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Quantum Entanglement and Photosynthesis

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the it's-not-easy-being-green dept.

Science 129

medcalf writes "Scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and UC Berkeley have experimentally shown that plants use quantum entanglement in photosynthesis. Researcher Mohan Sarovar said, 'The lessons we’re learning about the quantum aspects of light harvesting in natural systems can be applied to the design of artificial photosynthetic systems that are even better. The organic structures in light harvesting complexes and their synthetic mimics could also serve as useful components of quantum computers or other quantum-enhanced devices, such as wires for the transfer of information.' According to the article, 'What may prove to be this study's most significant revelation is that contrary to the popular scientific notion that entanglement is a fragile and exotic property, difficult to engineer and maintain, the Berkeley researchers have demonstrated that entanglement can exist and persist in the chaotic chemical complexity of a biological system.'"

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129 comments

No offense (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32227636)

...But this is really old news, and seems to only be showing up now because Berkeley did it. Link coming soon...

No details but interesting (2, Interesting)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#32227654)

TFA is very sparse on details, but has interesting implications.

The difficulty in achieving entanglement comes from the system being perturbed at random from thermal vibrations. It's not clear in the articlehow this is achieved in photosynthesis, but if quantum entanglement can be preserved at ambient temperatures this could have awesome implications for quantum computers.

Not needing cryogenic conditions would be a huge step towards a desktop quantum computer.

Re:No details but interesting (3, Interesting)

jmizrahi (1409493) | more than 3 years ago | (#32228996)

The difficulty in achieving entanglement comes from the system being perturbed at random from thermal vibrations.

That's not quite accurate. The difficulty in achieving entanglement comes from the inherent difficulty in isolating a quantum system from its environment. In the case of ion trap quantum computing, for example, this isolation is achieved through an ultra high vacuum. Ultra high vacuum has its own difficulties, but does not require cryogenics.

Re:No details but interesting (2, Interesting)

smaddox (928261) | more than 3 years ago | (#32229724)

Actually, depending on how you achieve ultrahigh vacuum, it might. Cryopumps [wikipedia.org] are pretty standard for maintaining ultrahigh vacuum, and can be used to get there from the milliTorr regime.

Entanglement (0, Troll)

Alcoholist (160427) | more than 3 years ago | (#32227664)

The real question is: can it be used as a sex aid? Because then you can make some serious money on the Internet.

Re:Entanglement (1, Insightful)

Alcoholist (160427) | more than 3 years ago | (#32228506)

Boo! Who modded that down to Troll? I can understand a 0 if it wasn't funny, but a -1? Man, that's harsh. Like throwing tomatoes at a guy.

Seriously, what's the world coming to when people can't enjoy a little blue humour on a Sunday? Surely I'm not the only Slashdot reader who gets spam offering strange tech, herbs and drugs to make my 'member' bigger so I can "rock her all night long"? Quantum entanglement, I'm sure it's a interesting concept in physics, but it also sounds like a good name for a perfume.

Re:Entanglement (1)

timster (32400) | more than 3 years ago | (#32229100)

Simply put, when you make a joke, you take the risk that people won't find your joke to be all that funny. If you're afraid of rejection, comedy is not for you.

Biodiversity Is Priceless (3, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 3 years ago | (#32227688)

This research shows a broader point we should learn: every species that we extinct takes with it to oblivion some mechanisms for coping with the world that we could use ourselves. Not enough coping mechanisms to keep it fit to survive in the world we've made, but many mechanisms that go down with it.

Of course many species go extinct independent of human action (though with human action so pervasive, what species is entirely untouched by it?), but there's little we can do about them. The ones we make extinct through carelessness, wrong priorities and other waste are lost to us in our efforts to remain fit ourselves in the environment we're making.

Re:Biodiversity Is Priceless (4, Insightful)

gregor-e (136142) | more than 3 years ago | (#32227760)

99.999% of all species that ever existed are now extinct. Do you believe that 99.999% of all useful coping mechanisms are gone? And what does any of this have to do with the finding of quantum entanglement in photosynthetic systems?

Re:Biodiversity Is Priceless (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32227902)

And what does any of this have to do with the finding of quantum entanglement in photosynthetic systems?

None, he is just being a sanctimonious cretin. The sad thing is someone modded him +1 insightful for it.

Re:Biodiversity Is Priceless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32229046)

Tell it like it is and get modded down for it. Respect to you sir.

