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Quantum physics makes water different

The length of bonds connecting water molecules could demonstrate quantum effects and help explain some of water’s weirdness.

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5:32pm, July 22, 2008

Heavy water is not just heavier. Swapping each H in H2O with a D — hydrogen’s isotope deuterium — changes many of water’s properties. Heavy water is poisonous, and its freezing point is 4° Celsius, instead of 0°. Those differences may reveal that quantum effects rule in ordinary water, researchers have now found.

The results, reported in an upcoming Physical Review Letters, could shed light on quantum theory’s relevance for ordinary water, which is the medium for mo

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