The Fourth Phase of Water: Beyond Solid, Liquid, and Vapor
Bio: Gerald Pollack received his PhD in biomedical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania in 1968. He then joined the University of Washington faculty and is now professor of Bioengineering. He is also Founding Editor-in-Chief of the journal, WATER, convener of the Annual Conference on the Physics, Chemistry and Biology of Water, and Executive Director of the Institute for Venture Science. His interests have ranged broadly, from biological motion and cell biology to the interaction of biological surfaces with aqueous solutions. His 1990 book, Muscles and Molecules: Uncovering the Principles of Biological Motion, won an “Excellence Award” from the Society for Technical Communication. His 2001 book, Cells, Gels and the Engines of Life, and his newest book, The Fourth Phase of Water: Beyond Solid, Liquid, and Vapor won that Society’s “Distinguished Award,” their highest distinction. The latter book went on to receive the World Summit Excellence Award.
Abstract: School children learn that water has three phases: solid, liquid and vapor. But we have recently uncovered a fourth phase. This phase occurs next to water-loving (hydrophilic) surfaces. It is surprisingly extensive, projecting out from the surface by up to millions of molecular layers. And, its properties differ markedly from those of bulk water. Of particular significance is the observation that this fourth phase is charged; and, the water just beyond is oppositely charged, creating a battery that can produce electrical current. We found that light charges this battery. Thus, water can receive and process electromagnetic energy drawn from the environment in much the same way as plants. Absorbed electromagnetic (light) energy can then be exploited for performing work, including electrical and mechanical work. Recent experiments confirm the reality of such energy conversion. This energy-conversion framework seems rich with implication. Not only does it provide an understanding of how water processes solar and other energies, but also it may provide a foundation for simpler understanding natural phenomena ranging from weather and green energy all the way to biological issues such as the origin of life, transport, and osmosis. The talk will present evidence for the existence of this phase of water — how come nobody’s seen it before? It will also consider the broad implications of this phase for science, engineering, and health. The book dealing with this subject is now available at http://www.amazon.com/The-Fourth-Phase-Water-Beyond/product-reviews/0962689548.