Science Frontiers
The Unusual & Unexplained

Strange Science * Bizarre Biophysics * Anomalous astronomy
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About Science Frontiers

Science Frontiers is the bimonthly newsletter providing digests of reports that describe scientific anomalies; that is, those observations and facts that challenge prevailing scientific paradigms. Over 2000 Science Frontiers digests have been published since 1976.

These 2,000+ digests represent only the tip of the proverbial iceberg. The Sourcebook Project, which publishes Science Frontiers, also publishes the Catalog of Anomalies, which delves far more deeply into anomalistics and now extends to sixteen volumes, and covers dozens of disciplines.

Over 14,000 volumes of science journals, including all issues of Nature and Science have been examined for reports on anomalies. In this context, the newsletter Science Frontiers is the appetizer and the Catalog of Anomalies is the main course.


Subscriptions to the Science Frontiers newsletter are no longer available.

Compilations of back issues can be found in Science Frontiers: The Book, and original and more detailed reports in the The Sourcebook Project series of books.

The publisher

Please note that the publisher has now closed, and can not be contacted.


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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 15: Spring 1981 Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Those Darn Quarks There's no escaping it, those fractionally charged niobium balls just can't be swept under the rug. In fact, more recent experiments have served only to accentuate the anomaly. Researchers at Stanford University have been magnetically suspending superconducting niobium spheres in a modern version of Millikan's oil-drop experiment. With the niobium spheres thus suspended, their net electrical charges can be measured. The trouble is that several of the spheres have fractional electrical charges -- + 1/3 or -1 /3 electronic charges. For decades the charge on the electron was supposed to be the basic, indivisible natural unit of electrical charge. In 1964, however, theorists began muddying the waters with talk of new fundamental constituents of matter called quarks, which could possess 1/3 or 2/3 electron charges. No one really expected that quarks, if they existed at all, would be floating around free. But the niobium balls tell us that not only are quarks free but that we could have detected them with relatively simple experiments decades ago if we had not been so blinded by the idea of integral electronic charges. (Robinson, Arthur L.; "Evidence for Free Quarks Won't Go Away," Science, 211:1028, 1981.) From Science Frontiers #15, Spring 1981 . 1981-2000 William R. Corliss ...
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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 105: May-Jun 1996 Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Is matter infinitely divisible?Just over a year ago, particle physicists at the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) announced that they had at last found the top quark, the final particle needed to flesh out the so-called Standard Model of subatomic physics. Then, all seemed serene in the world of quarks and gluons. Quarks, you see, are held to be the smallest building blocks of matter and now they had all been found and cataloged. The collection was complete. But a storm cloud has now appeared on the event horizon, casting a shadow on the solidity of the quarks themselves. Are they really fundamental; that is, indivisible? Fermilab scientists now wonder, for when they crash protons into antiprotons head-on at very high energies, the resulting debris clouds display an anomaly. Some of the supposedly indestructable quarks seem to have fragmented, too. The collision energies seem high enough penetrate the integument of the quarks if they are divisible. There may be other explanations of the deviation from theory, but right now quarks seem a bit more fragile than they did just a few months ago. (Wilczek, Frank; "A Crack in the Standard Model?" Nature, 380:19, 1996. Also: Walker, Gabrielle; "The Secret Heart of a Quark," New Scientist, p. 17, February 17, 1996) Comment. If quarks can be split, perhaps ...
