Thursday, 1 May 2008

Rustum Roy's intention experiment: we are all Qigong masters

Apparently, Manju Rao and Rustum Roy are busily working on the results from their Intention Experiment, where people all over the world concentrated on changing the Raman spectrum of a beaker of water. However, some preliminary results are filtering out for our entertainment.

According to the Intention Experiment blog, "Although the scientists are not finished examining their data, they have told me one thing: they’ve seen results they’ve never seen before with their equipment". This suggests to me that there was a problem with the experimental set-up, which of course has not been described in any detail.

Then "One reason it is taking so long is that our water had a great deal of variation an hour before the experiment was run. This could mean that our anticipation of the event began to affect the water. Or it could mean that our hypothesis is wrong. Or it could mean that with intention, we are emanating an energy like a Qigong master, which is being picked up by the spectroscopy before the event". Or could it mean that the impurities in the water are changing through time as it sits in an open beaker on a lab bench? Obviously, emanating energy like a Qigong master is a much more plausible explanation, but might it not be a good idea to control the experiment just in case? Also, looking at Rao and Roy's previous work on homeopathic remedies, it seems that 'stray light is eliminated by turning off all the room lights whenever data are being collected'. Unless they are in a proper darkroom, that isn't going to be enough to keep out all the ambient light. Raman is also noisy and highly sensitive to impurities.

There's also some weirdness going on here, as this page talks about taking a Raman spectrum with the 'laser turned off'. With the laser off, there is no incident beam to undergo Raman scattering, so I'm simply not clear what they could be talking about here at all. A 'member of the Penn State team' also says that "The laser light is absorbed by the water molecules, depending on how they are energetically configured or arranged, and then reradiated at a different wavelength". As I understand it, this isn't quite right: the incident beam is scattered, with a wavelength shift of the scattered beam. There is no absorption and re-radiation in Raman scattering. Do the Penn State team have any idea what they're doing?

I can't wait for the final results...

14 comments:

Le Canard Noir said...

Stunning. This is car crash 'science'.

Paul Wilson said...

Yes, that seems like a reasonable description.

This is so completely barmy that it's difficult to know what to say about it, to be honest.

Anonymous said...

Hell's teeth man, would you not think about the safety and comfort of pregnant women before you write this stuff. Some of us have bladders that are being used as footballs and we can't handle unexpected laughter.

Miriam

Dr Aust said...

On a completely random sort of word association, does anyone know if

Qigong

- possibly ancient (or not) Chinese energy woo;

and:

Qui-Gon Jinn

- Jedi knight, noted wielder of the light-sabre and channeler of The Force

- are by any chance related? I think we should be told

Anonymous said...

They do, indeed, claim to have spectra measured spectra with the laser off. They also show the "regular" spectrum as well as the laser-off spectra taken while a "healer" worked her wonders on the water.

If one considers the laser-on spectrum to be background noise, the laser-off spectra look like the same background noise (on the right and left edges of the superimposed spectra), with something (possibly faked) added.

The fact the right and left edges of the "spectra" look the same with or without the laser suggest the "spectra" are merely electronic noise in the detector.

Joe M

Chris | Martial Development said...

Dr. Aust: as a matter of fact, they are!

One of this man's students claims to have shared his master's incredible Qigong story with George Lucas. Lucas rejected it, and then borrowed elements of it for his Star Wars prequels.

Anonymous said...

You had better go back and check your facts on Raman spectra. It does not depend upon scattering, but upon re-emission of frequencies at different wavelengths of the original wave length. If you bash somebody, at least get your pseudo science correct.

"The Raman effect occurs when light impinges upon a molecule and interacts with the electron cloud of the bonds of that molecule. The incident photon excites one of the electrons into a virtual state. For the spontaneous Raman effect, the molecule will be excited from the ground state to a virtual energy state, and relax into a vibrational excited state, which generates Stokes Raman scattering. If the molecule was already in an elevated vibrational energy state, the Raman scattering is then called anti-Stokes Raman scattering."
Raman spectroscopy employs the Raman effect for materials analysis. The frequency of light scattered from a molecule may be changed based on the structural characteristics of the molecular bonds. A monochromatic light source (laser) is required for illumination, and a spectrogram of the scattered light then shows the deviations caused by state changes in the molecule.

The scattering of light in Raman spec is not the important aspect, as it is "scattered (reemitted at a different angle than the original laser beam on a statistical basis, but only the light parallel to the beam is usually collected as determined by the na of the lens and the fiber optic cable leading to the CCD) What is important is the phase or freqency shift.

