It is easy to see that the drop seems to have a "skin" holding it into a sort of flattened sphere (although there is nothing flat about a water drop in outer space.). It turns out that this surface tension is the result of the tendency of water molecules to attract one another. The natural form of a water drop occurs in the "lowest energy state", the state where the atoms in the molecule are using the least amount of energy. For water, this state happens when a water molecule is surrounded on all sides by other water molecules, which creates a sphere or ball (perfectly round if it was in outer space). On Earth, the effect of gravity flattens this ideal sphere into the drop shape we see. Although you may have heard of a "skin" where water meets the air, this is not really an accurate description, as there is nothing other than water in the drop.
"Water/Ways" on view through Sept. 25, reveals the central nature of water in our lives by exploring how we relate to water—how we use water, how water unites communities, how water affects every element of life, and how we care for our water and protect this valuable resource for the future.