[ExI] Quantum biology
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Fri Apr 23 18:37:00 UTC 2010
HFSP J. 2009 December; 3(6): 386–400.
Published online 2009 November 9. doi: 10.2976/1.3244985.
Quantum physics meets biology
Markus Arndt,^1 Thomas Juffmann,^1 and Vlatko Vedral^2, ^3
^1 Faculty of Physics, University of Vienna, Boltzmanngasse 5, 1090
^2 Atomic and Laser Physics, Clarendon Laboratory, University of Oxford,
Parks Road, Oxford OX1 3PU, United Kingdom
^3 Department of Physics and Centre for Quantum Technologies, National
University of Singapore, 2 Science Drive 3, Singapore 117543, Singapore
Markus Arndt: Email: markus.arndt at univie.ac.at
<mailto:markus.arndt at univie.ac.at>
Received July 2, 2009; Accepted September 17, 2009.
Quantum physics and biology have long been regarded as unrelated
disciplines, describing nature at the inanimate microlevel on the one
hand and living species on the other hand. Over the past decades the
life sciences have succeeded in providing ever more and refined
explanations of macroscopic phenomena that were based on an improved
understanding of molecular structures and mechanisms. Simultaneously,
quantum physics, originally rooted in a world-view of quantum
coherences, entanglement, and other nonclassical effects, has been
heading toward systems of increasing complexity. The present perspective
article shall serve as a “pedestrian guide” to the growing
interconnections between the two fields. We recapitulate the generic and
sometimes unintuitive characteristics of quantum physics and point to a
number of applications in the life sciences. We discuss our criteria for
a future “quantum biology,” its current status, recent experimental
progress, and also the restrictions that nature imposes on bold
extrapolations of quantum theory to macroscopic phenomena.
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