A groundbreaking paper published in Nature challenges the conventional wisdom that attributes the properties of solid matter to atoms and molecules alone. Instead, the researchers propose a new class of matter called "hydration solids," wherein materials like wood, bacteria, and fungi owe their structural rigidity to the water that permeates their pores. Led by distinguished scientists from Columbia University, this discovery offers a unifying explanation for the diverse and complex nature of biological materials. For decades, the fields of physics and chemistry have embraced the belief that the character of solid matter is solely defined by its constituent atoms and molecules. However, a remarkable research paper published in Nature challenges this long-standing paradigm, proposing that water plays a pivotal role in shaping the properties of biological materials. The authors introduce the concept of "hydration solids," a newly identified class of matter, which acquires its structural rigidity from the fluid permeating its pores. Professor Ozgur Sahin, a distinguished expert in Biological Sciences and Physics and one of the authors of the paper, expresses his excitement about this groundbreaking discovery. By recognizing the significance of water within biological materials, the scientific community can finally comprehend the intricate phenomena that have perplexed researchers for years. The team's findings challenge the traditional notion that ambient water merely contributes to the absorption of biological materials. Instead, water emerges as a defining component, intricately woven within the fabric of wood, fungi, plants, and other natural materials. Discover the profound impact of hydration forces, which arise when water molecules interact with the molecules of biological matter, profoundly influencing their softness or hardness. The research team's breakthrough stems from their extensive investigations into the unique behavior of spores, dormant bacterial cells. Fascinating discoveries surrounding the expansion and contraction of spores in response to water led the team to explore the role of hydration forces in driving water movement within these biological structuresBy elucidating the underlying principles governing the interaction between water and organic matter, the team has developed simple mathematical formulas to predict the mechanical properties of materials. With equations such as E=Al/λ, researchers can now anticipate how factors like humidity, temperature, and molecule size influence a material's elasticity. This remarkable simplicity is a testament to the team's dedication and groundbreaking research. The implications of this research extend far beyond the laboratory, as hygroscopic biological materials constitute a significant portion of the world around us. From wood to bamboo, cotton to pine cones, and even the outer skin of animals, these materials absorb and release water, responding to the ambient humidity.