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Does water have a memory? Understanding how the popular myth arose and why science refutes it
Does water have a memory? Understanding how the popular myth arose and why science refutes it

Alas, even if you talk very kindly with water in a glass and turn on Mozart for it, it will not become healing.

Does water have a memory? Understanding how the popular myth arose and why science refutes it
Does water have a memory? Understanding how the popular myth arose and why science refutes it

In esotericism, mysticism and even quite everyday matters, the term "structured water" is often found, implying a kind of super-substance that has medicinal and magical properties, including the ability to transfer information. There are people who believe in this and spend significant money on "structuring" water and other occult activities. Let's see where this myth came from and why water cannot have memory.

Is water unique

In the school curriculum for the 8th grade, there is a lesson called "The Unique Properties of Water". It tells about "unpredictable extreme" melting and boiling points, about dipoles and ionic strengths. Unfortunately, this lesson, or rather poor assimilation of it, lays the first foundation for belief in the mystical structure of water.

Many decades have passed since scientists explained in detail the significant differences between water and its neighbors in the group: hydrogen sulfide, hydrogen selenide and hydrogen telluride. The unique properties of H2O are caused by a large dipole moment An important molecular constant characterizing the electrical symmetry of a molecule. - Approx. ed. multiplied by the ability to form hydrogen bonds.

Memory of water: hydrogen bonds between molecules
Memory of water: hydrogen bonds between molecules

The ends of the H2O molecule are highly charged, and the hydrogens easily become common, uniting two or more molecules and preventing them from uncoupling and flying away in the form of vapor. It's simple. Rather, it is difficult, but understandable within the framework of science, without resorting to mysticism. And by the way, the "magically accurate" values of the melting (0 ° C) and boiling (100 ° C) temperatures of water do not bear symbolism, but were chosen by people for convenience. It was the Celsius scale that was adjusted to the water, and not vice versa.

It is clear why water is unique. But why is it credited with having memory, and not a processor, monitor, or other parts of the computer?

Not a charlatan, but not a genius either - who is Jacques Benveniste

Many sites devoted to the "structure of water" mention the name of Jacques Benveniste as the founding father of the information theory of water. What did he do? This French immunologist in 1988 investigated the dilution of anti-IgE antibodies and their effect on human basophilic cells. That is, he studied the immune response. The results, which Benveniste wanted to publish in the journal Nature, seemed to be in line with the ideas of homeopathy: when diluted millions of times, the activity of the drug was preserved.

However, the article in the first edition was withdrawn with a request to clarify the experiment or explain it theoretically. Instead of re-checking the strange results, Benveniste introduced the concept of "water memory" and "information structure" that can be copied from a medicine and multiplied indefinitely in water, making it active. A cool idea that could have saved many lives.

Unfortunately, attempts to repeat the experiment in other laboratories failed. Moreover, with the introduction of the double-blind method, the scientific method of research, in which the samples are encrypted and even the scientist himself does not know which of the test tubes contains the medicine and which is the water, not to mention the patients. - Approx. author Benveniste was personally unable to reproduce his results. In a different situation, the scientific community would have shaken its head, chided the unlucky experimenter, and even forgotten, but the idea has already really liked the journalists and some pharmaceutical companies. After all, you can not synthesize anything, but pour clean water into bubbles! Therefore, few people remember the exposure of Benveniste's experiments. But the term and its derivatives just remained.

What Snowflakes Can Hear

One of the most commercially successful campaigns related to the "structure of water" has been with Emoto Masaru. It became famous for advertising with photographs of beautiful and ugly snowflakes, which were sent various information when freezing. The positive one supposedly produces symmetrical snowflakes, while the negative one produces asymmetric snowflakes. Masaru and his followers widely and successfully sell “correct water”, “structurators”, “music of water” and other religious and mythical products.

Memory of Water: What Snowflakes Can Hear
Memory of Water: What Snowflakes Can Hear

Unfortunately, unlike the sincerely deluded Benveniste, in this case it is a downright scam. Only the initiated were allowed to the sacrament of choosing one of the snowflakes formed under the influence of words. Who chose the right one among thousands. The double blind method cries sadly in the corner.

Can sound affect water and other substances? Yes, but only of high frequency and intensity. This is even done by a separate science - sonochemistry. Ordinary words have no effect. And what language to speak? For example, the spoken words "fact" or "Santa Claus" in English lose their positive emotional coloring.

What you need to know about water clusters

The theory of water memory got its second wind in the late 90s - early 2000s in connection with the discovery of water clusters. These are quasi-structures that are formed in water due to hydrogen bonds. The supporters of structuring immediately, without reading, raised the clusters to the banner: “This is how water remembers! Clusters are information carriers! But none of them read in scientific articles the existence of such clusters: 10-6–10-10 seconds.

Structured water: water cluster
Structured water: water cluster

So, even if we assume that something can be recorded on the water, everything will be erased after the redistribution of the clusters. In the best case, such a "flash drive" will last 0, 000001 seconds in supercooled liquid water. Therefore, unfortunately, the ancestors were right when they said "it is written with a pitchfork on the water."

How homeopathy and water memory are related

Where can we go without it? In order not to write another article, I think it is worth directing you to materials about homeopathy and the placebo effect on Lifehacker. And it is better to let the doctors talk about psychosomatics.

For one thing, I am grateful to homeopaths: they inspired an excellent problem that I offer students at the Chemistry Center in the first academic year. It sounds like this: "How many tons of drug XXX do you need to use to get one molecule of the active substance into the body?" Most often, the guys themselves go to the pharmacy and count, based on the number of dilutions indicated on the box and Avogadro's number. Try it yourself, you can take any homeopathic remedy.

Avogadro's number (molar constant) is the most forbidden constant among homeopaths. Checked. The fact is that as soon as the dilution of something exceeds about 1023 times, then the original substance in the preparation simply disappears. And nothing can be done about it; we have to move on to the memory of water, structure, and so on. Well, or just swear bad words at a corrosive scientist.

Why do people need all this

Some will say: well, they are writing about the structure. It means that something is unclean, scientists are hiding, science cannot explain everything. Maybe there is some benefit from the "structurators" after all?

For something to exist for a long time in a market economy, it must be beneficial to at least someone. It is the benefit that supports this myth. If you write on a water filter that it structures water, sales will increase. Why? The knowledgeable will twist at the temple - and will buy it anyway, if the filter is good. The one who does not know on the shelf will choose just the “structuring” filter.

Homeopathy is even more profitable: the production of a medicine does not require development, testing on cells, mice, volunteers, certificates. All you need is sugar, starch and marketing. The benefits are enormous, the costs are almost zero. The only pity is that it doesn't work.

And, of course, the informational theory of water is the bread for conspiracy theorists, you need to talk about something when too many mystical theories have been mercilessly destroyed by science.

What to do with water memory products? Avoid them. Either it’s just dummies, or it’s an attempt to suck extra money out of you without increasing the value of the product. In any case, it is better to buy from honest companies.