The Secrets of Quantum Physics

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Let There Be Life

Series 1 - Episode 2 Let There Be Life

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Review

In part one, we learnt how quantum weirdness is woven into the fabric of the universe. In the second instalment, Professor Jim Al-Khalili sends hard maths crashing into the ecosystem as he explores quantum theory’s role in biology. “I believe that quantum physics holds the secrets of life,” he claims.

It’s a novel spin on the subject, in which we learn how our noses use quantum vibrations to “hear” smells. And if you’ve ever wondered how those cute Christmas robins use quantum entanglement to help them navigate (admittedly unlikely), here's your chance to find out – all illustrated with help from some floating Prisoner-style balls. It's nature, Jim, but not as we know it.

Summary

Jim Al-Khalili continues his exploration of quantum physics, asking whether the subject can be used to solve mysteries in biology, looking at how the European robin navigates using the process of quantum entanglement, and how humans use quantum vibrations in their sense of smell. Finally, the presenter looks at the Uncertainty Principle, and surmises that the effects suggested by this science might play a role in evolution.

Cast & Crew

Presenter Jim Al-Khalili
Director Kenny Scott
Executive Producer Paul Sen
Producer Kenny Scott
Education