The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

August § The Common Test / 2016-02-16 21:04:46
Robin § Unforgotten / 2016-01-08 21:19:16
MsFitNZ § Towards A Theory of Secondary Literacy / 2015-11-03 21:23:21
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 18:39:56
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 16:32:50
Matt § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-05 01:49:12
Greg Linch § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 18:05:52
Robin § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 05:11:02
P. Renaud § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 04:13:09
Jay H § Matching cuts / 2014-10-02 02:41:13

Quantum biology
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Oh wow. Photosynthesis depends on quantum effects for its amazing efficiency:

The quantum wizardry appears to occur in each of a photosynthetic cell’s millions of antenna proteins. These route energy from electrons spinning in photon-sensitive molecules to nearby reaction-center proteins, which convert it to cell-driving charges.

Almost no energy is lost in between. That’s because it exists in multiple places at once, and always finds the shortest path.

Two things:

  • The lead researcher “predicts the emergence of an entire field of quantum biology.” YES.
  • The observations in this work were made with femtosecond lasers. Back in college, I worked in a femtosecond laser lab for a semester. These things are so insanely high-tech, and really one of the absolutely essential tools in modern chemistry. Think of a femtosecond laser as a camera with the fastest shutter speed ever. Events that would otherwise be bright smears are captured frame-by-frame, a quadrillionth of a second (!) at a time.

I find myself gazing at the vines on the cement wall outside the cafe here—now blowing in the wind and rain—with newfound awe. Quantum biology!

2 comments

Hmm. On one hand I feel like all chemistry is dependent on quantum mechanics and so quantum biology is really not _that_ crazy an idea, but on the other hand: ooh, femtosecond laser spectroscopy of an intact room temperature photosynthetic cell. . ..that’s pretty great.

Rogerio says…

Smell (olfaction) can also be considered quantum biology. Look for Prof. Luca Turin’s research for this. An interesting article about it: http://neurophilosophy.wordpress.com/2006/12/12/the-quantum-mechanics-of-smell/

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