Re:Biodiversity Is Priceless (1)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 3 years ago | (#32227928)

Of course many species go extinct independent of human action (though with human action so pervasive, what species is entirely untouched by it?), but there's little we can do about them.

Finding quantum entanglement in photosynthetic systems demonstrates that we can learn quite a lot of what we're seeking when we look at existing features of living species. Making them extinct is a significant opportunity cost we must consider when accounting for the benefits of what we do that makes them extinct.

Re:Biodiversity Is Priceless (1)

Mitchell314 (1576581) | more than 3 years ago | (#32228026)

Given the extreme prevalence of photosynthesis in the biosphere, I dare say we'd be gone well before it goes.

Re:Biodiversity Is Priceless (2, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#32228154)

And given that it's the only source of biological power (except for some exotic life forms in the deep sea), if it goes before we do, it will not be long before we go, too.

Re:Biodiversity Is Priceless (4, Funny)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 3 years ago | (#32228064)

If Shrodinger's cat were the last cat then cats would be in a superposed state of extinct and not extinct so long as no additional biodiversity research was done.

I think he's trying to say we shouldn't do the research, but maybe I've misunderstood.

Re:Biodiversity Is Priceless (1, Troll)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#32228178)

Who's Shrodinger? I mean, I can understand dropping the dots of the ö, but I don't see a reason to drop the c.

Re:Biodiversity Is Priceless (1)

smallfries (601545) | more than 3 years ago | (#32228322)

99.999% of all species that ever existed are now extinct

[citation needed]

Re:Biodiversity Is Priceless (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32229452)

[1] Common fucking sense.

Re:Biodiversity Is Priceless (1)

General Wesc (59919) | more than 3 years ago | (#32231142)

Common sense told people that Earth was stationary was it was the Sun that revolved around it. Turned out to be wrong. And when looking at historic extinction, according to Wikipedia--which provides two actual citations (1 [cornell.edu] 2 [wikipedia.org] )--it's closer to 99.9%.

If you go ask the common person on the street, they'll happily inform you that it's common sense that this is a high estimate, as Noah saved most of them, and only so many can have died in the 6000 years the Earth has been around. Common sense doesn't do you much good when you're a nut, and Wikipedia seems to be calling you one.

Re:Biodiversity Is Priceless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32229366)

99.99% of those species led to what we have now.
Do you believe that losing the ones we have now would ever be a good thing considering how LONG it took for them to appear naturally??

Methods of speeding up evolution through unnatural means hasn't worked very well besides one.
The only process that works well is selective breeding of the best animals. And note that best doesn't particularly mean fittest, it usually means tastiest.
And even that takes a good 20+ generations to show any results.
Diversification through cross-breeding in similar species hasn't really been done on mass-scale outside of your standard household pets.

Imagine if all the bees just died right now, that would be chaotic in every sense of the word.
Bees have been showing a decrease in populations worldwide for some reason. If they don't evolve a way to cope with whatever it is that is either killing them off or making them infertile, bye-bye bees...

Humans aren't capable of dealing with eco-disasters yet.
Until we are capable of genetically writing out species after species like we do with programs, we REALLY do need to be careful.
Hopefully this century will provide the solution to this. Square-Enix better make a real-life Chocobo!

Re:Biodiversity Is Priceless (1)

General Wesc (59919) | more than 3 years ago | (#32231060)

99.999% of all species that ever existed are now extinct. Do you believe that 99.999% of all useful coping mechanisms are gone?

Set theory is very useful in many aspects of life. Draw a few Venn diagrams before posting next time and you may save yourself from looking foolish.

And what does any of this have to do with the finding of quantum entanglement in photosynthetic systems?

It's a very informative and potentially useful mechanism, illustrating the fact that there's a lot of weird stuff out in nature that we can learn from as we advance scientifically and technologically. It's foolish to burn all your books before you even learn how to read. Keep them around so you can learn from them once you learn how to read them. It's easier than figuring out how to unburn books (or clone extinct species).

Re:Biodiversity Is Priceless (1)

DinZy (513280) | more than 3 years ago | (#32227890)

I appreciate the idea, but it really doesn't apply to this particular case. Photosynthesis is not at all diverse. It is one of the many "designs" nature evolved that is used by countless species. I also find it hard to equate the development of quantum computers as a requisite for humanity's biological fitness.

Your comment only seems appropriate for the case when a drug is discovered in some plant or venom.

