Abstract Biological surface science will be as important in the future of surface science as semiconductors, catalysis and materials science have been in the past. There are three important research directions: firstly, studies of simple molecules such as water, amino acids, small peptides, and self-assembled monolayers of molecules both in UHV (ultrahigh vacuum) and in water. Secondly, studies of protein. DNA and membrane adsorption (kinetics, dynamics, structure and function) in the liquid phase. Thirdly, advanced preparation of biomaterial and biosensor surfaces, by making surface patterns with controlled chemical, topographic and micromechanical (viscoelastic) properties, for basic studies and applications such as, medical implants, biosensors, bioelectronics and tissue engineering.