In 1968 NASA, through the assistance of the Israel Program for Scientific Translation, translated from Russian the 1964 book "The Earth in the Universe", with chapters written by top Soviet scientists.

In a chapter written by Prof. A. L. Chizhevskii, who was honorary president of the first International Congress of Biophysics and Biocosmics held in New York, wrote (quoting pages 295-296):

It is known that a minimum amount of electro- magnetic energy may markedly lower the stability of the dispersed phase of certain colloidal fluids. Experiments have shown that radio waves from telegraphic transmitters caused relatively rapid precipitation of the solid phase of certain colloids, yet the field intensity is only of the order of 0.001 to 0.00001 of the intensity of the so-called electrical interference. When placed in sheet-iron chambers the same colloids were not affected by radio transmitters (Wilke and Müller). It has been known for a long time that milk curdles considerably faster on days with marked atmospheric- electrical disturbances (thunderstorms) than on other days. It was experimentally proved that the curdling is quite independent of bacterial processes. Evidently, under the effect of the factors mentioned above, syneresis and disruption of the protein- colloid system occurs in the milk. Experimental coagulation of milk by treatment with short waves was reported, thus excluding from the process any thermal phenomena (Kerber, Goetinck). Similar observations were made on various gels and emulsions in which the suspended phases precipitated during thunder storms (Wedekind and others).

My question is, what are the sources that this passage is citing? Who are Kerber and Goetinck? What publication(s) could this being referring to?

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    $\begingroup$ I am assuming this is quoted from Skeptics SE thread skeptics.stackexchange.com/questions/26523/… $\endgroup$ – Conifold May 21 '15 at 21:21
  • $\begingroup$ @Conifold Yes, it is from my own answer there. $\endgroup$ – DavePhD May 21 '15 at 21:23
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    $\begingroup$ Couldn't even find the referenced scientists... Some Goetinck worked on milk coagulation in the 90s, but was not born yet when the book you're quoting was published. $\endgroup$ – VicAche May 24 '15 at 14:04
  • $\begingroup$ @VicAche The names are possibly misspelled. I wonder if anyone tried short wave electrolysis of milk more recently, I only saw reports of it used on water and body tissues. $\endgroup$ – Conifold May 28 '15 at 1:08
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    $\begingroup$ @DavePhd Found it. Here is the Russian text of Chizhevsky's paper chizhevski.ru/zemla/obodnomvide Names are spelled Вильке, Мюллер for Wilke, Müller, and Кербер, Геттинг for Kerber, Goetinck. And here is on the Römer from above, and on sensitivity of hydrogen peroxide to light. books.google.com/… $\endgroup$ – Conifold Jun 3 '15 at 3:39

Here is a direct link to One Aspect of the Specific Bioactive or Z-Radiation of the Sun, Chizhevsky's article in the book where the quote comes from. Some partial results are below.

Electrocoagulation of colloids is a known phenomenon, ionization destabilizes colloids because they are stabilized by electrostatic repulsion. One of the methods, albeit not very common, is short wave electrolysis. In 1979 a patent Electrolysis Using Electromagnetic Radiation was granted to Peter Horvath. From description: The transformer generates a magnetic field in the electrolyte which provides preferred paths for the high speed electrons of the short wave electromagnetic radiation and also for the ions in the electrolyte thereby increasing the possibility for collision between the electrons and ions with subsequent improved radiolysis yield". The usual applications are to wastewater and medical treatments.

Non-thermal effects of irradiating milk are mentioned in an AVAATE Report with refernces to the original papers:"Muth in 1927 was the first to observe the formation of chains of emulsified fat particles in 20 kHz to 2 MHz electromagnetic fields. This is now a well-known phenomenon and is called the pearl chain effect. It occurs at all microwave frequencies and was captured on film by Liebesny and Pace in 1937, using milk, blood and yeast suspensions... Back in the 1930s Krasny-Ergen demonstrated that the minimum field strength for pearl chain formation... is equivalent to a power density of only about 26 µW / cm2, eminently "non-thermal"...". Alas, no mention of "Kerber" or "Goetinck" (the names are possibly misspelled, see below).

