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Quantum Biology

The new science of quantum biology is teaching us about how the actual behavior of evolution is governed by disconcertingly spooky processes – time travel being one of them. Will quantum computation finally be realized by biomimicry in organic systems? Evolution is the new (old) computation…and we’re about to take the reins. >> Read more

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" applications such as chemical bonding which apply to biology only indirectly by dictating quantum chemistry.

Erwin Schrödinger is one of the first scientists to suggest a study of quantum biology in his 1946 book "What is Life?"

Many biological processes involve the conversion of energy into forms that are usable for chemical transformations and are quantum mechanical in nature. Such processes involve chemical reactions, light absorption, formation of excited electronic states, transfer of excitation energy, and the transfer of electrons and protons (hydrogen ions) in chemical processes such as photosynthesis and cellular respiration. Quantum biology uses computation to model biological interactions in light of quantum mechanical effects.

Some examples of the biological phenomena that have been studied in terms of quantum processes are the absorbance of frequency-specific radiation (i.e., photosynthesis and vision; the conversion of chemical energy into motion; magnetoreception in animals and brownian motors in many cellular processes.

Recent studies have identified quantum coherence and entanglement between the excited states of different pigments in the light-harvesting stage of photosynthesis. Although this stage of photosynthesis is highly efficient, it remains unclear exactly how or if these quantum effects are relevant biologically.

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