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No. 12: Fall 1980

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The Currents Of Life

Danny Brower and Richard McIntosh of the University of Colorado at Boulder have discovered that growing cells apparently generate electrical fields that control the shapes of living organisms. They have been experimenting with a disc-shaped alga with a lobed edge. Normally the algo reproduces by splitting in half, with each half regenerating the lost half. Nicely symmetric discs are manufactured. But if an external electrical field (about 14 volts/cm) is applied across the nutrient medium, the regeneration geometry is distorted. The experimenters surmise that the membrane chemistry is affected by the external field which augments or reduces cell-created electric fields.

(Anonymous; "Electric Charges May Shape Living Tissue," New Scientist, 86:245, 1980.)

Comment. Natural external electric fields, such as the atmospheric potential gradient, may therefore have some biological effects, as some experiments with electricity and plant growth have proven.

From Science Frontiers #12, Fall 1980. 1980-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:

Quotes

  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987