Playing with Molecules

Living things are fascinating. While it can be trivial at times to classify objects into being living or non-living, we have as a civilization been forced to confront the question, “What makes an object living?” for the longest time. Consider for example the process of preparing yoghurt (or curd). Far before our understanding of bacteria, we discovered that it was possible add small amounts of yoghurt to milk and convert the milk into a completely different form. It is strange that something can live in the yoghurt! Historically, what is living has been linked to our ability to observe a change in form we do not understand. And understanding what makes an object living has transformed the way we see the world.

Increasingly in the past century, we are learning that lot of biology is affected by the physical and chemical principles of nature.  We have identified some of the important molecules, and have even inferred how these molecules “look”. All this knowledge suggests that biology is probably a gigantic football game. What are the rules and who are the players? That is the game!

The next-generation of science aims to understand and reconstruct this game. And if we can do this, it can open up new possibilities. While we might not be able to cure all diseases, we may be able to interact in some form with molecules. This is certainly quite exciting !

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