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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

121 Scopus citations


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 (US)
Pages (from-to)69-79
Number of pages11
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Dec 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Biophysics
  • Decoherence
  • Molecular biology
  • Quantum computing
  • Quantum information

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics and Probability
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Applied Mathematics


Dive into the research topics of 'Does quantum mechanics play a non-trivial role in life?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this