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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 43: Jan-Feb 1986 Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects "AND SO ON INFINITUM"Connoisseurs of facetious scientific poetry will recognize the above title as coming from a poem about vortices which have littler vortices preying upon them, etc. Well, it seems that matter may not have a basement of truly fundamental, indivisible particles either. If one does not count the rather primitive notion of Air, Fire, Earth, and Water, there are five basic levels of compositeness: (1 ) molecules; (2 ) atoms; (3 ) nuclei; (4 ) nucleons; and (5 ) quarks and leptons. But now physicists are beginning to see regularities in the lowest accepted layer, quarks and leptons, that betoken a sixth layer of compositeness or subdivisibility. In other words, quarks and leptons are not really fundamental and instead are composed of something else, which will undoubtedly eventually receive fanciful names. In this article, O.W . Greenberg delves into this sixth stratum and the "regularities" it engenders. The article is really too technical for Science Frontiers, but we thought our readers might like to be warned that our concepts of matter are based on infinite quicksand. (Greenberg, O.W .; "A New Level of Structure," Physics Today, 38:22, September 1985.) Comment. With ever-more-gigantic galactic superclusters being charted and the possibility of Big Bangs occurring "somewhere else," matter may also be infinitely ...
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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 73: Jan-Feb 1991 Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects New Kinds Of Matter Turns Up In Cosmic Rays "Japanese physicists claim to have found evidence of 'strange matter' in cosmic rays. Their detectors have recorded two separate events, each of which can be explained by the arrival of a particle with a charge 14 times as great as the charge on a proton, and a mass 170 times the proton's mass. No atomic nucleus -- made of protons and neutrons -- exists that matches this description, but these properties are precisely in the range predicted for so-called quark nuggets, which physicists believe may be made of a type of material dubbed strange matter." (Gribbin, John; "New Kind of Matter Turns Up in Cosmic Rays," New Scientist, p. 22, November 10, 1990.) The original report appeared in Physical Review Letters , 65:2094, 1990. In it, the Japanese scientists describe their balloon-borne equipment, proving that one does not need fancy spacecraft to make important discoveries. The key feature of the quark nugget is its very high mass-to-charge ratio. Where do quark nuggets come from? The theoreticians surmise that they may be created when neutron stars collide or, perhaps, they are left over from the hypothetical Big Bang. From Science Frontiers #73, JAN-FEB 1991 . 1991-2000 William R. Corliss ...
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... science as "immature." He thinks that the Gaia hypothesis may well signal the growing up of science. Sattaur concludes the article with Lovelock's assertion that the fate of humanity is interlocked with that of the earth, and that we are not the masters. If we reject Gaia's imperative, she may retaliate! (Sattaur, Omar; "Cuckoo in the Nest," New Scientist, p. 16, December 24/31, 1987.) Comment. God is not mentioned in either article. Extrapolating the Gaia hypoth esis to cosmic dimensions, we get closer to God. At the reductionist end of the spectrum, we could assume that everything the universe (life and all) is and will be is encoded into the smallest par ticles known -- the quarks. The properties of the quarks, after all, must be consistent with the development of the cosmos. Here, God would be only a quarksmith, and everything would evolve from them! From Science Frontiers #56, MAR-APR 1988 . 1988-2000 William R. Corliss ...
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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 15: Spring 1981 Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues Last Issue Next Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Contents Archaeology Basques in the Susquehanna Valley 2,500 Years Ago? Invention of Agriculture May Have Been A Step Backward Hidden Stonehenge Atlantis Found -- again Astronomy Distant Galaxies Look Like Those Close-by "tired Light" Theory Revived Those Darn Quarks Biology If Bacteria Don't Think, Neither Do We The Evolutionary Struggle Within Geology Is All Natural Gas Biological in Origin? Iceland and the Iridium Layer Geophysics The Novaya Zemlya Effect Massive Ice Lump Falls on England Psychology Is Your Brain Really Necessary? ...
