Applying quantum thinking to biology
|October 4, 2011||Posted by News under News, Physics|
From Michael Brooks at New Scientist (03 October, 2011), we learn about “Quantum life: The weirdness inside us”:
We all run on adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, a chemical made in cells’ mitochondria by moving electrons through a chain of intermediate molecules. When we attempt to calculate how speedily this happens, we hit a problem. “In nature the process is much faster than it should be,” says Vlatko Vedral, a quantum physicist at the University of Oxford.
Vedral thinks this is because it depends on the quality of “superposition” which allows the sort of quantum-mechanical wave that describes electrons to be in two places at once. He reckons quantum omnipresence might speed the electrons’ passage through the reaction chain. “If you could show superposition is there and it’s somehow also important for the electron flow, that would be very interesting,” he says.
Vedral’s first calculations support the idea, but he says it is too early to make any claims.
Still, he’s asking some good questions.
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