Water is the most studied material on Earth but it is remarkable to find that the science behind its behavior and function are so poorly understood (or even ignored), not only by people in general, but also by scientists working with it every day. The small size of its molecule belies the complexity of its actions and its singular capabilities. Liquid water's unique properties and chameleonic nature seem to fit ideally into the requirements for life as can no other molecule. A number of explanations of the complex behavior of liquid water have been published, many quite recently, with several stirring up great controversy. In this website, the author has attempted to present these ideas in a self-consistent and balanced manner, which he hopes will encourage both its understanding and further work.
The author's goals are to present a logically organized explanation of the complex properties of water. This is a fairly technical explanation although it does touch on items covered in a general biology class. The materials may be more appropriate for a biochemistry class.
Target Student Population:
The target student population includes upper-level undergraduate students or even graduate students.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Pre-requisites include a basic understanding of atomic structure, chemical bonds, and electron orbitals.
Type of Material:
This site can be considered as an on-line textbook or even a tutorial.
This site may be used as a tutorial outside of the classroom or as reference material.
Technical requirements include Chime to see 3D molecular models as well as plug-ins such as ActiveX, Java, and HyperChem Web Viewer.
Evaluation and Observation
Comprehensive coverage of properties of water
Superb, thorough, accurate, complete discussion of the properties of water
Links to other sites and references provided
Extensive use of great diagrams
Most of the material is well beyond the level of a general biology course
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
A very useful resource for students studying water at a molecular level
All aspects of water science covered in detail--all topics covered
Detailed chemical explanations of water's properties under all conditions
Contains some frequently asked questions about water
Would be excellent as an out of class tutorial
Would need to be careful as to audience for this material; very detailed and assumes knowledge of atomic structure and chemical bonding
No specific assignments or questions provided to guide student learning
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Very well organized - Table of Contents (TOC) detailed and expandable on TOC page
Each topic covered thoroughly with references to other materials and websites
Easy to navigate; well linked outline with internal hyperlinks; searchable
High level presentation will lose many students unless audience carefully chosen or material to be used carefully selected