This volume is devoted to the solution behavior of the molecules of life: lipids, nucleotide bases, amino acids, and sugars. Theory is confronted by experiment and comparisons are made between the properties of molecules in crystals and in solution. Four excellent reviews are included. John and Lois Crowe consider the profound lyotropic effects of water on membrane phospholipids. E. Westhof and D.L. Beveridge discuss hydration of nucleic acids, concluding that the development of an adequate description of the solvation and electrostatic properties of the nucleic acids is essential for modeling and simulation of nucleic acid structures. T.H. Lilley examines the solvation of amino acids and small peptides, with the emphasis on those amino acids present in the proteins of higher organisms. The final contribution, from Felix Franks and J. Raul Grigera, summarizes and analyzes the influence of solvation interactions on the structural, equilibrium and dynamic properties of monomeric and oligomeric polyhydroxy compounds.