Physics and Intelligibility
Living beings are ultimately based on classical nanoscale systems. Such systems have the unique ability to easily transform different types of energy into each other and to assemble themselves into ordered structures. These astonishing feats are only possible because the nanoscale is dominated by thermal motion. Although living cells have taken advantage of the physics of the nanoscale for billions of years, technology is just beginning to exploit the very different rules governing this scale. In addition to examples from the mechanical behavior of nanoconfined liquids and the mechanics of single molecules, the talk will especially focus on the story of molecular machines, which connect physics to biology and illustrate how life is a game played at the nanoscale. Here, thermal noise meets molecular structure, and chaos becomes order.