Science: Salt Water Into Fresh

One question buzzed insistently through the mind of the young Jewish chemist as he hung on the adventures of Russian Explorer Ivan Papanin: Where did he find drinking water in the arctic? After the lecture, Alexander Zarchin shouldered his way to the front of the classroom at the Leningrad Technical Institute and got a deceptively simple answer. "We melted icebergs," explained Papanin.

Ever since, Zarchin has been fascinated by the idea of getting drinking water from the frozen sea. The Bolshevik Revolution was raging when he heard the lecture, and Zarchin soon got institute support for his experiments to help the Red...

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