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Energy in Motion

How the nanomachines of life harvest randomness to do the cells' work

By
11:18am, February 18, 2008

Occasionally, scientists stumble upon what seems to be a free lunch. But they're not concerned about possibly violating the laws of economics. It would be much more shocking to break the laws of physics.

To physicists, the no-free-lunch rule is precious. One form of it is the first law of thermodynamics, which says that energy cannot be created from nothing. The second law of thermodynamics goes even further, declaring not only that lunches are never free but also that they come at some minimum price.

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