“Water is the most important material in nature,” says physicist Marcia Barbosa of the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil. “Water is abundant, but the water that we can drink is decreasing.”
Barbosa will discuss how better understanding the physics of water can help conserve this resource on Wednesday, March 4 at 7 P.M. Eastern time; her public lecture will be broadcast live here on this page. The talk, “Water Stress: Seeking Solutions in the Unusual Properties of Water,” is part of a public lecture series at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Ontario presented by Sun Life Financial.
To tackle the world’s shortage of fresh water, Barbosa studies the molecule’s unique chemical and physical qualities. “It’s the strangest liquid in nature,” she said in a 2014 TEDx Talk. Water, unlike most liquids, expands when it freezes rather than contracts and it also diffuses more quickly when a system gets dense rather than slowing down as other fluids would. “I’m trying to figure out what in this funny molecule makes it so strange.” One in six people today lacks fresh water, Barbosa says, and by 2050 that figure could be one in two. “Water is something that we need to understand so people can profit both for energy and health.”
The public lecture will be viewable on this page as well as here. Online viewers can pose questions to Barbosa by tweeting to @Perimeter and using the #piLIVE hashtag.