This monograph has been written from our convic- tion that the
present notions of the state of wa- ter in osmotic systems are
obscure, if not incor- rect. The basic ideas presented herein are
for us not original, but they have previously been ig- nored. We
shall attempt again to bring the essen- tial concepts to the
attention of the functional biologist with the hope that they will
be duly considered and accepted. We even dare to expect that many
will be able to recognize the inherent beauty in the old idea that
all colligative pro- perties of water stem exclusively from the
fact that the water is under tension, regardless of the particular
process by which it has been placed under tension in the biological
system. The ideas are so simple and so obvious that we are amazed
biologists have not already recognized their va- lidity even
without the assistance of physical chemistry and chemical
thermodynamics, which deal with the subject of water under pressure
in solu- tions and in matrices. We expect that drawing at- tention
to experimental evidence heretofore not available will assist the
more conservative phys- iologist to reconsider and reject
fictitious no- tions about the properties of water in a solution.
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