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Journal Article

The puzzling unsolved mysteries of liquid water: Some recent progress


Mazza,  Marco G.
Group Non-equilibrium soft matter, Department of Dynamics of Complex Fluids, Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, Max Planck Society;

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Stanley, H. E., Kumar, P., Xu, L., Yan, Z., Mazza, M. G., Buldyrev, S. V., et al. (2007). The puzzling unsolved mysteries of liquid water: Some recent progress. Physica A, 386(2), 729-743. doi:10.1016/j.physa.2007.07.044.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002B-2FA6-2
Water is perhaps the most ubiquitous, and the most essential, of any molecule on earth. Indeed, it defies the imagination of even the most creative science fiction writer to picture what life would be like without water. Despite decades of research, however, water’s puzzling properties are not understood and 63 anomalies that distinguish water from other liquids remain unsolved. We introduce some of these unsolved mysteries, and demonstrate recent progress in solving them. We present evidence from experiments and computer simulations supporting the hypothesis that water displays a special transition point (which is not unlike the ‘‘tipping point’’ immortalized by Malcolm Gladwell). The general idea is that when the liquid is near this ‘‘tipping point,’’ it suddenly separates into two distinct liquid phases. This concept of a new critical point is finding application to other liquids as well as water, such as silicon and silica. We also discuss related puzzles, such as the mysterious behavior of water near a protein.