Refresh and try again. The Slight Edge Quotes Showing of What you do today matters. What you do every day matters. Successful people just do the things that seem to make no difference in the act of doing them and they do them over and over and over until the compound effect kicks in. The way to accomplish it is to replace the unwanted habit with another habit that you do want. And creating new and better habits, ones that empower and serve you, is something you know how to do. You do it the same way you built any habit you have: They take full responsibility for who they are, where they are, and everything that happens to them.
Well, that may have worked out for Snow White. Someday, when my ship comes in … Someday, when I have the money … Someday, when I have the time … Someday, when I have the skill … Someday, when I have the confidence … How many of those statements have you said to yourself? Have I got some sobering news for you: When tomorrow comes, it will be another today; so will the next day. There is never anything but today. You already have the money. You already have the time. You already have the skill, the confidence. You already have everything you need to achieve everything you want.
Showing up consistently is powerful. Showing up consistently with a positive outlook is even more powerful. Or doing a few minutes of exercise every day—and not skipping it.http://shapers.pandle.co.uk
Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology
Or reading ten pages of an inspiring, educational, life-changing book every day. Or taking a moment to tell someone how much you appreciate them, and doing that consistently, every day, for months and years. Little things that seem insignificant in the doing, yet when compounded over time yield very big results.
Simple productive actions, repeated consistently over time. That, in a nutshell, is the slight edge. Like a penny over time, reading ten pages a day would compound, just like that, and create inside you a ten-million-dollar bank of knowledge. If you kept this up for a year, you would have read 3, pages—the equivalent of one or two dozen books of life-transforming material. Would your life have changed? Every day, every moment, your life path is either curving upward, or curving downward. Growing up we heard five times as many nos as yeses.
It could be that the emergence of life without interaction with invisible and undetectable forces is not possible. That there may be universes or worlds that will forever be dead because they are not interacting with others. That symbiosis and cooperation between the layers of realities were so essential that without them, evolution was impossible. We consist of unknown many such hypothetical processes that we do not understand.
The photosynthesis of plants is based not only on sunlight but also on quantum entanglement. If human beings accidentally interfere with this process through physical experiments or less subtly through genetic engineering, the world would perish. If the ability becomes possible only through an interaction with another dimension, disturbances could make it disappear. The processes in the tiny and colossal call the sea metaphor on the plan. A grain of sand knowledge and an ocean of unanswered questions. A small plant cell is a game that automates a process that requires the hordes of the best scientists and billions of investment in large equipment.
Moreover, the flower also manages to sustain the operation for more than a few thousandths of a second. It makes a living with it. The foundations of many cellular processes, photosynthesis, and chemical processes are currently defined from the point of view of the giant, coarse constituents. Like looking at a factory from the outside. One can see the supply streams, maybe know a few of the primary materials and see the finished end products coming out of the factory.
From an analysis of the smoke from the factory chimneys and the waste that arises, one can make small attempts with reverse engineering. However, what happens in the factory aka all living things can only be guessed. For human consciousness, this raises the question of where and what the self is. In the un-understood brain, the factor is added that unknown smallest parts or mechanisms of action from other dimensions could be significantly involved. So this ego is theoretically exposed to interactions or, probably, manipulations and whisperings from other, inaccessible realities.
When you make a decision, talk, work or think about things like that. Whether it is a one-way street and the opposite direction will remain inaccessible to people like a black hole is one of the critical issues. Not only concerning whether we unconsciously work in other dimensions, when we think or have emotions. However, also regarding the relativity of death. If consciousness does not exist bound to 3 dimensions, then why a body with some wetware in it?
Was liegt alles jenseits der molekularen Ebene? Der Motor des Lebens scheint diffiziler aufgebaut zu sein, als angenommen. Es stellt sich immer mehr heraus, dass die bisherigen Forschungen eher nur einzelne Komponenten der komplexen Maschinerie beobachtet haben. Der eine oder andere Zusammenhang wurde hergestellt und ein paar Prozesse beobachtet. Und das sind nur die Prozesse, die diese sehr junge Wissenschaftsdisziplin bisher untersuchen konnte.
