Archive for the ‘Quantum Biology’ Category

Organism and machine

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Organism and Machine Michael Denton In: Are We Spiritual Machines?  Ed. Jay Richards Michael Denton’s chapter is critical of the prevailing brain as a machine paradigm. He claims that the underlying design of organic systems is not at all analogous to the design of machines. All the parts of an organism influence each other, in a way which is not true of machines. Denton says that this principle is well illustrated by the structure of protein, the basic building block of life. The Read more […]

A hard problem & a hard place

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Consciousness and physics: A hard problem leads to a hard place If consciousness is related to quantum biology, the study of consciousness is going to require some concept of the underlying physics, however unpalatable this may be to some of us. We are dealing with a hard problem, and we will have to come to a hard place to solve it. The summary below attempts to provide a very simplified version of the necessary underlying physics drawn from conventional sources. Atomic bonds:  The overlap Read more […]

Quantum and classical interaction

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Quantum and classical interaction Answering Descartes: Beyond Turing Stuart Kauffman, University of Vermont & Tampere University Kauffman is sceptical relative to ideas of consciousness based on classical and macroscopic physics. He proposes instead that consciousness is related to the border area between quantum and classical processing, where the non-algorithmic aspect of the quantum and the non-random aspect of the classical may be mixed. This is termed the ‘poised realm’, and is Read more […]

Photosynthesis type aphids

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Can some insects photosynthesise? New Scientist, 25 August 2012:  Based on Maria Capovilla et al, University of Nice The University of Nice study by Maria Capovilla et al demonstrated that light boosted the production of ATP, the molecule responsible for biological energy, in those aphids that have caretenoids, the pigment found in the chloroplasts of plants, algae and bacteria, but not in otherwise similar aphids that do not have caretenoids. Capovilla thinks that this suggests that some Read more […]

Trytophan’s gate to consciousness

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Stockholm: Towards a Science of Consciousness Conference Is Tryptophan the gate to consciousness? & should the Penrose/Hameroff theory be inverted/simplified Refers to talks by Travis Craddock (University of Alberta) and Rafael Malach (Weizmann Institute) The argument as to whether quantum coherence could be related to consciousness underwent a fundamental shift in 2007. Up to that time the sceptics had a prima facie case against coherence being able to survive for sufficiently long Read more […]

Quantum biology notes

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Quantum biology on the edge of quantum chaos Gabor Vattay, Stuart Kauffman & Samuli Niiranen http://arXiv:1202.6433vl [cond-mat-nn] 29 February 2012 http://arxiv.org/ The authors look for an organising principle to explain the lengthened decoherence time, which recent findings suggest may be ubiquitous in biological systems. P. They attempt to explain why quantum coherence can persist for longer than previously anticipated in biological systems. They also try to show that complex Read more […]

Kauffman’s poised realm

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Reinventing the Sacred Stuart Kauffman (2008) INTRODUCTION: From the point of view of consciousness studies, Kauffman’s ‘poised realm’ is the most interesting aspect of his work. He identifies the poised realm with conditions in photosynthetic organisms where quantum coherence begins to decohere, but is forced back into partial coherence. His hypothesis is that consciousness is found in this border area of decoherence and recoherence, which is suggested to have the potential to supplement the Read more […]

Paul Davies – living organims

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As a physicist, Paul Davies, starts by noting that living organisms represent a state of matter in a class apart from all other matter. The cell is the basic subunit of living matter, and is now understood to be full of nanomachines in the form of the organelles, cytoskeleton, receptors and synapses. Davies discusses Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle as a possible objection to quantum involvement in brain processes. Uncertainty is a potential problem for living organisms, because replication requires Read more […]

Tegmark & Reply to Tegmark

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The importance of quantum decoherence in brain processes Max Tegmark Phys. Rev. E. (1999) http://prola.aps.org/ This paper is often quoted as the definitive refutation of the Penrose/Hameroff model. Less frequently quoted is the response of Hameroff et al pointing out a number of deficiencies in its arguments. Tegmark stresses that the crucial factor for quantum theories of consciousness is the ability to sustain quantum coherence in the conditions of the brain. This much is accepted Read more […]

Resetting entanglement in biomolecules

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Steady state entanglement in open and noisy quantum systems at high temperature L. Hartmann, W. Dur, & H.J. Briegel, Innsbruck University Phys Rev A, vol. 74, issue 5 (dated May 15 2011) http://prl.aps.org This paper is significant in moving away from a Tegmark type orthodoxy of rapid decoherence in high temperature systems, towards a recognition that systems far from thermal equilibrium, such as biomolecules, are capable of resetting entanglement by drawing new particles from the Read more […]