Foundations of Physics Group, School of Physics, Institute for Research in Fundamental Sciences (IPM)

• Quantum Effects in Biological Systems

Science with its revolutionary developments in recent decades shows that known fundamental notions such as matter and energy are not sufficient for conceiving the real nature of the world. Regarding the notion of information, one may hope to grasp odd aspects of natural phenomena which are beyond the na´ve description of materialism, mechanism and superficial determinism. The main questions, here, for us are those including the subjective or objective character of information, its primary role in building the real stuff of the world and failures of pragmatic interpretations of information in elucidating the concept of information. Also, the role of information in expounding the relationship between mind and matter is of great interest. Erwin Schr÷dinger, one of the founders of quantum theory, was also one of the first scientists to suggest a study of quantum theory in biology in his 1944 book -What Is Life?-. Recently, a new field of research has emerged which is called "Quantum Biology" or "Quantum Effects in Biological Systems". Quantum biology refers to applications of quantum mechanics to biological objects and problems. Study of quantum mechanical phenomena in biological systems is an emerging area of interdisciplinary research spanning physics, chemistry, biology, material science, and quantum information science. Briefly, this field of science uses computation to model biological interactions in light of quantum mechanical effects. Some examples of the biological phenomena that have been studied in terms of quantum processes are the absorbance of frequency-specific radiation (i.e., photosynthesis and vision); the conversion of chemical energy into motion; magneto-reception in animals; DNA mutation ; and Brownian motors in many cellular processes. Recent studies have identified quantum coherence and entanglement between the excited states of different pigments in the light-harvesting stage of photosynthesis. Although this stage of photosynthesis is highly efficient, it remains unclear exactly how or if these quantum effects are relevant biologically.