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Can long–range forces exist?

  1. Mar 29, 2014 #1
    Excerpt from James Watson’s Nobel Prize lecture called The involvement of RNA in the synthesis of proteins:
    Source, page 2
    I would like to know the nature of these forces, what means “long-range forces arising from quantum mechanical resonance interactions”? As far as I know there are 4 types of fundamental interactions in physics:
    1. Strong
    2. Electromagnetic
    3. Weak
    4. Gravitation
    And that hypothetical force was (more precisely some physicists thought that it was) the part of one of these fundamental interactions or how? Or maybe it was something absolutely new understanding/idea in physics? Can such force exist in nature (perhaps not in living cell), at least in theory? :rolleyes:
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 29, 2014 #2
    Maybe it's meant an hypothetical force arising in entanglement ?
  4. Mar 29, 2014 #3


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    Searching the net, I get the impression that Jordan proposed genetic replication involved an attraction force, not a complement process as would be discovered later. The 'long-range' aspect meant within a system of molecules.

    Source: www.pnas.org/content/93/25/14249.long [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  5. Mar 31, 2014 #4
    Ok, and does such phenomenon really exists in Physics? :rolleyes:
  6. Mar 31, 2014 #5


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    I thought you were asking for help understanding what the meaning was in your OP:
    As to whether it really exists, it was speculation when Jordan suggested it, and nothing more. The only references I could find to this today are crackpot snake-oil healers promoting bio-rhythms. Hope you understand what that means. :wink:
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2014
  7. Apr 2, 2014 #6


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    Well, semi-long-ranged forces which ARE essential for biological molecules and result from "thermal and/or quantum fluctuations of the electronic structure" do in fact exist. They are called London dispersion forces (or if you like mystically sounding physicsy terms, then also "the Casimir effect", which is the same thing). Dealing with them effectively in the context of density functional theory is a important topic of current research in electronic structure theory.

    Contrary to the mystic sounding description with "quantum fluctuations", these are really just the effective interactions between individually fluctuating electric charge distributions, and they are thus derived quantities from the regular electromagnetic interaction (and not a fundamental force per se).
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