"Chemistry is not 'physics with less rigor'. In chemistry there are discoverable guiding principles for systems which are too complex for a "first principles" approach. The nature of chemistry is very difficult to explain to most physicists, in my experience!"In chemistry there are emergent phenomena that cannot be simply reduced to physics. One has to think at the level of molecules and not just atoms, especially for understanding chemical reactions. This is especially true for understanding biochemical reactions. Knowing about quarks won't directly help you to understand the structure of DNA but knowing about hydrogen bonds definitely will. Of course the same caveats apply to thinking about biology as 'applied chemistry'. The fact is that every science comes with its own set of fundamental laws. These laws are strictly reducible to 'lower-level' laws in a philosophical sense, but the lower-level laws don't directly lead to the higher-level fundamental ones. Thus, an understanding of the lower-level laws, no matter how thorough, does not automatically imply an understanding of the higher-level ones.
What math can teach us about drug discovery and biology (and all of science, really)
9 hours ago in The Curious Wavefunction