Jim Al-Khalili - Quantum Life: How Physics Can Revolutionise Biology

  • An intriguing talk - worth watching.


  • """"Published on Jan 30, 2013

    In this Friday Evening Discourse at the Royal Institution, Professor Jim Al-Khalili explores how the mysteries of quantum theory might be observable at the biological level.

    Although many examples can be found in the scientific literature dating back half a century, there is still no widespread acceptance that quantum mechanics -- that baffling yet powerful theory of the subatomic world -- might play an important role in biological processes. Biology is, at its most basic, chemistry, and chemistry is built on the rules of quantum mechanics in the way atoms and molecules behave and fit together.

    As Jim explains, biologists have until recently been dismissive of counter-intuitive aspects of the theory and feel it to be unnecessary, preferring their traditional ball-and-stick models of the molecular structures of life. Likewise, physicists have been reluctant to venture into the messy and complex world of the living cell - why should they when they can test their theories far more cleanly in the controlled environment of the physics lab?

    But now, experimental techniques in biology have become so sophisticated that the time is ripe for testing ideas familiar to quantum physicists. Can quantum phenomena in the subatomic world impact the biological level and be present in living cells or processes - from the way proteins fold or genes mutate and the way plants harness light in photosynthesis to the way some birds navigate using the Earth's magnetic field? All appear to utilise what Jim terms "the weirdness of the quantum world".

    The discourse explores multiple theories of quantum mechanics, from superposition to quantum tunnelling, and reveals why "the most powerful theory in the whole of science" remains incredibly mysterious. Plus, watch out for a fantastic explanation of the famous double slit experiment.

    Watch this video on the Ri Channel with additional learning materials:


  • Zia saheb: Same problem with me - can not watch the Youtube videos due ban by Pemra.

    Off the topic, I can add that molecular biology has opened unrhinkable amount of new technologies in the world of Science. If you are living in USA you must be eating genetically modified food. Only clonning has been banned by International Court (I think so). The discovery of fundamental particle (Boson to name one) has linked molecular biology with almost all branches of Physics. As you have mentioned previously that scientists have successfully produced millions copies of Shakespeare's sonnet through genetic codes replication. A newly born baby can be identified as to what hereditic diseases it would catch at later stages of life, this is due to DNA code series in STR and epigentic cluster of different proteins around the alleles. Although, tests are still on baby stage but the door is opened and the probabilities are high. We can amend the DNA code or change of proteins clustered around to avoid the hereditical diseases but it is just a beginning, it is a long long way, because there is also possibility of side effects or unexpected result. They are experimenting on animals and unless the results obtained have 99.9% probability rate in their experimental critiques, they are not going to have a go on homo sapien.

    The discovery of fundamental particle's year is 2012. Naturally, our body is made up of trillions of this particle. How the quantum physics law would apply on biological world, can the life be defined through quantum mechanics, all these questions are yet to be probed, but these questions are strong enough to experiment with.

  • this proxy site is best in term of opening banned sites like youtube etc...videos play smootly.try it .

    http://w w w . zalmos.com/

  • Imtiaz Sb,

    How about the alternate link of RI channel in the second post?

    I was hoping it would work in Pakistan.....


    If not should try the proxy site @Xero posted above.