Re:Biodiversity Is Priceless (2, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 3 years ago | (#32227960)

There will be variations in how photosynthesis is encoded in different species, and some species will be better models for mimicking with artificial devices. When we make those species extinct, we're losing the benefit they would bring if we had them to study.

Drugs are a good example, but they're just the most obvious ones. Humans have been using plants and animals as sources for medicine since time immemorial, probably since before we were even human, so more advanced techniques for exploiting them are second nature to us. Indeed, many medicinal species were co-evolved with humans, who survived more when cultivating them (whether or not by planning, or just eating them and excreting seeds). Humans' more abstract needs for biochemical processes are much more recent, and often too subtle for us to even notice they're available. Entanglement in photosynthesis is a good example. But photosynthesis is one of the best known plant behaviors, and one of the closest to basic modern human needs. There will surely be many others.

Re:Biodiversity Is Priceless (2, Interesting)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 3 years ago | (#32227994)

"Not enough coping mechanisms to keep it fit to survive in the world we've made, but many mechanisms that go down with it."

We've made?

We made water? Oxygen? Carbon? We made the Earth, or the Sun? We 'made' amino acids? DNA?

If we you mean humans, we've 'made' precious little. We've changed systems and processes to some extent, but 'made'?

Once again, blame the humans, they've made a wreck of everything. Pathetic.

Re:Biodiversity Is Priceless (5, Insightful)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 3 years ago | (#32228204)

Humans haven't yet made as big a mess as photosynthetic plants did 2.4 billion years ago.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Oxygenation_Event [wikipedia.org]

Re:Biodiversity Is Priceless (2, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 3 years ago | (#32228904)

We like the mess photosynthetic plants made, into which we evolved.

We won't like the mess we're making, because evolution will see us less fit to inhabit the world we've changed.

Re:Biodiversity Is Priceless (2, Interesting)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 3 years ago | (#32229760)

And another species will like the mess we made, into which it will evolve.

Call me a misanthrope, but: So what?
The only reason we now start to care about nature, is because we start to indirectly wipe ourselves out.
I say: Let us. It’s proven to be better for the planet, in the long run. ;))

Re:Biodiversity Is Priceless (0)

splogic (1797526) | more than 3 years ago | (#32229454)

This has to be one of the dumbest comments I've ever heard. I don't know how you are measuring what a "mess" is, but photosynthetic plants are a natural and mathematical consequence of the evolutionary processes on Earth. Only when intelligence comes into play can "messes" occur, because intelligence attempts to simulate nature internally, and fails at capturing all of its aspects. Apart from intelligence the term "mess" has no meaning. Things simply follows the laws of physics. Although, intelligence too can be though of as a natural consequence of physics. The difference is, we judge "messes" according to our intelligence. Perhaps, some super-intelligent aliens might think that everything we have done here on Earth is a natural consequence of evolution on a grand scale that we, as humans, cannot comprehend. However, I cannot speculate what super-intelligent aliens might know or comprehend, or even if they exist for certain (the Great Filter hypothesis is seeming increasingly plausible to me).

Re:Biodiversity Is Priceless (2, Informative)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 3 years ago | (#32228820)

We've made big changes to the world we evolved into. The number of species going extinct during the last few generations of humans is now among the biggest dieoffs the planet has ever seen.

Re:Biodiversity Is Priceless (1)

jesset77 (759149) | more than 3 years ago | (#32229878)

We've made big changes to the world we evolved into. The number of species going extinct during the last few generations of humans is now among the biggest dieoffs the planet has ever seen.

And that couldn't possibly be because of our advancing ability to perceive new and exotic species and thus to also perceive them dying off too? Or do you have a citation to back up your stat? :3

Re:Biodiversity Is Priceless (1)

WrongMonkey (1027334) | more than 3 years ago | (#32230154)

That claim isn't very convincing without some numbers. The Holocene extinction has seen the a lot of species die off, but the "big events" kill off large percentages of entire genera and families.

Re:Biodiversity Is Priceless (3, Insightful)

jelizondo (183861) | more than 3 years ago | (#32231622)

Please, please. I hate to see people one would suppose have a better understanding of mathematics that the average Joe Sixpack make stupid statements.

Saying X percentage of species have died because of human action assumes that we know how many total species there were at a given point in time, which is false. Even today we don’t know. Very frequently new species are found and some thought extinct are rediscovered.

