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One of the key paradigms of materials science states that the properties of a phase (solid, liquid, or gaseous state of a substance) are determined by its structure, not its composition. Considering this paradigm, the properties of water can be determined by the organisation and coordination of its molecules. In 2005, the journal Materials Research Innovations published an article by a renowned specialist in the field of materials science: Rustum Roy . The article is dedicated to new insights into the structure of liquid water from a materials science perspective and their potential significance for homeopathy (The Structure Of Liquid Water; Novel Insights From Materials Research; Potential Relevance To Homeopathy) (1).


Rustum Roy.
Source: https://joyexcel.com/blog/rustum-roy-the-enigmatic-indian-scientist/

Rustum Roy, an American physicist of Indian origin, was one of the leading materials science specialists in the United States, an honorary professor at the University of Pennsylvania, and a member of the United States International Academy of Sciences. Rustum was elected a member of the Academy of Sciences of Russia, Sweden, India, and Japan. When Roy passed away in 2010, he was referred to as "one of the legends of materials science" (2). In 2003, the University of Pennsylvania Materials Research Laboratory, which Roy founded in 1962 and then headed for a quarter of a century, was named the laboratory with the most cited scientists in the world (2). Rustum Roy made a significant contribution to various branches of materials science: from the invention of sol-gel technology to glass ceramics, diamond films, nanocomposites, microwave and laser materials processing, and research into hydrothermal processes. Despite the fact that Roy was primarily engaged in crystal chemistry and studying the structure of glasses, he also paid considerable attention to the interdisciplinary approach in science (3). In a 2005 paper, for example, Roy and his colleagues tried to apply knowledge from the field of materials science to analyse the structural features of water (1).

Summarising their own experience in materials science and the work of other researchers, Roy and his colleagues discuss various aspects related to changes in the structure of water and their possible role in homeopathy. The researchers believe that when liquid water is exposed to such physical factors as pressure and temperature, an abnormal change in its properties cannot be explained by any other reasons than changes in its structure. They posit that under external influences, multiple structural changes occur in water which are not dissimilar to those in so-called 'multiple structures' such as ice or silica (SiO2). It is known that similar covalently bonded 'glass-like' compounds exhibit almost ubiquitous structural inhomogeneities. Roy and his co-workers have previously shown that the properties and structure of glasses can continuously change under pressure. Thirty years later, a similar phenomenon was demonstrated for liquid water. Consequently, pressure can also affect the structure of the water. To confirm this idea, the authors cite the work of Kawamoto (4) in which changes in the structure of water with an increase in temperature and pressure are measured using Raman spectroscopy. Within a certain range of pressure values, the strength of hydrogen bonds in water increases rapidly, but its further increase is less pronounced after reaching the upper threshold of the specified range. Bond breakage in response to an increase in pressure suggests a possible structural change under these conditions. As Roy and his colleagues summarise in their article, Kawamoto et al. actually found a phase boundary between two stable liquid structures of water (4).

Another materials science concept that Roy has successfully used to describe the structure of water is epitaxy. Epitaxy is the transfer of structural information from a surface (hence 'epi') of one material (usually a solid) to another (usually a liquid). In this phenomenon, it is assumed that it is information, and not the substance, that is transmitted. Thus, a particular structure (usually solid, but sometimes liquid) can serve as a matrix, and the entire body of liquid can be rearranged or 'crystallised' in accordance with a pre-selected structure that also has a crystalline structure. For example, such 'seeding' and epitaxial growth of semiconductors are widely used in most material production technologies. Information and 'memory' are transferred from the substrate or 'seed' into the liquid phase. In this case, changes in chemical bonds as such in the liquid phase do not occur.

Electric and magnetic fields are mentioned in the article as another factor likely to influence the structure of water. Their influence can be significant if the field turns out to be, as it were, 'blocked' in ordered domains or separate areas of materials. For example, this happens when a magnetic field is applied to ferroelectrics and ferromagnets.

The article by Rustum Roy and his colleagues suggests that the 'materials science' approach can be applied when describing homeopathic remedies. A specific active agent is added to the liquid (water or an aqueous ethanol solution). Next, the original solution is serially diluted and is shaken vigorously between stages. The shaking results in local pressure increases and nanobubble formation. Nanobubbles can include not only gases (O2, N2, and CO2) but can also possibly include an active agent. The resulting colloidal suspension of water and nanobubbles can be quite stable and persist for a long time. The application of pressure can also significantly change the structure of water in accordance with the mechanisms described above. In this case, the initial active agent can serve as a 'seed' for epitaxial changes in the structure of water. As mentioned above, the structure of a liquid can be influenced by the structure of the solids with which it comes into contact. Roy refers to studies suggesting the possibility of 'aggregates' or 'clusters' of water molecules forming due to the presence of the initial active substance that do not require its constant presence, for example, the formation of zwitterions or clathrates (1, 5). As an example, the article cites the work of Samal and Geckeler, who researched cluster-cluster aggregation phenomena in aqueous solutions of fullerene-cyclodextrin, β-cyclodextrin, sodium chloride, sodium guanosine monophosphate, and DNA oligonucleotide conjugates. It has been shown that there are larger aggregates in diluted aqueous solutions than in concentrated ones (6). The authors also cite the works of Elia and Niccoli (7, 8) and mention the biological effects of highly diluted metal colloids, especially silver.

Thus, according to Rustum Roy and his colleagues, if we approach homeopathy from the standpoint of materials science, then the thesis that such drugs do not differ from a solvent can be easily refuted. The authors base their conclusions on data on the presence of structural nanoheterogeneity within liquids and the important role of epitaxy in the dissemination of structural information without changing the composition of the liquid, as well as data on the effect of pressure, nanobubbles, and magnetic and electric fields on the structure of water. The authors believe that in future studies of the properties of water, it is worth paying attention to the clusters formed in it and their 'packaging', anisodesmicity (the heterogeneity of bonds in the structure), and the influence all these factors have on its structure and properties.


1.    Roy, R., Tiller, W.A., Bell, I.R., Hoover, M.R. (2005). The Structure Of Liquid Water; Novel Insights From Materials Research; Potential Relevance To Homeopathy. Materials Research Innovations, 9, 103-98.

2.    "Rustum Roy, 1924-2010". Ceramics.org (2010)

3.    Komarneni, S., Byrappa, K. (2010) Professor Rustum Roy: In Memoriam. Materials Research Innovations, 14: 5, 348-350.

4.    Kawamoto T, Ochiai S, Kagi H. (2004). Changes in the structure of water deduced from the pressure dependence of the Raman OH frequency. The Journal of Chemical Physics, 120(13): 5867-5870.

5.    Bellavite P, Signorini A (2002). The Emerging Science of Homeopathy. Complexity, Biodynamics, and Nanopharmacology, 2"d edn. North Atlantic Books, Berkeley.

6.    Samal, S., Geckeler, K. E. (2001). Unexpected solute aggregation in water on dilution. Chemical communications (Cambridge, England), (21), 2224–2225.

7.    Elia, V., Niccoli, M. (1999), Thermodynamics of Extremely Diluted Aqueous Solutions. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 879: 241-248.

8.    Elia, V., Niccoli, M. (2004). New Physico-Chemical Properties of Extremely Diluted Aqueous Solutions. Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry, 75, 815–836.