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The Water Book

3.59  ·  Rating details ·  148 ratings  ·  27 reviews
Water is the most every day of substances. It pours from our taps and falls from the sky. We drink it, wash with it, and couldn't live without it. Yet, on closer examination it is also a very strange substance (it is one of only a very small number of molecules which expand when cooled). Look closer again and water reveals itself as a key to a scientific story on the ...more
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published May 21st 2015 by Headline
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Average rating 3.59  · 
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Nov 11, 2017 rated it liked it
See my ~tipsy~ review on booktube:
An interdisciplinary look at water’s remarkable properties and necessity for life on earth. Water doesn’t follow normal scientific rules: its solid state floats on its liquid form; hot water freezes faster than cold; there are 16 possible phases of ice. For the most part, Jha pitches his work at an appropriate level. However, if it’s been a while since you studied chemistry at school, you may struggle. Part IV, on the search for water in space, is too in-depth for popular science and tediously ...more
Jul 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2016
What is water? The famous actor Leonardo Di Caprio was once quoted as saying the following about water...

"Water is sometimes sharp and sometimes strong, sometimes acid and sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet and sometimes thick or thin, sometimes it is seen bringing hurt or pestilence, sometime health-giving, sometimes poisonous. It suffers change into as many natures as are the different places through which it passes. And as the mirror changes with the colour of its subject, so it alters with
Per apprezzare questo libro ti devono piacere la fisica e la chimica dell'acqua e dei suoi comportamenti a contatto con altri elementi, la linea di demarcazione tra l'inorganico e l'organico, ma anche reportage di viaggi avventurosi (Antartico) e la "fanta-scienza" intesa come congetture possibile della presenza della vita nell'universo a prescindere dall'acqua allo stato liquido.
Direi che il discorso che fa l'autore è completo, a mio avviso molto interessante, raccontato bene e sviluppato in
Madhulika Liddle
Nov 20, 2015 rated it liked it
In the epilogue to The Water Book, Alok Jha writes of water: It has been our wellspring of stories and culture, the source of creation and death; it has shaped our language and politics and been at the core of how we built civilization.

Water, as Jha sets out to show in his book, is our ‘most ordinary substance’ here on Earth, as well as the most abundant. And yet, it’s the least known, the most overlooked. Did you know, for instance, that water doesn’t always freeze at 0C (under differing
Jun 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2019, non-fiction, science
This book sets out with a good idea, which is to relate what is known about the physics and chemistry of water, and about the parts it plays (and has played) on Earth and on other celestial bodies. In this it largely achieves its objective. It has some very good points – for example, it explains such things as the anomalous expansion of water as it freezes (and goes some way to explain the significance of that phenomenon). It also explains the significance of water to life on Earth – and that ...more
Jun 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Although I do love single subject books, I like a little more anecdote or story and a little less science. The water book was interesting enough that I managed to plow through, and I'm sure anyone who could math well enough to make it through basic high school chemistry and physics would find the science in this book a breeze. Even without these skills, I persisted. Interesting reading for anyone interested in the basic origins and possible continuation of life as we know it.
May 19, 2019 rated it liked it

Great effort and compilation and a fabulous journey into Water with vast breadth and depth. Not what I expected at the first sight; wished if it was an in-depth concentrated book about water as a substance without long chapters of a South Pole exploration. I would really want to watch this as a documentary, not a book tho!
Sajith Kumar
Water is so essential to human existence that we usually take it for granted. Not only man, all life forms are inalienably linked to it by the thread of absolute necessity. We can abstain from food for several days without much ill effects, but a few hours away from water will upset the neurological balance of the body. Life as we know it is a gift of water. All the metabolic processes in the cells of living beings take place in the medium of water. Presence of it on other planets is considered ...more
Oct 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: october-2017
I found this book endlessly fascinating but I can definitely see where it might have massive failings in the popular science genre as there is a lot of "hard science". Personally, I really appreciated the depth of chemistry this book went into - I feel that too often, popular science books are watered down to the same simple ideas. However if you dropped science during high school I can understand how the subject matter might seem a little dry. I found it a great, comprehensive read on how water ...more
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A little dense at times, but an extremely interesting read. I liked how the book was broken into sections for the hydrosphere, biosphere, cryosphere, and space. If I thought I was interested in the start, I only became more intrigued as I reached each subsequent section.

