The Quantum Nature of Biology and Life

24 August 2017

IAS Scientific Director Peter Sloot will give a lecture on the quantum nature of biology and life at the symposium "Fundamentals of Life in the Universe" (Groningen, 31/08-01/09),


One of the basic questions that Erwin Schrödinger raised in his seminal book 'what is life' in 1944, was whether the ideas of classical physics, as normally employed by biologists in their understanding of the behaviour of the physical world, are sufficient for explaining the basic features of biology and life. Here we should obviously consider processes like entanglement and (de)coherence that go beyond the basis for the shapes and sizes of biological molecules and their chemical affinities. The sheer spatio-temporal scale on which biology and life operates, across many orders of magnitude, seems to intuitively defy the need for and use of Quantum Mechanics. Yet recent observations and theory indicate that QM might indeed play a role in Biological processes. The question that remains largely unanswered however, is how and to what extend quantum processes drive the up and downward causation in biology. In this talk I will review some of the recent developments of Quantum Biology and reflect on the use of Classical and Quantum Information as a way to reason about causality in biological systems and life.

Foundations of Complex Systems

This work is part of the IAS research programme Foundations of Complex Systems.


Read more about the symposium Fundamentals of Life in the Universe.


Published by  UvA Institute for Advanced Study