Why Water Is Wet

Mailen Konstantinovsky

Reading Level: 4-6

Book Description


If I were to ask you what everything in the world is composed of—water, earth, houses, machines, plants and animals, and, last but not least, we ourselves, what would you reply? I think you'd say: “Everything in the world is composed of tiny particles called atoms.” And you would be right, of course. But only partly right. Let me explain what.I mean by that.

Imagine you ask me a question like: “What is the text of this book composed of?” And I reply: “Letters!” I will be right too, but also only partly right. And obviously you will add to my answer: “The text of this book is composed of words, and the words are composed of letters!”

If letters could not be combined into words we could not write even the simplest book. There are only twenty-eight letters in the alphabet, but thousands upon thousands of words can be made up from them, and goodness knows how many books, songs, school essays and letters have been written with them!

There are more atoms of various kinds than there are letters in any alphabet, but not that many. Today, as I write these lines, the “atom alphabet” contains one hundred and seven different atoms and not all of them occur naturally. Some are created artificially by physicists. This means that if atoms could not combine to form various compounds, there would be only about a hundred different substances in the world. It would be a terribly poor, boring and monotonous world, like a book with one letter on the first page, one on the second, and so on...

But as you know very well, the world is not like that. Without even going out of the room, you could count thousands of different substances around you. All in all science knows of several million substances with different properties, and each day the number is increasing. This variety is possible only because atoms are able to combine with one another just as letters do.

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