It was 1970, a year before Edgar
Mitchell had flown to the moon, and Popp, a theoretical
biophysicist at the University of Marburg in Germany, had been
teaching radiology, the interaction of electromagnetic radiation on
biological systems. He’d been examining benzo[a]pyrene, a polycyclic
hydrocarbon known to be one of the most lethal carcinogens to humans
and had illuminated it with ultraviolet light.
During his time as an undergraduate he’d
studied in the house, sometimes even in the very room, where
Wilhelm Röntgen had accidentally stumbled on the fact that rays
of a certain frequency could produce pictures of the hard structures
of the body.
This was a chemical which doubled as a biological frequency scrambler.
Popp then performed the same test on
benzo[e]pyrene, another polycyclic hydrocarbon, which is virtually
identical in every way to benzo[a]pyrene save for a tiny alteration
in its molecular makeup. This tiny difference in one of the compound
rings was critical as it rendered benzo[e]pyrene harmless to humans.
With this particular chemical, the light passed right through the
Each of the carcinogens reacted only to the light at a specific wavelength - 380 nanometers. Popp kept wondering why a cancer-causing substance would be a light scrambler. He began reading the scientific literature, specifically about human biological reactions, and came across information about a phenomenon called ‘photo-repair’.
It is very well known from biological laboratory experiments that if you can blast a cell with UV light so that 99 per cent of the cell, including its DNA, is destroyed, you can almost entirely repair the damage in a single day just by illuminating the cell with the same wavelength of a very weak intensity.
To this day, conventional scientists don’t understand this phenomenon, but nobody has disputed it. Popp also knew that patients with a skin condition called xeroderma pigmentosum eventually die of skin cancer because their photo-repair system doesn’t work and so doesn’t repair solar damage.
Popp was shocked to learn that
photo-repair works most efficiently at 380 nanometers - the very
same wavelength the cancer-causing compounds would react to and
He decided there and then that this was where his future work would lie. He wrote the paper up, but told few people about it, and was pleased, but not really surprised, when a prestigious journal on cancer agreed to publish it.1
In the months before his paper was
published, Popp was highly impatient, worried that his idea would be
stolen. Any careless disclosure of his to the casual observer might
send the listener off to patent Popp’s discovery. As soon as the
scientific community realized he had discovered a cure for cancer,
he would be one of the most celebrated scientists of his day. It was
his first foray into a new area of science, and it was going to land
him the Nobel prize.
This prize, named after Popp’s hero, Wilhelm Röntgen, is given each year to the top undergraduate in physics at the University of Würzburg.
Popp had studied like a young man possessed. He’d finished his examinations far earlier than the other students. He was awarded his PhD in theoretical physics in record time. The postgraduate work required for German professorships, a five-year proposition for most academics, took Popp just a little more than two years.
At the time of his discovery, Popp was
already celebrated among his peers for being a whiz kid, not only
because of his ability but also because of his dashing, youthful
Like Edgar Mitchell, he was a philosopher as much as a scientist. Even as a tiny child he’d been trying to make sense of the world, to find some general solution he could apply to everything in his life. He’d even planned to study philosophy until a teacher persuaded him that physics might be a more fertile territory if he required some single equation that held the key to life.
Nevertheless, classical physics, with
its assertion of reality as a phenomenon independent of the
observer, had left him profoundly suspicious. Popp had read Kant and
believed, like the philosopher, that reality was the creation of
living systems. The observer must be central to the creation of his
The Deutsche Krebsforschungszentrum
(German Cancer Research Center) in Heidelberg invited him to speak
before fifteen of the world’s leading cancer specialists during an
eight-day conference on all aspects of cancer. The invitation to
speak among such exclusive company was an incredible opportunity,
and it increased his prestige on his university campus. He arrived
in a brand new suit, the most elegant presence at the colloquium,
but he was the poorest speaker, struggling with his English to make
his voice heard.
Don’t you think if there were light in
the body, they told him, somebody, somewhere would have noticed it
Ruth thought it a ridiculous suggestion.
Of course, there isn’t light in the body.
This meeting was fortuitous for Popp because Ruth happened to be an excellent experimental physicist. He set to work building equipment which would demonstrate, once and for all, that no light was emanating from the body.
Within two years he’d produced a machine
resembling a big X-ray detector (EMI 9558QA selected typed), which
employed a photomultiplier, enabling it to count light, photon by
photon. To this day it is still one of the best pieces of equipment
in the field. The machine had to be highly sensitive because it
would be measuring what Popp assumed would be extremely weak
This had something to do with chlorophyll, he argued - a position Popp shared. They decided that with their next test - some potatoes - they would grow the seedling plants in the dark, so they could not undergo photosynthesis. Nevertheless, when placed in the photomultiplier, these potatoes registered an even higher intensity of light.2
It was impossible that the effect had
anything to do with photosynthesis, Popp realized. What’s more,
these photons in the living systems he’d examined were more coherent
than anything he’d ever seen.
