The Second Law is even more important than water for the creation of life. The Second Law, in its simplest form, can be stated, “Matter and energy tend to spread.” What is so meaningful about that simple sentence. After all, it is not surprising that cream spreads into coffee when stirred. We think of disorder as matter and energy that are well spread. We give this disorder the name “entropy.” The Second Law states that the entropy of matter and energy increases or, at minimum, does not decrease. An implication of this law is that all the matter and energy in the universe will eventually become a uniform heated soup. There will be no structure to the universe. Physicists usually say, The Universe will die in a random heat bath.”


Today I want to talk about a very special set of chemical bonds that enable the actions of living things; that enable life to do something beyond existing. These bonds are called hydrophilic and hydrophobic bonds.

Water and Magic

Full fathom five thy father lies.

Of his bones are coral made.

Those are pearls that were his eyes.

Nothing of him that doth fade,

But doth suffer a sea-change

Into something rich and strange.

Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell

Tempest, Act 1, Scene 2


Life must have some parts that are solid so that life in the form of organisms can persist for long periods of time. This is needed so that the blueprint or biological organization chart for life can be preserved over extended periods. It must have other parts that behave like a fluid and can adapt to changing conditions around the organism on short time scales. Life must exist as both a solid and a fluid simultaneously. How this comes about leads to one of the most fascinating, but little known, stories in science.