“And then we come to water, and are shocked to find that many of these predictions are way off, and that water (and by implication, life itself) should not even exist on our planet! But we soon learn that this tiny combination of three nuclei and eight electrons possesses special properties that make it unique among the more than 15 million chemical species we presently know. When we stop to ponder the consequences of this, chemistry moves from being an arcane science to a voyage of wonder and pleasure as we learn to relate the microscopic world of the atom to the greater world in which we all live.” From physical and chemical properties of water
All of these amazing properties are due to the unique characteristics of this unique molecule. The chemical and physical properties of water are “just right” for life. This is always one of my favourite teaching topics. The forces that hold water together are an example of the fine tuning in nature which are clear evidence of a creator. The molecule should not “work” by comparison to very similar molecules which have vastly different properties. The molecule is “bent” at an angle which is key to these properties. Individual molecules constantly make and break hydrogen bonds with each other in a dance which allows water to flow. These bonds, weak in themselves, are of a strength which holds the molecules together to keep water in a liquid state from freezing to boiling. Water retains heat but does not easily cool down or heat up. Water moves up the xylem tubes of plants by capillary action and evaporates from leaves (and skin) to bring cooling. The regular arrangement of molecules in ice means that it is less dense than liquid water and so floats. Nice in a drink – essential to stop the oceans from freezing. Water constantly cycles and recycles.
Water creeps under, over, along; it is soft and hard; gentle and terrible; creative and destructive.
Insects dance on its liquid surface, great ships float and sail.
Essential to life, ubiquitous and essential, but clean water is denied to 1 in 9 people living in the world today.
Make a difference to some of God’s children in South Sudan.
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