Skip to Main Content


Rebus: Where Words and Images Meet: Chemistry

In the world of the Arts and Sciences, we value words and things. And we value the interplay of both to gain meaning, insights, and new perspectives. Though we offer no puzzles here, in this inaugural edition of REBUS, we do offer various observations on

Why is Water Essential to Life on Earth

Water is essential to life because without it, we cannot make coffee. Or, as a colleague pointed out, beer. All kidding aside, this is an example of one of the many properties of water essential to life: it is a universal solvent. In other words, it can dissolve almost anything. Coffee and beer, and many other beverages, are mostly water with a variety of flavorings, nutrients, and other ingredients dissolved within the water. Water can dissolve nearly anything. Technically, water can even dissolve metals like iron, though the maximum concentration of iron in water is infinitesimally small. Our bodies take advantage of this universal solvent by using water to dissolve and transport thousands of proteins, sugars, minerals, nutrients, and other vital compounds. Our blood is mostly water.


Let's Think!

1) Central Florida has a very mild climate in large part because Florida is surrounded by water. What would the climate be like locally if there was not oceans on three sides of Florida?

2) Why does water expand when it freezes? 

3) Since water is a universal solvent, what implications does this have for water pollution?