The complete sequencing of the human genome represents a paradigm shift in the scientific community. No longer do biologists search for undiscovered genes, but instead they are moving into an age in which they selectively choose to express or suppress genes. The role of the scientist is no longer purely that of an explorer but is now also that of a builder whose bricks are single atoms or molecules and whose mortar is the natural law.
In this world of bottom-up technology, no discipline stands alone. As a car depends on chemistry (combustion of gasoline), physics (motion), electrical engineering (fuel injection), and aesthetics (Ferrari Marinello), scientists aiming to mimic natural machines like muscles needs a firm grasp of biophysics, math, chemistry, medicine and other disciplines.
As the light-year is the functional length unit of Capt. Kirk, the nanometer is the functional length unit for biological processes and cutting-edge electronics. Proteins made of thousands of precisely arranged atoms wrapped up into a ball a few nanometers in diameter control all of the most important biological processes. Although our systems are much simpler than what nature has evolved over billions of years, scientists have already incorporated into memory devices switches made of single molecules only a few nanometers in length, showing that motions can be manipulated precisely on a small scale by humans.