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Programs How to become a Quantum Biologist?

  1. Sep 29, 2015 #1
    Hello everyone,

    I am starting a bachelor degree in Biological Science this year.
    My background in science is fairly limited :
    - French baccalaureate/a-levels in sciences (maths/chemistry/physic/biology)
    -One year in Medical school back in France (with module in biochem)
    -Access to higher education course in health

    I have a specific idea of what career path I would like to take (the summer has been prolific!!) as I found myself researching and learning about quantum physics for quite few weeks... I also discovered that biology is deeply influenced by the laws of the strange and wonderful and would like to associate my understanding of biology to quantum mechanisms... but the only degree I could find that would suit my purpose is Biophysics.
    Is it THE degree to take? is there any others?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 29, 2015 #2


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    To me (not a physicist, nor a biologist, so others might disagree!) it would appear that you might be better served by approaching biophysics from physics than from biology, specially if you interest is in quantum mechanical aspects. Perhaps I would consider doing a bachelor in physics with lots of elective courses on biology and chemistry? It may give you a stronger technical background to understand what is going on in your field of interest.
  4. Sep 29, 2015 #3


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    Most people I know in biophysics come from a physics background. A good option would be to do a physics undergrad with biology electives, then going on to a quantum biology phd.
  5. Sep 29, 2015 #4


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    To become a quantum biologist, do a bachelor's degree in physics, then a Ph.D. with a professor who works on quantum biology. It's not a huge field so you may have to look outside of France. I would suggest finding interesting papers and trying to work with the authors, although that might not happen until after your bachelor's degree. The most-studied area in quantum biology is light-harvesting photosynthesis, so perhaps start looking through some of those papers.

    There is often discussion about which undergraduate background is the best...personally I did a pure physics undergrad and got my PhD in a physics department studying biophysics. Others I know have a more biological background.
  6. Sep 29, 2015 #5

    Andy Resnick

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    My perspective: I have a PhD in Physics and did a postdoc in Physiology. Depending on your perspective, my research is somewhere on the biophysics-physiology axis: biologists say I'm a physicist, physicists say I'm doing biology. I also get along well with biomedical engineers.

    I take exception to your comment above- while there are a lot of ideas/assumptions/claims, as a point of fact only a few biological systems have *required* quantum mechanics for a full explanation: photosynthesis is the canonical case, navigation by birds using magnetism is (arguably) another. Even if I included computational methods or experimental techniques, aside from being fatuous, it's a stretch to claim that biology is *deeply influenced* by quantum mechanics.

    If you are interested in (bio)molecular dynamics, I agree a foundation in physics or biochemistry (or both) is essential. If you are interested in integrative biology- cell function, tissue function, organ systems, organismal physiology, population dynamics, etc.... then I would encourage you to take a combination of quantitative biology (especially experimental methods), physics/biomedical engineering, and physiology courses as needed.

    The good news is that you are heading out into barely-trod ground; you have considerable freedom to make your own path.
  7. Oct 6, 2015 #6
    Thanks for the replies and advice guys!
    But Andy is not not true that chemical processes such as catalysis use quantum tunneling ? It seems to me that enzymes are core molecules in living things. But again it might be my continental culture that makes me exaggerate..!
    I am now living in London klotza, France isn't ready for scientific progress... That's partly why I chose to cross the border.
    Any chance that you guys know someone I could contact to do a shadow in this field of sc?
    Take care,
  8. Oct 6, 2015 #7


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    Could I, please, quote you on this in the future? :wink:
  9. Oct 6, 2015 #8
    Course you can. I'll assume the consequences...
  10. Oct 6, 2015 #9

    Andy Resnick

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    That's true, and it's also true of all chemical reactions. Your question seemed to be focused on biology, and I interpreted that to mean the subset of processes that have direct biological relevance, with results of interest to biologists as well as physicists.
  11. Oct 7, 2015 #10
    I really appreciate your insight regarding all this. It is nice to read you all and enjoying this forum
  12. Mar 18, 2016 #11
    I would like to *first of all* thank everyone who answered, I also want to go into Quantum Biology. I study Nanotechnology and will be taking lots of core physics classes including Quantum Mechanics, and many bio electives.

    Annek, I'm not sure about France, but in Europe there are many masters programmes that might lead you to a path on Quantum Biology.
    Some of these programs are:
    *MSc in Bionanophotonics
    *MSc in Bionanophysics
    *PhD in Biophysics
    *PhD on Molecular Biophysics
    I'm sure that Quantum Chemistry would help alot too.

  13. Aug 9, 2017 #12


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    I would like to highlight Andy Resnick's remarks, which I think are a very good warning about "quantum biology".
  14. Aug 9, 2017 #13
    I think the judge at the trial of Lavoisier said something like.............................." France has no need for scientists."
    It seems that France may not have advanced much since the revolution.:smile::smile::smile::smile::smile::smile::smile:
  15. Aug 9, 2017 #14


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    Staff: Mentor

    Please everybody, keep in mind that annek's original posts were nearly two years ago.
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