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Bizarre fourth state of water discovered

Posted by Venkatt Guhesan on June 18, 2016

Bizarre fourth state of water discovered

Scientists at the Oak Ridge National Lab (ORNL) have discovered that when (water) put under extreme pressure in small spaces, the life-giving liquid can exhibit a strange fourth state known as “tunneling”.

Quantum tunneling means that a particle, or in this case a molecule, can overcome a barrier and be on both sides of it at once – or anywhere in between. Think of rolling a ball down one side of a hill and up another. The second hill is the barrier and the ball would only have enough energy to climb it to the height from which it was originally dropped. If the second hill was taller, the ball wouldn’t be able to roll over it. That’s classical physics. Quantum physics and the concept of tunneling means the ball could jump to the other side of the hill with ease or even be found inside the hill – or on both sides of the hill at once.



Learn more at:

Example of a Beryllium crystal’s hexagonal (six-sided) crystal-structure arrangement:


What does this all mean to us?

  1. Microscopically, the universe continues to marvel us with it’s mysteries. If something as simple as water, can display new remarkable properties and states of matter, imaging the permutations and mysteries still locked up when you look at the periodic table of elements as a whole and all the combinations of molecules that exist in nature and some created artificially.
  2. Macroscopically, when you look up on a dark starry night, and you see galaxies upon galaxies and now scientists are debating over multi-verse theories, string theories and branes.  We definitely have a universe full of mysteries to solve.

So we should be fortunate and happy to know that we are living in the best of times where society has evolved beyond our petty differences in beliefs and faith. And we are able to look at each moment in wonder as the universe unveils it’s mysteries like a grand operatic in front of us. And one day, our great-great grandchildren and descendants will  look back at the stepping stones we laid for them in this unraveling.

And since this is around Father’s day, I’m reminded of a proverb in the classical Tamil literature (Book of Proverbs) – Thirukkural  written around 2nd or 3rd BCE, on the topic of “Father” that reflects my sentiment here:

தந்தை மகற்காற்று நன்றி அவையத்து
முந்தி இருப்பச் செயல்.

The benefit which a father should confer on his child is to give him/her precedence in the assembly of the learned.


Wishing everyone a Happy Fathers Day – 2016!




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