Home Page Science Frontiers

No. 55: Jan-Feb 1988

Issue Contents

Other pages

Other Interesting Sites











The Scientific Basis Of Astrology

At a recent meeting of the Society for Scientific Exploration, S. Ertel, a German scientist, reported on his inquiry into the so-called "Mars Effect," discovered by Michel Gauquelin. Here are two excerpts from his Summary:

"Since 1955 Gauquelin claims to have discovered planetary effects on human births: After rise of a planet and after its crossing of the meridian, birth frequencies of eminent men may either increase beyond or decrease below chance level.

"In order to find out how clean Gauquelin's database is, the author travelled to Gauquelin's Paris laboratory and checked the files, including data which had been separated from publication, especially athletes' data. Using all obtainable data, Gauquelin's strongest hypothesis was tested, that planetary effects are more pronounced the greater the person's professional success. This claim was objectified with the help of citation frequencies, a sensitive procedure Gauquelin himself had not yet used. The total of 2089 athletes was subjected to this procedure. The results clearly supported Gauquelin's eminence claim."

(Ertel, Suitbert; "An Assessment of the Mars Effect," The Explorer, 4:8, October 1987.)

Comment. Is all this simply astrology with scientific trappings? It certainly sounds likt it is! Debunking groups, such as CSICOP, have spent considerable effort trying to disprove the Mars Effect, without, according to Ertel, convincing results.

Reference. The "Mars Effect" is cataloged in BHB29 in Biological Anomalies: Humans I. To order this catalog, see: here.

From Science Frontiers #55, JAN-FEB 1988. 1988-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "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