Plants influence quantum behaviour

Photosynthesis is an amazing process, not only how it works but that it works at all. Considering how diffuse sunlight is, and the spread of its light across a broad spectrum, it’s incredible that plants can harvest sunlight’s power to turn carbon dioxide and water into sugars. A few months ago, a very interesting article appeared on the BBC website, reporting on some new research into how plants are able to carry out their amazing process of photosynthesis. To quote from the article:

The idea that plants make use of quantum physics to harvest light more efficiently has received a boost. Plants gather packets of light called photons, shuttling them deep into their cells where their energy is converted with extraordinary efficiency. A report in Science journal adds weight to the idea that an effect called a "coherence" helps determine the most efficient path for the photons. Experts have called the work "a nice proof" of some contentious ideas.

It would seem, from the research, that plants are able to achieve the impressive feat of photosynthesis because they can influence the quantum activity that underpins the behaviour of the photons of sunlight, in order to create coherence and thereby maximise the energy the sunlight supplies. It’s a radical new idea, which is probably why the article mentions ‘contentious ideas’ but it’s clearly solid science.

I wanted to mention it here because it’s a fascinating link to the idea I’ve talked about in my illustrated story, Schrodinger’s Shed. The idea, in a nutshell, is that all living things influence the quantum realm that underpins physical reality in order for life to exist. If living things couldn’t influence quantum behaviour, the physical universe would be at the mercy of entropy, the inevitable slide of everything physical to an increasingly disordered state until there was no order left. Life is an incredibly complex phenomenon that grows more complex over time, something clearly entirely at odds with entropy. I’ve tried to explain the idea briefly here but it’s too difficult to explain clearly in a couple of paragraphs, so do please read my illustrated story instead.