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“Gravity shapes everything, even us”


Over millennia mankind has been glancing the stars and planets in the sky looking for answers to its most pressing questions: Where do I come from ? Where am I going to ? The fragility of human existence against the seemly infinite strength of nature and the eternity of time has always drawn the human eyes towards the sky for answers to questions that seem to be unanswerable. Is life just a random walk in a chaotic universe ? Experience dictates that if, after a multitude of generations of human beings the question remains unanswered it is because the question is wrong in its core. Perhaps the right question to ask when we look at the skies is: can the stars and planets help me to understand who we are ?

Nevertheless, much has been gained by asking “futile” questions as our understanding of the universe, through rational thought, has expanded over centuries in the quest for a solution that seems to evade us.  The fixation with the celestial bodies has lead to immense progress in astronomy, one of the oldest traditional sciences known to man. The striking observation of the intriguing motion of the planets against the vault of fixed starts was a puzzle that took centuries to solve and was the basis for one of the most important revolutions in mathematics and physics, namely, the creation of differential calculus and the theory of gravitation in the 18th century by Isaac Newton and other intellectual explorers. However, over the centuries the motion of the planets and the structure of the observable universe was also the source of political and religious persecutions that lead to the imprisonment and death, in many cases under horrible circumstances, of scientists and philosopher.

Unlike astronomy which prides itself by being a serious, mathematically-based, science, astrology has a different goal as it aims to connect us emotionally and psychologically to the stars. It is undeniable that astrology is a powerful discipline and many decisions that changed the history of mankind, in the distance past and even today, are driven by “astrological insight”. If astrology was a hoax, pure trickery, it would be very hard to justify its persistence in our midst and its existence in the past and in the present, over millennia.

Serious practitioners of astrology will defend the concept that, unlike the ordinary horoscope, astrology has nothing to do with divination or fortune telling, it has to do with self-understanding. The rationale would be that understanding one-selves it would be easier to comprehend why we do things the way we do, why people behave in very similar ways under similar circumstances, and why there are so many “coincidences” regarding people who are born at the same time of the year. In this way, astrology can in principle predict how people will behave under certain conditions. In fact, many heads of state and chief executive officers of powerful companies hire professional astrologer as a support to close important deals that have impact over thousands, even millions, of people. The important question is whether there is any rational basis behind astrology ? Paraphrasing Shakespeare: is astrology a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing or there is more to it ?

The answers to all these questions are rather non trivial and daunting as one has to take into account an enormity of data, accumulated heuristically over millennia by astrologers, and analyze it under the light of statistics. After all, life is an statistical event. We do not have yet computers powerful enough for the task of analyzing the statistics of life. Perhaps we have to wait for the creation of quantum computers to be able to do it with mathematical rigor required by traditional scientific standards.

Nevertheless, in the last decades, concepts such as “complexity”, “emergence” and “collective behavior” have helped scientists and mathematicians to comprehend a series of physical phenomena that could not be understood otherwise. These concepts were born out from the observation that objects studied at atomic or molecular scale, such as clusters of Rubidium atoms trapped with laser light, Silicon atoms in a transistor, Carbon atoms in a DNA molecule, or electrons in a magnetic material such as Iron or a superconductor such as Niobium, behave in a way rather different than when they are found in isolation. The interaction between the atomic and sub-atomic parts of a material lead to complex collective behavior that cannot be easily predicted from the outset. In fact, in science there are plentiful of examples of materials and devices that prove Aristotle’s statement that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Under the light of these new concepts, applied to biological matter, we try to give a rational basis for the coincidences registered by astrologers since immemorial times.

Our objective here is very modest. We do not to pretend to “prove”, in the mathematical sense, the correctness of astrology but instead we would like to advance a hypothesis for its natural basis. We are fully aware of the incomplete character of our hypothesis and its possible flaws. We do know that the empirical data is lacking and that only controlled experimentation in serious laboratories over a long period of time will allow the falsification of our hypothesis. Nevertheless, a long trip starts with a first step, even a small one, just as the one we are undergoing here.

