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Emergence of a Signal from Background Noise in the “Memory of Water” Experiments: How to Explain It?

EXPLORE The Journal of Science and Healing
DOI: 10.1016/j.explore.2012.02.004
  • Memory Of Water
  • High Dilutions
  • Digital Biology
  • Scientific Controversy
  • Experimenter Effect
  • Biology
  • Physics


After more than 20 years, the case of the “memory of water” still has not been resolved satisfactorily. After the affair with the journal Nature, Benveniste extended his results on high dilutions to an “electromagnetic biology” and then to a “digital biology,” where electromagnetic signals supposed to be emitted from biologically active solutions were said to be stored on magnetic memories. Although the results obtained by Benveniste and coworkers were obvious, the difficulties in reproducibility by other teams created doubt of the reality of the alleged phenomenon. In a first step, we analyzed a set of experiments obtained by Benveniste's team in the 1990s. We quantified the relationship between “expected” effects (ie, labels of the tested samples) and apparatus outcomes, and we defined the experimental conditions to observe significant correlations. We concluded that the results of these experiments were related to experimenter-dependent correlations, which did not support the initial “memory of water” hypothesis. The fact that a signal emerged from background noise, however, remained puzzling. Therefore, in a second step, we described Benveniste's experiments according to the relational interpretation of quantum physics of C. Rovelli. In this interpretation, the state of a system is observer-dependent and the collapse of the wave function appears only in the states relative to a given observer. This interpretation allowed us to elaborate a model describing Benveniste's experiments in which the emergence of a signal from background noise was described by the entanglement of the experimenter with the observed system. In conclusion, the pursuit of the experimental “proof” to support the “memory of water” hypothesis has prevented other interpretations. Although our hypothesis does not definitely dismiss the possibility of “memory of water,” the experimenter-dependent entanglement could be an attractive alternative interpretation of Benveniste's experiments.

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