by Philip Ball
Ubiquitous yet unique as the only substance that naturally exists on Earth in all three physical states-solid, liquid, and gas-water has assumed many symbolic qualities. Ball's in-depth "biography" is an engaging look at the chemical composition of H2O, its ecology, our perception of water historically, and the mythology surrounding the substance. Ball considers the influence water exerts on life on Earth as well as, possibly, other worlds. Less cosmically, he also reviews hydrological flow and the different shapes water takes on, from snow to oceans to 14 forms of ice.
Originally published in Great Britain in 1999.
FS&G;, 2000, 417 p., b&w; photos/illus., hardcover
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