The energetics and complexity of the beginning

The core of what we are as human beings is determined when the spermatozoid of our father passes through the membrane of our mother’s egg. Once inside no other spermatozoids are allowed as the egg’s membrane becomes impermeable. The genetic material of our father mixes with the genetic material of our mother and our fate is pretty much set: it will determine our sex, the color of our eyes and our hair, the size of our ears and nose, whether we will have a genetically transmitted disease, and so many other characteristics that define who we are. Experience also tells that we will acquire certain personality trends that later will remind us of our parents and/or grandparents.

The most crucial step in the first cell division is the DNA replication. DNA is a long linear double-helix where all the genetic information is encoded in a series of organic molecules, or nucleotides, that form the so-called base pairs: adenine (A), guanine (G), cytosine (C), and thymine (T). All living beings can be characterized by how these four “letters” organize themselves along the DNA double-helix. Most organisms have billions of base pairs in the DNA making it a complex aperiodic chain of “letters”. The diameter of DNA is 2 nanometers and the distance between the “letters” is approximately 3.4 nanometers making DNA a truly nanoscale material.

The two sides of the double-helix attach to each other by a very specific rule: “A” attracts “T”, “C” attracts “G”, and vice-versa. Being a rule, not a law, there can be exceptions that usually lead to mutations..

Crossing of DNA strands,forming a chiasma during meiosis


DNA double helix and its base pairs

In the process of cell division, or meiosis, our parents DNAs are fused into pairs of chromosomes that becomes the basis of what we are. In fact, the process of cell reproduction happens over time under many different phases and different chemical environments. By exchanges similar pieces of DNA with similar genetic information, or genes, a new chromosome, with different DNA sequence, is formed. The variation in genetic information comes from this complex gene sharing. The reason why siblings with the same father and mother are different is because different genes are exchanged in this process leading to different, but similar, DNA structures.

For this exchange of genetic material to occur the DNAs of the two parents have to physically cross each other. The crossing point, called chiasma, is not a random position in the DNA but it is not unique. It occurs in regions of the DNA where the “letters” attract each other and can be exchanged, that is, one can go from one C-G

from the father and one C*-G* from the mother to C-G* and C*-G of the child. In doing that, a whole gene is carried along and the genetic material of mother and father are fused into what becomes the DNA of the baby. Notice that this DNA crossing and exchange occurs in a region of approximately (2 nm x 3.4 nm) 6.8 nm2 , that is, it is a nanoscopic event, which involves hundreds or thousands of atoms moving in a synchronous way under the influence of proteins and water.

The formation of the chiasma is only one of the events that lead to the variation in the genetic material. Another important mechanism is the separation of the genetic material and cell duplication under the influence of an organelle called centrosome. Centrosomes appear in pairs during cell duplication and form tubular structures which anchor on two chromosomes and pull them apart by moving these pairs to opposite positions relative to the center of the cell. In that process, the centrosomes can carry different pairs of chromosomes to different sides of the cell. In the following step, these pairs of chromosomes form two new cells with distinguished genetic material. Hence, the motion of centrosomes act to increase variation in the genetic material. Notice that this motion is directional and hence it depends on the local environment of the cell.

There are two important points in this complex dance of chemicals. Firstly, these processes occur at nanoscale and involve a large number of atoms that interact among themselves according to the deterministic laws of physics. Secondly, these same atoms are under the influence of an environment that introduces randomness both of thermal as well as chemical nature. Hence, the creation of genetic material is a interplay between deterministic and statistical processes that occur at nano-scale.

Centrosomes pull the chromosome pairs apart during the cell division : night figure shows a correct division ; left shows an anomalous division due to the lack of given protein

DNA replication occurs in all organisms and it is the basis of genetic inheritance. The environment in which our destiny is sealed is a complex aqueous “soup” with a multitude of proteins and enzymes. The number of allowed possibilities for this process is enormous leading to an enormous variety of DNA and, eventually, to a enormous variety of human beings. Nevertheless, the rules that control these possibilities are constrained by the physical laws that control the interactions between atoms and molecules.

Covalent bond in a carbon molecule electrons are shared equally

A system, such as DNA and its environment, with N atoms is characterized by a total energy, E, which depends on the position of all the atoms. Given that N is a large number the number of different positions or configurations is exponentially large with N. However, the total energy of the system with N atoms depends strongly on the specific configuration of the atoms.  Configurations with atoms in different positions have different energies because the atoms interact with each other via different forces such as electrostatic, van der Waals, covalent, hydrogen bonds, etc. These different forces between atoms depend not only on the type of atoms involved but also on the distance between the atoms. It is clear that in a complex environment such as the one where DNA replication happens it is almost impossible to describe, even with the most powerful current computer, all the possible configurations.

