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Ionic Conductance

x011 at ns2.CC.Lehigh.EDU x011 at ns2.CC.Lehigh.EDU
Mon Nov 14 08:57:22 EST 1994

In article <3a5qgi$9qk at portal.gmu.edu>, herwin at science.gmu.edu (Harry Erwin) wri
>John Anderson in Anderson Lab (anderson at CSHL.ORG) wrote:
>: >   Has anyone looked to see if microtubules supported ionic conductance?
>: >   That would also start to provide some insight into their role in the
>: >   protistan neuroskeleton. Based on structure, they might even function as
>: >   some sort of coaxial cable.
>: >
>: >   --
>: >   Harry Erwin
>: >   Internet: herwin at gmu.edu
>: Microtubules play an important role in Roger Penrose's new book
>: SHADOWS OF THE MIND (which I've not read), as a possible substrate for
>: "quantum consciousness", I think.  I believe the original idea came
>: from Stuart Hameroff.  The property of microtubules that these guys
>: like is that the tubulin monomers can have one of two conformations,
>: determined by the position of an particular electron.  I wonder if
>: this electron, or a surrogate, could be transferred along the length
>: of the microtubule as part of a wave of conformational change, thus
>: effectively producing a current?
>I'm acquainted with Stuart's work. Until recently, I've taken it with a
>couple of grains of salt, since the microtubules are also used
>structurally and dynamically in the cell. Exposure to Morowitz has been
>changing my mind about the role of conformational change; hence the
>posting--although I'm still very dubious about quantum mechanics as part
>of the game. Penrose spoke at Radford in September, and I think he's
>chasing a hare. What he wants to do is make the microtubules into an
>isolated system that can do quantum computation. I'm also aware of
>Fr\"ohlich oscillations, but I suspect another (or may be the same)
>hare is involved.
>Harry Erwin
>Internet: herwin at gmu.edu
Dubiousness is the name of the game.  The history of science is one
of being seduced by new ideas.  But progress is dependent upon the
unreasonable person selling their ideas to the public.  Science is
created by men and women who suppect correctly that the new
position is promising.  If your knowledge prepares you to recognize
the new idea as promising you should pursue it.  Failure has
a habit of helping us to find the correct path to truth.

Ron Blue

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