Excerpt from Grant Proposal #1499256
[introductory material omitted]...that atoms within molecules vibrate in ways that can be measured. It has long been supposed that these patterns, known as molecular murmur, represent a primitive form of communication. Our project seeks to materially advance understanding of this phenomenon with respect to molecules of water.
Prior Experiments with the Carbon Ring "Telephone"
Initially, efforts to decode molecular murmur focused exclusively on the movement of carbon atoms within complex organic compounds, which because of their size and stability proved feasible to study with the subatomic visualization equipment of the early twenty-first century. As the committee may be aware, initial excitement was followed by a period of stagnation, as it became clear that all carbon atoms studied repeated a single sequence, regardless of the type of host molecule they participated in or their position within it. Figure 1 summarizes the current state of carbon research.
Fig 1. Carbon Murmur: Key Findings To Date
- 8 distinct vibrational segments, 7 always identical, last segment has one of 16 values.
- Best translation by Schneider et. al., Texas Christian University 2006: "Is all aligned-living-flowing along-the-chain? Status here is..." followed by one of the sixteen status codes.
- Compared to a human game of "telephone" in which errors multiply as messages pass around a ring, elements of this system appear to permit self-correction and promote response to injury or disruption of the molecule.
- Current efforts (TCU, Chicago, Sorbonne, Bangalore) focus on inserting pre-treated carbon atoms into rings and chains in an attempt to open communication between humans and atoms. Results to date suggest that carbon atoms can tell the difference between murmur in its natural state and murmur artificially mimicked by humans, and that they reject the latter for reasons unknown.
Goals of the Water Murmur Project
Although not in the forefront of carbon murmur studies per se, our group was involved in designing and fabricating several of the scanners and measuring devices used by the TCU team. In the decade since then, we have further refined the delicate recording devices that let us capture exact vibrations of molecules without observation-linked distortions.
Our group plans to move away from the existing carbon work, including the hitherto abortive attempt to communicate with rings and chains of carbon atoms. We will start fresh, as much as possible without preconceptions, in a recording and decoding study of the murmur of water (H2O) molecules, which consist of two hydrogen atoms stuck onto a single oxygen atom with an average angle of 105' (one hundred five degrees) between the two H-O bonds.
Our first proof-of-concept studies indicate that despite (or perhaps because of?) the simplicity of these molecules, a far greater variety of vibrational patterns can be observed than were present in the carbon rings. It will be sufficient for the first phase of the project if we can come up with a basic syntax that can be verified and published. We hope such a project would, even if only partially successful, also create a wider market for this institution's fine measuring equipment.
Due to the complexity of the messages, attempts at communication with the water molecules themselves would be outside the scope of this grant... [detailed discussion and budget omitted]