I have asked a question on physics stackexchange, but was redirected here. I copy the entire question word for word. The original is here.
Let's, for example, take a ribosome. It is an enzyme that is in turn just a molecule that must follow the laws of physics.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but it can be looked upon as a molecular machine made up of several pieces. What exactly makes those pieces work together?
Why does the ribosome bind to a strand of RNA? Is it just the shape and electric charge or is it something more? Once the ribosome is bound to a piece of RNA, how does it move?
In a way, I'm looking for the "ghost in the machine". I'm interested in molecules in general, not just ribosomes. What is it that, on a level of single atoms, makes molecules "alive" - move, assemble a protein, etc. ?
PS. I'm having trouble phrasing my question, so if anything is not clear, please leave a comment and I will address it.
Edit 1: This is most definitely a physics question. I'm looking at the scale of several atoms.
Let me give a hypothetical example:
Imagine a strand of carbons. Also imagine that there exists a molecule that can move along this strand. How would it do it? What forces would move it along this strand? Is it electromagnetism? Would gravity be involved to a significant degree? What effect would shape have?
Does this make the question clearer?