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No. 58: Jul-Aug 1988

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Anomalistics At The Aaas Meeting

At the recent Boston meeting of the AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science), at a session entitled "The Edges of Science," P. Sturrock dealt with the "gray areas" of science -- what we call "anomalistics." In particular, Sturrock explained why mainstream science does not clasp anomalistics to its breast.

"'They are uncomfortable,' he said. 'Your friends may doubt your judgment. You may lose the respect of some of your colleagues. You will get no funding. You will have difficulty publishing your work. Your boss may think you are wasting your time.'

"And, he added, 'If you don't have tenure, don't even consider it.'

"But the reasons why there should be serious consideration of at least some anomalous phenomena, Dr. Sturrock said, include the fact that 'the gray area of science is the crucial area... You may -- perhaps without knowing it -- start a scientific revolution.'

"Also, he added, 'You may be honored -- posthumously.'"

(Orndorff, Beverly; "Scientist Stresses 'Gray Areas,'" Richmond Times-Dispatch, February 16, 1988. Cr. L. Farish)

From Science Frontiers #58, JUL-AUG 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