This book describes molecular denaturation caused in the body by strong electromagnetic fields, and mentions that "considerable work done in the USSR has been concerned with much lower levels of radiation intensity", referencing papers from 1957-1965. It also cites a 1963 paper of Wilkins, who may be misspelled "Wilke", and Heller, who may be misspelled "Miiller", in Journal of Chemical Physics called Effect of Radio-Frequency Fields on the Electrophoretic Mobility of Some Colloids. I was unable to locate any joint paper by Wilkins (or Wilke) and Muller, as "Miiller" is spelled in the book. However, another 1963 paper, in Nature, by Heller, Wilkins and Freeborn, Effect of Radio-frequency Fields on the Zeta-potential of a Colloidal Suspension reads:"Reports from this laboratory, afterwards confirmed elsewhere, have shown non-thermal effects of radio-frequency on living organisms and non-living material", which is similar to Chizhevsky's claim about Wilke and Muller.

Biological Effects of Electromagnetic Radiation gives a nice survey of effects of short wave radiation used in medical treatments, the experimentation goes back to d'Arsonval, who placed animals, and later humans into induction coils. Another survey Early Research on the Biological Effects of Microwave Radiation explains that by 1930s there emerged a consensus that all short wave medical effects were thermal, with some prominent experimenters reversing their earlier position on the issue. Apparently, pearl chain effect, etc. did not make much of a dent in it. Extensive bibliographies on research up to 1960s are also available here and here.

A word on Chizhevsky. He is one of so-called Russian "scientific cosmists", Vernadsky and Tsiolkovsky, with whom he worked on space biology in 1926, are two other prominent representatives. Unlike philosophical cosmists, like Fedorov, who sought mystic connections between the Cosmos and life on earth, scientific cosmists were interested in finding connections mediated by physical phenomena. This explains Chizhevsky's interest in "bioactive radiation", in fact he was one of the early proponents of "heliobiology", study of sun’s effects on living organisms. In 1942 he was told to retract his writings about effects of solar cycles on mass psychology because they contradicted "historical materialism" explanations of the Russian revolutions. He refused, in Stalin's Soviet Union (!), was arrested and spent eight years in a forced labor camp. He was incredibly lucky to get released in 1950, still under Stalin.

A review of Young's book Russain Cosmists characterizes them as "visionary Cosmists who, being mostly scientists, conceive of cosmos as an ordered or an orderable universe to be explored and explained". And generally, "Cosmism, both philosophically and scientifically, gravitates toward a metaphysical vision of reality. Scientific knowledge and metaphysical knowledge (including the oddest forms of the occult) are united in one pursuit of comprehensive theory of everything".

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    $\begingroup$ There is W Krasny-Ergen "Nicht-thermische Wirkungen elektrischer Schwingungen auf Kolloide" (Non-thermal effects of electrical oscillations on colloids) Hochfrequenztech. und Elektroakust (October 1936) vol. 46, page 126. $\endgroup$ – DavePhD May 28 '15 at 14:14
  • $\begingroup$ @DavePhD Found some relevant papers of his from 1935 and 1940 in variuos bibliographies, it seems he was a leading theoretician on non-thermal effects of EM in 1930s, but there was a consensus against them at the time. I also added a paragraph on pearl chain effect in milk, so far the only non-thermal effect of EM irradiation of milk reported. $\endgroup$ – Conifold Jun 2 '15 at 3:39
  • $\begingroup$ @DavePhD I think it is fair to say that while there is an unbroken chain of research on irradiation of liquid body tissues, there is nothing recent on milk, which is why it is so hard to find early reports, including "Kerber" and "Goetinck". Probably because simpler methods of treating milk were discovered early Even Liebesny and Pace are probably cited only because they also studied pearl chains in blood, like Krasny-Ergen . $\endgroup$ – Conifold Jun 2 '15 at 3:39

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