The concept of life existing elsewhere, be it on other planets or moons within our galaxy, or beyond, fascinates me. I often find myself wondering whether there is sentient life on another planet billions of light years away
Niccolò Ceresa
Jul 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: divulgazione
A very enjoyable book.

In this book Alok alternate the description of his scientific trip to Mawson Station in Antartica with discussion about water, in a very wide and multidisciplinary way: it is a good recap of physics, geology, chemistry and history.

Really appreciate the subdivision in Hydrosphere, Bioshpere, Cryosphere and Space.

Highly recommended.
Alex Delogu
Sep 11, 2017 rated it liked it
A nice easy read on the nature of water. The best bits were the author's experience of sea sickness on his travels to the Antarctic. The chapter on the different forms of ice was interesting, in fact, I would have enjoyed a bit more on the chemical structure of water and its unusual behaviour.
gaverne Bennett
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Great, meaningful book. Water is omnipresent but little understood. This book explains why that is the case.
Louise Armstrong
Jan 27, 2018 rated it liked it
Not just science, but also personal adventure. There's really only Bill Bryson I read to the end. Nobody else grips me through the science bits.
Feb 14, 2018 rated it liked it
The Water Book is more of a general science book that uses water as a starting point from which to diverge onto many different topics.
Not my favourite science book, but certainly worth a read.
Elsbeth Kwant
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
A book that taught me - finally - why ice as a solid floats on liquid water. Part travel book (to the Antarctic), part chemical explanation, part history of man and water, a wonderful book.
Mar 18, 2017 marked it as to-read
actually water is a living thing, the latest research by 'doc. Masaru' was that water can feel, see, and hear. if you have a bad way of thinking and a bad personality, or u have a bad intention to a specific thing while drinking water, or even if you don't look at water in a good way, the molecules of water will change it's shape and the color will turn into dark color but u can't see it and it will be a little poisoned . while if you have a good and pure intention to everything and good way of ...more
Niamh Simpson
Jun 07, 2019 rated it liked it
3.5 stars. This book only reinforced my fascination with water.

"It has been our wellspring of stories and culture, the source of creation and death; it has shaped our languages and politics and been at the core of how we built civilisation."

Honestly I think I'm just too stupid for the science in this book. I had to skim the chapter on hypothetical alternatives to water as a building block for life because I barely understood a word. I did however love the chapters that followed the author's
Nov 19, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, science
I made a lot of dumb choices as a teenager about academic subjects. Turns out, dropping chemistry wasn't one of them, it just ins't my thing. Which unfortunately, also meant this book wasn't really my thing. It's a shame in some ways, because parts of the book - the Antarctic expedition travelogue, the speculative section on alternatives to water, are engagingly written and relatively easy to read (until, in the latter case, I hit the chemistry again). The book also suffers here from being a bit ...more
Kevin Orrman-Rossiter
This was almost good, the last third of the book was misleadingly about the possibility of non-terrestrial life - interesting but not about water. So many topics about 'water' were neglected in this rush to (possibly) be seen to be an astrobiology writer. A talented writer but this book is misguided - not one I would recommend - it is neither about one thing or another.
Peter Blom
Water in al zijn facetten verklaard. Het is overal in en om ons heen maar we weten er zo weinig vanaf. Op een heerlijke manier geschreven komt de ene eye opener na de andere aan bod.
Vaak haal ik het einde niet van dit soort populair-wetenschappelijke boeken, maar deze in een ruk uitgelezen!
Amanda Witt
An interesting book, discussing water on Earth and on the different planets where it is not fresh water as we know it, but in different forms. The middle section is devoted to the author's trip to Antarctica.
Sally Habel
Nov 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
Really interesting read - scientific but not 'over the top'
Helena Gaudeus
Mar 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Even for people who aren't into sience it can be really interesting and fun to read.
Sangeetha Sekar
Aug 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
though this book was abt science, it was every bit interesting and engaging. just as it promised i can't look at a glass of water the same way again
Chris Jackson
rated it really liked it
Sep 27, 2017
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Oct 18, 2016
Jess Blake
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Jan 02, 2019
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“Life, its processes and structures, occur in its solution. Every living thing, then, is simply a different inflection of water; a deviation of a few per cent from purity.” 0 likes
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