Seth Lloyd on quantum life
The notion of quantum biology is becoming accepted notion although Wikipedia contains still nothing about its most important application (photosynthesis). I can be proud that I have been a pioneer of quantum biology for about two decades. TGD remains still one of the very few theories leaving the realm of standard quantum theory and suggesting besides the new view about space-time a generalization of quantum theory involving in an essential manner quantum theory of consciousness based on the identification of quantum jump as moment of consciousness. The new view about quantum theory involves a refined view about quantum measurement based on Negentropy Maximization Principle (NMP) kenociteallb/nmpc identified as the basic variational principle and zero energy ontology (ZEO) replacing ordinary standard energy ontology. The new view providing new vision about the relationship between subjective time and geometric time, about the arrow of time, and about second law.
The hierarchy of Planck constants having as space-time correlate effective (or real -depending on interpretation) n-sheeted coverings of 8-D imbedding space (or space-time) with heff=nh defining the value of (effective) Planck constant. p-Adic physics as physics of cognition is essential part of theory and together with the hierarchy of Planck constants closely related to the notion of negentropic entanglement characterizing living matter. Negentropic entanglement is maximal involving two-particle case tge entanglement of n states characterized by n× n unit matrix with n identified in terms of heff. Also maximal m-particle entanglement with 1<m≤ n is possible and one can write explicit formulas for the entangled states relating closely to the notion of exotic atom introduced earlier. The hierarchy of Planck constants as associated with dark matter so that dark matter is what makes living matter living in TGD Universe.
The concepts of many-sheeted space-time and topological field quantization imply that the concept of field body (magnetic body) becomes a crucial ew element in the understanding of living matter. Non-locality in even astrophysical scales becomes an essential piece of the description of living matter. Remote mental interactions making possible communication between biological and magnetic bodies become standard phenomena in living matter. The reconnection of magnetic flux tubes and phase transitions changing the value of heff and thus changing the length of magnetic flux tubes become a basic piece of biochemistry. Various macroscopic quantum phases such as dark electronic Cooper pairs and of protons and even ions as well as Bose-Einstein condensate of various dark bosonic objects with large value of heff are also central. They are associated with magnetic flux bodies (magnetic flux tubes) .
TGD implies a new, still developing, view about metabolism. Magnetic body as a carrier of metabolic energy and negentropic entanglement allows to understand the deeper role of metabolism in a unified manner. The notion of high energy phosphate bond assigned to ATP is one of the poorly understood notions of biochemistry. As a matter fact, all basic biomolecules are carriers of metabolic energy liberated as they are broken down in catabolism. It is usually thought that the covalent bonds containing shared valence electron pair between atoms involved carries this energy and that covalent bond reduces to standard quantum theory. TGD challenges this belief: covalent bond could in TGD framework correspond to magnetic flux tube associated with the bond having considerably larger size than the distance between atoms: similar picture has already earlier emerged in the model of nuclei as strings with colored flux tubes connecting nucleons and having length scale much longer than nuclei kenociteallb/nuclstring: this model also explains kenociteallb/padmass5 the puzzling observation that protonic charge radius seems to be somewhat larger than predicted kenocitebpnu/shrinkproton.
The metabolic energy quantum would be associated with large heff valence electron pair being identifiable as cyclotron energy in endogenous magnetic field for which the pioneering experiments of Blackman suggests value Bend=.2 Gauss as the first guess.Of course, entire spectrum of values coming as power of two multiples of this field strength can be considered. This would require rather high value of heff/h=n of order 108. Reconnection of flux tubes would make possible to transfer these electron pairs between molecules: actually a piece of flux tube containing the electron pair would be transferred in the process. This view allows to unify the model of metabolism with the view of DNA-cell membrane system as topological quantum computer with DNA nucleotides and lipids (or molecules assigned with them) by flux tubes.
Seth Lloyd represents three examples about situations in which quantum biology seems to be a "must": photosynthesis, navigation of birds, and odour perception. Photosynthesis represents the strongest and most quantitative support for quantum biology. Navitation and odour perception suggest strongly quantum theory model but leave the details of the model open.