What do we know of the big extinction events? Only what we can find on the fossil record. Given the constant churning of the Earth’s surface, that most of the crust is under water, that most of the crust is not conducive to fossilizing plant or animal remains, we can’t even begin to know how many species there were or how many went extinct.

Yeah, we may guess. But that’s all it is: a guess. Remember how many stars we thought there were one hundred years ago? Well, there you go, off by several orders of magnitude.

Re:Biodiversity Is Priceless (5, Insightful)

Alef (605149) | more than 3 years ago | (#32228582)

I guess if you were living your entire life inside the Library of Alexandria, you would be burning books for fuel. Especially the "useless" ones written in a foreign language that you don't understand.

I think humans are blinded by the extraordinary diversity around us to the degree that we fail to realize how unique it is. And our life spans are too short for us to grasp what we are doing. We destroy things that have taken hundreds of millions of years to form in a generation without even reflecting on it. From a geological perspective, we are likely at par with some of the large impact events.

Re:Biodiversity Is Priceless (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 3 years ago | (#32230180)

>>We destroy things that have taken hundreds of millions of years to form in a generation without even reflecting on it.

To the contrary, we worry about extinction a lot more than it's probably happening.

You know how many animals on the endangered species list have gone extinct after they were listed, since 1973? Two.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endangered_Species_Act#Delisting [wikipedia.org]

But when you read the WWF's statement on extinction (http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/biodiversity/biodiversity/) they hand-wave that 10,000 species are going extinct a year. Naturally, the Endangered Species list in America is a small subset, but if this imaginary massive die-off was happening, I think we'd have seen more than two species go extinct in America, in 37 years.

Re:Biodiversity Is Priceless (1)

cromar (1103585) | more than 3 years ago | (#32230520)

I may or may not be right, but wouldn't putting species on that list be part of the reason they haven't gone extinct?!

Re:Biodiversity Is Priceless (1)

Alef (605149) | more than 3 years ago | (#32230534)

The US endangered species list isn't representative for the world. The western countries have reached somewhat of a steady state in relation to our local (land) environment*, and our populations aren't growing very much. The situation is very different in tropical forest regions and in the oceans.

* That is not to say that we are in balance with nature, however. Our ecological footprint is much larger than our land area, but we defer much it to other countries by importing goods produced elsewhere. Luckily, the rest of the world can't afford our level of consumption. Yet.

Re:Biodiversity Is Priceless (1)

jesset77 (759149) | more than 3 years ago | (#32230552)

I guess if you were living your entire life inside the Library of Alexandria, you would be burning books for fuel.

While I appreciate what you are trying to say, I watched "The Day After Tomorrow" where people trapped in the NYPL facing liquid nitrogen temps outside were left to do pretty much exactly that. My question is, what else would you have them do? Freeze to death specifically so that people not trapped in the library can later read that material?

As a species and as a collected civilization, our first priority is to survive. If we are given the choice to allow a specific other species to continue it's genetic heritage at the cost of our own continued survival, then you cannot list the luxury of later being able to learn that species' quantum secrets among the benefits of our sacrifice as we won't be around to learn them.

Re:Biodiversity Is Priceless (1)

cromar (1103585) | more than 3 years ago | (#32230696)

The thing is, we are not facing any extreme temperature-like metaphor. We are sacrificing them for our own comfort, not for our survival.

Re:neuroquantology? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32231388)

Yeah, I was afraid that might come up when I read "Berkeley" in the context of biological systems exhibiting quantum properties. Lets hope this one is something real, if not for progress itself, then at least for the scientists involved.

Re:Biodiversity Is Priceless (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 3 years ago | (#32229744)

Don’t forget the other side: The species that profit from us. It’s just as bad.

Then again you could call it all, including our destructive behavior, just nature, and let it flow freely...

Interestingly though, that means that saving nature is not the "leave everything how it is" that we think it is, but instead is “acting in our own (best) interests”.
Earth as a planet couldn’t care less about we destroying ourselves and taking 99% of all life with us. A couple of millions of years, and it’s back to normal again.
It’s us that won’t be back to normal again.

Huh, entanglement? (1)

f3rret (1776822) | more than 3 years ago | (#32227722)

I always heard that photosynthesis in plants relied on quantum tunneling, not quantum entanglement.

Re:Huh, entanglement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32227862)

tomato tomato potatoe potatoe

Admittedly this saying makes much less sense online.

