Biology Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for biology researchers, academics, and students. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

My query is that as atoms & its molecules have inter & intra molecular forces,like that only what type of force keeps the cells bonded to each other & prevent it from collapsing ever since.

share|improve this question

Adding on to what Martin said. If you imagine an atom to be the size of a football stadium, the nucleus would be the size of a fly on the fifty yard line. The vast majority of an atom is empty space.

In the 'classical' view, atoms are mostly empty space and the reason they feel solid is that if you try and push them, the electrons around your atoms bump into the electrons around the other atoms and because they're both negative they repel each other and push away. You feel this force as 'solid'. It's like pushing a really, really stiff spring or trying to force 2 magnets together, except it's electronic in origin.

In quantum physics, each particle has a wave function. Wave functions can only exist in certain forms, and when electrons are bound in an atom their waves spread up over a big volume (it's the only way mathematically to get a stable wave, ie an electron that exists. Since it exists, its wave function spreads out much further than the thing you classically think of as an electron).

Electrons have something called antisymmetric wave functions, which means they obey the Pauli exclusion principle:

You can't have 2 electrons in the same state (and 'state' includes 'space'. You can have 2 oppositely spinning electrons, but no more in the same place). So atoms spread out because you can't squeeze the wave functions in. The rest of it is electrostatic repulsion just like in the classical model.

I'm sorry if that sounds a little complicated, but it's a combination of quantum physics (which doesn't really make sense, even though it works!) and electronic repulsion (from like-charges-repel).

share|improve this answer

Fundamentally, the most important physical force in everyday life and most cell-to-cell as well as molecule-to-molecule interactions are electromagnetic interactions. It is mainly electrical interactions that turn amino acids into intricate 3-dimensional proteins, as well get molecules attracted and specific for cell receptors.

The reality is somewhat more complex, as quantum mechanical (e.g. in charge distribution and fluctuations) effects can affect the attraction or repulsion of things temporarily.

share|improve this answer
Sir,i still have a doubt that from where these electromagnetic interactions come from. – Manik Feb 5 '14 at 13:56

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.