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Quantum Biology ?

I came across this fascinating article in Nature, while making an argument on another thread. The article, titled Physics of life: The dawn of quantum biology....begins...

"On the face of it, quantum effects and living organisms seem to occupy utterly different realms. The former are usually observed only on the nanometre scale, surrounded by hard vacuum, ultra-low temperatures and a tightly controlled laboratory environment. The latter inhabit a macroscopic world that is warm, messy and anything but controlled. A quantum phenomenon such as 'coherence', in which the wave patterns of every part of a system stay in step, wouldn't last a microsecond in the tumultuous realm of the cell.

Or so everyone thought. But discoveries in recent years suggest that nature knows a few tricks that physicists don't: coherent quantum processes may well be ubiquitous in the natural world."

http://www.nature.com/news/2011/110615/full/474272a.html

I have never heard of the term 'quantum biology' before, and this is a fascinating development precisely because most physicists and biologists have long argued that quantum effects could play no part in macro sized biological organisms.

The 'discoveries in recent years' include the involvement of quantum coherence in photosynthesis, and also in avian navigation.

A good deal more speculative, but potentially even more interesting, is this article suggesting that DNA may actually be held together by quantum coherence...

http://www.technologyreview.com/blog/arxiv/25375/

TAGGED: BIOLOGY


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