Alleine das widerspricht sowohl unseren fundamentalen Vorstellungen von Physik als auch unserem Weltbild. Ein paar Hypothesen lassen sich aufstellen. Mehr Dimensionen als angenommen. Ein Paralleluniversum wechselwirkt mit dem anderen. Die Naturgesetze sind durch eine unbekannte Art von Entropie geformt.
Oder mehrere Paralleluniversen mit mehreren Arten von Naturgesetzen stehen in komplexem Zusammenspiel. Egal, welchem Modell man den Vorzug gibt. Ein Sandkorn Wissen und ein Ozean von offenen Fragen. Aber was in der Fabrik und in allen Lebewesen wirklich geschieht, kann man nur raten. Nicht nur hinsichtlich dessen, ob wir unbewusst in anderen Dimensionen wirken, wenn wir denken oder Emotionen haben. Jan 26, Paul E. I absolutely loved this book. The subject is fascinating and it's written in an easy-to-read style that is very layman-friendly.
There's a sprinkling of humour and the prose even borders on the poetic in places. The examples the authors choose to illustrate the concepts they are trying to teach are excellently chosen and really held my attention. I recommend this book to anybody with an interest in this seriously engaging subject. View all 13 comments. Aug 22, Gary rated it liked it. I have a problem with most of the new science books that I've been reading lately. They really aren't saying anything new and when they do they seem to enter into woo woo land.
The authors demonstrate nicely how certain biological processes such as the internal magnetic compass of a certain kind of Robin, the photosynthesis in plants, the universal energy currency of life: ATP, the enzyme process, and how the sense of smell can all be thought best in terms of quantum mechanics. Those examples mak I have a problem with most of the new science books that I've been reading lately. Those examples make up the first half of the book.
My problem with the book is the second half. All objective knowledge can be broken down into the subatomic quantum mechanical level, but that doesn't mean they should be. The authors go off the rails and enter the land of woo with ascribing the origins of life, the genetic code in general and mutations in particular, and our consciousness as best understood by quantum mechanical processes.
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As much as the next person, I love the mysteries of the quantum world, but I don't want to reduce the process understudy down to that level unless it is absolutely necessary. I really get tired at how many authors including these refer to the problem of consciousness as the "hard problem".
There have been many strides lately on understanding consciousness, but mixing it with the woo woo of physics the way a Depak Chopra would is never the right approach. It is a pity. This book had a lot going for it in the beginning, because the authors as biologist really know how to explain the physics. The authors tell the listener in very clear terms what Feynman meant by "all the mysteries of physics are contained within the double slit experiment". Everyone who reads books like this one should take the time and trouble and look up the Feynman Lectures on the Character of Physical Law on Youtube, seven of the happiest hours I ever spent.
Also, the authors really knew how to explain the steps in the scientific process a biologist needs in order to reach coherent, consistent, and non-contradictory conclusions. I'm still looking for new popular science books that teach me things I don't already know and which don't enter into the land of woo. A wonderful book describing wonderful things. Science is not my strongest area in learning, but this book makes clear an opaque, to me, part of physics which usually is understood through mathematics and specialized scientific equipment able to view or measure particles of atoms.
As a book written for the general reader, it does not have a lot of math, and it includes drawings which add clarity to the subject addressed in each chapter. The chapters each cover a single main subject which illuminat A wonderful book describing wonderful things. The chapters each cover a single main subject which illuminates how plant and animal molecular biology has been discovered performing vital life-sustaining functions with quantum physics.
Each chapter builds on the previous information described earlier in the book, which allowed this reader to keep up.
The late actor certainly had a way with words.
But I recommend a consistent progression, revisiting the book every day to read a chapter if you are not a science geek. If the book is picked up days later from the last time one may have read it, the reader might need to start over, re-reading again earlier chapters. I was astounded that the authors were able to describe such subjects as quantum photosynthesis and the electrical quantum activity of neurons in such a clear, yet simple, manner that someone not very scientific can understand these important new discoveries.
