Sign In

Communications of the ACM

ACM TechNews

Chemical Code Used to Store Jane Austen Quote in Plastic Molecules

View as: Print Mobile App Share:
A quote from Jane Austens Mansfield Park written in plastic molecules.

Written words and other information can be encoded in synthetic molecules and then recovered by analyzing the chemicals.

Credit: Sarah Moor

University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) researchers encoded a quote from Jane Austen's novel Mansfield Park in software-readable plastic molecules.

UT Austin's Eric Anslyn was trying to generate complex molecules to boost the efficacy of pharmaceuticals and dishwasher detergents, and realized those compounds could be used to represent symbolic values for data storage.

Molecules assembled from these could become their own code language based on a hexidecimal (16-character) code, while the liquid chromatography-mass spectroscopy analytical system Anslyn was using could easily analyze and sequence such substances.

The Austen quote was encoded within a hexadecimal molecular language, using software developed by Anslyn's team.

Said Anslyn, "We always write in symbols, and molecules are just another set of symbols that we can assemble—not just for building molecules analogous to those found in nature, but to create our own inventions."

From New Scientist
View Full Article


Abstracts Copyright © 2021 SmithBucklin, Washington, DC, USA


No entries found

Sign In for Full Access
» Forgot Password? » Create an ACM Web Account