Re:Huh, entanglement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32227892)

tomato tomato potatoe potatoe

Dan Quayle spotted on slashdot!

Re:Huh, entanglement? (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 3 years ago | (#32227938)

Reminds me of a sort of "who's on first" style SNL bit with Christopher Walken:

He sings the song first pronouncing tomato and potato the same both times - he never alters the pronunciation. Someone comes on and tells him "No no, you need to switch the pronunciation", so he sings it again but pronounces them both the second way both times, still not alternating pronunciations. Then both of them get confused as the new guy tries to explain to Walken that he needs to alternate the pronunciation for tomato and potato. They both end up singing together, pronouncing tomato (both times) in one style and potato (again, both times) in the other style. They alternate pronunciation, but not for each iteration of tomato and potato like you are supposed to.

It's pretty frickin funny.

Newtons Cradle (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32227732)

Think of the light harvesting molecule as the first steel ball. Think of the molecule in the reaction center as the last ball.

Re:Newtons Cradle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32227820)

And Spencer's Gifts as the earth? Scary.

Re:Newtons Cradle (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#32228318)

And where's the entanglement in Newton's cradle?
OK, if we put it in a box and only release the first steel ball if a radioactive atom decays ... :-)

Re:Again? (2, Informative)

DinZy (513280) | more than 3 years ago | (#32227898)

No

The article you cite describes how photosynthesis relies on quantum physics in general, not quantum entanglement which is a very specific type of quantum phenomenon.

Re:Again? (2, Insightful)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 3 years ago | (#32228196)

> The article you cite describes how photosynthesis relies on quantum physics
> in general...

In other words, chemistry.

Yet another nail in the coffin of vegetarianism (4, Funny)

Draek (916851) | more than 3 years ago | (#32227848)

Do cows use quantum entanglement? no. Do sheep? no. Plants do. Why would I eat the *smarter* lifeform?

In fact, I'd celebrate with a burger if it weren't for the fact that lettuces are a plant. Anybody know of a meat-based replacement for a plant-friendly person such as myself?

Re:Yet another nail in the coffin of vegetarianism (1)

NEDHead (1651195) | more than 3 years ago | (#32227922)

The crispy skin of a well cooked turkey is always an option

Re:Yet another nail in the coffin of vegetarianism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32227976)

Good call, and he can replace the tomatoes with pork roll.

Re:Yet another nail in the coffin of vegetarianism (3, Funny)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 3 years ago | (#32227996)

Anybody know of a meat-based replacement for a plant-friendly person such as myself?

Just follow the meatitarian's motto: When in doubt, add bacon.

The tricky bit here is the bread. That's plant based. Perhaps you could use large cut deep-fried pork or beef skin as a suitable substitute?

If you want to get philosophical, though, you run into a much bigger problem: All meat comes from dead plants first. Cow's are built on massive quantities of grass, pigs are built on oats and anything else edible (which all come from plants at some point). It's a losing proposition.

Your only real option is to live on honey and honeybees. Plants offer the bees nectar in exchange for assisting their reproduction, so no plant is ever harmed in the production of honey. Since bees are fed on honey, they are fair game too. There are some birds that have this type of symbiotic relationship with plants, which would make them ok to eat, but you can't farm raise them because they must be a part of the cycle to make them plant friendly!

You could also live on maggots and flies, which only consume meat (and indirectly plants) after that meat has died from natural processes. Honey, maggots, maybe a hummingbird every once in a while, supplemented with a lot of fungus - yeah, I think you could really make a go of it!

Re:Yet another nail in the coffin of vegetarianism (4, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#32228244)

Actually you can also eat fruits: While the fruits are from plants, they are explicitly produced by the plants to be eaten (because that way they spread). Just don't eat or destroy the seed. Throw them on earth, so they have a chance to grow.

Re:Yet another nail in the coffin of vegetarianism (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32228334)

Or eat the seeds and poop in a garden.

Re:Yet another nail in the coffin of vegetarianism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32230342)

Bakeries use a pig based floor additive to allow more efficient yeast(ing)/(fermentation?)... So unfortunately vegetarians... no more bread for you all, be strict... :-)

Re:Yet another nail in the coffin of vegetarianism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32231130)

Hummingbirds, who mostly drink nectar and help the plants by distributing pollen. Catching them is a bitch, though.

I'm a meat-eater, but. . . (4, Interesting)

Fantastic Lad (198284) | more than 3 years ago | (#32228058)

Animals have brains, right?

