The Quantum Mechanics Behind Biology

If you have any interest in science and have ever contemplated your existence within the confines of this universe, chances are that you’ve come across an interactive Flash-based animation called “The Scale of the Universe.” Developed by two 14-year-olds, Cary and Michael Huang, this animation allows the user to scroll through the entire universe, to scale. You can begin at a level that encompasses the entire known universe and scroll your way down 62 orders of magnitude through galaxies, planets, human beings, and individual cells, all the way to the tiniest subatomic structures.

Speaking of those subatomic structures, we’ve all heard that they exist and that they are the foundation of everything. However, these tiny, weird constituents of reality are often ignored on the everyday, macroscopic scale. Many scientists have assumed that once trillions of atoms come together to form an organism, such as a human, quantum effects are diluted. However, physicists such as Erwin Schrödinger (of Schrödinger’s cat fame), Niels Bohr, and Albert Einstein (to name a few) didn’t ignore the quantum realm, and as it turns out, neither should you. There’s substantial evidence that the weird, short-lived processes of quantum physics directly and meaningfully influence things on a physiological scale.

Here are 6 ways in which quantum mechanics potentially affects life on a physiological level:

1)   Photosynthesis works because of quantum coherence.

Continue reading