As the waves get into phase or synch,
they begin acting like one giant wave and one giant subatomic
particle. It becomes difficult to tell them apart. Many of the weird
quantum effects seen in a single wave apply to the whole. Something
done to one of them will affect the others.
Nevertheless, when you are listening,
it’s difficult to pick out any one instrument.
Light, of course, was present in plants, the source of energy used during photosynthesis. When we eat plant foods, it must be, he thought, that we take up the photons and store them. Say that we consume some broccoli. When we digest it, it is metabolized into carbon dioxide (CO2) and water, plus the light stored from the sun and present in photosynthesis.
We extract the CO2 and
eliminate the water, but the light, an electromagnetic wave, must
get stored. When taken in by the body, the energy of these photons
dissipates so that it is eventually distributed over the entire
spectrum of electromagnetic frequencies, from the lowest to the
highest. This energy becomes the driving force for all the molecules
in our body.
Light waves also answered the question of how the body could manage complicated feats with different body parts instantaneously or do two or more things at once. These ‘biophoton emissions’, as he was beginning to call them, could provide a perfect communication system, to transfer information to many cells across the organism.
But the single most important question
remained: where were they coming from?
The student suggested that, after applying the chemical, he and Popp try measuring the light coming off the sample. Popp discovered that the more he increased the concentration of the chemical, the more the DNA unwound, but also the stronger the intensity of light. The less he put in, the lower the light emission.3
He also found that DNA was capable of
sending out a large range of frequencies and that some frequencies
seemed linked to certain functions. If DNA were storing this light,
it would naturally emit more light once it was unwound.
What is far more elusive is the manner
by which these cells know exactly where to place themselves in each
stage of the building process, so that an arm becomes an arm rather
than a leg, as well as the very mechanism which gets these cells to
organize and assemble themselves together into something resembling
a three-dimensional human form.
Each DNA helix or chromosome - and the identical twenty-six pairs exist in every one of the thousand million million cells in your body 4 - contains a long chain of nucleotides, or bases, of four different components (shortened to ATCG) arranged in a unique order in every human body.
The most favored idea is that there
exists a genetic ‘program’ of genes operating collectively to
determine shape, or, in the view of neo-Darwinists such as Richard
Dawkins, that ruthless genes, like Chicago thugs, have powers to
create form and that we are ‘survival machines’ - robot vehicles
blindly programmed to preserve the selfish molecules known as genes.5
The modern scientific view is that DNA somehow manages to build the body and spearhead all its dynamic activities just by selectively turning off and on certain segments, or genes, whose nucleotides, or genetic instructions, select certain RNA molecules, which in turn select from a large alphabet of amino acids the genetic ‘words’ which create specific proteins.
These proteins supposedly are able to
both build the body and to switch on and off all the chemical
processes inside the cell which ultimately control the running of
Timing must be exquisite, for if any one of the individual chemical processes in all the millions of cells in the body is off by a fraction, humans would blow themselves up in a matter of seconds.
But what the rank and file among
geneticists have not addressed is that if DNA is the control room,
what is the feedback mechanism which enables it to synchronize the
activities of individual genes and cells to carry out systems in
unison? What is the chemical or genetic process that tells certain
cells to grow into a hand and not a foot? And which cell processes
happen at which time?
Although every daughter contains the same chromosomes with the same genetic information, certain types of cells immediately ‘know’ to use different genetic information to behave differently from others and so certain genes must ‘know’ that it is their turn to be played, rather than the rest of the pack. Furthermore, somehow these genes know how many of each type of cell must be produced in the right place.
Each cell, furthermore, needs to be able
to know about its neighboring cells to work out how it fits into the
overall scheme. This requires nothing less than an ingenious method
of communication between cells at a very early stage of the embryo’s
development and the same sophistication every moment of our lives.
In other words, like policemen desperate to close a case, scientists have arrested the most likely suspect without bothering with the painstaking process of gathering proof. The details of this absolute certainty, of how proteins might accomplish this all on their own, are left decidedly imprecise.7
As for the orchestration of cell
processes, biochemists never actually ask the question.8
Current genetic theory also doesn’t
explain, he says, how a developing system can self-regulate, or grow
normally in the course of development if a part of the system is
added or removed, and doesn’t explain how an organism regenerates -
replacing missing or damaged structures.9
These fields have a morphic resonance - a cumulative memory - of similar systems through cultures and time, so that species of animals and plants ‘remember’ not only how to look but also how to act.
Rupert Sheldrake uses the term ‘morphic fields’ and an entire vocabulary of his own making to describe the self-organizing properties of biological systems, from molecules to bodies to societies.
