abstract: Seven decades after Erwin Schrödinger asked, “What is life?” and postulated the principle of “order from disorder” in living matter, our mechanistic understanding of life is still limited. In my talk, I will present how interdisciplinary research using multiscale approaches from physics and molecular biology can facilitate our understanding of the general challenge of living systems – to balance energy homeostasis and robust information processing. Calcium as an important second messenger in eukaryotic cells plays a central role in this challenge as it translates extracellular signals into versatile intracellular responses. Despite long-lasting research activities, we have only recently deciphered the signaling mechanism by performing and interpreting biological experiments from a physical perspective and complementing this by mechanistic multiscale simulations. This integrative approach reveals mechanisms for robust information encoding and a downstream metabolic decoding relation of the noisy calcium dynamics. Based on these insights we are currently investigating how forced calcium signals can induce cell state transitions including those relevant in diseases such as cancer.