Gauss & evoked gross/unit activities (Part 1/3 of long posting)
Gabriel David Noel
Postmaster at neubio.gov.ar
Sat Apr 6 23:39:48 EST 1996
I find insufficient the account of Verzeano's work posted by
Fred Zaman. Since its source is by no means easily attain-
able (as consistent with his uninvolvement in any real discu-
ssion of the hard issues), I request from Zaman (or from
anyone having the possibility) that long tracts of the theoreti-
cal parts of such 27-page paper be posted here; at least, the
beginning, the discussion and the conclusions, without figu-
This I find necessary to discuss here this specific subject. I
also find needful to share the discussions that Zaman says to
exist in pages 65 to 74, preceded by a "supporting commentary"
by co-editor NM Weinberger on pages 63-64. Only in this
way we could assess if such a work "indeed deserves a Nobel
prize" since the statistical relations Zaman claims he discovered
(between the axon spike and synaptic wave activities of the
central nervous system) form "the Rosetta Stone through which
the fundamental principles governing nervous system dynamics
can be discovered"; or if, contrarily, it is a trivial result of local
variations in concentration-dispersion of charge carriers as
Zaman is unable to discuss.
By myself, I believe remembering some Verzeano's papers in the
journal (then called) Kybernetik (now Biological Cybernetics) on
late sixties/early seventies. If my memory is now not infidel, then
I was not much impressed by them on account of concerning me
as putting too small an experimental umbrella to cover too much
mathematical presuppositions. But I really don't remember if he
was indeed this Verzeano (perhaps "magnetically" associated with
Poggio and Borsellino in my memory), though the subject was
indeed that of our interest. I would not like to be unfair to such a
colleague and I think we can be several in my situation (a dim re-
membering, lack of time to dig up references, lack of data bases at
hand for such epoch). This is a good occasion to advance through
The book would be "The Neural Control of Behavior", edited by
RE Whalen, RF Thompson, the very M Verzeano and NM
Weinberger, Academic Press, 1970. The papers of interest
are described by Zaman as entitled "Evoked Responses and
Network Dynamics", on pages 27-54, and the discussion after-
ward would be on pages 65-74. A related paper by RF Thompson,
"Relations between Evoked Gross and Unit Activity in Association
Cortex of Waking Cat", would be found on pages 55-62 followed
by the supporting comment by co-editor NM Weinberger, pp. 63-64.
All in all, this might be only about several dozen kB on Internet.
The references that would have been mentioned by Verzeano in
this paper, for the years 1954-1967, and his other published papers
on this subject in the years following, from 1968-1981, I hope be
tracked at any data base by other colleagues. Of course I will
appreciate to share their list also in this forum.
In order to attempt beginning a new thread, not in Zaman's style
but preserving usual academic standards, I produced the follow-
ing account of the anterior thread, 'Electromagnetic/Brain waves'.
I added the reference of an accessible summary of the addition of
a magnetic term for induction law; and, regarding the architectu-
ring of background fields --what here we call the 'electromagnetic
skeleton' of the brain gray--, let me mention the important works by
Terence W. Barrett, chiefly published in Mathemathical Bioscien-
ces in the late sixties, dealing with the cerebral cortex as a diffrac-
tive medium and interferometer. (Barrett's experimental bases
were published in Experimental Neurology in the first issue of
1974, if I am not mistaken).
ACCOUNT OF EXCHANGES IN THE PREVIOUS THREAD:
On Sat, 9 Mar 1996 21:21:28 -0300, Fred Zaman, in the office
of Neural Engineering Research and Development, Ogden
Air Logistics Center/TISAD, Hill AFB, Utah 84056-5205
(email: zamanf at software.hill.af.mil, or zamanlf at aol.com
fax: 801-777-2203) announced to <biophys at net.bio.net> (where
no response was posted) and simultaneously to this forum:
>A paper ... will be presented at the Toward a Science of
>Consciousness 1996 (Tucson II) conference to be held
>at Tucson, Arizona, April 8-13, 1996. ... According to this
>paper, the macrocopic electric and magnetic fields of
>electrophysiology, which to-date have been analyzed using
>only the static theory, also can be explained using the time-
>dependent theory. The paper will be available on the net
>after the conference. ...