Let us consider these forces in more detail as all of them play an important role in the biological processes. Covalent forces are the ones behind the chemical bond between atoms in a molecule. Covalent bonding is a quantum mechanical effect where electrons in different atoms are “shared” and it cannot be described within the scope of classical newtonian mechanics. The standard energy scale to describe covalent bonding is the so-called electron volt, or eV (1 eV is the energy required to accelerate an electron in the electric field of one volt). Covalent bonding in biological matter is of order of a few eV. Because of its nature, the covalent bond acts at very short distances, namely, the equilibrium distance between atoms which is of order of a few Angstroms or 0.1 nanometers. Moreover, they decay exponentially fast with the distance R between atoms: e-R/ao where ao is the so-called Bohr radius (in atoms, ao ~ 0.5 nm). Covalent bonding is responsible for the stability of all life on earth because it makes biological matter stable to thermal variations, radiation bombardment and many other environmental hazards associated with living in this part of the universe.

DNA surrounded by water molecules

DNA surrounded by water molecules

To put things into perspective, let us consider the normal temperature inside the body which is around 37 degrees Celsius or 310 kelvins (or 310 K). Temperature scales can be converted into energy scales by multiplication of the temperature in kelvin by the Boltzmann constant, K(K ~ 8.62 × 10-5 eV/K).. Thus, the thermal energy of a body is KT ~ 0.026 eV = 2.6 x 10-2 eV which is 100 times smaller than the energy of a covalent bond. Thus, covalent bonds are impervious to thermal fluctuations in the body.

One of the most important interactions in biological conditions is the van der Waals interaction. This is an interaction between neutral molecules, that is, molecules that do not have free electric charges. This is possible because molecules are polar objects that can form electric dipoles to interact with each other. Because of its weaker nature, the energies associated with the van der Waals interaction are of order of 0.04 eV, that is, the same order of magnitude of the body thermal energy. van der Waals interactions are also long-ranged and described by 1/R6 potential, that is, a power law potential, and can affect the configuration of atoms at large distances. Thus, because they are of the same order of magnitude thermal fluctuations can lead to structural fluctuations via van der Waals interactions.

Protein binding to DNA via van der Waals interaction

Protein binding to DNA via van der Waals interaction

It is obvious that the environment of DNA replication is rather complex and seemly untreatable mathematically. However, we can eliminate many configurations from the outset if we assume that under normal biological conditions the cell environment is in nearly thermal equilibrium. Strictly speaking life is an out of equilibrium situation and death is the ultimate stable state of all leaving things. However, at nanoscale, during the time scales associated with biological processes, the thermal fluctuations due to the motion of atoms and molecules is relatively stable leading to a local thermal equilibrium. In thermal equilibrium the probability that a certain atomic configuration of energy E(N) to occur is given by the Boltzmann probability factor: e-E(N)/KT. Hence, configurations with high energy are unlikely to happen because all biological processes occur at normal body temperatures of around 310 K. Only configurations which are separated by energies of the order of the thermal energy of 0.026 eV can be thermally accessed

The best framework to describe the state of affairs during DNA replication is the one of energy landscapes. This concept, used systematically in the context of complex many-body systems such as glasses and of biological processes such as protein folding, one considers the multi-dimensional space of the N variables associated with the atomic configurations. In this multi-dimensional space, the energy of the system, E(N), describes a complex surface, or landscape, with valleys (regions of low energy), and hills (regions of high energy) and also the mountain passes, ridges, and false summits. In this multi-dimensional Himalaya of configurations the many-body system of the DNA and its environment moves or evolves under several forces: the random thermal forces

of the chaotic motion of the components, also known as Brownian motion[1], and the systematic internal forces of the chemical and physical processes and external forces such as gravity. In this landscape, the system, such as the DNA, tends be get trapped in local valleys, as this is a situation of low energy. However, it can move from valley to valley or from valley to hills if there is enough thermal energy, KT, to overcome the climb in the energy landscape. Only climbs with energy below KT can actually be reached by the thermal motion. If the thermal energy was the only energy around, the system would move randomly, eventually would get lost, and would have a high probability of returning to the same valley where it started. This pure random motion would lead to a failure of the biological process and, hence, to the lack of replication and eventually to death. Fortunately, biological systems move under systematic intrinsic and extrinsic forces which can be thought of mountain “cairns” which, once reached, provide a kick, or energy, to the system to persist motion in a well defined direction. If the “cairns” are spaced properly, even small kicks such as the ones provide by the gravitational pull, can lead to a successful progress. Hence, the issue is not only the strength of the forces involved but also their range of actuation. Hence, while thermal energy “fuels” the system motion, the direction is set by the laws of physics and chemistry.

