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Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

‘History of the Water Molecule’, R. Hayward, reproduced from L. Pauling and R. Hayward, The Architecture of Molecules (San Francisco: W H Freeman and Co., 1964).

Reflections on Water Public Lecture - Water: what's so special about it?

9th December 2009, 17:30 to 18:30, Room 202, The Calman Learning Centre, Professor John Finney (University College London)

This is the sixth lecture in the 'Reflections on Water' public lecture series.

What is so special about water? Why does it have the – apparently anomalous – properties it has, and how might these reasons be relevant to its loudly-trumpeted biological, chemical, physical, geological and environmental importance? By exploring the structure and dynamics of water, from the isolated molecule and its interactions, through its many crystalline phases and to its so-called anomalous liquid phase, some of its apparently unusual behaviour is rationalised. The way in which it interacts with some relatively simple interfaces is also discussed. As a result of this exploration, a checklist of possible molecular-level reasons for its “specialness” – and hence its wide importance – is proposed.

This series of public lectures will bring together eminent scientists, historians, theologians and philosophers, stimulating speakers involved in current research, to shed new light on the nature and cultural significance of a very familiar substance.

The level of the talks will be aimed at a general audience to encourage everyone from students and the interested general public to attend.

ALL IAS LECTURE ARE OPEN TO ALL AND FREE TO ATTEND

Image credit: 'History of the Water Module', R. Hayward, reproduced from L. Pauling and R. Hayward, The Architecture of Molecules (San Francisco: W H Freeman and Co., 1964).

Contact d.m.knight@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.

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