If quantum entanglement doesn't turn out to be a vital component in neurological science, then I'll be a fish on a loaf.

-FL

Re:I'm a meat-eater, but. . . (1)

buswolley (591500) | more than 3 years ago | (#32229162)

I hope so. Nothing would be greater to neuroscience and psychology than adding a whole new level of abstraction.

Re:I'm a meat-eater, but. . . (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 3 years ago | (#32229922)

Anybody know of a meat-based replacement for a plant-friendly person such as myself?

Hmm...

then I'll be a fish on a loaf.

How about fish on a loaf? ^^

Re:Yet another nail in the coffin of vegetarianism (1)

WCguru42 (1268530) | more than 3 years ago | (#32228198)

Do cows use quantum entanglement? no. Do sheep? no. Plants do. Why would I eat the *smarter* lifeform?

In fact, I'd celebrate with a burger if it weren't for the fact that lettuces are a plant. Anybody know of a meat-based replacement for a plant-friendly person such as myself?

Like I say to the vegetarians, we have incisors for a reason. I guess to you I'd say, we have molars for a reason.

Re:Yet another nail in the coffin of vegetarianism (1)

capo_dei_capi (1794030) | more than 3 years ago | (#32228352)

Anybody know of a meat-based replacement for a plant-friendly person such as myself?

KFC [xomba.com] has you covered.

Re:Yet another nail in the coffin of vegetarianism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32228912)

Yes. It's called a double-down sandwich, developed by KFC. It's the most important advance in sandwich technology since the engineers at Burger King broke the two-patty barrier.

Re:Yet another nail in the coffin of vegetarianism (1)

elecmahm (1194167) | more than 3 years ago | (#32229656)

What does using quantum entanglement have to do with intelligence? that's like saying that stars are smarter because they use nuclear fusion.

Re:Yet another nail in the coffin of vegetarianism (1)

pthreadunixman (1370403) | more than 3 years ago | (#32229860)

This is technically inaccurate. It's the chloroplasts within the plant cells that have the smarts. There's a lot of bacteria that are also autotrophic as well. So, make of that what you will.

Re:Yet another nail in the coffin of vegetarianism (2, Interesting)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 3 years ago | (#32230132)

>>Do cows use quantum entanglement? no. Do sheep? no. Plants do. Why would I eat the *smarter* lifeform?

Depending on your theory of quantum mechanics, you might believe that all systems are entangled. So yeah, they all do.

Re:Yet another nail in the coffin of vegetarianism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32231586)

Do cows use quantum entanglement? no. Do sheep? no. Plants do. Why would I eat the *smarter* lifeform?

Think of it as a cannibal. Eat your enemies you respect most, so that you might obtain some of their characteristics.

Nothing new here. (2, Informative)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#32227962)

Well, not to me. I've known about this action for a couple of years. It's highly linked to visible-wavelength irradiation at 420nm and 460nm, it's like an Emerson Effect for the blue wavelengths.

Re:Nothing new here. (1)

Livius (318358) | more than 3 years ago | (#32229092)

I'm sure there's some real science in there somewhere, but The Fine Article seems to have been written by someone whose knowledge of quantum entanglement comes entirely from New Age mysticism. They're not describing anything more exotic than the photoelectric effect, which was always the way people thought photosynthesis worked, and the suggestion that quantum entanglement might occur in a photosynthetic system (duh - it occurs everywhere in nature).

Re:Nothing new here. (2, Interesting)

Khyber (864651) | more than 3 years ago | (#32229994)

It's actually quantum reactions between different wavelengths of light to trigger certain things inside of the plants. The actual Emerson Effect happens when 660-670nm light is paired with 700-720nm light, however due to figuring out there is some entanglement involved, we've also found a new pair of wavelengths that do this as well, in the blue range. What we've noticed is with these specific pairings, certain photosynthetic and photomorphogenic processes increase DRAMATICALLY.

These guys are pretty much confirming something we've already figured out, though it's only been a couple of years since we've figured this out, and the technology to make it worthwhile is so expensive thanks to, well, Sony. 400-420nm diodes of any sort are hard to find because everyone's focused on Blu-Ray production. A 420nm diode is twice as expensive as any other diode right now because of this, thus making efficient LED horticultural panels very expensive to produce.

