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Research on water

Homeopathic medicine is supposed active substances diluted so many times in water that there is hardly a single atom of the substance left in the mixture. The homeopaths explain the effect by the fact that the water has a memory of the substance. Now material scientist Rustum Roy from Pennsylvania State University is coming to meet them.

Whether homeopathy works or not is a separate discussion, but Roy believes there is a factual basis for investigating whether water really has a memory.

Originally from India, Roy is an ardent champion of healing. He is also concerned with the interaction between religion, philosophy and research. But despite his colorful sphere of interest, Roy is a respected researcher. He and colleagues have published an article in the journal Material Research Innovations that sees water through the eyes of a materials scientist, not a chemist.

Crystal growth

"Integrated circuits are made from semiconductor crystals"

Roy believes that water can "remember" the structure of other substances by using their atomic structure as a model. The same thing happens when the computer industry makes perfect semiconductor crystals. Is material vaporized in thin layers on a surface or substrate, and "takes over" the crystal structure of the substrate. This is called epitaxy.

Roy also believes that when homeopaths shake the solutions violently before use, this can affect the structure of the water. Such shaking can produce local pressure increases of up to ten thousand times the pressure at sea level.

It is, however, important to note that Roy's claims are not based on empirical evidence or conducted experiments, these are currently only speculations.

Thus, research is required to possibly confirm the claims from Roy. But will it happen? Many scientists will probably refuse, as they are afraid of being dragged down into the quasi-scientific new-age quagmire.

A quagmire of sham

The researcher Jaques Beneviste, for example, claimed in 1988 to have proved water's memory in an article in Nature. The article was later retracted, and this kind of sham scares serious researchers away. It is therefore doubtful whether anyone will take up the challenge from Rustum Roy in the first place.

Reliable trials have also shown that homeopathy has no documented effect. But several scientists can confirm that water has surprising properties. Water enters life's processes in previously unknown ways.

Hydrogen bonds

“Two water molecules. The chemical forces between oxygen and hydrogen atoms with strong red color, the weaker hydrogen bond as light green wave. Ill:"

Basically, a water molecule consists of one oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms. They are bound together by chemical forces. But the hydrogen atoms in neighboring water molecules are also attracted to each other. These hydrogen bonds are ten times weaker than the chemical forces, but give the water new and exciting properties.

The hydrogen bonds create links between neighboring molecules that can easily be broken up again at room temperature. A body of water becomes a seething, ever-changing mixture of order and chaos. Such a mixture is the perfect hotbed for truly complicated processes and structures: life.

The messenger water

When genetic material or DNA is to make new cells, the long double helix coils out and copies itself. Water plays a role as a messenger in this process.

Monika Fuxreiter from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences Research Center for Biology has studied a computer model of DNA. She saw how small pieces of DNA used water molecules to send messages about the structure of proteins some distance away.

According to Fuxreiter, the water molecules use electrostatic forces to transmit the messages to the proteins. This process is important to avoid deformities. If there is an error in the genetic material, the water molecules will clump around the error and not pass the error on.

Life-giver water

"Water and life play together in new and unexpected ways"

Without water, no life. But water is far more than a passive "solvent" in the cells. It is as if water molecules and proteins in the cells dance an intricate "dance of life". The steps in the dance are determined by the interaction between proteins and constantly new patterns of hydrogen bonds.

Without these hydrogen bonds, the proteins would be dead molecules, says Felix Franks from Cambridge University.

- Without water there is only chemistry. But add water and you get biology.


Robert Matthews, Water, the quantum elixir, New Scientist 8 April 2006, issue 2546

Read more:

The article by Rustum Roy et al. in Materials Research Innovations (abstract)


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