>When the Faraday law in electromagnetic field theory is understood
>to specify an invariant cause and effect relationship between its
>dB/dt (time changing magnetic field) and curl E (induced electric
>field) terms, the Maxwell equations provide a causally inconsistent
>account of the abstract system composed of an ideal inductor driven
>by an ideal battery. The causal relationship between dB/dt and curl E
>in this simple system is shown to be consistent only after a term is
>included in Faraday's law for magnetic current, which specifies an
>electrostatic source of curl.
>the electromagnetic force in biology may be causal
>at every level of biological organization.
This earned him to be treated on Thu, 14 Mar 1996 12:48:23 -0300 as
>someone, clearly knowledgeable of electrodynamics,
by jappel21 <jappel at op.net>, upon which panegyric Zaman
declared on Fri, 15 Mar 1996 01:29:50 -0300 that
>the solution to this problem lies in a new, more logical understanding
>of electromagnetic induction,
Then he addressed us again on Sat, 16 Mar 1996 12:16:25 -0300:
>For your information, here is my response to an offhand analysis
>of the abstract of my paper given in ai philosophy newsgroup: ...
>The internally-generated magnetic fields of the nervous system ...
>(obviously they become more diffuse outside the cortex and skull).
>... you first need to learn about the principles of electromagnetics
>and neurophysiology on which the idea is actually based. It is obvious
>from your comments that you know very little about the subject.
The identity is unknown of which netter in the <ai philosophy> newsgroup
did receive these 'offhand insults' by refusing recognizing the new
magnetic diffusion law (facing the present cost of magnetic shielding).
But the military employee continued claiming that his
>paper to be presented ... is a serious work and deserves to be treated
>as such. It ... represents a pioneering effort in the endeavour to define
>nervous system dynamics in terms of a wide range of well-documented
>indeed appears to be a crazy (irrational) idea
just so as
>many of the ideas that later proved to be foundation stones in the
>development of modern physical theory (Young's wave theory of light,
>Faraday's field theory of electromagnetism, etc). ... Perhaps the
>seemingly crazy idea of a relationship between consciousness
>and the nervous system's magnetic (MEG) fields ultimately will prove
>to be yet another foundation stone in modern physical theory
(On Tue, 19 Mar 1996 11:44:18 -0300 it was revealed that these
assertions were not offhand, as pretended, but a part of the Part I
of the inminent paper, which was to begin by dealing (with an opening
"supercedes" as sign of unacademicity) about "The little man or
Much later, on Thu, 28 Mar 1996 00:10:14 -0300, mentioning the
>divinity students (of which I am
Zaman will elucidate what models of missionary zeal he follows
there in Utah. But to accomplish this mission, on Tue, 19 Mar 1996
11:44:18 -0300 he had charged us again, not about electromagnetism
but about no less than
>is composed of the phase-locked oscillations of a superordinate
>electrodynamic control system which I call the "self-excited
>psychobiomagnetic dynamo" (SEPD). ... The SEPD ... is that
>which thinks, whose thoughts indeed are manifested ... In this
>model then, the "little man inside" is ... explained in physical terms.
The announced paper, indeed, was still in writing (since its Part 1
includes comments taken from exchanges of March 10, 1996 in
this forum), what lends even more weight to the lack of seriousness
of the messages. It inmediately declares:
>There presently is no term in Faraday's law for the magnetic current Mi,
what was more bluntly repeated later, on Wed, 20 Mar 1996
00:59:30 -0300, as
>when it comes to electric fields that terminate on charges,
>when they have been induced by a time-changing magnetic field,
>Faraday's law is a bit illogical, even irrational--because the
>steady-state B field of the ideal inductor can be shown to actually have
>no source in Maxwell's equations. This sounds ridiculous, I know, but a
>simple analysis that takes into account all fields of the ideal inductor
>and their sources bears this out. When Faraday's law is modified to
>include a term for magnetic current, however, the irrational account of
>cause and effect goes away. Everything becomes as causal as
>everybody supposes it is already.
