The air-water interface presents several interesting features, namely a) a molecularly flat environment, b) a boundary region between two phases with different dielectric constants, c) permits or promotes dynamic interactions within the interface region, and d) a point of interaction between hydrophobic compounds and aqueous molecules. Accordingly, Langmuir monolayers at the air-water interface have several unique characteristics and properties, which require investigation. In this review-type personal account, typical examples of molecular recognition and molecular patterning at air-water interfaces are first introduced, followed by descriptions of specific and unusual properties of monolayers on water. In addition, two examples of our own results concerning Langmuir monolayers are explained. We have selected examples from two apparently unrelated research areas, these being the origin of life and future nanotechnology, in order to emphasize the diverse scientific contribution of research on monolayers at the air-water interface.