Part of our work as biochemists is to describe the choreography of life at the molecular scale. This sounds complicated, and it is, not least because we have to apply different approaches across the scale of study that could be considered ‘molecular’. At the most finite end of the spectrum, i.e., atoms and small molecules, researchers need to invoke quantum mechanics to describe behaviour. As we move up to larger complexes, however, we transition to a different subset of physics, where we can begin to describe movement via the more familiar and approachable set of rules found in classical Newtonian mechanics. This is the kind of physics we encounter in our everyday lives and which describes the actions of industrial machinery. And it is in this kind of language that we tend to understand the movement of molecular machines, such as the archetypal ATP synthase complex.

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