Although it’s all around us, scientists have fairly little idea why, exactly, glass behaves the way it does, the New York Times reports in an examination of the ongoing debate over the curious properties of the commonplace substance. The mystery hinges on why the molecular arrangement of glass is similar to a liquid, despite obviously possessing properties of a solid.
Continued research and advanced computer simulations are allowing more light to be shed on the question. Nonetheless, one physics professor laments, “There are more theories of the glass transition than there are theorists who propose them. … It just can get so controversial and so many loud arguments, and I don’t want to get involved with that myself.”