Does quantum mechanics play a non-trivial role in life?

P. C. W. Davies

    Research output: Contribution to journalConference paperpeer-review

    120 Citations (Scopus)


    There have been many claims that quantum mechanics plays a key role in the origin and/or operation of biological organisms, beyond merely providing the basis for the shapes and sizes of biological molecules and their chemical affinities. These range from Schrödinger's suggestion that quantum fluctuations produce mutations, to Hameroff and Penrose's conjecture that quantum coherence in microtubules is linked to consciousness. I review some of these claims in this paper, and discuss the serious problem of decoherence. I advance some further conjectures about quantum information processing in bio-systems. Some possible experiments are suggested.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)69-79
    Number of pages11
    Issue number1-3
    Publication statusPublished - 2004


    • molecular biology
    • quantum computing
    • quantum information
    • decoherence
    • biophysics


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