Leaping from chemistry to biology

I’m fairly comfortable with chemistry. Molecules randomly get together and if there’s enough energy, they might do something. Even in ‘dirty’ situations like soils and soil solutions, you can trust that chemistry is, at its heart, just applied physics.

Biology though. Goodness. I’ve been watching Prof. Racaniello’s lecture series on virology and the more I know about subcellular biochemistry the less it makes sense to me. Everything moves around the cell on microtubules. Ok. But everything is dragged around by little motor proteins. How did that happen? What determines where they go?

There are several strategies for viruses to replicate themselves. Ok. But some of these strategies are rather elaborate and rely on multiple steps going right and I just… The mind boggles at how what is effectively applied chemistry (and thus super-applied physics) is getting stuff done 24 hours a day without cells exploding or turning into goo.

If we consider this logically, life has been around for a comparatively long time (or comparatively short, depending on who you ask) and near infinite random chance has got most of the exploding and turn to goo options out of the system.

It’s still amazing though, that there are zillions of proteins doing their thing right now, keeping you alive – all through the power of physics.