Physics, biology and the origin of life: The physicians' view

Geoffrey Goodman, M. Eric Gershwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Physicians have a great interest in discussions of life and its origin, including life's persistence through successive cycles of self-replication under extreme climatic and man-made trials and tribulations. We review here the fundamental processes that, contrary to human intuition, life may be seen heuristically as an ab initio, fundamental process at the interface between the complementary forces of gravitation and quantum mechanics. Analogies can predict applications of quantum mechanics to human physiology in addition to that already being applied, in particular to aspects of brain activity and pathology. This potential will also extend eventually to, for example, autoimmunity, genetic selection and aging. We present these thoughts in perspective against a background of changes in some physical fundamentals of science, from the earlier times of the natural philosophers of medicine to the technological medical gurus of today. Despite the enormous advances in medical science, including integration of technological changes that have led to the newer clinical applications of magnetic resonance imaging and PET scans and of computerized drug design, there is an intellectual vacuum as to how the physics of matter became translated to the biology of life. The essence and future of medicine continue to lie in cautious, systematic and ethically bound practice and scientific research based on fundamental physical laws accepted as true until proven false.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)719-723
Number of pages5
JournalIsrael Medical Association Journal
Volume13
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2011

Keywords

  • Crystalline lenses
  • Nuclear medicine
  • Origin of life
  • Positron emission tomography
  • Quantum mechanics and brain function

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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