He believes these fields (and he thinks there are many of them) are different from electromagnetic fields because they reverberate across generations with an inherent memory of the correct shape and form.10
The more we learn, the easier it is for
others to follow in our footsteps.
The emissions had to be of low intensity
because these communications were occurring on a quantum level, and
higher intensities would be felt only in the world of the large.
Gurwitsch postulated that a field,
rather than chemicals alone, was probably responsible for the
structural formation of the body. Although Gurwitsch’s work was
largely theoretical, later researchers were able to show that a weak
radiation from tissues stimulates cell growth in neighboring tissues
of the same organism.12
Burr discovered that salamanders
possessed an energy field shaped like an adult salamander, and that
this blueprint even existed in an unfertilized egg.13
For instance, in his experiments with
plant seedlings, he discovered electrical fields which resembled the
eventual adult plant.
By using a current strong enough to override the organism’s own electrical force, Lund could cause a head to form where a tail should be. In later studies in the 1950s, G. Marsh and H. W. Beams discovered that if voltages were high enough, even a flatworm would begin reorganizing - the head would turn into a tail and vice versa.
Yet other studies have demonstrated that
very young embryos, shorn of their nervous system, and grafted onto
a healthy embryo, will actually survive, like a Siamese twin, on the
back of the healthy embryos. Still other experiments have shown that
regeneration can even be reversed by passing a small current through
a salamander’s body.16
Perhaps the best known of these, Herbert Fröhlich, of the University of Liverpool, recipient of the prestigious Max Planck Medal, an annual award of the German Physical Society to honour the career of an outstanding physicist, was one of the first to introduce the idea that some sort of collective vibration was responsible for getting proteins to cooperate with each other and carry out instructions of DNA and cellular proteins.
Fröhlich even predicted that certain
frequencies (now termed ‘Fröhlich frequencies’) just beneath the
membranes of the cell could be generated by vibrations in these
proteins. Wave communication was supposedly the means by which the
smaller activities of proteins, the work of amino acids, for
instance, would be carried out and a good way to synchronize
activities between proteins and the system as a whole.18
The moment molecules reach this state of
coherence, they take on certain qualities of quantum mechanics,
including nonlocality. They get to the point where they can operate
Russian Nobel prize winner Albert
Szent-Györgyi postulated that protein cells act as
semiconductors, preserving and passing along the energy of electrons
Nevertheless, he doggedly pressed on with his experiments, learning more about the properties of this mysterious light. The more he tested, the more he discovered that all living things - from the most basic of plants or animals, to human beings in all their sophisticated complexity - emitted a permanent current of photons, from only a few to hundreds.
The number of photons emitted seemed to be linked to an organism’s position on the evolutionary scale:
Rudimentary animals or plants tended to emit 100 photons per square centimeter per second, at a wavelength of 200 to 800 nanometers, corresponding to a very high frequency of electromagnetic wave, well within the visible light range, whereas humans would emit only ten photons in the same area, time and frequency.
He also discovered something else
curious. When light was shone on living cells, the cells would take
this light and after a certain delay, shine intensely - a process
called ‘delayed luminescence’. It occurred to Popp that this could
be a corrective device. The living system had to maintain a delicate
equilibrium of light. In this instance, when it was being bombarded
with too much light, it would reject the excess.
In one series of studies, he had one of his experimenters - a 27-year-old healthy young woman - sit in the room every day for nine months, while he took photon readings of a small area of her hand and forehead.
Popp then analyzed the data, and discovered, to his surprise, that the light emissions followed certain set patterns - biological rhythms at 7, 14, 32, 80 and 270 days, when the emissions were identical, even after one year. Emissions for both the left and right hands were also correlated. If there was an increase in the photons coming off the right hand, so there would be a similar increase in the those of the left hand.
On a subatomic level, the waves of each
hand were in phase. In terms of light, the right hand knew what the
left hand was doing.
They had lost their connection with the
world. In effect, their light was going out.
Too much cooperative harmony prevented flexibility and individuality:
Perfect coherence is an optimum state
just between chaos and order. With too much cooperativity, it was as
though individual members of the orchestra were no longer able to
improvise. MS patients were drowning in light.23
Emitting photons is a compensatory
gesture, to stop this disturbance and attempt a sort of energy
equilibrium. As Popp thought of it, the Zero Point Field forces a
human being to be a candle. The healthiest body would have the
lowest light and be closest to zero state, the most desirable state
- the closest living things could get to nothingness.
Here was a model which provided a better
explanation than the current neo-Darwinist theory for how all living
things evolve on the planet. Rather than a system of fortunate but
ultimately random error, if DNA uses frequencies of all variety as
an information tool, this would suggest instead a feedback system of
perfect communication through waves which encode and transfer
The bodies of numerous species of
animals have demonstrated the ability to regenerate a lost limb.
