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Igor V Shevchenko, Speaker at Chemistry
M.P. Semenenko Institute of Geochemistry Mineralogy and Ore Formation, Ukraine
Title : Water can copy the size of its clusters and other molecules. “Water memory” and solar activity


We have found chemical evidence for the ability of water to replicate and reproduce the size of its clusters. On mixing water with organic solvents, for example with acetonitrile, water does not decompose into individual molecules, but forms clusters, the size of which can vary from a few water molecules to several hundreds. For example, 0.02% of water in commercial acetonitrile is structured into very small clusters, which, after a short contact with copper or silver, quickly combine into very large clusters. If bulk water is added to such acetonitrile before and after contact with these metals, then it will copy clusters of different sizes and turn, respectively, either into a large number of very small active clusters, or into a small number of very large passive clusters. After that, the rate of hydrolysis of triethyl phosphite with such differently structured water can differ by up to 500 times. This is easily and accurately measured by 31P-NMR spectroscopy. [Doi: 10.21203/rs.3.rs-2609468/v1]  Water dissolved in acetonitrile can also be structured upon contact with organic molecules. For example, after contact with 0.2% sugar in acetonitrile, bulk water forms larger clusters and the hydrolysis of triethyl phosphite can slow down several times.

The variations of solar activity and distribution of solar energy due to the rotation of the Earth around its axis and around the Sun also strong affect the self-organization of water molecules. As a result, the rate of hydrolytic reactions with participation of water clusters displays diurnal, very large annual variations, and is also modulated by the 11-year cycles of solar activity. The rate of hydrolysis also depends on geographic latitude and has different values in the Northern and Southern hemispheres. In different years of the solar cycle, the difference in the reaction rate can reach 200 times. [Doi: 10.1016/j.molliq.2022.118866]  This phenomenon may be well accounted for by the decomposition of water clusters under the influence of muons which are constantly generated in the upper atmosphere by the solar wind. Muons destroy water clusters; therefore, copying of large clusters does not occur under strong solar influence.

Since the muon flux is anisotropic, its influence depends on the area of a reaction solution which is affected by muons. For this reason, the reaction rate is highly dependent on the geometry of the solution and its position in space. For example, the difference in the rate of hydrolysis of triethyl phosphite in three 5-mm NMR tubes directed North-South, East-West and Vertically can be very large and it varies during the day depending on the position of the Sun in the sky. [Doi: 10.1016/j.molliq.2023.121681]

The influence of the Sun on the stability of water clusters sheds light on the ability of water to memorize the structure of dissolved anti-LgE antibody and to retain its biological effectiveness after strong dilution. [Doi: 10.1038/333816a0] This mysterious phenomenon known as “water memory” is not always reproducible as it can only manifest itself  under weak solar influence when water clusters are stable. Such periods often occur at the beginning and end of the 11-year cycle of solar activity, especially in winter away from the equator. We experimentally confirmed that cluster copying is much more stable in winter than in summer.

The dependence of the self-organization of water molecules and the chemical reactivity of water clusters on fluctuations in solar activity has a strong influence on all forms of life. It underlies the biological circadian, circannual and 11-year rhythms, and also displays the connection with epidemics.

Audience Take Away:

  • Influence of the Sun on water has a strong influence on all forms of life. It sheds light on “water memory” mystery and displays the connection with epidemics.
  • Measurements of the rate of hydrolysis of triethyl phosphite in different places can provide important information about the influence of space weather on the Earth.
  • Hydrolysis of triethyl phosphite can be used to track changes in the direction of the muon flux.

Near the Equator where there are no seasonal differences, such measurements may become an independent method for estimating solar activity.


Dr. Shevchenko studied Chemistry at the Kiev University, Ukraine and graduated as MS in 1979. He then worked at the Institute of Organic Chemistry in Kiev and received there his PhD degree in 1985. In 1990 he won Alexander von Humboldt scholarship and until 1996 was invited scientist at the Braunschweig University in Germany and  at the Sothern Methodist University in Dallas Texas USA. Then he worked in Kiev at the Institute of Bioorganic Chemistry and Petrochemistry and the Institute of Geochemistry Mineralogy and Ore Formation, Ukrainian Academy of Sciences. He has published more than 60 research articles.