The New Biology
Something at the front of scientific research but perhaps not as well communicated is the field of quantum biology. In physics, quantum theory explains the behaviour of the very small packages of energy which make up everyday matter. Quantum physics covers everything from the atom to dark matter,it is the study of particles at a sub-atomic level. It was found that when something is observed at a tiny scale, the usual laws of physics suddenly no longer serve as valid for natural behaviour. A new set of laws and equations were drawn up to describe this new quantum world.
Biology is an old science, it's much older than the hundred year old quantum physics, and could be argued to be tens of thousands of years old. The new array of properties that can be ascribed to individual quanta, which is the term for the packets of energy that quantum science studies, are likely to play vital or important roles in the biological working of life.
When looking at it rationally, we can see how evolution favours natural results of universal action which benefit the life-form. By mutating in tiny amounts, life feels its way around the laws of the universe until a more advanced life system is found than the previous. Because the basis of biology is in fact chemical, the workings of life are considered to be bio-chemical. The way in which chemicals react together is determined by their sub-atomic structure. This structure is adaptable according to quantum physics. So it can be shown that there must be a direct link between quantum states of organic chemistry and the biological processes which it allows.
Nature must have had to adapt to the natural quantum laws as it evolved, and so the actions of quantum principle will be wired into the DNA instructions in the same way regular chemical reactions are also maintained. As the DNA is read by chemical processes and translated into reactions which build the molecules of life, the quantum states present within the DNA and the surrounding cell will undoubtedly have an effect on the end result.
So what does it do? The notion of life is very complicated and so far mostly unexplained. Even processes such as photosynthesis which is the method plants change sunlight and carbon-dioxide into food, and respiration which is the process in which animals make energy from food and oxygen, are not fully understood in chemical terms. It is known that energy states within electrons of atoms are manipulated in order to transfer energy from one type to another. This in itself is a quantum process.
No-one can really explain in real terms how life is alive, and how consciousness allows us to be aware. It's not properly understood how we grow into the shapes that we are and how our electromagnetic field affects our physical health. All of these mysteries are likely to have clues as to their origin in the quantum world. In the way that quanta can be entangled over space and time, the way that they exist in many more dimensions than we can consciously perceive, the fact that quanta can appear and disappear in an instant, move through 'walls', and possibly travel faster than the speed of light, in the way that quantum energy can exist in a dual state as both a particle and a wave, suggesting that its main origin is outside of our reality and its presence is marked by the manifestation of a near solid entity in the visible universe, all gives the biology of life many new ways of establishing itself.
It's almost as if a part of ourselves is in another quantum world, inhabiting strange dimensions that hide just behind the reality we can perceive. I wonder if the imagination has any effect on the quantum state of our mind, or even our fundamental biological processes? Does the way we think and the use of our gift of consciousness change the quantum state of what makes us alive? Many faiths and religious beliefs will have you thinking and acting in certain ways for this very reason. Blessed are the meek.
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Rowan Blair Colver for Alternative Fruit
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