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Simplicity and the origin of life

How did life emerge from non-life? It seems to be thanks to complexity emerging, via "phase transition," from simple systems.

By John Gribbin   January 2004

When scientists refer to “complex systems,” this sometimes creates a barrier, since to many people “complex” means “complicated,” and therefore difficult to understand. Neither assumption is necessarily correct. A complex system is really just a system that is made up of several simpler components interacting with one another. The great triumphs of science since the time of Galileo and Newton have largely been achieved by breaking complex systems down into their simple components, and studying the way the simple components behave. In the classic example of the success of this approach to understanding the world, much of chemistry can be…

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