University of Birmingham > Talks@bham > Applied Mathematics Seminar Series > Should Biologists Care About Quantum Mechanics? New Quantum Models of Biological Phenomena

Should Biologists Care About Quantum Mechanics? New Quantum Models of Biological Phenomena

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  • UserGalane J. Luo (Birmingham)
  • ClockThursday 06 December 2018, 13:00-14:00
  • HouseWatson LTB.

If you have a question about this talk, please contact Fabian Spill.

The role of quantum mechanics in biology is a contentious subject of debate. On the one hand, there is little dispute that at the fundamental level, the equations that govern the dynamics of individual, subatomic particles are quantum mechanical. On the other, it is known that the ‘quantumness’ of a system is related to how isolated the system is, and that the noisy environments in biological systems promote the transition of their time-evolution from the quantum to the classical regime. I will present two models supporting the idea that some biophysical processes are fundamentally quantum mechanical, and argue that there are no classical counterparts to these models which are capable of capturing the same behaviours. One of the models relates to proton tunnelling in DNA , and how it could be a mechanism behind spontaneous mutation; and the other concerns electron transport in proteins, which is an essential component of vital processes of life such as photosynthesis. For the benefit of audience members who may be unfamiliar with quantum physics in general, I will introduce its basic notions where appropriate.

This talk is part of the Applied Mathematics Seminar Series series.

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