The scientific field of biochemistry — the study of chemical reactions and processes in biological organisms — backed up by physical chemistry — the application of standard physical concepts, such as motion, thermodynamics, and force, to chemical systems — is most of the time sufficient to gain a thorough understanding of the organizing mechanistic principles within living creatures.
However, some researchers think that quantum biology — the academic field where quantum physics (physics at subatomic scales) and biochemistry cross paths — might lend a hand with deepening our comprehension of the functioning of biological systems.
The system that we will…
We always appreciate it when explanations add up. There is a sort of soothing and satisfying effect that comes along and suffuses us when things make sense.
Precisely for those reasons, what has irked many theoretical physicists for already several decades is the absence of the theory of quantum gravity, which intends to put gravitational and quantum behaviour under one coherent roof regardless of the energy scale.
This article sketches a brief overview of the quantum gravity landscape and a couple of its leading candidate theories, namely M-theory, loop quantum gravity, causal dynamical triangulations, and asymptotically safe gravity.
It goes without saying that it is hard to observe something that we cannot perceive with our own eyes. Luckily, science and technology have come a long way in helping us to detect the unseeable.
Think of optical and atomic force microscopes showing how the Shewanella oneidensis bacterium extracts oxygen from toxic metals, mirrors and optical cavities that single out a rubidium atom, or spectrographs and telescopes revealing the presence of, among other chemical elements, neon in the hot gas cloud Omega Nebula, 52 million billion kilometres away from Earth.
Pricklier still is to discern something that does not send…
It sounds rather implausible that there would be a single cure to heal our natural environment, reverse the rate of extinction of animal species, improve human health, and dampen the on-going changes in our climate.
Perhaps there is one. More specifically, one that embraces a deeper acknowledgment of the relevance of life’s diversity in general. Biodiversity has become a buzzword. It refers, in broad strokes, to a wide-ranging biological variety of life. But the more intriguing question is: Why is it considered so important?
During uneasy times of a palpable changing climate and a deep-felt pandemic, it might be helpful…
Going from one point in space to another without actually traversing the distance. Does that sound mind-bendingly improbable? And stretching our mind even a bit further, the destination of that eccentric journey may well be located in a different universe altogether or lie in the past.
It is Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity that is responsible for the possibility of such thoughts.
Roughly speaking, general relativity explains how gravity is the consequence of large masses bending spacetime. So, instead of thinking that objects are attracted towards each other by the force of gravity — as per Sir Isaac Newton’s…
The motivation for this article sprouts not just from scientific curiosity, but also from a broader appreciation that we humans are more interconnected with our natural environment and our animal peers than we sometimes are aware of.
Therefore, a deeper understanding with respect to the impact SARS-CoV-2 is having on our body carries the potential to get us thinking more profoundly about those interconnections as well as galvanize us into embracing the concept of One Health.
A One Health approach basically handles health issues in a manner that is characterized by diversity: it incorporates a broad range of expertise and…
Have you ever wondered how we know how something smells? I mean, the volatile molecules entering your nose have to tell your brain in one way or another: “Hey, it’s me!”.
But how do these messages get up there in the first place?
To find the answers to these questions, we need to turn to chemical messaging and electrical signaling between our nose and brain as well as within our brain. Most intriguingly of all, it seems that we invoke ideas from quantum physics to enable signals to get to our brain.
Let us break down all of this step…
Sometimes we are gazing at the stars, scintillating reassuringly across the sky, as if we are yearning for a long-forgotten speck of what once felt as home. An enigmatic melancholy, barely noticeable, yet ever so present, falls upon us.
Would that nostalgic state of mind not make more sense if we knew that the body we inhabit is composed of indiscernible parts that originate from the place we are staring at?
Let us cosmically retract the steps along our physical journey of creation and see what precisely makes up you and me.
Zooming in close enough, we come to witness…
The concept of One Health ultimately sets its agenda on transcending the apparent borders between mankind, the animal kingdom, and the ecosystem to implement a cross-sectoral approach to prevent and manage health risks.
Taken each pillar individually, cooperation is not uncommon. For instance, trees share resources and send warning signals with the help of belowground fungal networks; meerkats collaborate by way of an elaborate vocal communication system to give their companions a heads up about lurking predators; and even people are able to lend their fellow human beings a hand, as demonstrated by the Living Cities collaborative.
Gravity is one of the four fundamental interactions in nature — the three others being electromagnetism, the strong nuclear interactions, and the weak nuclear interactions — and it pervades space like an invisible field until infinity. Albert Einstein taught us that the gravitational field is spacetime itself, and that gravity is experienced as a result of large masses bending spacetime. That is, you are constantly falling towards the centre of the Earth due to its large mass curving spacetime, which is why you are able to walk on its surface and not float away.
In a certain way, gravity connects…