So far from contemplating the biological sciences in a bemused stupor of incomprehension, chemists and physicists have entered the world of biology and given us a new and deeper understanding of the structures of living creatures.–P. Medawar
Protein folding, the self-assembly process according to which a linear chain of amino acids acquires its specific three-dimensional functional shape, is one of the greatest achievements of biology. As the function of each protein is determined by its native fold, and misfolded proteins are known to be involved in a variety of diseases (e.g. amyloidoses), revealing the physical laws that drive this remarkable phenomenon is a fascinating and tremendously challenging scientific task of paramount importance. Despite an intense research activity in the fields of biochemistry, biology and physics, the search for a complete understanding of the fundamental principles that govern protein folding is still going on.