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(Oil and light art: Steve Pavlovsky / Liquid Light Lab) For more than a century, biologists ignored a fundamental question about how cells do the business of sorting molecules in a crowd. Then came Cliff Brangwynne, whose surprising work showed that certain proteins separate into globules much like droplets of vinegar suspended in oil. The finding, which revived previously dismissed ideas about biophysical mechanics, launched a new paradigm in cell biology: liquid-liquid phase separation