The Beilstein workshops address contemporary issues in the chemical and related sciences by employing an interdisciplinary approach. Scientists from a wide range of areas - often outside chemistry - are invited to present aspects of their work for discussion with the aim of not only to advance science, but also, to enhance interdisciplinary communication.
With the increasing understanding of molecular systems it is now possible to build materials and new systems with nano-scale precision through the control of the structure of matter at the atomic and molecular level. Since the forces that dominate the macroscopic world have either less relevance or different consequences at the nano-level, we must employ different paradigms when conceiving molecular-scale machines that will build, in turn, new types of materials and machines, etc. In this respect biological systems are the best proof of concept that this kind of technology already exists. Multicomponent systems such as ribosomes can be considered as molecular-scale machines that read RNA, decode the information, generate proteins and finally assist in the folding process to ensure the generation of a correct three-dimensional configuration. This newly created entity can carry out structural functions, catalytic activities in chemical processes, and even form a constituent part of further ribosomes for the construction of new molecular machines. Inspired by biological systems, researchers are beginning to mimic nature in the design of molecules and supramolecular systems but also in the modification of nature’s own factories.