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🔬 "The Wonder & Weirdness of Water"


Photo by Nick Fewings / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Host: Travis Loop
Guest: Alok Jha | Author
Category: 🔬 Research

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[5:31] “The weird thing is that water doesn't behave like any other liquid that we know about. There is this thing in chemistry called the theory of liquids, which helps you to predict how liquids will behave and how they act, […] but it doesn't really do much to help you understand water. […] If it didn't have these strange properties, […] there would be nothing on the earth that we recognize. Life wouldn't exist. The weather system wouldn't work in the way it does. In fact, you can probably extend this the universe, there's probably all sorts of things in the universe just wouldn't be the same if water didn't act so weirdly.”

[7:59] “As amazing as it is that [an] iceberg is older than all of human civilization, the more amazing thing is that you can actually see the iceberg at all. Because a solid of anything shouldn't float on its own liquid. If you think about physics and chemistry, when something becomes colder, generally speaking of condenses, and when things condense, they become more dense. And if you put something dense in something less dense, it should […] sink to the bottom. “

[10:28] “If water froze from the bottom up, like anything else, then every time there's an ice age or extreme winter on the earth, every single life form living in lakes and ponds […] would have been completely destroyed, everything on the surface of the Earth would have been completely destroyed. That means that we'd have to start evolution all over again every single time. And you just wouldn't have this rich diversity of life you see around you.“

[16:44] “Everything will dissolve to some extent in water. And it also weirdly means that it's very […] hard to find any pure water anywhere. Because as soon as pure water comes into contact with anything else, whether it's just the air around you, […] it will dissolve it. And so it's very hard to find pure water. Now it turns out all of that is very useful for life.”

[32:49] “There's a lot more water in the solar system and beyond, than anyone ever thought. Nearly every object in our solar system, every celestial object has water in it. So obviously, the Earth has, we know that Venus has water, even the the south pole of Mercury, the closest planet to the sun, has ice. There's evidence of water on Mars. There's even evidence of water, solid mountains of ice on Pluto. […] And one of the most interesting reasons why we look for water anywhere else, is because we know what water did on this planet. It created life on this planet. And so it did it on this planet, why not somewhere else?

[44:51] “Water is probably the most studied liquid in human history. And even it’s the most studied, it is the least understood.

Rating: 💧💧💧

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify | Google
🕰️ 50 min | 🗓️ 03/15/2022
✅ Time saved: 48 min

Additional Links:
Book: “The Water Book” (Alok Jha, 2016)