Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter


Forgot your password?
Biotech Science

Photosynthesis May Rely On Quantum Effect 234

forgethistory sends us to PhysOrg for a summary of new research suggesting that the near instantaneous energy transfer achieved by photosynthesis may rely on quantum effects. From the article: "Through photosynthesis, green plants and cyanobacteria are able to transfer sunlight energy to molecular reaction centers for conversion into chemical energy with nearly 100-percent efficiency. Speed is the key — the transfer of the solar energy takes place almost instantaneously so little energy is wasted as heat. How photosynthesis achieves this near instantaneous energy transfer is a long-standing mystery that may have finally been solved."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Photosynthesis May Rely On Quantum Effect

Comments Filter:
  • by rucs_hack ( 784150 ) on Friday April 13, 2007 @09:40AM (#18717529)
    Knowing a possible mechanism is important, yes, but that's a long way from having a workable implementation of the method that is useful in a technological sense.
  • I was thinking about this just the other night, strange coincidence. There are probably a lot of functions like photosynthesis that rely on quantum effects. One of them might be the idea of consciousness. Consciousness may not be so easily explained without taking into account quantum effects. If self awareness is enabled through some sort of quantum effect, imagine the philosophical implications.
  • by thefirelane ( 586885 ) on Friday April 13, 2007 @09:47AM (#18717603)
    I'm sorry, please clarify: did you actually say anthing in that post?
  • by Waffle Iron ( 339739 ) on Friday April 13, 2007 @09:48AM (#18717615)
    ... it's also been discovered that *all* physical phenomena may also rely on Quantum Effect.
  • by C10H14N2 ( 640033 ) on Friday April 13, 2007 @10:05AM (#18717785)
    None that weren't already stated in numerous terms thousands of years ago in virtually every culture.
  • by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Friday April 13, 2007 @10:13AM (#18717907) Homepage
    It's quite possible given that think in terms of probability rather than absolutes even through our resulting probable answer borders on an absolute factual answer. Perhaps this is why we have such hard time processing mathematics in our head, yet not art or concepts.
  • by eraserewind ( 446891 ) on Friday April 13, 2007 @10:21AM (#18718021)

    but in his novel Blue Mars
    You mean you actually finished it? :)

    Red Mars was good, but by Blue Mars, I gave up partway through thinking I really don't care about these people or their dumb politics.
  • Sad but true. I even have a philosophy degree, and people talking about consciousness make me want to slap them. Meat needs stimulus/response; we react when stuff happens around us. Meat also needs fuel and replication, which requires a certain amount of introspection and planning...This is internal equivalent of stimulus/response. Our brains are chock full of stim/response, and the sum of them works out to be what we call "consciousness".

    Nothing mystical about it. While I do believe that stuff on a quantum level affects us in many ways, putting consciousness in the realm of a pure quantum event serves no purpose but to try and salvage ideas like the immortal soul...The stuff going on in our heads isn't as sexy as most people think.
  • On Ridicule. . . (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Fantastic Lad ( 198284 ) on Friday April 13, 2007 @02:53PM (#18722469)
    Well aimed ridicule is highly effective and I suspect the alternative, pretending respect, could easily end up being less non-violent.

    Hm. An interesting argument.

    While in this particular case, the religious poster is being silly, I'm not sure I agree with your analysis of ridicule.

    I suppose that ridicule being, "Well aimed", as you suggest, is the key.

    Unfortunately, virtually every group I've ever seen uses ridicule to discredit whatever opposing viewpoint they find threatening. Not all of them are right, but they all believe they are right. In the end, no real progress is made and people stay in their fortified camps.

    In the end ridicule is just another form of attack and control. Even though I have an imperfect track record, I have always, always found it better to ask questions and engage people in discussion and to offer genuine respect, (as opposed to pretended respect), when trying to find the truth of a given matter. People are far lessing willing to budge if you try to hurt them. Ego prevents it. If, however, they feel you hold truth as the ultimate goal and are happy to grant others the dignity of simply being another searcher who is human and capable of mistakes, then there is a greater chance of actually getting somewhere. And who knows? You might even discover that the other side has a better grasp on truth than you. If you don't attack others for being wrong, then you are less likely to attack yourself for being wrong, and are therefore more open to growth.


  • by glyph42 ( 315631 ) on Friday April 13, 2007 @05:51PM (#18725199) Homepage Journal
    I'm not postulating anything, nor am I engaging in wishful thinking. I simply won't go so far as to assert that there is no "magic" me in my head that is not covered by current physics. Complexity theory may get involved in there somewhere, but I won't throw away the possibility that consciousness could be some kind of intrinsic property of the universe, as fundamental as anything else in our present theories. We simply have no idea. Until someone comes up with a more or less complete model of consciousness, I will not pass judgement. Maybe I've misunderstood, but I took your original post as an indication that you had already closed your mind to the possibility of new phyisics being discovered with relation to consciousness.

Loose bits sink chips.