Nucleic acids, like DNA and RNA, are molecules that are present in any life form. Their most notable function is to encode biological information. Why then would a physicist be interested in these molecules? As we will see, DNA is an interesting molecular tool for physicists to test and explore physical laws and theories, like the ergodic theorem, the theory of elasticity and information theory. DNA also has unique material properties, which attract material scientists, nanotechnologists and engineers. Among interesting developments in this field are DNA-based hybrid materials and DNA origami.