The last chapters are speculative, but never irrationally so. Instead, I am as excited as the authors are to see if future quantum-biology research will uncover about why we are alive and why rocks are not. These discoveries are new to me because I graduated from college several decades ago. I am very excited about being able to understand the quantum world a touch better through the examples given in each chapter.
I recommend ' The Coming Age of Quantum Biology' to those familiar with the slightly more difficult science magazines and articles. The material is made simple as possible, but it is not dumbed down. The authors propose to give some necessary information on Quantum Biology to be intelligible even to the layman. The primary reason for this book is the search for the origin of life. A countless number of scientists is working on this problem without anyone finding the answer, so far. What exactly is Quantum Mechanics?
This is the question which is being explored throughout this book. For a start, I can quote a few of the basic terminology: The question is crucial to this story because measurement lies on the borderline between the quantum and classical worlds, the quantum edge, where the authors, as you will have guessed from the title of this book, are claiming life also lies. Throughout these chapters, the authors relate and explain how, after twenty years of research they have come very close to finding the missing link to the origin of life by including quantum biology into the elusive equation.
The book is a proposal, not a conclusion. I enjoy reading this work because I was motivated by my recent reading of Darwin's Origin of the Species, and as an excellent link to further reading. It is not an entertaining story, much rather a scientific study addressed to the scientific community in search of followers of their theory.
Sep 05, Charlene rated it really liked it Shelves: I could read an entire book on the inner life of the mitochondria's electron transport chain, and I would be enthralled. I find it pretty exciting when authors want to understand the most in depth mechanisms at work in a each system. I love it even more if the authors take the knowledge they uncover and attempt to apply it to big systems, such as networks, systems biology, etc.
The authors of tis book tried to do ju 3. The authors of tis book tried to do just that.
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I am not exactly sure why I didn't love this book. Perhaps, despite my constant critiques of books that are promoting sexy science at the expense of providing a more realistic understanding of the subject at hand, I wanted more sexy science from this book. At times, even though it examined each phenomenon in great detail, it felt disjointed. I understand the overall theme, but perhaps I needed more hand holding.
Even though I was interested in each subject present I am especially interested in how particles spin, sync, and enter phase transition the books didn't feel that new or exciting. It could be that I have read too many books that have provided some of the same material. Regardless of my criticisms, I think the work being done in quantum biology is important. Particularly important is the focus on explaining how the same forces at work in physics are also at work in biological systems. I like the questions the authors raised. Certainly more work needs to be done to understand how action potentials lead to consciousness.
Once that is established, there is more work still to be done in understanding the quantum nature of action potentials. The discussion on the hard problem of consciousness was by far my least favorite part of the book. I enjoy reading Andy Clark and the Churchlands' take on consciousness but cannot waste one more minute of life justifying Chalmers unscientific discussions on the subject.
Even though these authors were arguing against the type of position Chalmers provides his readers, they went too far in validating it. Overall though, it is great that researchers are attempting to investigate and write about quantum bio. If you are unfamiliar with the field but are curious, it's worth the read. While I've always had a great interest in biology and especially zooloogy, and try to read the New Scientist as and when, I have to admit that chemistry and biochemestry have rather passed me by since my GCSEs.
The astonishing triumph of this book is its legibility, its clarity - Al Khalili is one of the great communicators of scientific ideas. The chapter on the quatum mechanics which may or may not be responsible for our sense of smell was quite astonishing, a gripping, page-turning Incredible. The chapter on the quatum mechanics which may or may not be responsible for our sense of smell was quite astonishing, a gripping, page-turning, electrifying account of intensely complex processes.
