Quantum physics meets biology

Publications: Contribution to journalArticlePeer Reviewed

Abstract

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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)386-400
Number of pages15
JournalHuman Frontier Science Program Journal
Volume3
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 103034 Particle physics

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