Hameroff/Penrose model of quantum consciousness (3, Interesting)

Dr_Banzai (111657) | more than 3 years ago | (#32228208)

This finding seems to give support to the Orch-OR (orchestrated objective reduction) theory of quantum consciousness proposed by Stuart Hameroff [quantumconsciousness.org] and Roger Penrose. One of the main objections to the theory is that quantum coherence could not be sustained in the warm biological environment for sufficient duration. If quantum entaglement is a normal feature of photosynthesis, it's less of a stretch to believe that quantum coherence could be one of the mechanisms to give rise to consciousness in higher lifeforms.

Re:Hameroff/Penrose model of quantum consciousness (2, Informative)

JoshuaZ (1134087) | more than 3 years ago | (#32228284)

This finding seems to give support to the Orch-OR (orchestrated objective reduction) theory of quantum consciousness proposed by Stuart Hameroff and Roger Penrose. One of the main objections to the theory is that quantum coherence could not be sustained in the warm biological environment for sufficient duration. If quantum entaglement is a normal feature of photosynthesis, it's less of a stretch to believe that quantum coherence could be one of the mechanisms to give rise to consciousness in higher lifeforms

This might give support but only to a very tiny extent. The entanglement in the plant case we're talking here about quantum entanglement on a very small scale. Most versions of quantum consciousness hypothesis are positing entanglement on much larger scales. The Orch-OR theory requires entanglement occurring at the level of microtubules which are orders of magnitude larger objects.

Re:Hameroff/Penrose model of quantum consciousness (1)

smallfries (601545) | more than 3 years ago | (#32228372)

So they get over the minor inconvenience of their proposal not being possible. Now all that they need to do is jump the hurdle of it being completely unnecessary. There is no compelling reason why quantum phenomena are needed to describe conscienceness. Without a compelling reason then their theory has no use.

Re:Hameroff/Penrose model of quantum consciousness (1)

hydrofix (1253498) | more than 3 years ago | (#32230626)

There is no compelling reason why quantum phenomena are needed to describe conscienceness. Without a compelling reason then their theory has no use.

Uhmm, could you elaborate a bit? Try simulating consciousness on a computer e.g. a neural network model. As far as I know none of those simulations have come even close to creating an A.I., or we would have sure known about it.

Instead, many developed animals such as people are capable of many functions (like pattern recognition in vision or abstract reasoning), that are just extremely hard to program with the tools available in the normal linear computation model. As our brains are clearly able to run many parallel linear computations, a physically different and inherently asynchronous computing model, such as that proposed by quantum computing, would as a model suit the observed complexity much better.

Re:Hameroff/Penrose model of quantum consciousness (1)

smallfries (601545) | more than 3 years ago | (#32231110)

So what you're saying is that when we try to implement A with B it doesn't work, therefore X is a necessary precondition of B? I'm afraid that logic (and science) don't work that way. Saying that because the things that we have tried have not worked is a reason to invoke X as the magic necessary ingredient is equally true for all X. And I don't think that a celestial teapot is the magic ingredient to AI, do you?

Although pattern recognition is hard that does not mean that it is impossible with classical tools. It just means that we have not done it yet. And what do you mean by "linear computation model"? The word linear has many technical meanings, but none of them make your statement true.

Not all parallel or asynchronous models require quantum magic. Hence the fact that our brain operates asynchronously in parallel does not imply that quantum magic is necessary.

Re:Hameroff/Penrose model of quantum consciousness (2, Informative)

SQL Error (16383) | more than 3 years ago | (#32228722)

This changes nothing. The numbers remain the same; the timescale for photosynthesis is not comparable to that for neural activity.

Hameroff/Penrose quantum consciousness remains impossible (as well as unscientific, unnecessary and useless).

Re:Hameroff/Penrose model of quantum consciousness (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#32229510)

This changes nothing. The numbers remain the same; the timescale for photosynthesis is not comparable to that for neural activity.

Hameroff/Penrose quantum consciousness remains impossible (as well as unscientific, unnecessary and useless).

You have a right to your opinion on it being unnecessary, useless or impossible. You are simply wrong in saying it's unscientific. It's scientific in that they are following scientific method, their equations are there to be read and the calculations work, the only thing left to do is observe it in nature.

You can claim the timescale isn't accurate, or that the size isn't accurate or that the quantum entanglement in plants does not apply to animal brains, but you cannot say that it's unscientific. Thats just an ignorant statement.

If you think it's unscientific why don't you prove that by discussing the unscientific parts of the hypothesis.