The chapter on the conscious mind, meanwhile, was equally clear and gripping, but also vertigenous - I'm conscious of myself reading an essay on the processes that create my consciousness. View all 3 comments. Aug 02, John Gribbin rated it it was amazing. This is what I said in the Wall Street Journal: The entangled strands of DNA, the famous double helix of the molecule of life, are held together by a quantum phenomenon known as hydrogen bonding. The way in which those strands untwist and build new double helices during the process of reproduction is at heart a quantum phenomenon, closely related t This is what I said in the Wall Street Journal: The way in which those strands untwist and build new double helices during the process of reproduction is at heart a quantum phenomenon, closely related to the way in which quantum entities such as electrons can be both wave and particle at the same time.
But in this remarkable book Johnjoe McFadden, an expert in molecular genetics, and Jim Al-Khalili, a quantum physicist, join forces to explain many everyday aspects of life in terms of what is often referred to as quantum weirdness. They do so, moreover, in an easily accessible style, free from jargon, which makes complex issues clear even to the non-scientist. This is material which has been covered in many books, but nowhere more succinctly and clearly than here.
Entanglement involves two or more quantum entities, such as electrons, being in some sense in tune with each other, so that when one of them is prodded the other one twitches. And in certain circumstances, as McFadden and Al-Khalili explain, this makes the molecules involved sensitive to the direction of a magnetic field.
This is a profound realisation, because entanglement is such a bizarre concept, to the human mind, that for decades even many physicists doubted that it could be real. The equations tell us that once two particles have interacted, then forever afterwards, no matter how far apart they are, a measurement of one particle will instantaneously affect the properties of the other particle. How can the final state of the second particle be influenced by a measurement performed on the first, after all physical connection has ceased between them? But he was wrong. In the s and repeatedly since , experiments involving photons, the particles if light, have proved that the spooky action at a distance is real.
In that case, it should be expected that natural processes make use of it, just as living things make use of sunlight for photosynthesis. Because it is there. Life uses whatever is available, whether that thing is food, energy, or the laws of physics. So it should be no surprise that the phenomenon of entanglement is not used solely by European robins. Monarch butterflies and fruit flies are among the other species which make use of quantum effects in navigation. Nor are quantum processes confined to the animal world. Photosynthesis is the basic mechanism in plants which provides the energy that is used to manufacture plant material, and ultimately the food we eat, out of basic chemicals such as water and carbon dioxide.
Pre-quantum physics, the laws discovered by Isaac Newton, is often referred to as classical physics. With Newtonian forces acting [to explain photosynthesis] in strictly classical terms. Some extraordinary experiments described in this book in what is admittedly a slightly more technical passage have revealed that energy is flowing through such a system by, in effect, following several routes simultaneously, thanks to a phenomenon known as coherence. This is a purely quantum effect. The discovery is particularly exciting because quantum physicists working on the development of computers that operate on quantum principles incorporate quantum coherence into their designs.
Not that the quantum computer scientists were quick to embrace the idea. But they have since changed their tune. All this is dramatic enough, and well worth the price of admission. But the authors have saved the best — if admittedly the most speculative — idea for nearly last.
These speculations involve consciousness and the mechanics of thought, but also the processes that go on inside quantum computers and, we now know, during photosynthesis. By tracing back the process of painting a picture they imagine an artist in Palaeolithic times painting a picture of a bison on a cave wall from the fingertips of the artist through the muscles and neurons in the arm to the brain, they focus in on the chemistry involved. At one level, this is an entirely causal, mechanistic chain of processes, like that of a machine.
But who, or what, is in charge of the machine? Who is pulling the levers? It is an old question, going back to philosophers such as Descartes. How does mind make matter move? The new answer presented here draws from the physics behind the workings of those quantum computers. So the switches in a quantum computer are both on and off set at 0 and set at 1 at the same time.
Building on ideas proposed by the Oxford physicist Roger Penrose, McFadden and Al-Khalili look at the quantum chemistry that just might be involved in conscious thought. After that, almost anything would be an anticlimax — even a chapter discussing the puzzle of how life began. It would seem more natural to have this before the discussion of consciousness, since, after all, life began before it became conscious. But still, it is an important topic that could not be left out of a book such as this.
