But these effects are not relegated to arcane lab experiments. As scientists are increasingly suspecting, quantum mechanics may also apply to biological processes.

Perhaps the best example is photosynthesis — a remarkably efficient system in which plants (and some bacteria) build the molecules they need by using energy from sunlight. It turns out that photosynthesis may in fact rely on the “superposition” phenomenon, where little packets of energy explore all possible paths, and then settle on the most efficient one. It’s also possible that avian navigation, DNA mutations (via quantum tunnelling), and even our sense of smell, relies on quantum effects. Though it’s a highly speculative and controversial field, its practitioners look to the day when insights gleaned may result in new drugs and biomimetic systems (with biomemetics being another emergent scientific field, where biological systems and structures are used to create new materials and machines).