Back in April, there was an article in new scientist discussing the work of Lee Cronin, who postulated that molecules of a certain complexity must be biological.
Cronin has developed a way to measure the complexity of a molecule by counting the number of unique steps – adding chemical side groups or ring structures, for example – needed for its formation, without double-counting repeated steps. To draw an analogy, his metric would score the words “bana” and “banana” as equally complex, since once you can make one “na” it is trivial to add a second one.
Any structure requiring more than about 15 steps is so complex it must be biological in origin, he said this week at the Astrobiology Science Conference in Mesa, Arizona.
Does anyone know how to use Cronin's method to measure complexity?