ISIS Lecture 14/01/13
Life is Water Electric
Part 1 Electrodynamic Life-Field & Body Electric
Part 2 Quantum Coherent Liquid Crystalline Water & the Life-Field
Mae-Wan Ho Invited keynote lecture at Electric Universe 2013: The
Tipping Point conference, Albuquerque, 3-6 January, 2013
referenced and illustrated version of this article is posted on ISIS
members website and is otherwise available for download here. The powerpoint presentation for both parts of this lecture is also available for download here.
All plants and animals, whether single-celled or
multicellular, from egg or seed to fully developed organism, possess an
electrodynamic ‘life-field’ (L-field) that can be mapped at or close to the
surface with appropriate voltmeters and electrodes. Its pattern changes during growth
and development, correlating with body plan and organisation, as well as physiological
and mental states. However, the source of the L-field is still unknown.
New evidence suggests that the
L-field is generated by and embodied in the quantum-coherent liquid crystalline
water that makes up 70-90 % of organisms and cells and is essential for life.
Water forms quantum coherent
domains at ordinary temperatures and pressures. Within organisms, coherent
domains become stabilized as liquid crystalline water on the vast amount of membrane
and macromolecular surfaces, effectively aligning the entire body electrically
to form a single uniaxial crystal. This liquid crystalline water makes life
possible by enabling proteins and nucleic acids to act as quantum molecular
machines that transform and transfer energy at close to 100% efficiency. It provides
excitation energy to split water in photosynthesis, releasing oxygen for the
teaming millions of air-breathing species that colonize the earth, at the same
time generating electricity for intercommunication and the redox chemistry that
powers the entire biosphere.
Living water is the means, medium
and message of life.
Part 1 Electrodynamic Life-Field and Body Electric
Life, the universe, and everything
I want to start with a really big question. If the organism
is electric, as the universe is electric, is the universe an organism?
Yes, said English mathematician -philosopher
Alfred North Whitehead (1861-1947),
who had an enormous influence on me. Writing fresh in the first flowering of
quantum physics, Whitehead showed how the mechanical laws that describe objects
with ‘simple location in space and time’ utterly fail to represent natural processes,
and argued it is only possible to know and understand nature as an organism.
In his book Science and the Modern World  first
published in 1926, he wrote (p. 100): “The concrete enduring entities are
organisms, so that the plan of the whole influences the very characters of the
various subordinate organisms which enter into it. In the case of an animal, the
mental states enter into the plan of the total organism and thus modify the
plans of the successive subordinate organisms until the ultimate smallest
organisms, such as electrons, are reached [italics mine].”
Whitehead’s organisms include everything in
nature, from the universe to galaxies, stars, planets, plants, animals, human
beings, bacteria, right down to fundamental particles; they are bundles of electromagnetic
activities – “vibratory organisms” - endowed at least with a kind of primal
consciousness that experience their environment in acts of “prehensile
unification”, and most important of all, evolve as the result of the
I have taken Whitehead’s philosophy to heart, if not the
details of his theory. Not only is nature an (electromagnetic) organism, but
the knower must also be an electromagnetic organism maximally sensitive and
responsive, fully engaged in mind and body, intellect and feeling to other
organisms, ultimately to all nature.
The electrodynamic organism attuned to the cosmos
There is substantial evidence that living things are fundamentally
organized by electric fields and electromagnetic activities. Whitehead’s
concept of a “plan of the body” that modifies the motion of electrons within it
anticipates the discovery of physiologist Harold Saxton Burr at Yale University,
who began his work in the 1930s.
Burr’s book, The Blueprint for
Immortality , first published in 1972, offers a grand vision, described
on book’s back cover.
“This is a breakthrough book –
the first comprehensive account ever published of one of the most
important scientific discoveries of this century. It reveals that all living
things – from men to mice, from trees to seeds – are moulded and controlled by
‘electrodynamic fields’, which can be measured and mapped with standard modern
“These ‘fields of life’, or L-fields, are the
basic blueprints of all life on this planet. Their discovery, therefore,
is of immense significance to all of us.
