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Quantum Biology

18 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 28 January 2013

From smell to navigation, it seems that some of the hardest problems in biology could be solved with the insights from theoretical physics.

The physicist Erwin Schrödinger wrote a book in the 1940s called “What is Life?” in which he speculated on the role of quantum mechanics on the life sciences. Almost 70 years later, both quantum mechanics and biology have moved on a long way.

But are the two fields converging?

Avian navigation, light harvesting in photosynthesis and even olfaction – the science of smell, all provide hints that nature may have been making use of some of quantum mechanics’ weirder tricks for quite some time.

Jason Palmer looks at the emerging field of quantum biology.

(Music: ©Will Lenton @Mu_Mech)



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