For my hopefully conscious mind, though, this is the weakest section of the book, necessarily highly speculative, and not entirely convincing. There are clearly more questions than answers, but at least this means that there is plenty of work for the next generation of quantum biologists to do. It may not be necessary, though to understand how life began to use an understanding of how life operates today at the quantum level to build completely artificial living organisms from the bottom up.
Lifge on the Edge is a fascinating and thought-provoking book which manages to combine solid science, respectable extrapolation from the known into the unknown, and plausible speculation to give an accessible overview of a revolutionary transformation in our understanding of the living world. I will certainly look at robins with more respect in future.
From Alan Turing to Teleportation Un gran bel saggio che tratta una branca della scienza di cui non conoscevo l'esistenza: Dato che la divulgazione ricorre spesso al'intuizione, c'era il rischio di fare una frittata. Sono fenomeni reali e normali come la torta della nonna, e, anzi, avvengono proprio dentro la torta della nonna. Dec 03, Peter Tillman rated it liked it Shelves: My "eh" review is based on, well, I couldn't understand some of the technical stuff.
Here, I found clear, understandable explanations, until they're not. The good parts were really good.
Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology by Johnjoe McFadden
The bad parts, muddy and poorly written. Here's the reco that got me to try it: And see John Gribbin's 5-star review here: Important and path-breaking stuff. Even if it seems to be over my head. Well, I'll keep whacking away at it. As time and energy-levels permit Aug 23, Roger rated it liked it.
This non-mathematical and non-specialist book by Jim Al-Khalili and Johnjoe McFadden looks at the role of quantum mechanics in the chemical processes that drive biological functions. Obviously, all of chemistry is underwritten by quantum theory but the authors are only concerned with what might be called the weirder quantum phenomena, specifically superpositioning, tunnelling and entanglement. Until relatively recently, the possibility of these effects being involved in biochemistry was dismisse This non-mathematical and non-specialist book by Jim Al-Khalili and Johnjoe McFadden looks at the role of quantum mechanics in the chemical processes that drive biological functions.
Until relatively recently, the possibility of these effects being involved in biochemistry was dismissed because it has long been known that entanglement and superpositioning are fragile coherent states which are destroyed ie, become decoherent when any "measurement" is undertaken, which is broadly defined as any interaction with other atoms or molecules. But it is now considered that many biochemical reactions happen so quickly that there may be time for these stranger effects to occur before decoherence intervenes. Without going into a lot of detail about processes which the authors consider involve special quantum effects, I will touch on some of the key examples they describe.
There is evidence, they claim, that superpositioning is involved in photosynthesis, a process, incidentally, that has been around for more than 3 billion years. They say that another effect, quantum tunnelling, appears to be involved in the olfactory process and the evidence suggests that our sense of smell works in a similar way to a form of chemical analysis known as inelastic electron tunnelling spectroscopy.
An election is able to tunnel across a small intra-molecular gap within a receptor molecule, from a donor site to a receptor site, but only if an odourant molecule situated in the gap possesses a chemical bond with the right vibrational frequency to absorb the energy that the electron had to lose as it inelastically tunnelled through. This theory doesn't replace the older "lock and key" idea because it seems that odourant molecules must still be the right shape to fit into the site, but it does explain a link between vibrational frequencies and the smell associated with certain molecules.
Clearly, more evidence is needed to underpin this theory, especially information on the structure of olfactory receptors. The third bizarre effect of quantum mechanics, entanglement, seems, according to the authors, to be exemplified by the ability of birds, and other animals, to navigate using the inclination of the earth's magnetic field. This field is too weak to directly break chemical bonds but a mechanism has been postulated that involves entanglement.
The process starts with a protein in the eye, cryptochrome, losing an electron after being struck by a photon of light. It is then proposed that a molecule of the amino acid tryptophan donates an election from an entangled pair in one of its chemical bonds to replace the ejected electron - this donated electron remains entangled with its partner but in a state of superposition, being both in single and triplet states at the same time. This superpositioning is very sensitive to small magnetic fields which may determine, after decoherence has taken place, which chemical reaction follows.
