The Doctor’s Kitchen Podcast: #116 Quantum Biology with Professor Jim Al-Khalili


Click here to listen to and view full show notes for the episode


Today I welcome the award-winning science communicator, Professor Jim Al-Khalili to the podcast. Renowned around the world through his writing and broadcasting, he is also a leading academic making fundamental contributions to theoretical nuclear physics and quantum biology as you will hear. He is also host of the long running “Life Scientific” on Radio 4.

Today’s conversation is not just complex, it’s confusing. And you’ll probably gather throughout our chat, I was pretty confused. I do my best to breakdown the science for you as we progress through our conversation, but the validating message that Jim confirms is : “If you’re confused, You understand it!”

We talk about

  • Jim’s upbringing in Iraq and what led him to physics
  • The Quantum vs Classic systems
  • Where Quantum physics has a role
  • Life on the Edge – one of the only books  detailing Quantum Biology
  • Why Quantum Mechanics is so important
  • Some weird quantum effects such as entanglement and tunneling
  • Why Quantum mechanics has a role in biology
  • Heredity and how it is possible that replication occurs with so few errors
  • Where the boundary between classical and quantum systems exists
  • Quantum mechanics and Photosynthesis 
  • Jim’s thoughts on Urban electromagnetic disruption
  • Human Consciousness
  • AI and humans
  • Artificial General intelligence versus machine learning
  • Jim’s latest grant to examine the borders between quantum and the classical world


You can read his book “Life on the Edge”, which is a fantastic historical look at how the quantum world has influenced biology and why it’s important.

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