Saturday, July 04, 2009

The Quantum Life

Paul Davis has an intriguing article on the question if quantum mechanics can describe life.

Half a century later, the dream that quantum mechanics would somehow explain life “at a stroke” — as it had explained other states of matter so distinctively and comprehensively — has not been fulfilled. Undoubtedly, quantum mechanics is needed to explain the sizes and shapes of molecules and the details of their chemical bonding, but no clear-cut “life principle” has emerged from the quantum realm that would single out the living state as in any way special. Furthermore, classical ball-and-stick models seem adequate for most explanations in molecular biology.

Quantum mechanics is certainly relevant in biology and chemistry, which provides the fundamental building blocks of life. However, I'm not sure if QM can currently be used to explain life until both biology and chemistry have adequately describe the "transition" between "non-life" to "life".


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