Particle Physics for Primitive Plants

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Particle physics for primitive plants reported in ScienceNOW 3 Feb 2010, Nature vol. 463, p644, 4 February 2010 doi: 10.1038/nature08811 and ScienceDaily 4 February 2010. A team of chemists at University of Toronto have been studying the proteins used by plants to capture the energy of sunlight and transfer it to the reaction centres that convert carbon dioxide and water to sugar. The team fired ultrafast, low-power laser pulses at the light-harvesting molecules isolated from two species of marine algae (single celled plants that float in water). They then measured changes in the light energy as it was transferred to the reaction centre molecules. To their surprise they found the light harvesting molecules essentially convert incoming light into a wave that travels to the reaction centre without losing energy. To do this they must be applying an aspect of particle physics known as quantum mechanics.

Greg Scholes, who led the study, commented: “We were astonished to find clear evidence of long-lived quantum mechanical states involved in moving the energy. Our result suggests that the energy of absorbed light resides in two places at once - a quantum superposition state, or coherence - and such a state lies at the heart of quantum mechanical theory." He went on to explain: “The energy can thereby flow efficiently by, counter intuitively, traversing several alternative paths through the antenna proteins simultaneously. It also raises some other potentially fascinating questions, such as, have these organisms developed quantum-mechanical strategies for light-harvesting to gain an evolutionary advantage? It suggests that algae knew about quantum mechanics nearly two billion years before humans."


Editorial Comment: Scientists and engineers are currently working on using quantum mechanics for faster computing and efficient energy transfer, but are a long way from perfecting it and putting it to everyday use. When they succeed it will be because enormous amounts of intelligent research and creative design were applied to the problem. It is therefore absurd that the same intelligent scientists expect us to believe that chance random processes set up a system that already uses quantum mechanics.

No scientist seriously believes single celled plants that form pond scum or float in the upper layer of the ocean know anything about quantum mechanics. If they do, they are about as smart as the algae themselves, or as the Apostle Paul put it “professing themselves wise they became fools” (Roman 1:22). Rather than giving the credit to the algae, these scientists should be giving praise to the Creator of the algae, and thanking Him they can learn how algae works and apply it to the use of mankind. (Ref. design, chlorophyll, photons)

Evidence News 9 March 2011