Quantum Mechanics Is Not Just In The Stars, It's Also In The LeavesBy Chris Brandt, UniversityHerald Reporter
When the subject of quantum mechanics comes up, the first thing that comes to mind is space and all the elements you can find there. Thoughts of black holes, supernovas, and galaxies might pop up but never the human body. Yet scientists say that when it comes to quantum mechanics, we might not really need to look far away.
Scientists who have been studying quantum mechanics have spotted some signs of quantum mechanics in the simple process of photosynthesis. They saw this on how the electrons behave during the process that made them think that quantum effects can be making an important biological role.
What made the scientists curious about the possibility of quantum effects was not really about the whole process of the photosynthesis but about one photon which is involved in the process.
That photon comes from the sun and travels billions of miles through space and collide with an electron inside the leaf. That photon gives that electron quite a kick so the electron began to bounce around like a pinball and affects the other molecules inside the plant to begin the process of photosynthesis.
What gets the scientists is that despite all the activity it undergoes, the electron barely loses its energy in the process. In short, the process is too fast and too smooth to allow any wastages.
Now, there's a quantum effect called quantum superposition which can explain how and why the process happens. Quantum superposition is the ability to exist in different places at the same time. Thus, it could be that the electron bouncing inside the leaf has this ability.
This explanation of the photosynthesis using quantum mechanics is a shocking revelation to biologists. However, scientists are also quick to say that even if quantum features can be seen in living cells, it does not necessarily mean it has a useful role.
They suggest doing more studies that will have more quantitative results that say quantum effects is really happening in this biological process.