A system moving randomly in an energy landscape (in this case with 2 variables) will end up in a valley

Different position in the energy landscape correspond to different configurations of a protein

Gravity, weak yet powerful

Thermal fluctuations are not the only fluctuations that happen in aqueous environments. The most important water related fluctuation that occurs in our planet is due to gravity: tides. Galileo Galilei was the first scientist to associate tides with earth’s motion but it was Johannes Kepler who correctly pointed out the connection of tidal waves with the motion of the moon. Kepler did that by correlating a large amount of data collected over centuries regarding the phases of the moon and the size of the tides. However, it was Isaac Newton who correctly gave the mathematical basis for its description based on his  theory of universal gravitation and the gravitational interaction between water, the sun, and the moon.

The solar system

According to Newton the forces between two bodies of mass M and m is given by: F = – G M m/r2 and points in the direction of the centers of the bodies.Here G= 6.67384 × 10-11 m3 kg-1 s-2 is the gravitational constant and r is the distance between bodies. A deformable body, such as a droplet of water, will deform in the presence of another mass in its neighborhood because gravity will act with difference force, or acceleration

(recall that Newton’s first law states that F= m a, where a is the acceleration), in different points of the deformable body. This acceleration, also known as tidal acceleration, aT, was computed originally by Newton himself from his universal law of gravity to be: aT= GM (1/(D-R)^2-1/D^2) ~ 2 G R M/D3 where R is the radius of earth, M is the mass of the sun, moon, or any other planet, creating the tidal distortion, and D is the distance between earth and the stellar body (in this derivation is is assumed that D is much larger than R). Although it is not commonly found in textbooks, we can also associate with this tidal acceleration a tidal energy per unit of mass: ET ~ G R M/D2. For instance, the sun has a mass of approximately M ~ 2 x 1030 kg and is an average distance[2] D ~ 1.5 x 1011 m from earth. Given that the earth’s radius is R ~ 6.37 x 106 m we find that aT,sun ~ 5 x 10-7m/s2.

To put this number in perspective, the gravity acceleration at the surface of earth is g ~ 10 m/s2 and hence aT,sun ~ g/20,000,000, that is, the tidal acceleration is 20 million times smaller than gravity’s acceleration on earth. Nevertheless, although comparatively so much smaller, this force is responsible for the tides on all earth’s oceans and rivers. This happens because the gravitational force of the sun and the moon, although small compared with earth’s gravitational pull, has a long range and can affect large areas of deformable bodies. Any aqueous environment such as earth (oceans cover 2/3 of earth’s surface) will be susceptible to this long range force.

The solar system as seen from earth shows the relative distance of the planets to earth

The solar system as seen from earth shows the relative distance of the planets to earth

The energy associated with the sun’s tidal acceleration can be also computed to be ET,sun ~ 2.3 x 1023 eV/kg which is a extremely large number. In order to reduce the energy units to something that makes sense at nanoscale, it is convenient to convert kg into an atomic mass scale. In an atom, the majority of the mass is provided by the nucleus which is composed of protons and neutrons. Hence, a convenient mass unit is the proton mass,mP ~ 1.7 x 10-27 kg.Using the proton mass we can write: ET,sun ~ 3.3 x 10-4eV/mP. In regards to our previous discussion regarding the thermal energy of the body we see the sun’s tidal energy for 100 protons (around 10 carbon atoms) is of the same order of magnitude of the thermal energy of the body. This is a surprising result because this is of the order of magnitude of the number of atoms involved in the nano-scale events associated with DNA replication.