Somehow, the chemical products formed act as signals to the brain which determine the direction of travel. As is pointed out in the book, there is still a lot unknown about this process! The book progresses slowly, as if the authors struggled to find sufficient examples so have to resort to padding out the text with background information. Much of what is written is highly speculative and the supporting evidence somewhat indirect.
The final chapter Chapter 10 is essentially an addendum to what has gone before it and, according the authors, was added during the writing of the book so as to incorporate the latest findings. As the book had not been finalised at that stage, I'm puzzled as to why the contents of Chapter 10 couldn't have been integrated with the earlier chapters. As well as providing further evidence in support of the weirder quantum effects, Chapter 10 also returns to the question of how atoms and molecules remain in a coherent state for sufficient time for the postulated outcomes to occur.
In photosynthesis, for example, it's theorised that vibrations of surrounding molecules occur at the right frequency to resonate with the coherent state and maintain its coherence. Overall, I didn't find that this book had an awful lot to say, mainly because this is such a speculative area of research. The book may be ahead of its time, or it may turn out to be stating the blindingly obvious.
After all, if you stop to think about it, is it really surprising that biochemical processes have been fine-tuned by billions of years of evolution so that they become as efficient as possible, utilising every trick that the physical world has at its disposal? Probably not, although I admit that the idea hadn't really occurred to me until I read this account so for that I'm grateful. Finally, I should add that this is probably not a good book for someone who is new to quantum theory.
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Although the authors skim over the basics, for them to do so in more depth would make the volume far too long - besides which, there are plenty of other texts that provide this introduction. But for anyone who already has an elementary understanding of superpositioning, tunnelling and entanglement this is a thought-provoking read, just as long as you don't expect to find many definitive scientific conclusions.
Jul 28, Nikki rated it really liked it Shelves: Sometimes, in fact, the patience the authors had with explaining a concept I already understood was a little frustrating — but will open the book up to a bigger audience. Do they have a point? Yes, I think so. Reviewed for The Bibliophibian. Although the subject is very interesting, the attempts to make it readable for those without a scientific background make it hard to follow at times. I agree that maybe not everyone is familiar with the concept of chirality, so this makes an introduction necessary.
Going over the concept of elasticity maybe not so much, more so since the explanation is incomplete and misleading. While the book is certainly filled with very interesting information, the delivery lacks a more adequate language and Although the subject is very interesting, the attempts to make it readable for those without a scientific background make it hard to follow at times. While the book is certainly filled with very interesting information, the delivery lacks a more adequate language and depth. If you have a scientific background, expect to skip quite a few pages.
If not, then maybe you'd be better off with a different book to give you some fundamentals. Mar 02, Tony rated it liked it Shelves: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology. My memory is cast back to the graduate course I had to take in Quantum Mechanics in the early s as part of my graduate studies.
Back then, the most we seemed to know about quantum mechanics revolved around the Schroedinger equation, and we spent long hours with our slide rules solving abstract conditions using it. Like any other book on the subject, the authors of this one try their damndest to come up with examples from everyday life to try and shed light on the concepts of quantum mechanics.
Some of them are very good, some are wild stretches that leave you even more confused. The purpose of this work was to show the most recent applications of quantum mechanics to the field of biology. The field is still young, but advances to date are significant. Expect these books to come out every two years or so. Tre stelle e mezza Un saggio davvero interessante questo di Al-Khalili e McFadden, grazie al quale ho scoperto una disciplina di cui non sospettavo l'esistenza: Analizzando al Tre stelle e mezza Un saggio davvero interessante questo di Al-Khalili e McFadden, grazie al quale ho scoperto una disciplina di cui non sospettavo l'esistenza: Not bad on how life might use specifically quantum properties, though as is often the case with electrons and molecules bouncing around, it would be a lot easier to follow with animations.
