Working Hypothesis

(We believe more theoretical physics needs to be merged with this field - energy relationships associated with fine-scale distributed conformal properties that might guide collective organization, and energy states associated with nuclear structure. We base conjecture on established models - but, recognizing that modern physics still needs to make conceptual advances before it can properly model complex activity at biological scales - we permit reasonable extension into areas that still seek experimental verification. If you find flaws in this conjecture, let us know.)

Cancer appears common because one in three of us will be diagnosed with it, but this statistic belies the nature of the disease. If cancer is, at least sometimes, a manifestation that results from only a few errors produced along a string of 10^9 active nucleotides in but one of 10^13 cells that reproduce perhaps 10^3 times or more in our lifetime - then, maybe, when we are looking for the physical causes of cancer, we should be looking for causes linked to very rare events and phenomena related to isotopes, neutron decay, gravitational cycles, or perturbations in chirality that are expected to occur within any structure that includes 10^25 elements. 'One-in-a-million' type events occur all the time in the cell. Errors smaller that the 5-sigma confidence level might seem trivial to us, but they are huge in the vernacular of a cell. Even 'one-in-a-million-billion' type events should be expected to occur frequently enough to warrant consideration (events hiding 9-sigmas deep into our statistics). We, as physicists, biologists, and chemists often ignore deviations of 10^-20 because they typically fall outside of experimental error. But, as a result, their possible significance gets statistically truncated and removed from our definitions. Simply put, numbers on the left side of the decimal point tend to garner more attention than numbers on the right, just like dollars tend to garner more of our attention than pennies.

In a like way, our description of biological processes and energy exchange within the cell has evolved mostly from observations made that pertain to molecular structure and bonding configurations. However, relative to the scale of activity known to modern physicists, chemical structure represents very large-scale, long-interval averaging of a much finer grain of activity. And, while we cannot expect to build a model of the cell starting from the Planck-scale – where units of length are as fine as 10^-35 meters and units of time are as short as 10^-43 seconds – we must look to apply our most current models in biology, chemistry and physics to this task.

In this conjecture, we take the position that the cell evolved within a complex environment that includes elements of self-organization and nonlinear dynamics that are not well understood by physicists, biologists, or chemists. Advancement in this field requires that we temporarily resist our instinct to object to conjecture that appears to conflict with long established absolutes, and instead attempt to evaluate such ideas – at least partially - by their potential to help explain the events in a more fundamental way. We can expect that some of the equations we consider to be true today will be shown to be only approximations of more accurate equations that the next generation of scientist will work with. Accordingly, we should not let our current equations obscure our vision to that more enlightened future.

With respect to cancer and cell disorders, it may be argued that they result from the slow accumulation of small nonlinear change associated with β€˜far-to-the-right-of-the-decimal-point' phenomena that falls into the chasm that currently exists between chemistry, biology, and physics. The broad nature of these discussions is designed to encourage feedback and analysis from researchers in each of these fields. We hope this will lead to the confirmation, refutation, or evolution of a set of ideas that we believe warrant greater research.


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