I have applied TGD to numerous situations during years and also discussed simple TGD inspired models for all these three phenomena . The following represents briefly the core of Lloyd's talk and comparison with TGD based views. I do not of course have access to the data basis and can represent only a general vision rather than detailed numerical models. I share Lloyd's belief that quantum models provide the only manner to understand the data although models as such are not final. The authors of course want to publish their work and therefore cannot introduce explicitly notions like high temperature super-conductivity, which I believe are crucial besides purely TGD based concepts. What is however good that the models start from data and just look how to explain the data in quantum approach. Data lead to assumptions, which are not easy to defend in the framework of standard quantum theory. For instance, the presence of long-lived entangled pairs of electrons and electron and hole with wave functions possessing rather long coherence length and somehow isolated from entanglement destroying interactions with the external world emerge from the data. In TGD large value of heff/h and associated negentropic entangelement justifies these assumptions.
The incredible effectiveness of the first step of the photosynthesis after photon absorption
kenocitebbio/qharvesting is one of the key points of Lloyd in this talk. The organisms living deep under the surface of ocean are able to gather their metabolic energy using only the visible photons of black body radiation, whose typical photon energy is much lower than that of metabolic energy. In human eyes there is even mechanism preventing the detection of less than five photons at time.
The first step of photosynthesis after the capture of photon by harvesting antenna proteins has been a long standing mystery and here only quantum mechanical approach seems to provide the needed understanding. The light harvesting antenna proteins can be visualized as small disk like objects and are associated with a membrane like structure - so called thylakoid membrane similar to cell membrane. The absorption creates what is known as exciton - electron-hole pair, which is most naturally singlet. Photon has spin so that the exciton must have unit angular momentum. After its creation the electron of the exciton reaches by a random walk like process the reaction centre. Fromthe reaction centre the process continues as a stepwise electron transfer process leading eventually to the chemical storage of the photon energy.
The capture of photon occurs with some probability and also the process continues from reaction centre only with probability of about 5 per cent. The process with which the electrons reaches the reaction centre is however amazingly effective: effectives is above 95 per cent. This is mysterious since fort the classical random walk for exciton between the chromophores the time is proportional to the square root of distance measured as number of neighboring chromophores along the path.
The quantum proposal is that exciton is spin singlet state - this minimizes the interactions with photons - and performs quantum (random) walk to the reaction centre. The model assumes only experimental data as input and all parameters are fixed. Temperature remains the variable parameter. One can consider two extreme situations. At low energy limit the random walks tends to be stuck since external perturbations (mostly thermal photons) inducing the random walk process are not effective enough and quantum walk becomes so slow so that the exciton decays before it reaches the reaction centre. At high energy limit the thermal perturbations destroy quantum coherence and classical random walk results so that the efficiency becomes essentially zero. There is a temperature range where the transfer efficiency is near unity and time for reaching the reaction centre relatively short. This range has as midpoint room temperature.
If I have understood correctly, the model accepts as experimental facts the rather long lifetime of the exciton - few nanoseconds. In quantum-computerish this assumption translates to the statement that exciton belongs to a decoherence-free subspace so that external perturbations are not able to destroy the exciton too fast. Second assumption is that the exciton is de-localized over a ring ling like structure of size scale of 7 Angstroms (actually there are two rings of this kind, inner and outer and the wave function is assumed to be rotationally symmetric for the inner ring). This de-localization increases the probability of transfer to neighboring chromophore so that it is proportional to the square N2 of the number N of chromophores rather than N. The technical term expressing this is concatenated quantum code.
Skeptic would probably claim that coherence and stability of coherence are the weak points of the model. In TGD framework the assumption that electron-hole pair is negentropically entangled would guarantee its long life time. The reason is that NMP favors negentropic entanglement. Negentropic entanglement corresponds to entanglement associated with n-sheeted effective covering of imbedding space and n has interpretation in terms of effective Planck constant heff=nh. The naive guess is that coherence scale for the wave function of exciton scales up by factor n or kenosqrtn. This entangement need not have anything to do with spin but could relate to
I have earlier considered a slightly different proposal. Instead of exciton the negentropically entangled system would be Cooper pair of dark electrons. Note that the negentropic entanglement need not relate to the spin but to the n-fold covering although it could be assigned with spin too in which case the state would be spin singlet. The motivation came from the fact that the transfer of electrons to the reaction centre takes as pairs (see this). The TGD inspired interpretation of electron pair would be as dark Cooper pair. Two electron pairs would come from the splitting of two water molecules to O2, 4 protons and two electron pairs, and they would end up to P680 part of photosystem II (680 refers to maximally absorbed wavelength in nanometers) and from here to P680* as two pairs. This mechanism would require that the Cooper pairs absorbs the photon as single particle. In the case of dark Cooper pairs this might be naturally true. If this requires exchange of photon between the members of the pair, the rate for this process is of the order α2 lower.
