Professor of Physics Jim Al-Khalili from the University of Surrey presented a talk at TEDx earlier this year, which explores the idea that quantum effects can be observed at a biological level.

In his presentation, Professor Al-Khalili explains how quantum entanglement may answer the question of how birds are able to navigate the Earth’s via its invisible magnetic fields (which are a hundred times weaker than a fridge magnet), or why quantum tunnelling could be the key to how the sun shines.

“Quantum biology is about looking for the trivial, the counter-intuitive ideas in quantum mechanics and to see if they do indeed play an important role in describing the processes of life,” said Professor Al-Khalili.

His latest book with Professor Johnjoe McFadden is titled “Life on the Edge: The Coming of Age of Quantum Biology“, which looks at these ideas in depth and seeks to answer the many questions about the origin of life itself.

Image: an illustration of a robin (via RSPB UK)