Words and monochrome diagrams don't really cut it. But the authors seem worried about scaring readers off with too much actual quantum business. They don't describe it as fully as most pop sci books, and eke out the main discoveries throughout. I think that's doing them a disservice - you can never try too har Not bad on how life might use specifically quantum properties, though as is often the case with electrons and molecules bouncing around, it would be a lot easier to follow with animations.
I think that's doing them a disservice - you can never try too hard to explain this stuff, and I'd guess most lay readers who have come across the concepts a few times will appreciate a refresher, especially if there's a different spin to it, like David Deutsch's stuff. And they steer clear of any mention of the many-worlds interpretation, in which you could see if I'm remembering David Deutsch, again, correctly all living organisms as spread out across infinite universes or something similarly cool sounding, better than magnetic robin eyes, anyway. Then they waste everyone's time with some 'imagine we can shrink and travel through this tree in a tiny submarine' exercise.
This is as a book about the science of very small things and how they work, introducing a tiny submarine raises more questions than it answers. The chapter on consciousness is pretty sloppy, too. Aug 07, Peter Herrmann rated it it was amazing. I had thought I was more-or-less up-to-date on science, but this presentation of relatively recent results and insights was all new ground to me. Very coherent and understandable.
At an intuitive level, strikes me as true. Biology is so profound and complex, that probably only something like underlying quantum mechanics 'quantum weirdness' can explain all of its phenomena. Aug 18, Tonstant Weader rated it really liked it Shelves: It is not easy writing science for non-scientists. There is always the difficult question of how much foundation must be laid, what metaphors and common sensical comparisons can be employed to introduce concepts that are unfamiliar. In Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology, authors Johnjoe McFadden and Jim Al-Khalili have the doubly difficult challenge of introducing the basics of quantum physics, some of the mysteries of biology and then bringing those disciplines together to s It is not easy writing science for non-scientists.
The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology, authors Johnjoe McFadden and Jim Al-Khalili have the doubly difficult challenge of introducing the basics of quantum physics, some of the mysteries of biology and then bringing those disciplines together to see if quantum physics has some possible answers for those mysteries.
David Copperfield cannot spin a quarter clockwise and counter-clockwise at the same time, but inside our bodies there are molecules spinning away in all directions at this very moment, pulling off a trick that no magician can do. But this book only reviews the concepts of quantum physics in order to introduce to a whole new biology, quantum biology. And again, more magical than magic. These guys take a crack at the big ones, what is life, how did it begin, what it consciousness.
It took awhile for people to come around to quantum physics. Even Einstein said it was spooky. Or that some innocent little electron is running around everywhere being all quantum and all until we go measure it and make it be classical. There is some resistance to quantum biology though that seems odd.
If molecules do crazy things in experiments, they will do crazy things out in the wild and inside our bodies. I valued this introduction to the newest form of biology. I was pleased to see it was written by people who work and research in those fields. Quantum physics is complicated enough that it dazzled Einstein.
It needs a comfort level with the concepts to be able to describe them. The same is true for biology, particularly for the mysteries of biology: Of course, there are many more mysteries than those big ones, and solutions may be a while in coming. I thought it interesting that the authors always strove to explain mysterious processes like why we can identify more odors than we have receptors for with mechanical processes first. Quantum biology is a new field. The research is going on right now and the book war probably slightly out of date the day it was published all of four weeks ago.
This meant a lot of explanation, some of it a bit repetitive, but it is possible that repetition is necessary for people who are new to quantum physics. I, however, found the repeated explanations of superposition and so on unnecessary. The earlier a concept is introduced, the more often it is explained, so I wish quantum heat engines were in the first chapter.
I want to know more!! In the end, this is an introduction to an entire new field of biology, one that is tricky to test, though scientists are clever at finding oblique ways of testing things they cannot see. It makes sense to me that this spookiest of sciences will be the one that leads us closer to understanding our deepest mysteries like what is consciousness. Did they know they were lost? If they did, they had consciousness. The authors make an effort to enliven their book with personal details of many of the scientists whose work they survey.
They also draw on art, music, dance as metaphors that can help make the science friendlier to lay readers.