Can entanglement exist in biological systems?


Can entanglement exist in biological systems? The usual argument against is that physicists have to work hard to produce entanglement in the carefully controlled conditions that exist in the lab. So it’s hardly likely that entanglement will ever be found in systems that are warm, wet and messy, like human bodies for instance.

But Sandu Popescu from the University of Bristol in the UK and Hans Briegel from the University of Innsbruk in Austria do a convincing job today of arguing otherwise. Their main point is that biological systems are thermodynamic open driven systems which are far from equilibrium. “In such systems error correction can occur which may maintain entanglement despite high levels of decoherence,” they say.

That’s a good point. But it is better made later in their paper when they point out that we already know entanglement can exist in open driven systems at room temperature.

[This] is absolutely clear, once one realizes that every quantum physics laboratory is such a system.

Nicely put! The paper is by no means a proof that biological systems exploit entanglement but it certainly challenges the naysayers to think more carefully about their case.

Ref: Entanglement and Intra-Molecular Cooling in Biological Systems? — A Quantum Thermodynamic Perspective

3 Responses to “Can entanglement exist in biological systems?”

  1. ZEPHIR says:

    For example, Penrose’s model of quantum consciousness implies the quantum entanglement phenomena inside of neuron synapses. By my opinion a sort of quantum wave phenomena can occur even at the higher, electrochemical current level between individual neurons. These waves of neural electrochemical activity are somewhat similar to quantum waves, they can undulate through brain like macroscopic quantum wave packets. Some of them are proven to drive the internal biological clocks.

    The electrochemical activity of brain is very potent. The brain is responsible for more then 15% of total heat production inside of human body (150 Watts). The brain production of heat serves marine mammals in thermo-regulation – most of this heat is generated in the form of collective organized motion of charged particles – salt ions.

    By my opinion this motion can induce the similar motion in another brain at distance and/or even induce the macroscopic mechanical action, thus serving as a rational base of many psychic phenomena like telekinesis and telepathy. This is related to strange property of vacuum, which consist of many moving particles, undulating in hidden dimensions of foamy structures by Aether Wave Theory. As a tangible demonstration of this property can serve an Aharomov-Bohm effect, for example.

  2. Tyler says:

    Zephir, you do know that using the word “Aether” is like taking your pants off in public or wearing a “flat earth society” shirt, don’t you?

    I’m continually frustrated by this. The paper is a great and interesting piece of work, a real challenge to the (I thought very obviously oversimplified and straw-man-targeted) Tegmark calculation and a boost for the quantum consciousness theorists including of course Penrose. The debate between these camps is fascinating and the actual actors involved take great pains to keep their work within the bounds of valid scientific inquiry.

    But always there’s a crank with a Theory piping up, jabbering a bunch of sciency-sounding hooha, dragging Penrose’s name into it, when he would probably slap the fellow upside the head with a trout, were the two to meet, and were Roger to have a trout handy.

    I’m beginning to suspect these cranks are actually all radical-reductionist agents provocateurs, not unlike the Rush Limbaugh fans who kept popping up in forums and comment threads during the Democratic primary, posing as Clinton supporters and (futilely) trying to make the whole party look bad and dissolve in foolish argument.

    For the record, not everyone who thinks that quantum consciousness is a plausible notion believes in Aether Theory, whatever that is, and no, please don’t tell me. I just find the scientific and (especially) logical arguments of Penrose et. al. more compelling and believable than the radical reductionist interpretation. But that side certainly also has a strong and compelling argument, and as we are very far away from conclusive, experimental proof in either direction, it’s just all very abstract and theoretical at this point.

  3. Zephir says:

    Hello, Tyler. Contemporary science prefers the usage of new terms to increase the credibility and appearance of originality, but I’m finding such approach false and misleading. The choice of Aether denomination is completely consequential for me. I’m simply forced to respect the scientific priority of people, who invented (and named) this concept first, despite of its obsoleteness perceived by many people.

    Sir Penrose is considering many aspects of AWT, for example the vortex geometry and the foam cosmology too, but I don’t think, he’s Aether proponent and it’s not my intention to connect his name with Aether concept at all. But I’m interested about his ideas and the aspect of quantum consciousness is most close to the title of article disputed. Do you know about more significant aspect of entanglement inside of biological system?