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The Book

Strange reports * Bizarre biology * Anomalous archaeology
From New Scientist, Nature, Scientific American, etc

Archaeology Astronomy Biology Geology Geophysics Mathematics Psychology Physics






Science Frontiers
The Book
Contents


Science Frontiers is an indexed compilation of the first 86 issues of our Science Frontiers newsletter.

Chapter 1. Archeology:
Ancient Engineering Works * Small Artifacts * Epigraphy and Art * Bones and Footprints * Diffusion and Culture.

Chapter 2. Astronomy:
Planets and Moons * Solar System Debris * Stars * Galaxies and Quasars * Cosmology.

Chapter 3. Biology:
Humans .* Other Mammals * Birds * Reptiles and Amphibians * Fish * Arthropods * Invertebrates * Plants and Fungi * Microorganisms * Genetics * Origin of Life * Evolution.

Chapter 4. Geology:
Topography * Geological Anomalies * Stratigraphy * Inner Earth.

Chapter 5. Geophysics:
Luminous Phenomena* Weather Phenomena * Hydrological Phenomena * Earthquakes * Anomalous Sounds * Atmospheric Optics.

Chapter 6. Psychology:
Dissociation Phenomena * Hallucinations * Mind - Body Phenomena * Hidden Knowledge * Reincarnation * Information Processing * Psychokinesis.

Chapter 7.
Chemistry, Physics, Math, Esoterica: Chemistry * Physics * Mathematics.

Comments from reviews:
"This fun-to-read book may lead some to new scientific solutions through questioning the phenomena presented", Science Books and Films

Publishing details:
356 pages, paperback, $18.95, 417 illus., subject index, 1994. 1500+ references, LC 93-92800 ISBN 0-915554-28-3, 8.5 x 11.

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    The Sourcebook Project
    P.O. Box 107
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Ordering information

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Preface from the Book

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Science Frontiers: The Book


Now Out!
Science Frontiers II
More Anomalies And
Curiosities Of Nature

  • Same format as Science Frontiers (Vol. 1)
  • Paperback: 338 pages
  • ISBN: 091555447X
  • $21.95
  • U.S. customers should add $2 for each order under $30. Foreign customers should add $12.00 per book for airmail mail.
Contents

  • Preface
  • List of Project Publications
Chapter 1. ARCHEOLOGY
  • Ancient Engineering Works
  • Small Artifacts
  • Epigraphy and Art
  • Diffusion and Culture
Chapter 2. ASTRONOMY
  • Planets and Moons
  • Solar System Debris
  • Stars
  • Cosmology
Chapter 3. BIOLOGY
  • Humans
  • Other Mammals
  • Birds
  • Reptiles
  • Amphibians
  • Fish
  • Arthropods
  • Invertebrates
  • Plants and Fungi
  • Microorganisms
  • Superorganisms
  • Genetics
  • Origin of Life
  • Evolution
Chapter 4. GEOLOGY
  • Topography
  • Stratigraphy
  • Inner Earth
  • Geological Miscellany
Chapter 5. GEOPHYSICS
  • Luminous Phenomena
  • Weather Phenomena
  • Hydrological Phenomena
  • Exotic Seismic Signals
  • Anomalous Sounds
  • Atmospheric Optics
Chapter 6. PSYCHOLOGY
  • Dissociation Phenomena
  • Hallucinations
  • Mind-Body Phenomena
  • Hidden Knowledge
  • Information Processing
  • Psychokinesis
Chapter 7. CHEMISTRY, PHYSICS MATH, ESOTERICA
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Mathematics
  • Esoterica

The primary intent of this book is entertainment. Do not look for profundities! All I claim here is an edited collection of naturally occurring anomalies and curiosities that I have winnowed mainly from scientific journals and magazines published between 1976 and 1993. With this eclectic sampling I hope to demonstrate that nature is amusing, beguiling, sometimes bizarre, and, most important, liberating. "Liberating?" Yes! If there is anything profound between these covers, it is the influence of anomalies on the stability of stifling scientific paradigms.

First, though, some statistics about my overall endeavor. This present collection consists of about 1500 items of science news and research originally published in the first 86 issues of Science Frontiers, my bimonthly newsletter. I have organized these items by scientific discipline (archeology, astronomy, etc.), updated them where required, and hopefully woven them into a coherent whole. Some bumpiness and gaps are to be expected because I selected only those tidbits that appealed to me. Complete coverage of all sciences was not a goal. Even so, I believe that most readers will be impressed by the vast panorama of nature laid out here before them. From 40,000-year-old archeological digs in the New World (definitely verboten), to the pseudofish displayed by some mussels, to the geological havoc wreaked by asteroid-raised tsumanis, the variety and richness of natural phenomena are to be seen on every page -- and so are the scientific puzzles they pose.

