Real Science Radio host Bob Enyart discusses the growing field of quantum biology with Brian, an information systems guy with one of the world's major institutions who earned a double-major in mechanical engineering and physics from Iowa State University. This engineer argues that some of the extraordinary abilities of biological organisms go beyond what seems possible from standard chemistry and physics. Quantum mechanics, astoundingly, enables the navigational abilities of the Arctic Tern to fly halfway around the globe and of Monarch butterflies to migrate from Canada to Mexico. The startling, often sub-atomic, quantum world of the two-slit experiment and of wave/particle duality, of quantum entanglement, superposition, coherence and quantum tunneling, has disrupted the already wildly complex field of biology. Evidence is mounting that the most bewildering abilities of living organisms come courtesy of the Designer using quantum effects to accomplish what otherwise would seem to be impossible!
RSR's Quantum Thoughts:
- 2018: Quantum Biology Pt. 1 (this program)
- 2019: QB Pt. 2: Our seemingly impossible sense of smell
- 2019: How Quantum Computers Do It: Finally, a Helpful Explanation
- 2019: Google's Quantum Supremacy
- 2019: Top Mathematicians: Ants & Bees, Mold & Amoebas
- 2018: Coincidence or Determinism? Quantum theology and physics
- 2015: An RSR preview show
- 2020: Bob's draft paper rsr.org/wave-particle-duality-is-a-triality
- 2021: Our very own RSR List of Quantum Rules (just below).
* Jim Al-Khalili Reports on Quantum Biology: Even though the title doesn't mention it, this great embedded video is about quantum biology! (And whereas the video says Part 2 of 2, you don't need to find Part 1 and watch it because it's not about quantum biology.) It's great, except of course for the delusional necessary homage to Darwinism from 47:00 to the end. :)
Update: In 2019 the two-slit experiment was conducted successfully with molecules of 2,000 atoms (Fein, et al., Nature Physics) weighing 25,000 to 40,000 AMU (atomic mass units)! Bob stated incorrectly in this 2018 program that to date, the largest molecule used was of 100 atoms. Actually, back in 2013 (Eibenberger, et al., arxiv.org) experimenters produced a quantum interference pattern using a synthetic carbon-based molecule of 810 atoms.
RSR's own Quantum Rules DRAFT List: In January 2021 we posted this astounding list of all known quantum rules. So here are the directives which elementary particles obey...
- Two electrons of the same energy in an atom must have opposite spin
- When two electrons become entangled they must have opposite spin
- Photons emitted, within nanoseconds of each other, from an electron going to ground state, are not entangled unless they are emitted in opposite directions
- When there are no measurements the quantum wave state proceeds (per Schrödinger's equation)
- Any measurement (observation, knowledge of, etc.) collapses the quantum wave state to a particle
- A particle is most likely to materialize where the amplitude of it's wave is greatest
- At which points in space particles will materialize is based on their probability waves (the probabilty of any particular outcome is the wave function squared)
- A massless particle upon creation jumps instantly to the speed of light
- Quarks, all of ⅓ or ⅔ +/- charge must always combine to form entities with zero or unit charge
- Quarks, observed only as components of composite particles, have charges in thirds
- Observed particles have electric charge of 0, +/-1, +/-2, etc.; never observed quarks
- Particles cannot have fractional orbital angular momentum but only 0, ħ (h-bar), 2ħ, 3ħ, etc.
- Leptons (electrons, etc.), nucleons, & quarks' spin angular momentum must be half-odd-integer ½ħ, etc.
- Bosons (photons, etc.) and mesons have integral spin (i.e., in integers; pion = 0; photons, gluons = 1; etc.)
- If a baryon decays the number of baryons must be conserved
- A free neutron decays in minutes whereas it is stable within the nuclei of all the non-radioactive elements
(otherwise eventually only hydrogen would exist because the strong nuclear force needs neutrons to overcome proton repulsion)
- A proton can't decay because it is the lightest baryon (otherwise all elements would be unstable)
- Waves have "allowed regions" based on conservation laws
- If a baryon decays the electrical charge must be conserved
- Virtual particles differ in mass but conserve the energy and momentum of their corresponding particle
- Angular momentum must be quantized in magnitude
- Angular momentum must be quantized in direction
- Bosons can occupy the same quantum state
- All particles decay (strong 10-23 s; e-m 10-16 s; weak 10-13 s) unless prevented by conservation laws
- All known conservation laws:
-- angular momentum J, but orbital (integer ħ) and spin (half-integer ħ) can transfer back and forth
--- orbital (bosons include photons, gluons, Higgs, conventional mesons, etc.)
--- spin (fermions which include leptons, baryons & quarks, etc.)
-- baryon number (i.e., quark number, in protons, neutrons, Lambdas, Sigmas, etc.)
- Conservation laws that have exceptions (as in, "Do not divorce, except for sexual immorality" Mat. 19:9)
-- lepton number (electrons, muons, taus, and their neutrinos, violated including in neutrino oscillation)
-- lepton flavor conservation (neutrinos?)
While Wikipedia has a list of QM equations, RSR posted the above because we've been unable to find a published list of all known quantum rules. If you know of such a list, or have any corrections or additions, please contact us at Bob@rsr.org. Thanks!