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The behavior of ions in water--an essential aspect of many chemical processes--is usually deduced from highly averaged measurements of viscosity and reaction rate. In their Perspective, Robertson et al . highlight two reports that elucidate the molecular details of such processes. Omta et al . show that a solvated anion only affects the structure of water in its immediate vicinity. And Rini et al . demonstrate how water in the hydration shell of two anions participated in the chemical reaction between the anions. The results should help to test models of aqueous chemistry.