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plasma-engineer's Avatar Jump to comment 18 by plasma-engineer

There are several interesting aspects in the physics of the measurement. Most importantly, it is actually rather difficult to transmit and measure these low frequencies, and indeed on this scale it is doubtful whether the measurements are even physically meaningful. Part of the problem is that 7Hz electromagnetic waves have a wavelength of around 42,000 km. Normally, in order to transmit any frequency you might aim for an antenna of quarter of a wavelength, or in this case 10,000km in length. Even strands of DNA are not this long, and anyway they are somewhat folded and therefore self cancelling.

Detection of low frequencies can be managed with small coils as long as they have enough turns, (e.g. 5000 to 10,000) so in principle their equipment might be able to make the measurement, if the DNA had a mechanism to transmit it - which it doesn't.

On top of that, there is very little detail about the equipment used, except a kindergarten-level sketch of a coil, an amplifier and a computer to measure something inside a test tube. They do happen to mention the impedance of the coil, which is a start. However, unless that impedance is well matched to the amplifier it means nothing. The connecting cable is incredibly important too. How well is it shielded and what is its impedance and does it match? Then the bandwidth of the amplifier matters. Does it work at all in the frequency range in question, and what is its gain? After that we have to ask how the analogue to digital conversion is carried out. What type of D/A converter is used? What frequency range does it cover? How many bits deep are the data?

But of course the controls that they adopt make all this inconvient physics irrelevant don't they. It must be true after all! This measurement is not at all like the famous measurement of the faster-than-light neutrinos is it? The two are comparable in the surprising nature of their results, but it has taken many months of professional research for the neutrino problem to have something close to an explanation.

The sentence that I liked best in the paper was "At this point the most critical step was undertaken, namely to investigate the specificity of the induced water nanostructures by recreating from them the DNA sequence".

I can't help but crack a smile!

They make a big thing of Schumann Resonances. They, at least, are a real phenomenon. The lowest frequency Schumann resonance is 7.83Hz, and its wavelength corresponds to the circumference of the earth (See first paragraph.) For interest, this link shows the sort of equipment that might be used to measure Schumann frequencies. This paper also demonstrates the measurement difficulties. On page 1 there is a graph of the Schumann frequency peaks. They are dwarfed by an interference signal from the Deutsche Bahn (railway). The nearest railway is 30km from the place where the measurement was made!

Mon, 04 Jun 2012 11:24:26 UTC | #945450