Drops of water - pearls of wisdom

The Hidden Qualities of Water, edited by Wolfram Schwenk, Floris Books, Edinburgh, 2007. ISBN 978-086315-610-6, 143 pp, £16.99.
Elemente der Naturwissenschaft 88, 2008, P. 81-84 | DOI: 10.18756/edn.88.81


This book is a collection of papers by researchers at the Institute of Flow Sciences in Herrischried, Germany, edited, introduced and summarised by Wolfram Schwenk and translated from the original German by several translators. It takes its point of departure from the fact that despite water being officially considered fit to drink if it is free of pathogens, poisons and foul odours and does not corrode pipes, many people feel that these criteria do not adequately define water that is refreshing and enlivening. Could the subtler qualities, especially water’s mobility, be scientifically detected and described? Can a holistic, ethical, sustainable, life-serving way of managing water be developed? The Institute tackles these questions with a water-appropriate method of research that favours a perceptual and cognitive approach that is better suited to the movement, change, behaviour and processes of fluids than the science that was developed for solids. ‘Water ethics’ calls for first developing a mindset in empathy with water. This enables the scientist to study the formative, creative processes of a medium whose laws are like those of the living world, and possibly its very basis. [...]