There are a lot of tough questions out there that we’d all like answers to, and being in college challenges us to ponder them. We think about topics like “Why are we here?”, “Do we really have free will?”, and “Is the Queen of England immortal?” You know the drill.
These are all good questions, but our discussion question for today is a little different, because it is intense. It causes alliances to be forged, enemies to be created, and chaos to reign. Simply walk into a crowded room and ask, “Is water wet?”
It’s a very controversial topic, I know. You may be thinking, “Lauren, how daring of you! With so many strong opinions out there, and your tragically limited knowledge of the scientific field, you’re going to get so much criticism!” This is probably true, my eloquent friend, and rarely do I breach such a hot topic, but here’s the thing – thanks to the nature of blogging, this is entirely a monologue. It’s a stream of my own thoughts that cannot be interrupted by others’ opinions, let alone anything as ludicrous as trustworthy science! So I may be completely wrong, yes, but I will be wrong boldly and with dramatic flair.
Now, on to my answer. Is water wet? Yes, it most certainly is. My proof:
Water makes things wet. This is a well-known fact. If you were to jump into a pond, your clothes would be soggy and you would be sad. If you were to accidentally step in a puddle with one foot while on a run (not that I know from experience or anything), your sock would be wet, and every other step would make a gross sound so as to remind you of your failure. If I were to slap you with a fish, you would not only be shocked and offended by the interaction, but be disgusted by the resulting wetness of the impact. That’s just how it is.
Thanks to this courtroom-worthy evidence, we now know that water makes other things wet, but what about itself? This causes a dilemma. I could try to solve it with some nice facts about the properties of water or covalent bonds or something, but I think it’s easier to start by examining our definition, in classic English major fashion.
What exactly is “water”? An ocean is water. A lake is also water. We can have tubs of water, glasses of water, or even drops of water. What is the quantity required to be considered “water”? Logically, I think it would have to come down to the atomic level (Ha! Actual science, people!).
An Oxygen atom bonded to two Hydrogen atoms (H₂O) is water. And as we stated above, water makes other things wet. A single water molecule, being “water” according to our definition, would make everything it touches wet, and this includes other water molecules. Any body of water - a drop, glass, tub, lake, ocean, etc. - is made of many water molecules. They are all touching each other. Therefore water, for all practical purposes, is wet.