In order to compare the relative strength of the tidal acceleration and energy of different bodies in the solar system we define two parameters: αi = ai/aT,sun and βi = ET,i/ET,sun , where the sub-index i refers to the different planets and the moon (i=0 for the sun, i =1 for the moon, i=2 for Venus, etc – see Table 1 below). Notice that these two parameters are not independent from each other since their ratio, βii = Di/D0 provides information of the distance of the planet to earth relative to the distance of the earth to the sun. In Table 1 we show the value of these parameters for some of the main bodies in the solar system[3].

Celestial Body
i=0, Sun
i=1, Moon
i=2, Jupiter
i=3, Venus
i=4, Saturn
i=5, Mercury
i=6, Mars
i=7, Uranus
i=8, Neptune
i=9, Pluto

7 x 10-6
1 x 10-4
5.6 x 10-7
1.2 x 10-6
1 x 10-7
6.3 x 10-9
2 x 10-9
1 x 10

5.6 x10-3
3.5 x 10-5
3.1 x 10-5
4.5 x 10-6
6.3 x 10-7
1.4 x 10-7
1.2 x 10-7
6 x 10-8
3 x 10


An interesting observation of this table is that although the tidal acceleration created by the moon is 45% bigger than the sun, the amount of tidal energy associated with the sun is approximately 180 times bigger than the one associated with the moon. Since energy, not acceleration, is responsible for the change of configurations of an energy landscape of a problem with many atoms, as it happens during cell replication, we have organized the table in decreasing order of energy. We also notice that the relative distance of the earth to celestial bodies is not the relevant parameter as it varies in a non-systematic way relative to the amount of energy. This is because the mass of the body is as important as the distance. Notice that Jupiter, which is 5 times farther from earth than the sun, has a tidal energy which is 250 times larger than Mars, which is, on average, 1.4 times the solar distance from earth. This is our main conclusion: that the stored gravitational energy of a planet on earth, that is, the β-factor, is the relevant parameter to understand the strength of the effects of gravity on DNA activity.

Although the tidal acceleration parameter, α, is not a direct measure of energy it does have an effect on certain large scale biological processes. It is interesting to note that, although still controversial, there is experimental evidence that the gravitational pull of the moon has an effect on childbirth[4]. This fact it is not surprising given the aqueous environment where the fetus resides during growth and maturation.

The time link

It is clear that our genetic fate as individuals is not determined by the time we are born but by the time our DNA is conceived during this genetic fusion. Once our DNA is created for the first time, the core of what we are is also created and, as one usually says, the rest is history. Interestingly enough is the fact that the period that takes for the embryo to grow inside the mother and become able to survive in the outside the womb, that is, the gestation period, is quite uniform in most species. The distribution of gestation times in humans follows a bell shaped curved peaked around 40 weeks with a variation, or width, of approximately 2 weeks for more or for less. Notice that this implies a deviation of 14 days over the 280 days of gestation, that is, only a 5% variation. This amazing uniformity allows us to connect in an approximate way the date of our birth to the date of the creation of our individual DNA. There is a time link between our birth and our creation.

Fixed stars

Fixed stars

We can separate the celestial bodies into two species: fixed (at least in the time scale of human existence) and mobile. The fixed stars, which are part of the constellations, form a chart against which we can locate the mobile bodies such as the planets, comets, asteroids, etc. Constellations are creations of the human mind which have as a sole purpose to map the night sky. They usually are not part of the same stellar cluster and they can be millions of light years away from each other. The constellations of fixed stars traditionally used for astrological purposes are twelve, namely: Aquarius, Pisces, Aries, Taurus, Gemini, Cancer, Leo, Virgo,Libra, Scorpio, Sagittarius, and Capricorn.

The planets, because of their much larger mass are the ones who have greater influence from the energetic point of view relative to other mobile bodies. Given that the motion of the planets is periodic and follow Newton’s gravitation law, the fixed stars play a dual role. Firstly, the position of the planets in the sky work as a clock, that is, mark the passage of time. Secondly, at a specific point in time the configuration of the planets against the fixed starts determines the gravitational environment during the time of conception.

When we say that someone was born under the sign of Leo what we mean is that the sun, the celestial body with largest gravitational energy on earth, at the time of birth, was located at in the constellation of Leo. Similarly, when we say that the ascendant of someone is in Capricorn, what we mean is that the constellation of Capricorn was showing up in the eastern horizon at that particular point on earth, at the particular time the person was born. Similarly, to have Mars in Cancer means that the planet Mars was passing by the constellation of Cancer when the person was born. The same carries out for all the other planets in the solar system. Clearly, this is a description of time, not of space. In fact, the sky was the only clock the ancient civilizations had to measure with some accuracy the passing of time.