“To every man and woman in this troubled age
it gives the comforting certainty that life is no accident and that all of us
are integrated parts of the Universe, subjected to its laws and sharing in
its purpose and destiny.....the Universe has meaning and so have we.
“Since measurements of L-field voltages can
reveal physical and mental conditions, doctors will be able to use them to
diagnose illnesses before the usual symptoms develop and so will have a
better chance of successful treatment.”
Burr and his many collaborators over a period
of forty years documented the existence of L-fields in diverse organisms
including eggs and seeds; and dramatic changes in L-field potentials closely
correlated with growth, development, and mental states, and key physiological
events such as ovulation and cancer.
Burr attached electrodes to trees and simultaneously
recorded electric potential differences in the atmosphere and in the earth continuously
for 25 years. The records showed that the air and earth potentials fluctuated
in phase with the trees’ potentials. Statistical analysis revealed well-known
diurnal rhythms in all four records, as well as the lunar cycle and the eleven
year cycle of solar activity. These findings leave little doubt that the trees
in particular are sensitive to electric and electromagnetic fields from Earth
and outer space, acting as antennae to the universe. Trees connect us to the
universe. This may be part of the reason why a walk in the woods or being near
to woods and forests is found to be beneficial to health .
Earth’s magnetic field comes from
the electric current generated in the conductive layer of molten iron in its
outer core moving across the Sun’s magnetic field, which in turn generates a
magnetic field. Birds, bees, amphibians and other animals are known to depend
on Earth’s magnetic field for navigation. There are reports that animals and
humans in environments shielded from Earth’s magnetic field aged faster, died
more readily, suffered stress and pains, and pathological changes in the liver,
kidneys, white blood cells, and urinary bladder .
Earth also has an electromagnetic
spectrum or Schumann resonance named after Winifred Otto Schumann (1888-1974)
who predicted them in 1952. Schumann resonances are standing waves created in
the space between the surface of the earth and the conductive ionosphere, and
naturally excited by lightning discharges. Schumann resonances range between 3
and 60 Hz, appearing as distinct peaks at 7.83, 14.3, 27.3 and 33.8 Hz. These
same frequencies are prominent in human brain waves and strongly correlated
with different mental states. Evidence suggests that humans and other organisms
actually synchronize their biological rhythms to the Schumann frequencies [5, 6].
activities are strongly affected by those of the sun. The beautiful
northern lights are generated during periods of intense solar activity, or
magnetic storms, when the solar wind carrying hot energetic plasmas of ionized
particles from the sun increases in density and speed. The ionized particles
are trapped by Earth’s magnetic field and accelerated towards its magnetic
poles. Collisions between these ions and atmospheric atoms and molecules
(mainly oxygen and nitrogen) cause light to be emitted as the excited atoms
relax back to the ground state. Both higher and lower than average
levels of solar and geomagnetic activities are associated with adverse health and
psychological impacts on humans worldwide, possibly due to the suppression of the
pineal gland secretion of melatonin as biological rhythms are desynchronized. This
is also partly why artificial electromagnetic emissions from mobile phones,
wireless, high tension power lines are having dire effects on humans and wild
life [7-10] (Drowning in a
Sea of Microwaves, Cancer Risks
from Microwaves Confirmed, Mobile Phones and
Vanishing Bees, Mobile Phones
& Vanishing Birds, SiS 34).
Burr’s L-field could be measured from the surface of the
body or the egg or seed, and detected away from the body surface, as when
measurements were done on salamanders in water. This was sign of a true field effect
as the field was not shorted out by water. When the salamander was rotated
under the electrodes positioned some millimetres away, it acted like a dynamo as
expected of a rotating electric field, giving a sine wave of rising and falling
L-fields of all organisms share
some common features, such as a positive potential at the anterior versus
a negative potential at the posterior. However, the entire field is made up of
subsidiary or local fields specific to the body plan (see Figure 1).
Figure 1 L-fields of humans
and salamanders, measured by Robert O Becker 
The L-fields are not static; Burr
and his collaborators found L-fields changing slowly, increasing in strength
during development to a plateau in adulthood, and declining gradually as the
L-fields were confirmed by other laboratories
working independently of Burr, and later by orthopaedic surgeon/researcher
Robert Otto Becker (1923
− 2008), who also documented DC potential changes during wound-healing
and regeneration in animals and humans. Notably he showed that potential
changes from regenerating and non-regenerating organisms differ markedly from
each other (see Figure 2).
