Guildford Astronomical Society

Two talks: ‘Is Life Quantum Mechanical?’ and ‘A field guide to Isotopes’

RAGTalk2The University of Surrey Physics Society invites you to an evening with Prof. Jim Al-Khalili and Dr. Paul Stevenson, on the 25th of March, to find out if Life is Quantum Mechanical or not, and to explore the uses of Nuclear Isotopes in our everyday lives. The event has been organized through RAG to raise donations in aid of ‘The Shooting Star Chase Charity’, which is a leading children’s hospice charity caring for babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions and their families.

It costs about £9.5 million a year to maintain the current level of care and hence we believe that every bit of donations that we raise will go a long way to help these families.

The schedule of the event:

Date: 25th March, 17:00 – 19:00
Location: Lecture Theatre D (Griffiths), University of Surrey.
Entry: Minimum £1 but welcome to donate whatever you can.

16:40 – 16:55 – Drinks reception (light snacks will be provided)

17:00 – 17:50 – ‘Is Life Quantum Mechanical?’ by Prof. Jim Al-Khalili

17:50 – 18:00 – Break (drinks available outside in the foyer)

18:05 – 19:00 – ‘A field guide to Isotopes’ by Dr. Paul Stevenson

The précis of both the lectures are as follows:


Is Life Quantum Mechanical?

This lecture introduces the exciting new field of Quantum Biology. It has recently emerged that robins migrating from Sweden to the Mediterranean every autumn appear to use quantum entanglement (what Einstein called “spooky action at a distance”) within proteins in their eyes to help them navigate by detecting the earth’s weak magnetic field. There is also solid evidence that plants use quantum coherence to speed up the process of photosynthesis, while enzymes, those metabolic workhorses that drive much of the action in our cells, use quantum tunnelling to accelerate chemical reactions. With a background in theoretical nuclear physics, Jim Al-Khalili is one of a growing number of scientists interested in trying to understand how fragile quantum mechanical phenomena manage to survive in the wet, warm biological world.


A field Guide to Isotopes

This lecture takes a tour of uses of different nuclear isotopes of elements in things like medicine, geology, as well as straight nuclear physics.