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Author Topic: Schrödinger's Flu?  (Read 1082 times)

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Offline Spookie MonsterTopic starter

Schrödinger's Flu?
« on: September 30, 2009, 06:43:18 PM »
Could we create quantum creatures in the lab?

Quantum weirdness could soon invade the living world, if a scheme to give a flu virus a strange double life comes off.

Splendid -- now I'll be able to get sick in every universe!

Spel


A judgement made can never bend...

Offline OneOfAKiind

Re: Schrödinger's Flu?
« Reply #1 on: September 30, 2009, 10:01:51 PM »
I'm not sure I understand this correctly -- not a science person at all...
but would that be a good thing or a bad thing in the end?I feel like it might be bad, especially when dealing with the flu virus, but maybe I don't understand the point?

Offline NSEMinion

Re: Schrödinger's Flu?
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2009, 10:34:09 AM »
I don't think so, but my virology is very rusty, and I never understood quantum physics.  Would being in a quantum state mutate the virus?  Or would removing it from a vacuum and injecting it into a test subject remove it from a quantum state?  Sounds like the plot of a scifi  movie.  Quantum flu virus mutates and escapes from the lab to wreak havoc on unsuspecting populace.  I'd watch it.

Offline Trieste

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Re: Schrödinger's Flu?
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2009, 12:39:42 PM »
Basically, the point of that is that you can only be in a quantum state when you're not actually touching anything. Like Shroedinger's Cat - the only reason the thought experiment works is because you cannot see the cat.

So now think about where you're sitting. You have all sorts of things that 'see' you - you have dust bouncing off of you. You have air molecules bouncing off of you, you have light particles bouncing off of you. Quantums only works if you eliminate these things.

Putting the thing in a vacuum eliminates air (vacuum is the absence of air) - and helps to put it closer to an inducible quantum state. They want to use a virus because it's very, very small. I think it would be more interesting if they did it with the water bear because it might give us an idea of how such a state would have an effect on a life form (water bears live in raindrops and they essentially turn themselves into living mummies when the water dries up until it rains again, so they can survive in really really harsh environments) but I guess if you consider a virus an actual life form (they really aren't) it'll still be interesting.

I guess it's hard to conceive of unless you're trained to (or good at) picturing things on a very small level. I don't have formal education in quantums (that's next year) but I deal all day with flinging around protons.

Offline WhiteyChan

Re: Schrödinger's Flu?
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2009, 02:47:29 PM »
Wow. That's really interesting. Like Trieste, I don't get a formal education in Quantum mechanics until next year - although, as I'm doing a straight physics course, I'll end up going into way more detail than I think she will - but it does sound both interesting and feasible... I may keep an eye on this XD

Offline Trieste

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Re: Schrödinger's Flu?
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2009, 03:52:25 PM »
It's my understanding that junior/senior chemistry is all quantum chem. I'm both looking forward to and dreading it.

Offline Oniya

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Re: Schrödinger's Flu?
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2009, 06:55:45 PM »
Hmm.  Quantum chem?  I've heard of quantum physics, but didn't know it extended into chemistry. 

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Offline Trieste

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Re: Schrödinger's Flu?
« Reply #7 on: October 02, 2009, 07:22:11 PM »
Baby quantum chem gets into orbitals and ground energy states, etc. I don't know how they spend a year on those things, but ... I guess they do.

Offline The Overlord

Re: Schrödinger's Flu?
« Reply #8 on: October 03, 2009, 03:23:28 AM »


This is mind-blowing.


I think at this point this is simply a 'let's see if we can actually do it' endeavor. If they can pull it off, it will speak volumes about the nature and limits of the quantum state.

Offline Voichin

Re: Schrödinger's Flu?
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2009, 02:07:42 PM »
Wow, journalists should be prohibited by law to write about things that they do not understand!

I'm looking forward to see how this experiment goes, but I'll definitely go and check the original article. The guy that wrote this is a total moron.

Offline Spookie MonsterTopic starter

Re: Schrödinger's Flu?
« Reply #10 on: October 09, 2009, 05:29:25 AM »
Generally I avoid discussing quantum mechanics -- I find that the nature of quantum mechanics often provokes, er, "the vocalization of rather passionately-held opinions" -- but I really love biology, so I thought that I'd take a chance on starting this thread.  Thank you very much indeed for the levelheaded replies.  If you hear about any results, please do post them here!

Spel


I can go any way...

Offline Callie Del Noire

Re: Schrödinger's Flu?
« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2010, 02:26:30 AM »
I'm way too sober to follow this. :D

Interesting concept.

Offline Slywyn

Re: Schrödinger's Flu?
« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2010, 03:04:01 AM »
That... looks awesome. I'd love to hear how it turns out.

Offline Schrödinger

Re: Schrödinger's Flu?
« Reply #13 on: January 20, 2010, 03:43:29 PM »
Of course, I have to post. Mostly because of my utter curiosty.  Let's hope it won't kill the cat.

While a virus may not be proper life, it does exhibit quite a few qualities thereof. Baby steps, I suppose, before they work up to bacteriae in biofilms or eukarya like the water bear. More importantly, however, is seeing just what this will lead to if they do go through the necessary hoops with that flu virus, and all the way up to that little tardigrade.