Figure 2 Electric potential changes at the
cut end of the stump after amputation in salamander (top), which regenerates
its amputated limb, and frog, which does not (from )
Becker’s findings were described in numerous scientific
papers, and in one of the most gripping, moving accounts of scientific
discovery, The Body Electric , published in 1985, five years after his
research lab was shut down by corrupt scientists and politicians, in a bid to silence
his warnings on the health hazards of electromagnetic fields from overhead high
tension power lines and other electrical installations. (This debate has
continued to the present day over ‘non-thermal effects’ including brain cancer
resulting from mobile phone use and other electromagnetic smog in our
environment; see  Wireless
Phones and Brain Cancer and other articles in the series, SiS 51.)
you inside the mind of Becker the researcher, examining new results in his
laboratory to see if they confirmed what he was expecting or not; leading him
on to the next experiment, bringing him step by step closer to the definitive answer
he was after. Becker was dedicated to uncovering scientific truth instead of
defending any pet theory, not least because he was desperate to help relieve
the suffering of his patients.
Becker knew that
electromagnetic fields, when used accurately with the correct polarity, at the
right time and place, and at the extremely weak levels characteristic of living
organisms, could indeed help to heal persistent wounds and fractures, and even
regenerate severed finger tips and nerves. However, exposures to inappropriate
electromagnetic fields were likely to cause abnormal growth and cancer. Electromagnetic
fields are a powerful, double-edged weapon, and must be used with utmost care
and precision based on accurate knowledge from painstaking research; only then
could it help restore the lives of people often reduced to utter despair.
Becker’s discoveries anticipated by decades the recent
findings on the transformation of differentiated cells into stem cells during
healing and tissue regeneration, and by manipulations of gene expression in the
laboratory (see  The Promise
of Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells, SiS 51). Research is now also focused on enhancing stem
cell repair in vivo without transplant by using drugs to encourage the
process ( Stem
Cells Repair without Transplant, SiS 50). There has been no
investigation on the effect of electric fields on the recruitment of stem cells
Today, it is possible to track electric potential changes
in cells and embryos, and it is widely acknowledged to be involved in development,
differentiation, regeneration and cancer. But they are interpreted solely, and
mistakenly, in terms of membrane potential of cells (see  Membrane
Potential Rules, SiS 52) with a major emphasis on identifying
downstream gene activities, while important questions on the nature of the
electrodynamical life-field and its relationship to health and disease are largely
exciting serendipitous new discovery at Tufts University is the ‘face’ of the
frog roughed out in potential differences very early in development when the
embryo is still a shapeless ball of cells with very few anatomical features
. A team led by Dany Adams used a combination of voltage and pH sensitive
dyes to follow the development of Xenopus embryos under a microscope
fitted with a time-lapse camera. It recorded “never-before-seen” dynamic patterns
of electrical potentials on the outermost cell layer. These are clear signs of
electrodynamic processes determining body structures that appear much later on.
I shall come back to this.
The L-field is stored energy
Burr’s insight was no less remarkable . He surmised that the
L-field reflects the energetic status of the organism; in particular, he
assumed correctly that the energy flux of organisms is associated with the
chemical flux of metabolism, but the L-field represents energy stored in
potential differences across the body. Variations in the L-field, therefore,
reflect variations in the flow of energy in the system.
He wrote ( p.71): “If this
assumption is true, it follows, then that by studying potential differences
during rest and during activity a record could be made of a general level of
immediately available energy, as represented by algebraicly summated boundary
“In the face of the demand for
activity this reservoir of potential energy could be tapped. When the
biological system is at rest, the potentials could be recorded as DC
potentials, but when protoplasm is thrown into any kind of activity, such as
neural transmission, muscle contraction and similar events, the first sign of
that activity would lie in the sudden withdrawal from the reservoir of
electrical energy. In other words, a drop in potential difference. Then,
mobilization of chemical properties might be expected to re-establish the
original level of the potential difference.”
