Live from Perimeter: Dr. Marcia Barbosa on ’water stress’

March 4 at 7 p.m. ET: Join us for a live lecture from the Perimeter Institute


Join us March 4 at 7 p.m. ET for a live lecture from the Perimeter Institute


Guest lecturer: Dr. Marcia Barbosa

Dr. Barbosa is the director of the Physics Institute at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil. The title of her talk: “Water Stress: Seeking Solutions in the Unusual Properties of Water.”

Dr. Barbosa is a former winner of the L’Oreal-UNESCO Prize for Women in Physics.

About the lecture

Water is ubiquitous, but the availability of fresh water is limited. Today, one in six people is under “water stress,” meaning that they have no access to clean water. It is one of the many paradoxes of water. This essential liquid, which in many ways is so commonplace, is also very peculiar.

Water behaves differently than other materials in more than 70 ways. These anomalies not only keep our bodies in balance, but secure the thermal stability of our planet as well. Whereas most liquids contract when cooled, water does the opposite — it expands as temperature drops, which, among other effects, allows fish to survive the winter. What’s more, water diffuses more quickly as a system becomes denser — the opposite behaviour to most other fluids.

In her Perimeter Institute Public Lecture, physicist Dr. Marcia C. Barbosa will examine how we can better understand this precious resource that is both incredibly abundant on Earth, yet dangerously scarce to millions of people. Decoding the strange properties of water, Barbosa argues, may be essential to resolving the widespread problem of water stress.

‘The weirdness of water could be the answer’ — Barbosa’s Tedx talk from October 2014: