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The still widespread (but waning) respect for academic degrees tempt some scientists to try to arouse attention with pseudo-scientific ideas
On the occasion of the 5th Chert Workshop (2006) at the Naturkunde-Museum Chemnitz, I had warned against two graduated physicists who had turned to esoterics in the early 90s. Their presentation could not easily be judged by the average citizen and even could mislead some scientists into accepting it, with partially fatal effect
(Sächs. Zeitung 11.2.2012).

No fear of earth rays !
Miracle healers, whose success is based on the belief in their abilities, are encountered in any cultural tradition. Some people are eager to believe, follow the advice to move the bed out of the reach of earth rays, even if there are no such, and feel better afterwards.
Nowadays, this and similar options are turned into business ideas by scientists, too. Their academic degree and fumbling with equipment make them appear trustworthy. On this basis, esoterics of several shades can prosper in the disguise of science. For example, three contributions by Dr. habil. Hans-Dieter Langer
, published at the Naturkunde-Museum Chemnitz, concern damage on trees allegedly due to neutron beams coming off the ground. It is easy, with the help of some knowledge in physics, to declare these claims absurd. Langer's pompous strings of words, as  "physical-radiaesthetic structures with 24h- fluctuation range" und "polygonally touching closely stacked multiple array of neutron modes"  (Veröff. Mus. Naturk. Chemnitz, Band 21) can justly raise suspicions.
According to Langer the neutrons are guided upward by multiple grazing reflection between parallel crack faces in the rock, like light between two mirrors. This is worth considering. A face serves as a mirror only if its roughness is smaller than the size of the impinging object or the wavelength of the incident wave. Since the neutron is 105 times smaller than the atoms of the mirror, it cannot be reflected like a ball at a wall. What remains to be considered is a posssible reflection as a wave. The wavelength related to every particle is simply obtained from Planck's constant divided by the momentum of the particle. The average velocity of the neutrons could not be smaller than the thermal velocity related to the temperature of the rock, which provides a lower boundary for the average momentum. This implies an upper boundary for the average wavelength, 10-8cm, which is so small that the neutron wave would not be reflected at fracture faces in the rock but would be scattered into all directions. Hence the formation of neutron beams along faults is impossible.
Finally it can be stated that Langer's publications on neutron beams lack any scientific basis.

Hans-Jürgen Weiss          2009

Annotation 2011:
Dr. R. Rößler still sells old issues with esoterics. He justifies this with the intention to nurture a multitude of opinions at the museum and with the freedom of opinon guaranteed by the constitution. Contrary to his declared aim to launch a discussion on esoterics, he stubbornly refuses to publish the above comment in "Veröffentlichungen des Museums für Naturkunde Chemnitz" under the pretense that it is an individual opinion for which there is no right of publication.
A multitude of opinions, including esoterics, nurtured at a Museum of Natural History is not a bright idea since it promotes arbitrariness and is contrary to science.

Annotation 2012:
Concerning the sponsoring of esoterics disguised as science, the following statement has been issued by the parliament of Saxony:
"This dispute can only be pursued within the realm of science and hence is subjected to the Basic Constitutional Law and the Constitution of Saxony."
Therewith the fraudulent nonsense is elevated to science, and since there is a constitutional guarantee for the freedom of science, there is the same for nonsense in the disguise of science. Such attitude has led to the inacceptable situation that several professional scientists, who are supposed to expand and spread knowledge and therefore are paid by the public, evidently tolerate the promotion of pseudo-scientific rubbish at the Naturkunde-Museum Chemnitz. So it is easy to raise fear of the harmless natural radiation among the populace.

Annotation 2020: This text is a slightly modified and shortened version of the first one from 2009.  See also Neutronotropy and reality.

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