The concept of stored
energy is the key to living organization as emphasized in my book, The Rainbow and the
Worm, The Physics of Organisms . Stored energy is coherent
energy, and the mobilization of coherent energy can be made with as little
dissipation as possible, giving rise in the ideal to the zero-entropy quantum
coherent organism; more on this later.
As consistent with Burr’s
observation, a drop in ‘membrane potential’ – depolarization precedes many
important cellular events including growth and regeneration .
Electrodynamic activities and pattern formation
The L-field is separate from, and independent of the action
potentials of the brain, or the electrical discharges from the heart measured
respectively in electroencephalograms (EEGs) and electrocardiograms (ECGs). In
fact, evidence already available to Burr  suggested that EEGs and ECGs are
controlled by variations in the L-field, which would show up as baseline
potential changes under the action potentials of the EEGs and ECGs, had they
not been filtered away (!) in most readings as noise or a nuisance rather than
important physiological and psychological information. For example, Burr and
colleagues discovered that high potential differences measured between the left
and right index figures may be predictive of mental instability.
Evidence that action potentials reflect
global field potential changes also came from early embryonic development.
By far the most important
unsolved problem in biology is how a relatively featureless egg can transform
into a shapely highly differentiated organism in the process of development. I
was among a very small number of scientists who believe electrodynamical
processes are fundamentally involved in pattern formation.
We carried out several series of
experiments described in a paper published more than 20 years ago  Electrodynamic
Activities and Their Role in Organisation of Body Pattern (ISIS scientific publication), which provided evidence of highly
coherent electrodynamic processes responsible for generating body
pattern during early development.
For our experiments we collected
synchronously developing batches of freshly laid fertilized eggs from Drosophila.
The first series of experiments was carried out in the laboratory of electrophysiologist
Charles Nicholson at New York University Medical School, who patiently taught
me how to make microelectrodes to record the electrical activities from
individual developing embryos without damaging them. The embryo, with its shell
(chorion) removed, was attached by hydrophobic interaction between the
vitelline membrane and the plastic surface of a petri dish. It was immersed in
insect Ringer to keep it from drying out. And the electrode was carefully
inserted into the anterior or posterior polar pocket inside the vitellline
membrane without puncturing the embryo.
The results were amazing. A
series of action potentials from 1 to 30 Hz appeared at least as early as 40
minutes from the start of development and persisted for hours thereafter (see
Figure 3). During most of the period in which pattern determination takes place,
there is little or no cellular organisation.
Figure 3 Action
potentials as successive later time segments at nuclear migration stage (43 – 53
min from start of development) (from )
The trace typically starts with
clusters of 2, 3 or 4 volleys of discharges (about 30 Hz) each lasting 1 or 2
s, punctuated by 2-3 s of relative quietude. The volleys increase in amplitude
and tend to coalesce into a continuous train. The peak amplitudes are about 10
– 12 mV. The highest frequency of the spikes are about 30 Hz, but can be as low
as 15 or 5 Hz. Characteristically, the baseline potential shifts underneath the
spiking activities, often coinciding with the start and end of the volleys,
strongly suggesting that those shifts are global in extent, and both initiate
and end the volleys.
