Do We Have a Quantum Entangled Brain?
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 dissect in this article is our brain.
The Open Question
In order to provide us with the necessary cerebral capability to engage in a conversation, to anticipate a dangerous situation, to learn a new language, to solve a math equation, to design and implement a business strategy, or to read a popular science book, many neurons in our brain team up to process input signals and to manifest a certain response.
What is as yet not entirely understood in the field of neuroscience — the scientific study of the structure and function of the nervous system — is how exactly neurons collaborate to give birth to this rich variety of cognitive brain functions.
For instance, when it comes to neural populations in the retina, Tatyana Sharpee et al. point out that “the organizing principles for how these neurons work together remain unclear.” Another case in point is a research study by Michel Hofman on the evolution of the brain in which he mentions that there is still a lack of knowledge around the nature of neural connectivity within the neocortex. A final example considers the brain in general: Christopher Lynn and Danielle Bassett argue that it continues to be a challenge to grasp “how the brain’s structural wiring supports cognitive functions.”
This article explores one possible answer to this unresolved question: Quantum-mechanical behaviour could help to explain the collective, cooperative behaviour of neurons that shapes the brain’s overall functioning.