The Shnoll Effect

Russian physicist Simon Shnoll found that the duration of basic molecular reactions both biological and chemical showed cyclic anomalies which appeared to correlate with planetary cycles.

Measurements of radioactive decay showed similar patterns, seemingly affected by even solar activity.

Shnoll repeatedly performed the same experiments involving first enzyme reactions and then purely chemical reactions and timed the duration of the reaction. He then moved on to radioactive decay, counting the numbers of emissions within a given time period and plotting the results on a series of charts.

The charts are expected show a standard bell-curve which demonstrates a bulge corresponding to average value with the addition of the bell shaped random ‘noise’ caused by instrument error or other random influences.

Instead, he found that the charts showed fine grained patterns in the noise that did not disappear even when many measurements were taken and displayed an odd ‘periodicity’ which suggests that they are affected somehow by planetary and lunar motions.

A typical experimental result for exam scores or some such is shown right, with the scores represented by the grey bars fitting more or less to a nice bell shaped curve. The fit is not exact but increasing the number of measurements will result in a closer and closer match to the curved line the more measurements are taken.

Measurements of radioactive decay made by Schnoll produced the curve shown right, which is the result of measuring the number of radioactive pulses in 6 second intervals. 1000 such intervals were measured and the number of pulses plotted on the chart. The peak in the middle represents an average of 90 pulses every 6 seconds.

The experiment was repeated 15 times and at each stage cumulative values were plotted showing the total number of pulses per 6 second interval.
In this chart, the lowest curve is the single curve in chart 1 above and the next highest curve is the result from measuring 2000 intervals etc.

This result is surprising as the expectation is that a larger sample size would lead to the ‘noise’ in chart 1 averaging out to form a smoother, more bell shaped curve. Although the overall shape is bell-like, the pattern of noise does not smooth out but instead becomes more pronounced! This suggests that it is not random and not noise but that there is some ‘meaning’ in the data; there is some ’cause’ here to be investigated.

Charts of consecutive time intervals show remarkable patterns of similarity as seen here.

Time intervals 1 and 2 are very similar in shape but so are those from time intervals 7 and 12 (30 seconds apart).

The team developed an algorithm to measure the ‘similarity’ of the charts and applied it to experiments performed over several days. Here we see that measurement patterns remain similar for a few hours before losing their resemblance to each other but then at the 24 hour mark there is renewal of similarity.

The experiment continued and as we see here the patterns recurred after 27 days.

Fluctuations that were previously supposed to be random are in fact cyclic and correlate to the spinning of the Earth and orbit of the moon (sidereal month).

Continuing with measurements of radioactive decay the scientists were able to show that the decay rate patterns also recurred on a yearly cycle, suggesting now that they are somehow affected by the orbit of the Earth around the sun.

Measurements made at independent measuring stations at the same time showed similar patterns to each other.

Completely different processes still resulted in similar looking graphs.
Here we see the measurements from the radioactive decay experiments compared with those from the rate of reaction of the chemical dichlorophenolindophenol.

Chemical reactions were measured over a period of 30 years.
This chart shows the mean square amplitude of the data scatter (dotted line) and the Wolf number, a measure of solar activity, (solid line).

The two are clearly correlated showing that high solar activity is associated with more ‘certainty’ in the rate of chemical reactions.

The paper concludes: The authors do not suggest any explanation of the phenomena discussed, and make no hypotheses concerning their possible mechanisms, and quite rightly so! The reader must start thinking on his own, which certainly is the main intent of this publication.”


If apparently different mechanisms produce similar patterns then it would seem relevant to look for some other commonality in the experiments and since all the experiments presented above use some sort of clock to measure time intervals then variations in the timing device should be explored.

Atomic clocks are based upon the resonant frequency of atoms but the frequency changes with the Earth’s magnetic field according to the principle of Nuclear Magnetic Resonance.

The paper does not consider the Earth’s electric or magnetic fields as an influence nor does it mention Nuclear Magnetic Resonance or Cyclotron Resonance.

Giorgio Piccardi obtained similar results but effects disappeared when a Faraday cage was used.

The video below mentions ‘gravity’ as a possible cause but does not suggest a mechanism.

A comment in the video suggests cosmic rays as a causal factor.

Related pages: ESP and the Shnoll effect Giorgio Piccardi


Realization of discrete states during fluctuations in macroscopic

S E Shnoll, V A Kolombet, E V Pozharski|¯, T A Zenchenko, I M Zvereva, A A Konradov

New Paradigm for Mankind: Cosmo-physical Factors in the small
A video presentation of the Shnoll Effect.

Wikipedia – Nuclear Magnetic Resonance,magnetic%20field%20at%20the%20nucleus.