In the second set of experiments
carried out in my own laboratory, we exposed the synchronously developing batches
of fertilized eggs for 30 minutes to weak static magnetic fields (0.5 to 9 mT) at
different times during the first three hours of development when pattern
determination is known to occur. This resulted in high proportions of body
pattern abnormalities 24 hours later, when the first instar larvae would have
normally hatched. The most frequent type of abnormalities is uniquely
associated with exposure to static magnetic fields, and consists of variously
twisted configurations of the segmental pattern. As static magnetic fields were
used, the effects must have been due to moving electrical charges or more
likely global field dynamics; and as the energies in the weak magnetic fields
were many orders of magnitude below the thermal threshold of random molecular
motion, there could have been no effect unless the electrodynamical processes
were highly coherent (for details see  Brief Exposure to
Weak Static Magnetic Fields during Early Embryogenesis Cause Cuticular Pattern
Abnormalities in Drosophila larvae, ISIS
In the third series of
experiments done in the laboratory of Fritz Albert Popp, who taught me almost
everything I know about quantum physics, the flies were induced to lay eggs in
a quartz cuvette, then gently removed. The cuvette with freshly laid eggs was
placed in a light-tight chamber connected to a sensitive photon counter, and the
photons emitted were recorded with or without a single flash of white light (l
min, 4W/m2). Photon emission changed with developmental time, which
was not unexpected. Remarkably, when embryos less than 40 min old were
stimulated with light, an entirely new phenomenon appeared that has never been
observed before: intense light flashes were re-emitted, thousands of times
stronger than the base-line. The flashes can be extremely brief (<1 s) or
very prolonged (minutes to hours), and can appear any time from one to 20
minute, and up to 8 hours after light stimulation (see also  ). The results are reminiscent of super-radiance
in quantum optics, a collective resonant emission involving many, if not all
individuals within the synchronously developing population.
These results together provide
evidence of electrodynamical activities accompanying pattern formation that are
coherent over the whole embryo, and entire populations of embryos. It would be
great to look at these embryos again with voltage sensitive dyes.
I have been prompted to revisit
these old forgotten findings on coming across a paper by Alexis Pietak from
Kingston, Ontario in Canada  proposing a new mechanism for morphogenesis:
the formation of resonant electromagnetic modes in a dielectric microwave
Resonant modes are standing wave
patterns formed when a wave is confined within a resonator and subjected to
reflection from internal boundaries where incident and reflected waves combine.
This is something like the Schumann resonances generated in the cavity between
the earth’s surface and the ionosphere (see above), but on a much smaller scale
of 0.1 to 1 mm, the dimensions of eggs and primordia. Consequently, the
frequency of the electromagnetic waves involved is much higher, in the
microwave to sub-millimetre range or GHz (109 cycles per second).
Using the mathematical technique of finite element analysis Pietak produced
resonant modes (in ellipses and a sphere) (Figure 4) whose patterns resemble
different kinds of leaves.
As Pietak noted, this type of
mechanism is not restricted to generating leaf patterns. The Drosophila
egg is a long ellipse, and successive horizontal resonant modes are reminiscent
of stages in the process of segment determination as revealed by the famous gene
transcript patterns, which are most likely involved in downstream processes of
Figure 4 Resonant
modes in elliptical and spherical resonators generated by finite element
analysis and the resonant frequencies in GHz; V, vertical, H, horizontal, N,
nodal (rearranged from )
Pietak emphasized that “the model
rests on the validity of biological coherence theories as described by Fröhlich…
and/or quantum field theorists.” Herbert Fröhlich (1905-1991)
 proposed that organisms are condensed matter systems, and can be pumped by
metabolic energy into states of coherent excitations (resonant modes) in
analogy with the solid-state laser. Quantum field theorists Emilio Del Giudice
and colleagues propose that interaction between ambient electromagnetic fields
and soft condensed matter such as liquid water creates coherent domains
oscillating in phase with the electromagnetic field . I have described the
work of Fröhlich in the Rainbow Worm  and quantum
field electrodynamics is treated in some detail in my new book  Living Rainbow H2O;
both providing extensive evidence for the quantum coherence of organisms.
of morphogenesis go back at least to the 1920s associated especially with
Alexander Gurwitsch (1874–1954) in Russia and Paul Weiss (1898-1989) in Austria; but they were
rather vague (see review in Order and Life  by Joseph Needham
(1900-1995). A significant advance was made by John Totafurno and Lynn Trainor (1921-2008)
in a paper published in 1987 , using a vector-field model to predict baffling
results of salamander limb regeneration. In these experiments, a limb was
amputated, and the regenerating cell mass was transplanted and/or rotated, leading
to abnormal limb regrowth that were determined by the way the cell mass was
transplanted. A vector-field has both orientation and continuity, and any
disturbance to the field lines need to be smoothed out and reconnected, with
the result that extra limbs are generated in certain transplants.
