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Machines Like Us

Making matter come alive

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Before life existed on Earth, there was just matter, inorganic dead "stuff." How improbable is it that life arose? And—could it use a different type of chemistry? Using an elegant definition of life (anything that can evolve), chemist Lee Cronin is exploring this question by attempting to create a fully inorganic cell using a "Lego kit" of inorganic molecules—no carbon—that can assemble, replicate and compete.