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The Library of Maynard-Smith: My Search for Meaning in the Protein
 

Summary: The Library of Maynard-Smith: My
Search for Meaning in the Protein
Universe
Borges's infinite, and unsearchable, library is reflected in the
Maynard-Smith collection of all possible protein sequences
Frances H. Arnold
I
'll never forget reading Jorge Luis
Borges' short story "The Library of Ba-
bel" when I was working in Madrid in
the summer of 1976. I was thrilled by
Borges' description of this collection of
all possible books, and deeply struck by the
despair of the librarians, who searched for
meaning in the essentially infinite stacks of
"senseless cacophony, verbal nonsense, and in-
coherency." I found it delicious that the librari-
an's certainty that one of those books contained
the answers to all the fundamental mysteries of
mankind was accompanied by the unbearable

  

Source: Arnold, Frances H. - Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology

 

Collections: Chemistry; Biology and Medicine