Life on the Edge: Quantum thermodynamics, quantum biology and the arrow of time

Funded by a philanthropic grant by the John Templeton Foundation, our interdisciplinary research project explores how the ‘arrow of time’ manifests at the quantum scale – which has exciting implications for the understanding of time and life itself.

Team leaders

Professor Jim Al-Khalili

Principal Investigator

Jim Al-Khalili CBE FRS is a theoretical physicist at the University of Surrey where he holds a Distinguished Chair in physics as well as a university chair in the public engagement in science. He currently leads the Quantum Foundations and Technologies Research Group in the School of Mathematics and Physics.He received his PhD in theoretical nuclear physics from Surrey in 1989 a...

Dr Andrea Rocco

Principal Investigator

Andrea Rocco graduated in Physics at the University of Pisa (Italy) in 1994, discussing a thesis in quantum field theory. In 1998 he obtained his PhD in Physics from the University of North Texas (USA), where he focused on the role of stochastic processes in classical and quantum mechanical systems.Between 1998 and 2007 Andrea held postdoctoral positions at the University of Bar...

Educational video series

Watch and learn about our new educational video series, designed to engage science-minded school students – or anyone of any age who wants to know more about what makes time and space tick.

Project themes

Our research is guided by three of the ‘big questions’ which informed Sir John Templeton’s vision and continue to baffle scientists today: What is the nature of reality? What is the nature of time? And what is the nature of life?