Harmonic oscillators: the quantization of simple systems in the old quantum theory and their functional roles in biology

  • Richard H. SteeleEmail author


This article introduces quantum physics into biology in an intuitive and non-intimidating manner. It extends the quantum aspects of harmonic oscillators, and electromagnetic fields, to their functional roles in biology. Central to this process are the De Broglie wave-particle duality equation, and the adiabatic invariant parameters, magnetic moment, angular momentum and magnetic flux, determined by Ehrenfest as imposing quantum constraints on the dynamics of charges in motion. In mechanisms designed to explain the generation of low-level light emissions in biology we have adopted a biological analog of the electrical circuitry modeled on the parallel plated capacitor, traversed by helical protein structures, capable of generating electromagnetic radiation in the optical spectral region. The charge carrier required for the emissions is an accelerating electron driven, in a cyclotron-type mechanism, by ATP-induced reverse electron transfer with the radial, emission, components, mediated by coulombic forces within the helical configurations. Adenine, an essential nucleotide constituent of DNA, was examined with its long wavelength absorption maximum determining the energetic parameters for the calculations. The calculations were made for a virtual 5-turn helix where each turn of the helix emits a different frequency, generating a biological quantum series. The components of six adiabatic invariant equations were found to be embedded in Planck’s constant rendering them discrete, finite, non-random, non-statistical—Planck’s constant precludes probability. A mechanism for drug-induced hallucination is described that might provide insights as to the possible role of electromagnetic fields in consciousness. Sodium acceleration through a proposed nerve membrane helical channel generated electromagnetic emissions in the microwave region in confirmation of reported microwave emission for active nerves and may explain saltatory nerve conduction. Theoretical calculations for a helical DNA system gave a conduction resistance in agreement with a experimentally determined parameter.


Virtual 5-turn helix: the adiabatic invariant parameters: angular momentum, magnetic moment, and tesla per orbital area display for each helical turn Components of adiabatic invariant parameters embedded in Planck’s constant Planck’s constant precludes probability-documents Schrodinger’s Insight! De Broglie’s wave-particle duality equation—\(\frac{h}{2\pi}= \hbar = \hbox{ Universal \ constant}\) Nerve light emission Drug hallucination Consciousness—preliminary reflections Star light decoded—unity of man with the Cosmos DNA conduction Proton tunneling Photon enzyme activation Josephson frequency 



I extend my deep appreciation to the memory of Dr. Albert Szent Gyorgyi, my post doctoral mentor, whose efforts, largely misunderstood, strove to replace the static depiction of matter with the dynamic aspects of fields as a more vibrant expression of life. I extend my sincere appreciation to my colleagues, Drs. W. H. Baricos, Paul Guth, and William Cohen, who read all or substantial portions of this work, and made many insightful suggestions concerning its thesis. I thank Dr. John Cochran of Simon Fraser University British Columbia, Canada, whose patient, incisive critiques and comments via e-mail, were immeasurably helpful; in developing my mathematics and physics. I honor the memory of my maternal grandfather, A. B. Newton, a school teacher for forty years, who taught me the joy of study and learning in my youth. Permissions: I thank Cornell University Press for permission to cite the excerpt on consciousness from Pauling’s text, “the Nature of the Chemical Bond,” 1960, p. 570. I thank Cambridge University Press for permission to cite excerpts from Schrodinger’s book, “What is Life? Mind and Matter,” 1967, 84–86.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of BiochemistryTulane University Health Sciences CenterNew OrleansUSA
  2. 2.MetairieUSA

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