I have long been interested in quantum biology, biological functioning demonstrating quantum physics. In my book Everything is the Way there is a chapter "Entangling Not-Knowing" which explores this a bit from the perspective of Zen life practice.
I was glad to see a new book Life on the Edge by Johnjoe McFadden and Jim Al-Khalili, a biologist and physicist respectively, explore and clarify some of what we now know of quantum biology. I have not obtained the book as of yet so will reserve further comments about the book itself. Reviews are interesting.
Here are some excerpts from a review which show the depth and breadth of the book:
“ 'Pre-quantum' physics—the laws discovered by Isaac Newton—is often
referred to as classical physics. “Most biologists,” the authors point
out, “still believe that the classical laws are sufficient” to explain
photosynthesis, “with light acting like some kind of golf club able to
whack the oxygen golf ball out of the carbon dioxide molecule.” But,
like Einstein contemplating spooky action at a distance, they are wrong.
The key step in the process involves electrons “hopping” from one
molecule to another. Some extraordinary experiments described in this
book have revealed that this energy is flowing through the plant by, in
effect, following several routes simultaneously, thanks to a phenomenon
known as coherence. This is a purely quantum effect.
discovery is particularly exciting because quantum coherence is a
concept that many of the physicists working on the development of
“quantum computers” have incorporated into their designs. Not for the
first time, nature got there before the scientists and so far does a
better job of “computing” the most efficient way to get energy from A to
B. Not that the quantum computer scientists were quick to embrace this
idea: Messrs. McFadden and Al-Khalili quote one of them describing his
colleagues’ immediate reaction when they saw a New York Times article
suggesting that plants might operate as quantum computers: “It’s like,
‘Oh my God, that’s the most crackpot thing I’ve heard in my life.’ ” But
they have since changed their tune."
As to our life and 'consciousness', "Building on ideas proposed by the Oxford physicist Roger Penrose,
Messrs. McFadden and Al-Khalili look at the quantum chemistry that just
might be involved in conscious thought. “The scheme,” they say, “is
certainly speculative, but it does at least provide a plausible link
between the quantum and classical realms in the brain.” After all, if a
plant can operate like a quantum computer in carrying out the process of
photosynthesis, why couldn’t a human brain act as a quantum computer in
carrying out the processes of thought? Given nature’s ability to make
use of whatever is available, it would be surprising if it did not."
For the full review see: