If I had to pick a single molecule that was the most important on earth, I would probably choose the water molecule. Last week I created the first video on the bipolar aspect of water. Its ability to readily form hydrogen bonds. And how these hydrogen bonds lead to several important emergent properties.
Here is part 2 of that video:
Water is a universal solvent. That means it is able to break up ionic bonds by attracting positively- and negatively-charged ions. As a result of this trait, it is able to dissolve most inorganic substances. This makes it an ideal molecule to transport matter from one place to another, with many applications for engineering and many implications for ecology, meteorology, and life processes.
All of this is a result of the chemistry of water, and the fact that it contains weakly charged positive and negative poles.
The chemistry of water also enables it to change states, and to absorb a lot of energy before doing so. When liquid water absorbs heat, most of the hydrogen bonds must be broken before water molecules can be liberated as water vapor. Again, the tendency of water to form hydrogen bonds leads to emergent property coming from the chemistry of water.
I had an epiphany while making this week's video. I filled the last two weeks' videos with some random clips related to water. But what I should have done was put in specific, rel-world examples of hoew the chemstry of water influences many processes. This is what I normally do as a science tutor, but I've gotten so caught up in making videos as quickly as possible that I haven't always thought them through as well as I could have.
Constant reflection and improvement are two pillars of learning. From now on, whether I'm talking about the chemistry of water or anything else, I'm going to try to insert a healthy dose of reality. Let me know what you think in the comments section.