The hypothesis is that since DNA replication happens in average 9 months before birth, it is the gravitational environment 9 months before birth that matters for the definition of someone’s characteristics. The consequence of that is quite interesting since according to our hypothesis two people who are conceived in the same gravitational environment will have similar personality treats. However, it may be that one person has a normal gestation period of 9 months while the other is born prematurely. According to traditional astrology these two people can have very different characteristics because they were born at different time. In fact, the more premature the person is at birth, more differences can arise. According to Astronics these two people should have very similar treats and the astral map of the premature one will actually be inaccurate. The bottom line is that the time of birth someone’s birth has not other significance except that it tells us that nine months before that particular time the first DNA replication happened.

Falsifying a hypothesis

As we have discussed gravity is a relatively weak force, albeit its effects can be felt at large distances. Gravity is also very special in the sense that it is the only force known to man that was not “unified” with the other natural forces such as the magnetic force (the force between magnets), the electric force (the force between electric charges), the “weak force” (responsible for nuclear fusion), and the “strong force” (the force between protons and neutrons in the atomic nucleus). Magnetic and electric forces were unified, that is, were explained under the same mathematical and physical framework, by James Clerk Maxwell in 1865. Maxwell showed that magnetism and electricity have the same origin and that light is nothing but free traveling electric and magnetic waves. Maxwell’s theory was possibly the most revolutionizing theory since Newton’s and changed completely the way we understand the universe. Maxwell’s influence on science was so profound that it also changed the way scientists do science. In fact, the search for unification schemes became one of the main goals of modern scientific research. The idea that there is a “theory of everything”, where all forces can be explained by one “grand unification” theory, permeates deeply the core of the scientists’ imagination. This drive towards “consolidation” of forces lead to the unification between the “weak” and the electromagnetic forces in the work of Weinberg, Salam, and Glashow in 1979 under the name of electroweak theory. The Higgs particle, or “god particle” as sensationalist newspapers called it, is in fact a consequence of this theory. It is believed, on the basis of theoretical work, that the “weak” and “strong” forces can be unified into a Grand Unified Theory (GUT) at very high energies, of the order of 1016 GeV (approximately 1029 K)[5] that cannot be reached with the current particle accelerators which can reach “only” to 104 GeV. Because these energy scales cannot be reached with the current accelerators the GUT theory cannot be tested, or strictly speaking, the theory cannot be falsified.

A scientific theory is only accepted by the scientific community when it is tested by different laboratories with the same result. This system of check and balances is fundamental in science as it protects the integrity of the knowledge. When the system of check and balances fails, even for a certain period of time, the consequences can be disastrous as it was the case in the recent Schön scandal that happened inside the prestigious Bell Laboratories in the late 90’s. [6]

The only interaction that has not been, at least, theoretically unified is gravity. String theory was conceived with the purpose of unifying gravity with other forces. However, so far, this theory is still a pure mathematical exercise since its predictions can only be tested at the Planck scale which is an energy of the order of 1019 GeV. If the GUT scale is not reachable, the Planck scale is a much bigger challenge. String theory is clearly not falsifiable at this point in time.

For all these reasons it is not possible to relate G to any other fundamental constants of nature. In order words, it is not possible to measure G indirectly using experimental setups that use electromagnetism, nuclear forces, etc. The only possible way is by actually putting two heavy bodies together and measuring the attraction between them. Although gravity is the force that all humans are most used to, as this is the force that keep us and all our ancestors stuck to earth, it is the most mysterious of all forces. In fact, the main parameter behind Newton’s theory of gravitation, the universal gravitational constant, G, is one of the poorest measured constants of nature due to the difficult in measuring it.

cavendish's original torsion pendulum used in the experiment of 1789

cavendish’s original torsion pendulum used in the experiment of 1789

One of the most precise measurements of G was performed by British scientist, Henry Cavendish in 1798. Cavendish built a

precise torsion balance, which was acoustically and thermally isolated,  and measured the torsion of a suspended wire attached to a wooden rod of 1.8 m of length to which ends was attached two small balls of lead weighting 730 g each in the presence of two other large lead balls of 158 kg of weight each. The distance between the small and large lead balls was  approximately 23 cm. The force involved in twisting the wire due to the presence of the large lead balls was rather small, 1.74 x 10–7 N, nevertheless, Cavendish was able to measure a rotation angle of only 4.5 x 10–3 rd ~ 0.3 degrees. The method proposed by Cavendish was improved modestly over the centuries but remains the method of choice for measuring G.[7]

