MARCH 2005 IN
RICK ASTER’S WORLD

The DNA Photon Hypothesis

As I was catching up with the world of quantum physics this month, I came across several new twists that forced me to change my picture of the universe.

Quantum Molecules

I already understood that individual atoms are quantum-mechanical objects, meaning that we can interact with them as information but not in any meaningful material sense. These days, most quantum physicists seem to agree that this is also true of molecules, the chemical arrangements of atoms that give material substances their distinctive qualities such as color, density, and chemical activity. But substances have these qualities only when there are many molecules together. Any single molecule must be considered primarily as a quantum-mechanical object.

As a quantum-mechanical object, a molecule can be said to have a few physical characteristics such as mass and electric charge, but it cannot be pinned down as to any quality that has to do with space. It has no exact size, shape, position, or velocity. We recognize matter because of qualities such as shape, color, solidity, flow, density, optical density, and so on. Individual molecules lack these qualities, so we say they are not material objects.

Consider crystals. A crystal is a geometric arrangement of atoms, so it is essentially a single molecule. It can be large enough to hold in your hand, and it gives a convincing appearance of having size, shape, and position. But that is only on the outside. When physicists use lasers to measure the optical properties of crystals, they find results that are quite different from what the crystal geometry would suggest. Qualities such as diffusion and refraction defy simple material explanations. Likewise with hardness, which is the ability of a crystal to diffuse a physical impact. It turns out that a crystal is not so much a geometric arrangement of atoms as it is a geometric ripple in the shape of space in which certain kinds of atoms may get stuck.

Other large molecules — polymers, fullerenes, and proteins — show similar anomalies. There are enough of these anomalies that it seems safe to say that these large molecules are not quite material objects either.

Photons and the Shape of Space

Until a century ago it was assumed that space was flat. Einstein’s Theory of Relativity changed that. This theory is famous for introducing space time and the equivalence of matter and energy. It also established that space and time could be distorted. Acceleration took away time; matter created extra space. Actually, matter creates space time; without sufficient mass, cosmologists now say, there would not be enough space or time for the universe to exist.

In quantum mechanics, it turns out that every quantum-mechanical object has an effect on space, but this effect is so hard to measure and describe that quantum physicists cannot agree on whether there are five dimensions of quantum space or 28, or whether it makes a difference. There is even the suggestion that the quantum universe can be described in one-dimensional terms, as a ray — but of course we humans, who use three-dimensional mathematics to throw rocks, cannot be expected to see the universe in any other way.

What does it mean for space to be “distorted” or “curved”? We use light to measure space and time. A beam of light is perfectly straight, and light frequencies tell time for all our digital clocks, including computers. It makes sense to use light as the frame of reference for the universe because light is the cosmic agent of information and change. Without light, nothing changes, and if there is no movement or change, how would it make sense to say that time exists? The quantum particles of light are called photons, so the shape of space is essentially whatever photons say it is. Then, if we say that the shape of space around an object is altered, that is a mathematically simpler way of saying that the object has a special ability to interact with photons in a particular way.

Radio Equipment

What else has a special ability to interact with photons? That is also what radio transmitters and receivers are for. Biophysicists have established that living organisms also emit coherent patterns of photons, although the nature of the information contained in these biophotons, as they are called, is hotly debated.

Do organisms also receive biophoton information somehow? Are your biophotons some kind of radio station? These are interesting questions. We live our lives surrounded by biophotons at all times, so perhaps we have more of an ability to sense them than we realize. The farthest most of us get from the biophoton field is when we are traversing a high bridge or a tunnel alone. Many people find this a spooky experience. Is it a fear of heights and enclosed spaces, as it is commonly described, or could it have something to do with being partially removed from the biophoton field that we are used to experiencing?

Some quantum mystics have suggested that biophotons connect us all to a sort of planetary brain. Or are biophotons active primarily within the organism? We know that neurons carry electrical signals around the brain, but how do neurons know to connect to each other? Do neurons generate biophotons to ask other neurons to make a connection? Or do neurons generate biophotons in proportion to the coherence of their ideas?

The Changing Shape of DNA

Combining all the above ideas led me to the DNA Photon Hypothesis, which is a question I imagine quantum biophysicists must be asking themselves quietly, even though I could not find it written down anywhere. Do cells contain distinctively shaped molecules for the purpose of transmitting and receiving biophoton signals? The most distinct molecular shapes known to science are those of DNA molecules. Every shape has associated resonances, so what kind of photons resonate with DNA? Is transmitting and receiving biophotons part of the purpose of DNA? When DNA molecules change shape, is it to transmit and receive different kinds of signals?

My belief is that transmitting and receiving photons is the original purpose of the helical structure of DNA molecules. It seems to me that DNA’s known functions of genetic coding and protein synthesis are not sufficient to explain the changing shape of DNA molecules, while the DNA photon hypothesis does adequately explain it.

I am not sure how it would be practical to test this hypothesis. Photon patterns tuned to specific DNA shapes could be virtually undetectable to anything else, and they could be specific to a species, tissue, metabolic state, and perhaps an individual organism. An experimenter might take two cells from the same tissue and isolate them chemically, then watch for near-simultaneous changes in DNA shape and cell behavior between the two cells in response to environmental changes introduced around one cell but not the other — a tedious task, to say the least. But if someone could show that this occurs, it would dramatically change our understanding of the way life works.


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