Extreme Biology – Life at All Scales and Energies

Posted on by Randall J. Lopez

A quantity of fixations plaguing the astrobiology community concerning the pre-requirements for life is retarding the improvement of biology and the search for new life inside the universe. These fixations work as smokescreens to difficult to understand the myriads of different varieties of lifestyles bureaucracy that can be thriving even in our Solar System. Astrobiologists, especially at NASA, seem to have a dogmatic fixation on studying existence simplest on the biochemical degree, a pre-profession with water as a substrate for lifestyles, adamant on simplest analyzing carbon-based totally life bureaucracy, restrained to a totally narrow temperature variety and scale; and no longer even noticing that all the lifestyles bureaucracy that they have got imagined of their wildest models are handiest primarily based on debris within the (physicists’) Standard Model.

Physics influences biology in an extra essential way than even chemistry or biochemistry. New developments in physics ought to open up areas to do not forget greater excessive lifestyles paperwork. If we find darkish count and supersymmetric debris – could biologists then start thinking about dark matter and supersymmetric life bureaucracy? Should we be speaking about “quantum biology”? When physicists communicate of parallel universes, could biologists don’t forget symbiosis among life bureaucracy in parallel universes? Is Darwin’s tree of lifestyles entire? Where are its roots?

Life at Extremely Small Scales – Nano and Quantum Life

Bacteria can be no larger than 10 microns; viruses no larger than a hundred nanometers; molecules about 1 nanometer and atoms about 0.1 nanometers. Does scale impose a barrier to life or maybe attention? If viruses are taken into consideration existence bureaucracy (as a few main astrobiologists argue) then they represent “nano-lifestyles”.

Consciousness may even exist at the quantum scale. “In some peculiar manner an electron or a photon [or any other elementary particle] seems to ‘know’ approximately adjustments in the environment and looks to respond for that reason,” says physicist Danah Zohar. A group at the Weizmann Institute in Israel has performed a version of the famous “double-slit” test. They used electrons, in preference to photons, and determined how the ensuing interference pattern (which shows wave-like homes of the particle) dissipated the longer you observed the electrons go through the slits. As a wave the electron passes thru each slit concurrently however if, in keeping with E Buks, it “senses” that it’s far being watched, the electron (as a particle) goes via best one route, diminishing the interference pattern. Elementary debris (such as photons and electrons) seem to own a certain degree of “intelligence” and focus of the environment. Renowned plasma and particle physicist, David Bohm, says “In a few since a rudimentary mind-like exceptional is present even at the extent of particle physics. As we visit subtler levels this mind-like best turns into more potent and more advanced.”

In a new field referred to as “quantum metaphysics”, Jay Alfred has proposed that focus is as fundamental a belongings to primary particles as properties that make it “count” or a “physical force” (for instance, mass, spin, and charge) (see Conscious Particles, Fields and Waves, 2007). And simply as mass, spin and price differ from one particle to any other; it’s miles likely that unique debris has exclusive tiers of focus. He has argued (see Jay Alfred, Our Invisible Bodies, 2006) that awareness can show up relying on the degree of quantum coherence and the intrinsic houses of the unmarried particle. (This can be noted as the “Quantum Coherence Theory of Consciousness”.)

In reading particle consciousness we need to now not get distracted by their scale. In truth, (below quantum discipline principle) particles are excitations in a discipline that can be infinitely massive. Every particle has a corresponding discipline. If a particle is taken into consideration a “unicellular lifestyles shape” then an area of debris can be considered a “multicellular lifestyles shape” – besides that those “cells” move in and out of life within the discipline. This obviously begs the query – Is the biochemical cellular the smallest unit of life? If not, then a biological revolution, extra crucial than the Copernican revolution in phrases of its effect on society, is around the corner.

Life at Extremely Large Scales

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Life in any respect scales are possible – consisting of on the planetary, stellar and galactic scales; or even the universe and multiverse. The Gaia hypothesis has been proposed with the aid of James Lovelock and Lynn Margulis. Jay Alfred has proposed lifestyles at cosmic and international scales by way of the use of the “plasma metaphysics” model which believes that an extensive web of currents in the area and on Earth exists that is both anatomically and physiologically similar to a neural community inside the human mind. (See Are We Living in a Gigantic Brain? 2007) This web of currents in space not only looks as if a neural network, it capabilities like one. We must not be surprised to peer lifestyles being engineered using an electromagnetic substrate. A biochemical mobile’s membrane is now a concept to feature like a semiconductor.

Perhaps a notion test could be enlightening. Imagine your self as a cellular inside your brain carefully watching your surroundings with a nano-telescope. Would you bear in mind your brain as being capable of guide cognizance? What you will see are neural cells alternately firing and resting; chemical compounds rushing to synapses and the zapping of nasty electrical currents – certainly no longer a totally “liveable zone” for existence or consciousness to exist – from your microscopic point of view. But we realize better…

Could the plasma universe, with its network of currents, be a dwelling, aware entity? Was the quark-gluon plasma ball that inflated in the course of the Big Bang a life form?

High Energy Biology – Life at High Energies and Temperatures

At excessive temperatures, molecules break up into atoms and atoms break up into a soup of sub-atomic particles known as plasma. (Partially ionized gases also are defined as “plasma”.) Plasma life forms are in all likelihood to be the maximum commonplace life form in the universe, given that plasma makes up greater than ninety-nine % of our visible universe which is nearly anywhere ionized. This is in stark assessment to complex carbon-primarily based existence paperwork, which in step with the Rare Earth hypothesis proposed by using Peter Ward and Donald Brownlee, might be uncommon inside the universe due to quite a number of things – including the want for an acceptable range of temperatures to live on.

Plasma is an ideal substrate for life at high temperatures. Plasma existence bureaucracy would adapt to environments which would be considered adversarial to carbon-primarily based lifestyles bureaucracy. It is viable that plasma existence bureaucracy had been already gifting within the gas and substances that shaped the Earth four.6 billion years ago. Carbon-based biomolecular existence paperwork simplest regarded 1 billion years later. Tsytovich and different scientists (such as Lozneanu and Sanduloviciu, discussed underneath) have proposed that plasma lifestyles bureaucracy, in truth, spurred improvement of organic carbon-based totally life on Earth.