Encouraged by the commentators on Magical Water Part 2, I am revisiting a year old New Scientist article on the wonders of water. When I read it last April (I actually subscribe to NS, having read it for over twenty years it is hard to give it up) I was disturbed as the article seemed to concentrate a lot on Massru Emoto’s work on how emotion alters water crystal shape. His work was used in that weird movie “what the bleep!?” which left me very uncomfortable. I was also left feeling uncomfortable after reading the New Scientist article. Amongst the new age woo, there were statements by scientists, such as Dr Felix Frank who did research on the role of water in food shelf life and stability. I even had the opportunity to meet Dr Frank as I was asked to co-chair a session on the “Role of Water Functionality” at one of the Institute of Food Technologists’ annual meetings. I just have assume that Dr Frank has either joined the ranks of great scientists tripping over the great wonders of woo. The greatest member of that group being Dr Linus Pauling with his ideas about Vitamin C. Or he has been misused by New Scientist. Admittedly his comments are not too far out but it is the company that he is keeping that bothered me.
I digress. One of the reasons I didn’t get round to writing this article last April, other than day to day distractions, is that Orac chose Massru Emoto and his studies for one of his Friday Doses of Woo. All covered, I thought, by Orac. Additionally while searching for information on water and, in particular the zero point energy, I found this great site on water which is going to save me a lot of time, but also discouraged me from writing on water for a while.
The New Scientist article strongly implied that there might be something in the new age theories by using scientific studies, and talking about the quantum effects of water and the fact that water is necessary for many proteins and even DNA (gosh, the molecule of life) to function correctly. I also got discouraged because they talked about the zero-point vibration* properties of water as if this was really important and I had never heard of it before and couldn’t find anything out about it that I understood. I even asked people for help on my last magical water posts and it was confirmed that zero point energy is obviously serious woo. They even mention hydrogen bonding and the unique behavior of frozen water in hushed terms as if it was something new that no one understood.
We have known for a long time that many molecules need water as part of their structure. Known as the water of hydration, this water cannot be removed without chemical compounds losing their structure, and in the case of proteins, function.
Considering how little is known about the chemistry of water – it was disappointing to see how much space was wasted on new age theories.
I do actually believe water is amazing. See my scientific posts on water to find out how truly amazing water is without needing to add woo.
* I am sure this definition helps:
(′zir·ō ¦pöint vī′brā·shən) (statistical mechanics) The vibrational motion which molecules in a crystal lattice, or particles in any oscillator potential, retain at a temperature of absolute zero; it is quantum-mechanical in origin. Also known as residual vibration.