Experiments with salamanders as far back as the 1930s have shown
that an entire limb, a jaw, even the lens of an eye could be
amputated but entirely regenerate as though a hidden blueprint were
Many amputees who complain of utterly
realistic cramps, aches or tinglings in the missing limb may be
experiencing a true physicality which still exists - a shadow of the
limb as imprinted on the Zero Point Field.24
The healthiest food had the lowest and most coherent intensity of light.
Any disturbance in the system would
increase the production of photons. Health was a state of perfect
subatomic communication, and ill health was a state where
communication breaks down. We are ill when our waves are out of
Two days before the end of his term,
university officials marched into his laboratory and demanded that
he surrender all his equipment. Fortunately, Popp had been tipped
off about the raid and had hidden his photomultiplier in the
basement of the lodgings of a sympathetic student. When he left
campus, he left with his precious equipment intact.
He had to sue the university to get the
40,000 marks that were due him. He won his money, but his career lay
in ashes. He was a married man with three young children and no
apparent means of employment. No university at the time was prepared
to touch him.
Eventually, he gained a patron in Professor Walter Nagl of the University of Kaiserslautern, who asked Popp to work with him.
Once again, Popp’s research caused a
revolt among the faculty, who demanded his resignation on the
grounds that his work was sullying the university’s reputation.
Eventually they would form the International Institute of Biophysics, composed of fifteen groups of scientists from international centres all around the world. Popp had found offices for his new group in Neuss, near Düsseldorf.
The brother of a Nobel prizewinner, the
grandson of Alexander Gurwitsch, a nuclear physicist from
Boston University and nuclear research laboratory CERN in Geneva,
two Chinese biophysicists - noted scientists from around the globe
at last were beginning to agree with him. Popp’s fortunes were
beginning to turn. Suddenly he was receiving offers and contracts
for professorships from reputable universities around the world.
Popp tried the same experiment on small fish and found that they were doing the same. According to his photomultiplier, sunflowers were like a biological vacuum cleaner, moving in the direction of the most solar photons in order to hoover them up.
Even bacteria would swallow photons from
the medium they had been placed in.25
Popp realized that this exchange might unlock the secret of some of the animal kingdom’s most persistent conundrums:
Many experiments on the homing ability of animals demonstrate that it has nothing to do with following habitual trails or scents or even the electromagnetic fields of the earth, but some silent communication, acting like an invisible rubber band, even when animals are separated by miles from humans.26
For humans there was another
possibility. If we could take in the photons of other living things,
we also might be able to use the information from them to correct
our own light if it went awry.
He began experimenting with a number of non-toxic substances purported to be successful in treating cancer. In all but one instance, the substances only increased the photons from tumor cells, making it even more deadly to the body. The single success story was mistletoe, which seemed to help the body to ‘resocialize’ the photon emission of tumor cells back to normal.
In one of numerous cases, Popp came across a woman in her thirties with breast and vaginal cancer.
Popp tried mistletoe and other plant extracts on samples of her cancerous tissue and found that one particular mistletoe remedy created coherence in the tissue similar to that of the body. With the agreement of her doctor, the woman began forgoing any treatment other than this mistletoe extract. After a year, all her laboratory tests were virtually back to normal.
A woman who was given up as a terminal
cancer case had her proper light restored, just by taking a herb.27
If a rogue frequency in the body could
produce certain symptoms, it followed that the high dilution of a
substance which would produce the same symptoms would still carry
those oscillations. Like a tuning fork in resonance, a suitable
homeopathic solution might attract and then absorb the wrong
oscillations, allowing the body to return to normal.
The qi supposedly enters the body
through these acupuncture points and flows to deeper organ
structures (which do not correspond to those of Western human
biology), providing energy (and thus the life force). Illness occurs
when there is a blockage of this energy anywhere along the pathways.
According to Popp, the meridian system may work like wave guides
transmitting particular bodily energy to specific zones.
Research has also shown that painkilling endorphins and the steroid cortisol are released through the body when the points are stimulated at low frequency, and important mood-regulating neurotransmitters like serotonin and norepinephrine, at high frequency. The same doesn’t occur when the skin surrounding these points is stimulated.29
Yet other research has proved that acupuncture can cause blood vessels to dilate and increase blood flow to distant organs in the body.30
Other research demonstrates the
existence of meridians as well as the effectiveness of acupuncture
for a variety of conditions. Orthopaedic surgeon Dr Robert Becker,
who performed a great deal of research on electromagnetic fields in
the body, designed a special electrode recording device which would
roll along the body like a pizza cutter. After many studies it
showed up electrical charges on the same places on every one of the
people tested, all corresponding to Chinese meridian points.31
There was no doubt in his mind that biology was driven by the quantum process he’d observed.
All he needed were other scientists with experimental evidence to show how it might be so.