In order to test our ideas on the influence of gravity on DNA replication it is important to propose an experiment that can be done under controlled conditions. The obvious experiment would be to expose a cell to different gravitational field configurations by putting heavy objects in its neighborhood during meiosis and check whether the DNA sequence was affected in any way by the local gravitational forces. This is the equivalent of Cavendish’s 1798 experiment in this context.  Our assumption is that the tidal energy, or β-factor, plays an important role in DNA replication. Notice, however, that Newton’s tidal acceleration was derived under the assumption that D, the distance between earth and the celestial body, is much larger than earth’s radius, R. Close to the earth’s surface D is very close to R (that is, D-R is much smaller than R itself) and one finds ET ~  G M/(D-R). A 1 ton (M = 1,000 kg) block of lead away which is D-R = 1 cm away from a cell has a β-factor of β ~ 2 x 10–10 which 10 times smaller than the β-factor of Pluto. This is clearly hopeless.

A better possibility would be to study meiosis at the International Space Station (ISS) which stationed 370 km above earth’s surface. In this case, there is a variation in the β-factors by δβ ~ 6 x 10–2 relative to the β-factors at earth’s surface. This number is relatively large if one compares it with the variation of β-factors between the moon and Jupiter, say. By conducting simultaneousexperiments with the identical cells on earth’s surface at the ISS, so that the position of the planets against the fixed stars is the same, one should be able to detect significant statisticaldifferences in the DNA sequence.

Another experiment that can be performed to test the basis of Astronics is of statistical nature. In the last session we argued that premature children would have the wrong astral map if we take only the actual birth into consideration. In fact, according to our hypothesis, the correct astral map can be obtained by looking at the date of conception which can be obtained by subtracting the number of premature months. For instance, a child that was born in August under the sign of Leo, premature of 6 months, would have been conceived on February, the same year. Hence, the correct astral map would be of November, say, under the sign of Scorpio. The characteristics of Leo and Scorpio and Leo are very different and, hence, it would be rather simple question of comparing personality treats. An statistical study of premature children would provide a simple, but powerful, test of Astronics.

[1] In 1867, the British botanist Robert Brown discovered that a grain of pollen moves randomly in the surface of water due to the random thermal motion of the water molecules. This effect was explained in detail by Albert Einstein in 1905.

[2] Notice that the motion of earth around the sun is elliptical, not circular, and hence the distance between earth and sun varies during the year generating a variation in the tidal acceleration. Here we will only consider the average distance between earth and the sun, moon and other planets as we are focusing on the order of magnitude of the effects, not their exact value.

[3] Here we will only consider the average distance between earth and the other celestial bodies.

[4] Guillon P, Guillon D, Lansac J, Soutoul JH, Bertrand P, Hornecker JP.  “Births, fertility, rhythms and lunar cycle. A statistical study of 5,927,978 births”. Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology. (Paris). 1986;15(3):265-71

Joshi R, Bharadwaj A, Gallousis S, Matthews R. “Labor ward workload waxes and wanes with the lunar cycle, myth or reality?”,  Primary Care Update Ob Gyns. 1998 Jul 1;5(4):184.

Periti E, Biagiotti R.  “Lunar phases and incidence of spontaneous deliveries. Our experience.” Minerva Ginecol. 1994 Jul-Aug;46(7-8):429-33.

[5] To put this number in perspective, the temperature in the sun’s core is approximately 107 K.

[6] Eugenie Samuel Reich, “Plastic Fantastic: How the Biggest Fraud in Physics Shook the Scientific World”, Palgrave MacMillan, 2009.

[7] More recently, G was determined by laser cooling Cs atoms at extremely low temperatures and performing atom interferometry in the presence of a large mass of lead: J. B. Fixler; G. T. Foster; J. M. McGuirk; M. A. Kasevich (2007-01-05), “Atom Interferometer Measurement of the Newtonian Constant of Gravity”, Science 315 (5808): 74–77.

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