I suggested that the
morphogenetic field could be ‘written’ – like memory - in liquid crystalline
orientation patterns [17, 25] (Liquid
Crystalline Morphogenetic Field, SiS 52), which in turn determine
gene transcription patterns and growth.
are well-known to respond to electric and magnetic fields in generating
patterns, as well as in changing their alignments . Thus, resonant
electromagnetic modes generated in the Drosophila embryos could give
rise to segmental patterns in the liquid crystalline cortex of the early
embryos, which result in the well-known gene transcription patterns that lead
in turn to the differentiation of the initially cryptic pattern. Static
magnetic fields could indeed have a dramatic effect on the liquid crystalline patterning
by resonant electromagnetic modes, and hence on the body pattern.
evidence on the existence of L-fields, and the fundamental importance of
electrodynamic processes in living organization and function, there is still
little clue as to how the L-field is generated and where it resides. In the second
part of this lecture, I shall present evidence that liquid crystalline water in
living organisms is both the body electric and the L field.
There are 9 comments on this article so far. Add your comment
|Kaviraj Comment left 14th January 2013 14:02:48|
In this context, it is interesting to see G.W.Crile's work. "A Bi=Polar Theory of Living Processes. Hard to find and expensive, but well worth the read.
|Kenneth Walton Comment left 14th January 2013 19:07:10|
Will Part 2 of this illuminating talk be made available at a later date? Wonderful stuff!
|Mae-Wan Ho Comment left 14th January 2013 20:08:23|
Kenneth,Thanks for your comment. To be sure, part 2 will appear. Please look out for it!
|Roger Taylor Comment left 17th January 2013 15:03:06|
I have been following your work for many years, and the development of quantum biology generally. It continues to amaze me that, after all these years of excellent research, this new vision has hardly begun to enter the mainstream. Now there is hope that, thanks to your inspiring talk, perhaps things will begin to change.
|Mae-Wan Ho Comment left 17th January 2013 15:03:08|
Thank you Roger. It is the same in every field. Discredited, outmoded theories have held sway: from Big Bang Cosmology to mechanistic biology. It is all of a piece with Big Institutions that have been ruling the world. But Big Institutions are crumbling all around us. Let's hope Big Science will topple as well and make way for real innovation and progress.
|Todd Millions Comment left 20th January 2013 11:11:36|
Becker's anti bacterial voltages thru silver coated needles for treating bone infections was very important-and totally ignored.Silver compounds too prevent septics is a very old treatment.It made me wonder about the silver water ewers of royalty-sitting in the sun,building up a static charge,may not have being entirely a status item.
My -muse was drug up too concious,after a bout of mis diagnosed pnuemonia left me often napping exhasted-with a scroll of verses unrolling in my minds eye-powerful and beautiful stuffs.When I shifted my attention too remember it-it "dissappeared".Learning too let it thru to memory took years of-not trying.
In all phases of this process a consistent aspect was striking to me-I was Receiving this.From somewhere else.Other strange and intermitent things were strenthened in this(a mixed 'blessing'due too fate and circumstance).Later I began too receive lines I knew weren't for me-yet the next night,I would dream(vison flash mode),who they were for.
Now-she is dead.There will be no more glowing words on black.The receiver can only face so much betrayal.Practice doesn't change this limit.
|Rodger Ricketts Comment left 20th January 2013 20:08:32|
I too look forward to part 2, fascinating research, as always reported by the ISIS. Thank you! Also a good reminder to become a member again.
|Brigitte Hansmann Comment left 7th March 2013 22:10:49|
Thank you very much for this wonderful article, Mae Wan. Robert Becker's measurements seem to denote a positive pole in the head and negative in hands/feet and tail, while James Oschman points out that "the organism as a whole has an overall electric polarity, with the head negative with respect to the tail or feet." I asked him about it and he refers to an article by Athenstaedt who found "negative pole in cranial and positive pole in caudal directions".
When I look at your illustration of the polarization in the rainbow worm in "Quantum Jazz", it seems to show the positive pole in the head, although one can't really tell which end is the head and which the tail.
Do you have any thoughts or data about it?
Looking forward to seeing you soon!
|Theuretzbacher Helmut Comment left 2nd December 2013 15:03:42|
is the books Living Rainbow in German available??