From atoms to biomolecules

Hans Frauenfelder
The steps leading from individual atoms to biomolecules show many of the characteristic features that belong to the theme of the present symposium "Atoms and Molecules: From the Individual Properties to the Collective Phenomena." In this survey I will sketch how biomolecules are built from atoms and describe some aspects of the physics of biomolecules. No better description of the beauty of the field has been given than the one Schrödinger wrote in 1943, long before the remarkable details of
more » ... molecules began to emerge. Schrödinger calls biomolecules "aperiodic crystals." Comparing ordinary periodic crystals with biomolecules he said [1]: "Yet, compared with the aperiodic crystal, they are rather plain and dull. The difference in structure is of the same kind as that between an ordinary wallpaper in which the same pattern is repeated again and again in regular periodicity and a masterpiece of embroidery, say a Rafael tapestry, which shows no dull repetition, but an elaborate, coherent, meaningful design traced by the great master." The study of biomolecules involves mathematics, physics, chemistry, biochemistry and biology and the borders between these fields become meaningless.
doi:10.5169/seals-115505 fatcat:6hgnzfdhqneetjqqptfhuqwhnq