AS far as the collection of data in the dark, this is how you calibrate the system to see that the base line is okay, and that nothing is influencing the equipment. So you run the spectra with the light off so you can subtract the background noise. Noise does change over a period of time due to a lot of factors, like temp, electrical, etc. But the order of the change is usually about 3500 to 10000 times less than the Raman spectra.

Unless you have spent years doing Raman spectra, you don't really know what you are talking about.

And even then, the experts disagree about how to deconvolute the data, as the information is convoluted mathematically. It does take a rocket scientist to figure it out, and look at the studies done on it by Lockheed Martin and Rennesalaer on water, which is germaine, as they did it for studies of water on other planets and how it might vary from ours. It agrees with what Rustum Roy did 100%. So please, instead of just mouthing off because you don't know the science, have never studied it carefully, and have no background in it whatsoever, don't character assassinate another scientist because you don't have the capacity to understand his work.

Paul Wilson said...

Thanks for the clarification on Raman spectra. Indeed, it is not something I know a whole lot about, having briefly studied it in a materials science class several years ago.

Still, my main problem here is not with the method of collecting data. It is with the design of the experiment. The experimental method has not been described in any detail, but images from the Intention Experiment website show a probe in an open beaker of water on a lab bench. Presumably this water is going to absorb gases, particlulate matter, dead skin cells, etc etc from the air. It might also lose some of the dissolved gases in it to the atmosphere through time. How do Roy and colleagues know that this won't affect their results?

It seems all too similar to Rao and Roy's recent work on homeopathy. In that case, the design of the experiment and presentation of the results was so poor that it was really impossible to draw any conclusions from it at all. This intention experiment is similar: it's perfectly possible to produce graphs that look different, but WHY do they look different? Because of the experimental design, there are several possible explanations that have nothing to do with Qigong masters or other 'energy'-related arm waving.

Now, I could be entirely wrong about this. If so, I look forward to seeing the results published in a mainstream peer-reviewed journal. Homeopathy doesn't count.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous wrote "You had better go back and check your facts on Raman spectra."

About the only thing you wrote that is correct is that Raman is not mere scattering.

Raman spec does not excite an electron into a "virtual" state, whatever you think that means.

Raman spetra predate lasers.

Proper Raman instruments are not operated in dark rooms, the optical components are encased in a light-proof chamber.

I could go on. The lesson for you is not to castigate someone when you know less than they do.

Joe M

Paul Wilson said...

Cheers Joe M.

In general, it's probably best for me to stay away from commenting on Raman spectroscopy in too much detail, as I'm certainly not an expert.

I do wonder about the picture on the 'Intention Experiment' website that supposedly shows the experimental set-up. As you say, the optical components of the instrument would normally be encased in a light-proof chamber to prevent ambient light affecting the results. So what is the probe stuck in a beaker of water that is in the image?

Now Roy et al. are going to try to repeat the experiment, but also add an experiment "in which we simply look for the presence of energy with the laser off over some period of time". Whatever they are doing here, they are not measuring a Raman shift.

Paul Wilson said...

Another point that springs to mind is that Anonymous wites "And even then, the experts disagree about how to deconvolute the data, as the information is convoluted mathematically. It does take a rocket scientist to figure it out, and look at the studies done on it by Lockheed Martin and Rennesalaer on water, which is germaine, as they did it for studies of water on other planets and how it might vary from ours. It agrees with what Rustum Roy did 100%.

As far as I know, Roy has never given any information on data processing. 'Anonymous' might know something about this, but since it hasn't been published anywhere, I don't.

Anonymous said...

Cheers Paul,

You quoted anon. "And even then, the experts disagree about how to deconvolute the data, as the information is convoluted mathematically. It does take a rocket scientist to figure it out, and look at the studies done on it by Lockheed Martin and Rennesalaer on water, which is germaine, as they did it for studies of water on other planets and how it might vary from ours."

In my post, above, I indicated that there was much more to criticize in his/her post. I find that quoted statement incoherent. You can safely ignore it.

I could speculate on what s/he is confused about (if, indeed, anything is there); but it would be irrelevant to what Roy is doing.

Joe M

Steven said...

dear paul,

Either Rustum roy or his colleagues had shit on your pants or you would be so shitty pissed off with his work.

We are all here for a reason with a gift to rediscover mother earth's hidden treasures and not to step into other people's toes.

You just wanna hammer him all the way......

Is this one researcher treats another...

stay cool, man

Paul Wilson said...

Steve, the whole point of doing research is that your work gets exposed to criticism. We figure out which ideas have merit by trying to knock them down. This is not about treading on anyone's toes, as you put it.