Re:Hameroff/Penrose model of quantum consciousness (1)

turbidostato (878842) | more than 3 years ago | (#32231150)

"If you think it's unscientific why don't you prove that by discussing the unscientific parts of the hypothesis."

Where are the experiments. Where are even the hypothetical experiments?

Without the experiments it's not science but maths at best, opinion at worst.

In the broader context... (1)

Burnhard (1031106) | more than 3 years ago | (#32228428)

What may prove to be this study's most significant revelation is that contrary to the popular scientific notion that entanglement is a fragile and exotic property, difficult to engineer and maintain, the Berkeley researchers have demonstrated that entanglement can exist and persist in the chaotic chemical complexity of a biological system.

The most interesting aspect of this from my point of view is that it points towards such effects being taken advantage of by other biological systems, such as brains. Many objections to Penrose/Hameroff/Harris-Walker type physics being important in brain processes (and hence conscious activity) are based on coherence being hard if not impossible to achieve in "noisy" biological systems. I think perhaps these objections may be premature.

Umm, actually... (2, Insightful)

nashv (1479253) | more than 3 years ago | (#32228468)

...have experimentally shown that plants use quantum entanglement in photosynthesis.

Another Slashdot summary fail. The paper shows that entanglement can exist in photosystems of plants at high temperatures and a fundamentally noisy system, and is very exciting to note that.

It however, does not show that plants actually use the quantum entanglement in anyway. It may just be that the phenomenon is incidental and a result of the high-level organisation of the proteins in the photosystem without any implications for a plant or evolutionary pressure to select for it.

Green Priests (1)

harley78 (746436) | more than 3 years ago | (#32228484)

and now we know how the Verdani can communicate instantly across the universe....(pushes glasses back up)

Don't let Oprah hear about this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32228718)

She'll just take the info and run with it to sell "The Secret II"

qp is a hoax (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32229406)

What a load of nonsense the entire article is. There is no such thing as quantum entanglement as physicists describe it.

Chaotic complexity? (1)

RobertM1968 (951074) | more than 3 years ago | (#32229512)

the Berkeley researchers have demonstrated that entanglement can exist and persist in the chaotic chemical complexity of a biological system.'"

There are those who argue that there is nothing inherently chaotic about such systems in the natural world - especially in plant life. I think they are called biologists. I think part of the stuff they do is, complexity aside (or lack thereof depending on what aspect of the biological system they are analyzing), they map out these repeatable, oft-times duplicatable (scientifically) processes to show that there actually isnt anything chaotic about it, but that instead they are rather "organized" chemical interactions and processes - hence the reason a tree grows a certain way, and the tree next to it, if exposed to the same environmental conditions grows within those same chemical parameters.

I wonder if the quantum entanglement aspect (or lack of understanding of certain processes) is the reason for them claiming anything is chaotic in the systems they are analyzing? Or perhaps they dont understand the meaning of the words "chaos" and "chaotic" - or are using a different, non-mainstream definition... complex is not necessary equal to chaotic even though appearances (or understanding) of such may be deceiving.

Of course, I have not taken a biology class in many years... so it is quite possible my understanding is lacking, and these complex biological systems do indeed act in a chaotic manner that so wonderfully coincidentally still comes to the same chemical and biological conclusions.

So you're saying ... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#32229566)

... quantum computing might be as slow as watching grass grow?

Actually, grass grows very fast (3, Interesting)

Chicken_Kickers (1062164) | more than 3 years ago | (#32230218)

Specifically, bamboo http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bamboo [wikipedia.org] which can grow 60cm in a day. The summary seems to imply that biological systems are simple compared to high tech artificial systems. I might be biased because I am a microbiologist, but nothing humans have ever constructed have even remotely approached the complexity and efficiency of biological systems. For example, have a look at the bacterial outboard motor (flagellum) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flagellum [wikipedia.org] . Just look at it. Isn't it beautiful, complex yet efficient at what it does. Considering that at bacterial scale, the liquid medium surrounding it is like molasses, makes it more incredible.

Gaiavatar Comm System Established ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32229998)

So, it's a moot point that plants have a basis for instantaneous quantum-entangled communication. Using the sun for time-shifted synch, perhaps. Or general celestial radiation, perhaps. After all, if it's there, why wouldn't natuire use it? And plants are very much the specialized, efficient celestial radiation collectors. Now, if you can collect. Why not...

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