Do you ever wonder about the brain’s most mysterious functions such as consciousness, emotions, and how we hold long-term memories in our mind?
Scientists have come up with a plausible answer — Quantum Computing. It is quite possible that the advanced abilities of our own human brains like processing information and making decisions come from quantum calculations.
They believe that phenomena like quantum entanglement and superposition might be a regular occurrence in our brains and it can very well explain its super fast and complex functioning. If this fact is confirmed, it could increase our understanding of the inner workings of the brain and help in medical treatment.
For the unacquainted, quantum computing works on the basic laws of quantum mechanisms which explains our universe at the smallest atomic level – where the rules of classical physics are no longer applicable.
Here, the data storing bits 1 and 0, also known as on/off switches in classical computers, get replaced by qubits that can be both 1 and 0 simultaneously. Researchers are trying to determine the presence of these qubits in the brain.
Although qubits require very low temperatures to work, there might be a workaround in our warm and wet gray matter that allows quantum computing to take place.
This research is also focused on determining whether qubits could be stored in the nuclear spins at the core of atoms instead of the surrounding electrons. Phosphorus atoms, which are abundant in our bodies, could also be a biochemical qubit according to the scientists.
If the brain is really a quantum computer, there must be a built-in way to protect our biological qubits from decoherence: a point where quantum entanglement begins to break down. This is why scientists will look into the potential for decoherence in the brain.
Just like quantum computers, our brains can probably create quantum coupled networks through neurotransmitters and synaptic firing. Matthew Fischer from UCSB and his team will conduct an experiment to emulate such brain conditions and unravel its mysteries.
Although there is no guarantee that these experiments would give us the answers we are looking for, this research could definitely throw some light on the working of our most complicated organ.