Water: A Very Short Introduction

ISBN : 9780198708728

John Finney
160 ページ
116 x 174 mm
Very Short Introductions



  • Provides an introduction to the science of water, ice, snow, and steam, and how the structure of water molecules gives rise to its physical and chemical properties
  • Discusses the key role of water in biology and the possibility of water on other planets in the Solar System and beyond
  • Explains the importance of the properties of water to a range of disciplines, including chemistry, astrophysics, and earth and environmental sciences

Water dominates the surface of Earth and is vital to life on our planet. It is a remarkable liquid which shows anomalous behaviour. In this Very Short Introduction John Finney introduces the science of water, and explores how the structure of water molecules gives rise to its physical and chemical properties. Considering water in all three of its states as ice and steam as well as liquid, Finney explains the great importance of an understanding of its structure and behaviour to a range of fields including chemistry, astrophysics, and earth and environmental sciences. Finney describes the role of water in biology, and ends with a discussion of the outstanding controversies concerning water, and some of the 'magical' properties which have been claimed for it. 


1. Water, water everywhere...
2. The water molecule and its interactions
3. Water as ice(s)
4. Water as a liquid - and as gas(ses)
5. The anomalies explained.
6. Water as a biomolecule
7. Some past and current controversies
Further reading


John Finney is Emeritus Professor of Physics in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, University College London and the London Centre for Nanotechnology. His research has focussed on liquids and disordered solids, beginning with his Ph.D. work with J.D. Bernal on liquid structure, subsequently developing to work on water, aqueous solutions and the role of water in protein stability and enzyme activity. He co-chaired the 2002 Gordon Research Conference on Water and Aqueous Solutions, organised a 2003 Royal Society Discussion Meeting on The molecular basis of life: is life possible without water? and co-edited Water and Life: the unique properties of H2O. He was a leading member of the research teams that have discovered four phases of ice, the first new phases to be found since the 1930s. From 1988 - 1993, he was Head of Neutron Science, and then Chief Scientist at the ISIS Pulsed Neutron Source, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory.

"a wake-up call to those who only think about it when their holiday's are washed out or their water bills arrive." - Northern Echo, Stephen Craggs