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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 115: Jan-Feb 1998 Issue Contents Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues This Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Splitting The Electron's Charge We all know that the atom can be split, but the electron's charge? No way! R.A . Millikan's oil-drop experiments, circa 1911, demonstrated conclusively that the basic, indivisible unit of electrical charge was that on the electron. Later, an exception was made for those quarks that are firmly locked up inside nuclear particles. They each have 1/3 the electron's charge -- but they never, never escape to the outside world. It was, therefore, counterintuitive when R. Laughlin proposed in 1982 that fractional electrical charges actually could show up elsewhere in physics. The phenomenon that suggests this possibility is the Fractional Quantum Hall (FQH) effect. Physicists reluctantly accepted the likelihood of fractional charges in this well-verified phenomenon; but the experiments demonstrating fractional charge were a bit esoteric -- the fractional charges were not "palpable" enough. Two new experiments have made fractional charges much more tangible. When a layer of electrons, held just above absolute zero, is subjected to a powerful magnetic field, you can almost "hear" the fractional charges. The signals from these experiments have been likened to hail hitting a tin roof. Just as you can gauge the size of hailstones from their impact, so you can estimate the electrical charges involved in these experiments -- they are 1/3 that of the electron. ( ...
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... Science Frontiers ONLINE No. 146: Mar-Apr 2003 Other pages Home Page Science Frontiers Online All Issues Last Issue Next Issue Sourcebook Project Sourcebook Subjects Contents Archaeology Equator Correction Did the Ainu Reach Mexico? An Iron-Age Spread Coon Cats Continued Astronomy The Alien Planets The Bottom Two-Thirds of a Cosmological Iceberg Biology The Outer Ocean of Life The Shape-Shifting Icon Biology's "Dark Matter" Did ID (Intelligent Design) have Dimensional Limits? Geology The KTB Bombardment D'Émeraudes en Forme de Coquillages Geophysics The Possible Detection of two Quark Nuggets Piercing the Earth The Naga Fireballs Nach Sturm Regnete es Fische auf die Felder Unclassified The best UFO Cases ...
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... are of a sort that nobody was looking for. "Thus, some anomalous events that occurred at the PETRA colliding beam apparatus of the German Electron Synchrotron Laboratory (DESY) in Hamburg back in 1984 are now being interpreted as what Harald Fritzsch of DESY calls 'a peephole' into a possible new domain of physics..." What happened in 1984 was that one detector saw unexplainable particles -- that is, unexplainable in the context of cur rent theories. But since so other detectors in operation saw the event, the data were forgotten. But later, five more such events were seen on a different detector. (Anonymous; "Through a Peephole Tantalizingly," Science News, 132:219, 1987.) Comment. Just when we were getting used to fractionally charged quarks and particles of different "colors," this has to happen! From Science Frontiers #54, NOV-DEC 1987 . 1987-2000 William R. Corliss ...
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... Project Sourcebook Subjects Anomalons Are Lazy Or Fat No, an "anomalon" is not an animal unknown to science. "Anomalon" is the name that has been given to unusual fragments that are created in high-energy collisions of atomic nuclei. The fragments are peculiar because they appear not to travel as far as expected in the special "nuclear" emulsion used to study the interactions of high-energy nuclei from heavy-ion accelerators or in cosmic rays. This suggests that the anomalons are either much larger than conventional nuclei, and are more likely to interact in the emulsion and therefore do not travel so far, or are some unusually long-lived form of matter, lasting for around 1011 seconds or more." One thought is that anomalons may be constructed of two triplets of quarks. These sextets are called "demon deuterons." Another hypothesis has small nuclei bound loosely together -- they don't say by what. The whole thing is up in the air, or should we say in the emulsion? (Sutton, Christine; "Anomalon Data Continue to Baffle Physicists," New Scientist, 96:160, 1982.) Comment. One thing is sure, nuclear physicists have a lot of fun naming their newly found particles. From Science Frontiers #25, JAN-FEB 1983 . 1983-2000 William R. Corliss ...
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... is that some components of "mind" may have existed in the very earliest life forms. (Peterson, Ivars; "Microsphere Excitement," Science News, 125:408, 1984.) Comment. Two comments here: First, the word "spontaneous" is customarily employed when describing how atoms unite to form molecules and molecules combine into polymers, which then gather into microspheres. The word "spontaneous" seems to imply chance is operating rather than design. Actually, atoms and even subatomic particles must have innate properties which force them to combine into larger structures the way they do. Philosophically, one can ask whether the lowliest subatomic particles are "coded" to combine into molecules, microspheres, and living creatures. In other words, the design of life could be inherent in quarks. Second, if nonliving microspheres possess some of the properties of neurons, it is possible that natural, nonliving minds can form spontaneously -- a sort of "natural" artificial intelligence! Mind, then, could preced life, which is manifestly more complex than computers. The science-fiction possibilities are endless here. From Science Frontiers #35, SEP-OCT 1984 . 1984-2000 William R. Corliss ...
