Letter: Molecular memory

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The Independent Culture
Sir: Lionel Milgrom's account of Jacques Benveniste's research ("The memory of molecules", 19 March) failed to make it clear that the experiment discussed, where a biological signal is recorded, transmitted over the Internet, and applied to water elsewhere to regenerate the biological effects of the source, is not just an idea but rather an experiment that has already been carried out, with impressive results (see Benveniste's web pages at www.digibio.com).

We invited him to describe his work at our weekly colloquium to learn more about the research, which seems both scientifically interesting and potentially of considerable practical importance.

While the results claimed may seem surprising, the Cavendish Laboratory has been host to many surprising discoveries during the 125 years of its existence, and the controversial nature of the claims was not seen as good cause to follow the herd and veto his making a presentation.

In regard to the Nature condemnation of 1988, my conclusion at that time was that its authors had made an insufficient case for its headline claim "High-dilution experiments a delusion", and nothing since has led me to see the frequent denunciations of the work as anything other than the hysteria that frequently accompanies claims that challenge the orthodox point of view.

The manifestations of scientific prejudice, well documented by Michel Schiff in the book The Memory of Water, can be extraordinary; another reason why we felt it important to invite Dr Benveniste to talk at our colloquium and be able to present his results to scientists in an uncensored form. I am grateful to The Independent for following on with its article.


Cavendish Laboratory

Department of Physics

University of Cambridge