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The Fourth Phase of Water:

Beyond Solid Liquid Vapor

By Dr. Gerald H. Pollack
published by Ebner And Sons, 2013

Reviewed by Emir Fasad

This is a fascinating book about water by a Professor of Bioengineering at the University of Washington. Water is considered a rather mundane and well-understood subject, but it may be far more mysterious than is commonly believed. The author has done properly conducted experiments showing the existence of what he calls an "exclusion zone" which forms in water when it interfaces with air or other substances. This amounts to a fourth phase of water, in addition to liquid, solid and gas. He theorizes that the cause of this effect is similar to crystallization in a solid material.

While the author tries to remain grounded in established science, the book contains some interesting content for fringe science enthusiasts. A cautious endorsement is given to the controversial "water memory" effect, which some see as being supportive of homeopathy, and a seemingly favorable mention is given to the vortex technology research of Victor Schauberger and others. This is remarkable, both due to the academic position of the author, and the positive reviews of his book from a number of other scholars. It shows that the Professor Pollack is trying to be both rigorous and open minded, which is a hard combination to achieve. Finding other people in academia willing to give such notions a fair hearing seems to be a miracle on par with the Virgin Birth.

Interestingly for "free energy" researchers, the separation of charges due to the exclusion zone is described as forming a type of "water battery". Charging such a battery takes energy, which the author theorizes is contributed to by ambient heat. This means that discharging the battery would cause it to absorb heat from the environment. While the author dances lightly around the issue, this contradicts some statements of the Second Law of Thermodymamics, for which no exact definition has ever been established. Even if no practial power source could be created with this effect, establishing the validity of the principle would clarify the nature of the Second Law.

The exclusion zone theory offers possible explanations for everything from water surface friction to the faster freezing of hot water, as well as atmospheric phenomena. If the author is right, he has found an explanations for a number of profound mysteries in science. Some of the ideas in this book seem to overlap with the now well-known "electric universe" theory, and it would be interesting to see what Walt Thornhill and other EU proponents make of this book.

There is an old principle that someone with only a hammer will see everything as a nail. A bit of that may be going on here, as the author is trying to fit as many things as possible into his theory. He might be right, but more tests are needed to see how far it will go. Regardless of how further experiements work out, and what applications unfold from them, the existence of the exclusion zone itself seems well established, and at least some of his other ideas are likely correct.

This book is written for an intelligent layperson, being neither dumbed down nor too technical. Refreshingly, and unlike most scientists, Professor Pollack is actually a decent writer. Both the ideas presented and the quality of the writing make this book a worthwhile read for anyone with an interest in science.