I confess that my newsletter, Science Frontiers, is only as teaser to tempt its readers to partake in a much larger, more comprehensive banquet: the Catalog of Anomalies. This work, now comprising 13 volumes of a projected 30, represents my entire file of some 40,000 items gleaned from a survey of about 14,000 volumes of science journals and magazines from 1820 to date. This massive hoard of scientific engimas, paradoxes, and esoterica was assembled bit by bit from 363 volumes of Nature, 260 volumes of Science, 100 volumes of the Journal of Geophysical Research, and so on with other journals. I believe my collection is unique. It transcends modern computerized data bases in its very wide time frame and its focus on the anomalous and curious. The present book is recent sampling of the kind of material that goes into the Catalog of Anomalies.

The Catalog of Anomalies represents my personal attempt to assemble the riddles of science and, given a large array of them, to discern some meaning implicit in the melange. On the practical level, which as a self-employed researcher I cannot avoid, my priorities have had to be as follows: Goal #1 has been the satisfaction of my own curiosity; Goal #2 has been the marketing of enough books to support my research, for no government offices or private foundations seem at all interested in supporting this new discipline of "anomalistics"; Goal #3 has been more altruistic: the anticipation that there may be something scientifically useful in all this. But, even if there is not, the quest has been fulfilling in itself.

Some mainstream scientists may recoil at the thought of 40,000 anomalies and curiosities. Surely nature cannot be that enigmatic and cryptic! Actually, I must stress that my search is stil far from complete. Anomalies -- those observations that do not yield to mainstream explanations -- are ubiquitous and proliferate. I have trawled through only a small fraction of the English-language scientific journals; thousands of volumes of specialized, less-known, publications gather dust untouched. Among them are unexamined books, monographs, informal papers, and popular publications. Foreign-language sources have only been sampled, and I can attest that the fishing there is good, too. And in today's electronic milieu, anomalies travel from computer screen to computer screen, by E-mail, and by fax. What an immense untapped resource! Yes, I am certain that nature is even more anomalous than the following pages intimate.

I admit freely that this book and the Catalog of Anomalies harbor a scattering of fraudulent and questionable data. I try to weed these out; but no data base can be completely clean. On the other hand, I do not apologize for retaining phenomena upon which mainstream science has "closed the book." Didn't science do this to the idea of continental drift until the 1960s, only to canonize the the concept in the 1970s? Now, one believer has recommended that data contradicting plate tectonics no longer be published? (Be assured that the pages of Science Frontiers will always welcome such waifs. Scientific political correctness is anathema here.

Mainstream science's response to my collections has been remarkably favorable despite my obvious iconoclastic tendencies. For example, Nature has reviewed five of my books without recommending their immediate incineration; other science journals have been likewise generous. The most annoying comment in the scores of reviews in my file has been that science should not waste time with esoterica! This reviewer apparently forgot about that tiny, esoteric advance of Mercury's perihelion that resisted explanation until Einstein came along. Also troubling have been warnings by more than one reviewer that undergraduates should not be exposed to my books lest the image of science be tarnished.

I began this Preface by warning against expecting anything profound to emerge from the simple process of collecting anomalies and curiosities. Data collection is, after all, only one part of the scientific process. I have avoided as far as possible the "fun" part of science: theorization. My purpose has been to keep the data base as valuefree as possible. It is this value-free aspect of the Catalog of Anomalies plus the eclectic nature of my search that makes my endeavor not only entertaining but liberating. I will now explain what I mean by "liberating," and why this feature of anomalistics might be scientifically useful.

Unless you have been comatose the past several years, you must know that the entire outlook of science is in flux. The words "chaos" and "complexity" are the current buzz words. They betoken, finally, the formal recognition by science that nature is frequently:

Eroding fast are the philosophical foundation stones of the clockwork universe: the idea that nature is in balance, that geological processes are uniformitarian, that life evolved in small, random steps, and that the cosmos is deterministic.

My view is that anomaly research, while not science per se, has the potential to destabilize paradigms and accelerate scientific change. Anomalies reveal nature as it really is: complex, chaotic, possibly even unplumbable. Anomalies also encourage the framing of rogue paradigms, such as morphic re-sonance and the steady-state universe. Anomaly research also transcends current scientific currency by celebrating bizarre and incongruous facets of nature, such as coincidence and seriality. However iconoclastic the pages of this book, the history of science tells us that future students of nature will laugh at our conservatism and lack of vision.

Such heavy philosophical fare, however, is not the main diet of the anomalist. The search itself is everything. My greatest thrill, prolonged as it was, was in my forays through the long files of Nature, Science. the English Mechanic, the Monthly Weather Review, the Geological Magazine, and like journals. There, anomalies and curiosities lurked in many an issue, hidden under layers of library dust. These tedious searches were hard on the eyes, but they opened them to a universe not taught by my college professors!

And the end is not in sight. To wax Whitmanesque, when presently recognized anomalies are duly interred under an overburden of theory, more will arise. And this, dear reader, is as philosophical as I can afford to get.

William R. Corliss
December 1993
Glen Arm, Maryland.


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