Could we Create Quantum Creatures in the Lab?

September 16, 2009 at 9:23 pm | Posted in Lifescape | Leave a comment
Water bears, similar to the one pictured here, can survive in a vacuum and might be made to behave like quantum objects

Roger Penrose of the University of Oxford believes instead that there is a critical size, or mass, at which bodies cease to become quantum.

According to Knight, experiments of the kind proposed by Romero-Isart’s team could finally offer a way to distinguish between the mainstream view and Penrose’s.

clipped from www.newscientist.com

Water bears, similar to the one pictured here, can survive in a vacuum and might be made to behave like quantum objects (Courtesy: Ralph O Schill)

Quantum weirdness could soon invade the living world, if a scheme to give a flu virus a strange double life comes off.

In quantum theory, a single object can be doing two different things at once. This so-called “superposition” is a delicate state, destroyed by any contact with the outside world. The largest objects that have been superposed so far are molecules. It is hard to put a much larger object such as a cat or human into a superposition because air molecules and photons are always bouncing off it.

They hope to prove the concept with the flu virus, which exhibits some properties of life, because it can survive in a vacuum – solving the problem of pesky air molecules.

Making a living thing do two things at once is more than a physicist’s tour de force. It could answer fundamental questions about the nature of quantum theory.

Most physicists believe that the reason quantum behaviour manifests itself only in small things is that objects are difficult to isolate from their surroundings

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