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... release a variety of subatomic debris and energy. Large arrays of detectors surrounding the collision site record the particles as they streak away. Usually the escaping particles can be easily identified; but in 1983 nine strange events were recorded, and more have occurred in 1984. Something both invisible and inexplicable carried off large amounts of energy during these "strange" events. Physicist Carlos Rubbia, of CERN and Harvard, said: "There is no sensible way to explain the missing energy by known particles." Some theorists believe that these anomalous events will be explained only by invoking what is termed "supersymmetry" theory. Supersymmetry predicts that twice as many particles as those known today must exist. Already, physicists are rushing to name the new, though unverified particles. The symmetric partner of the "quarks" will be the "squarks"; the "photon" will be paired with the "photino"; there will be the "selectron" for the "electron"; and so on. (Thomsen, D.E .; "Strange Happenings at CERN," Science News, 126:292, 1984.) From Science Frontiers #37, JAN-FEB 1985 . 1985-2000 William R. Corliss ...
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... 6% of these fragments travel only about one tenth as far as prevailing physical laws say they should. These anomalously short mean free paths are not new, having first cropped up in 1954, but they have gone unexplained for 26 years. Current speculation is that the anomalous fragments somehow change their identities, making them more susceptible to collision (i .e ., their collision cross sections spontaneously increase by ten times). But no known transformations of matter can do this! Consequently, we are left with the possiblity that some entirely new form of matter exists. (Robinson, Arthur L.; "A Nuclear Puzzle Emerges at Berkeley," Science, 210:174, 1980.) Comment. Just a few weeks ago, some nuclear physicists were saying that the advent of quark theory explained everything in their field. From Science Frontiers #13, Winter 1981 . 1981-2000 William R. Corliss ...
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... , for example, can completely silence genes. Scientists are strugglingto understand just how epigenetic factors affect inheritance and the creation of new species. There is much more to biology than DNA and genes. The genome is complex enough, but the proteome adds still another layer of complexity, and epigenetic spoons stir the pot further. (Ezzell, Carol; "Beyond the Human Genome," Scientific American, 283:64. July 2000. Anonymous; "Some Baseless Speculations," The Economist, p. 83, May 27, 2000. Cr. J. Cieciel. Note the pun in the second title!) Comment. Let us look down the scale of complexity to the relatively small number of chemical elements, and even further down to electrons and protons, perhaps as far as quarks, gluons, etc. Is it reasonable to suppose that within these supposed elementary particles there exists the potential for the unfolding of the million-member proteome? Are electrons and protons fraught with such immense potential? Can or must the apparently simple properties of the elementary particles lead to the flowering of human beings? Or even to more complex entities? (White, Robb; "Armadillos, and Dangerous," Natural History, 109:86, July-August 2000.) From Science Frontiers #131, SEP-OCT 2000 . 2000 William R. Corliss Other Sites of Interest SIS . Catastrophism, archaeoastronomy, ancient history, mythology and astronomy. Lobster . The journal of intelligence and political conspiracy (CIA, FBI, JFK, MI5, NSA, etc) ...
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... balanced by gravitational potential energy (an apparent philosophical imperative), we have so far identified only 15% of the required mass. (2 ) On a smaller scale, galaxies in large galactic clusters are moving too fast. They should have flown apart long ago, but some unseen 'stuff' holds them together. Is it cosmic string? (Waldrop, M. Mitchell; "New Light on Dark Matter? Science, 224:971, 1984.) Comment. Since cosmic string weighs about 2 x 1015 tons per inch, the whole business is beginning to sound a bit silly. Actually, all action-at-a -distance forces, which we readily accept as real, are only artificial constructs of the human mind. Gluons, colored 'particles,' top quarks, cosmic string; where will it all end? From Science Frontiers #34, JUL-AUG 1984 . 1984-2000 William R. Corliss ...
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