Thursday, June 9, 2011

9/6/11 - Life of a raindrop....

Just as I was about to finally head out on my bike yesterday, I made it as far as the shed before a very loud clap of thunder and a sudden torrential downpour. So I retreated back into the house and thought I'd see what pictures I could take from my window.

I didn't get anything brilliant showing the storm clouds, this was my best shot...

Having taken a few pictures hanging out of my window I then noticed the water dripping down, many failed attempts eventually led to this shot:

It just got my thinking, I captured a single drop of water, a drop made up of an unthinkable amount of molecules. We've all learnt about the water cycle in geography back in the days of secondary school, but it goes further than that. There is more to it that the simplistic rain - soaks into land - eventually gets to a river or sea - evaporates - clouds - rain - repeat that we were taught.

There is a huge amount of water in each of us, in the food we eat and in plants. The molecules in that small drop may have once been part of a raging river that shaped the landscape, that puddle that you jumped in as a young child, the sweat that you brushed from your brow after a hard days work in the sun. The molecules will have existed for years and years, and will have seen so much in that time.

And as a chemist (well a chemist in the making) water is so important, not only have we studied its unique properties for many years, discovered why ice floats and what holds water together when so many similar molecules are gaseous at atmospheric temperature. Its also an amazing solvent and used in many reactions, as well as being used to heat up reactions, or cool them down, and to clean all the glassware at the end of the day!

So next time you're sat inside watching the rain outside, or having a glass of water, think about where it has come from, and why it is so important.

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