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Latest news on complex systems in life sciences, engineering, education and government
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Self-Assembling Molecules Like These May Have Sparked Life on Earth - Wired Science

Self-Assembling Molecules Like These May Have Sparked Life on Earth - Wired Science | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
Scientists have discovered building blocks similar to those in modern RNA that can effortlessly assemble when mixed in water and heated.
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Easily accessible article on the research of Nicholas Hud and team at Georgia Institute of Technology. Hud's research group are searching for the evolutionary precursor to RNA and after 20 years of research are finding promising results.

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The automatic chemist

The automatic chemist | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it

Bartosz Grzybowski of Northwestern University in Illinois, US – who has already established himself as one of our most inventive chemists – has unveiled a ‘chemo-informatic’ scheme, Chematica, that can stake a reasonable claim to being paradigm-changing. Grzybowski and his colleagues have spent years assembling the transformations that link chemical species into a vast network that codifies and organises the known pathways through chemical space. The nodes of the network – molecules, elements and chemical reactions – are linked together by connecting reactants to products via the nexus of a known reaction. The full network contains around 7 million compound nodes and about the same number of reaction nodes. Grzybowski calls it a ‘collective chemical brain’.

 

The automatic chemist
Philip Ball

Chemistry World 22 August 2012

http://www.rsc.org/chemistryworld/2012/08/automatic-chemist


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Scientists produce best image yet of atoms moving in real time

Scientists produce best image yet of atoms moving in real time | Complex Insight  - Understanding our world | Scoop.it
Call it the ultimate nature documentary. Scientists have recorded atomic motions in real time, offering a glimpse into the very essence of chemistry and biology at the atomic level.
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Mapping molecular motions -- the "magic" of chemistry revealed. Despite the enormous number of possible arrangements of atoms during a structural transition, such as occurs with changes in charge distribution or chemical processes, the interconversion from one structure to another reduces to a few key types of motions. This enormous reduction in dimensionality is what makes chemical concepts transferable from one molecule to another and has enabled chemists to synthesize nearly any molecule desired, for new drugs to infusing new material properties. This is a still image from a movie that gives a direct atomic level view of this enormous reduction in complexity. The specific trajectories along three different coordinates, as highlighted in the movie, are shown as projections (right view) on a cube. The key atomic motions can be mapped on to three highly simplified coordinates -- the magic of chemistry in its full atomic splendor. (Credit: Lai Chung Liu, University of Toronto)

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