Second topic discussed by Seth Lloyd is avian navigation (see this). The challenge is to understand how birds (and also fishes) are able to utilize Earth's magnetic field in order to find their way during migration. In some cases the magnetite in the beak of the bird guides the way along magnetic field lines by inducing magnetic force, and the process can be understood at least partially. Consciousness theorist could of course wonder why these animals find year after year their exact birth place.
Robins however represent an example not so easy to understand. There are three input facts:
- Robins are able to detect the orientation of BE but not its direction. They can also detect the angle between orientation and vertical to the Earth's surface and from this to deduce also the direction of BE.
- Blue or green light is necessary for the successful detection of the orientation.
- Oscillating em field with frequency of order MHz makes the robins totally disoriented.
Entangled long-lived electron pair should be created. Long lifetime is the problem. The proposed mechanism brings in mind the TGD based variant for the light harvesting mechanism of photosynthesis. Universality suggests that long lived dark negentropically entangled Cooper pairs are generated in both cases so that light harvesting is in question in both cases. These pairs assignable to membrane structures in both cases in turn would generate a supra current giving eventually rise to a generation of nerve pulses in the case of navigation and to electron transfer process in the case of photosynthesis. If the same mechanism is involved in both cases, the extreme effectiveness of this light harvesting process could make it possible for the birds to navigate even in dark. Electron has cyclotron frequency of about 1.5 MHz in the Earth's magnetic field and this makes easy to understand why oscillation with this frequency (resonance) induces disorientation by forcing the spinning of the dark Cooper pairs.
Why the energy of photon creating the dark electron Cooper pair should correspond to visible light? Cyclotron energy scale for the ordinary value of Planck constant is extremely small and corresponds to frequency in MHz range. For visible photons the frequency by order of magnitude 108 higher. Does this correspond to the value of heff? Similar order of magnitude estimate follows from several premises. If the scaling of h by n corresponds roughly to the scaling of p-adic scale by n
I smell the quantum
Quantum detection of odours was the third topic in Lloyd's talk. For decades it was believed that odor perception is based on lock and key mechanism. Human has 387 odour receptors and this would be the number of smells too. It has however turned out that humans can discriminate between about 104 smells and Luca Turin and his wife have written a book giving a catalogue of all these smells. It is clear that lock key mechanism is correct but something else is needed in order to understand the spectrum of odors.
The key observation of Turin is that the smells seems to be not purely chemically determined but is different for molecules consisting of atoms differing only by the weight of nucleus and thus being chemically identical. Therefore the vibrational spectrum of the molecule, which is typically in infrared, seems to be important. The proposal of Turin is that the process of odour perception involves the tunnelling of the vibraing electron from odour molecule. This tunnelling can be assisted by absorption of phonon coming from the receptor with frequency which corresponds to fundamental vibrational frequency or its multiple. The model has been tested in several cases. The latest test described by Lloyd is the one in which hydrogen in some molecule is replaced with deuteron, which is twice as heavy so that the vibrational frequency is reduced by a factor 1/kenosqrt2. Fruit flies took the role of odour perceivers and it turned out that they easily discriminate between the molecules.
I have considered earlier a somewhat different quantum model for odour perception by starting from the pioneering experimental work of Callahan kenocitebbio/Callahan, which led him to conclude that in the case of insects odour perception is "seeing" at infrared wavelengths. Infrared wavelengths correspond to vibrational energies for molecules so that this brings in the dependence on the square root of the inverse of the mass of the odorant and predicts that chemically identical molecules containing only different isotopes of atoms smell differently.Frequencies are same as in the model of Turin. Instead of phonons IR photons would play the key role serving as passwords exciting particular cyclotron state at particular magnetic tube. Similar mechanism could be at work in the case of ordinary vision.