By Brian Clegg

Interesting evidence and mind-boggling technology of the human physique. outfitted from the particles of exploding stars that floated via area for billions of years, domestic to a zoo of tiny extraterrestrial beings, and regulated by way of a mind with extra attainable connections than there are atoms within the universe, the human physique is the main terrific factor in lifestyles. within the sequel to his bestselling Inflight technology, Brian Clegg explores mitochondria, in-cell powerhouses that are suggestion to have as soon as been separate creatures; how your eyes are quantum traps, eating photons of sunshine from the evening sky that experience travelled for hundreds of thousands of years; your many senses, which come with the facility to notice warps in house and time, and why assembly an enticing individual can flip you right into a gibbering fool.

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One of the most immediate consequences of hydrogen bonding is a dramatic rise in the boiling point of these substances. Methane, which is a symmetric molecule because it has four hydrogen atoms surrounding its central carbon atom (see diagram), is not polar and does not exhibit hydrogen bonding. This means that methane molecules are only very weakly bonded together in the liquid state, and it doesn’t take much energy to split them apart from each other and turn liquid methane into a gas. This is why the boiling point of methane is a chilly -162°C.

Look at a common pond skater, and you’ll be observing … an exquisitely balanced relationship between its anatomical features and the physical properties of water. TREETOPS TO TEARDROPS: THE MAGIC OF HYDROGEN BONDS Water is colourless, tasteless, odourless and has a simple chemical formula – H2O – but this simplicity is deceptive, because the geometry of the water molecules themselves means that their collective behaviour is tremendously subtle and complex. The diagram below shows a series of different molecules, each consisting of hydrogen atoms covalently bonded to different elements.

Stars are formed when an interstellar cloud of gas collapses under the force of gravity. As the gasses fall inwards, they heat up until nuclear fusion is initiated. This process of collapse, followed by ignition, creates a powerful outward burst of gas and dust. When this material hits the surrounding molecular cloud, already rich in oxygen from previous stellar deaths, the plentiful hydrogen and oxygen can combine, producing water. Water on Mars? This composite image, taken by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, shows the polar ice cap of the ‘red planet’.

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