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Unformatted text preview: . In principle, one joule is sufﬁcient for approximately 2 × 1019 ligation operations. This is remarkable considering that the second law of thermodynamics dictates a theoretical maximum of 34 × 1019 (irreversible) operations per joule (at room temperature). Existing supercomputers are far less efﬁcient, executing at most 109 operations per joule. Experimental and theoretical scientists around the world are working to exploit these properties. Will they succeed in creating molecular computers that can compete with electronic computers? That remains to be seen. Huge ﬁnancial and intellectual investments over half a century have made electronic computers the marvels of our age— they will be hard to beat. But it would be shortsighted to view this research only in such practical terms. My experiment can be viewed as a manifestation of an emerging new area of science made possible by our rapidly developing ability to control the molecular world. Evidence of this new “molecular science” can be found in many...
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- Fall '08