When I first read a biology textbook, it was like reading a thriller. Every page brought a new shock. As a physicist, I was used to studying matter that obeys precise mathematical laws. But cells are matter that dances. Structures spontaneously assemble, perform elaborate biochemical functions, and vanish eἀortlessly when their work is done. Molecules encode and process information virtually without errors, despite the fact that they are under strong thermal noise and embedded in a dense molecular soup. How could this be? Are there special laws of nature that apply to biological systems that can help us to understand why they are so diἀerent from nonliving matter?