All this is of course false, as Paul Dirac set it (Proc. Roy. Soc. London
A, 133, 60, 1931; and Phys. Rev. 74, 817, 1948) and a lot of important
work was done since then up to Schwinger's contributions (in the seven-
ties; see his "Particles, Sources & Fields", Addison-Wesley, vol. 1-3)
and later. This is a history managed by any scholar in the field, and the
data bases yield huge numbers of serious papers on the subject.
However, the very Schwinger published an early account, fortunately
readable within the physics knowledge of most neuroscientists. It was
published in a journal not so difficult to find, called "Science" (Vol. 165,
# 3895, pp. 757-761) on 22 August 1969, and suffices to finish with all
such ridiculous stuff that "Zaman contributed the magnetic term to
reformulate the Faraday's law. "
Sorry to say, such unknown Higgins Professor (who was Higgins?)
at Harvard, namely Schwinger, was recipient only of the Einstein
Award in 1951, the (U.S.) National Medal of Science in 1964 and
the Nobel Prize in 1965; but since in science we are democratic
I hope Zaman will graciously condescend not to be enraged by
Schwinger's plebeyan priority (and Dirac's modern setting of the sub-
ject on certain new boyish theory he himself contributed at his 22 to
establish, jointly with other kids, by then labeled as "quantum mechanics").
Then on Tue, 19 Mar 1996 16:51:33 -0300 Richard Hall<rhall at uvi.edu>
rejected (though having not pointed the reasons for it) Zaman's
> presumption that biological activity can be reduced to
> an electromagnetic common denominator
Inflated at such lack of arguments and facing a coffee victory,
the student of divinity charged anew on Wed, 20 Mar 1996
>When magnetic current is included in Faraday's law,
>a new mechanism of electromagnetic induction
>comes into play, an electrostatic mechanism. When
>this mechanism is considered, relative to such things
>as the EEG and MEG waves that are neurophysiologically
>propagated over the cortex, it begins to appear that
>the global organization of these fields in both space and
>time may indeed have an electromagnetic origin. ... This
>is the basic thrust of my paper.
However, on Wed, 20 Mar 1996 17:44:25 -0300 an authority
we respect the most in the field, Prof. M. Crocco using this
same source node, provided the reason lacking in Prof. Hall
remarks, as follows:
>Fred Zaman <zamanlf at aol.com> falsely attributed to us physicists
>>It is the presumption of physics, not myself alone, that only the
>>electromagnetic force is directly involved in biological systems.
>Leaving aside the circumstance that our tradition (active since 1879)
>is hylozoist, surely the reason for rejecting such reduction to electro-
>magnetism is, that the derivative of fitness versus complexity shows
>the typical pattern of insertion of every new interactive modality when
>spite and selfishness begin to influence the course of the biospheric
>segment in the astrophysical-biological evolution.
The point was silenced by Zaman, as also was Prof. Crocco's recall that:
> Regarding the electromagnetic theory of mind, here we have some
> studies done about 1762 on Paraguayan eels assimilating to the (still
> not unified) electromagnetism the nature of the "animal spirits"; and if my
>memory is correct, I believe that in 1775 a British scientist -Cavendish?-
>gathered at his home a most distinguished assembly of electricians
>to show an "artificial torpedo" in support of the same view. I don't recall
>that it be dubbed "Zaman's discovery" at the time.
By that time, the Associate Editor of " Electroneurobiologia"
joined the protests. On a long analysis dated Wed, 20 Mar 1996
00:28:22 -0300, Prof. Szirko raised the following:
>Why do you took into account only spikes??
>Why decided you to approach it ignoring the negative of the rate of
>change of the source magnetic flux?
The answer to this remark of Prof. Szirko stays, certainly, in the Gauss'
theorem. She continued:
>And, above all:
>When motion in applied electromagnetic field is considered, deviations
>from the primitive electromagnetic interaction can appear. The reason
>is that the primitive electromagnetic interaction refers specifically to
>an elementary process such that no subsequent interactions take place.
>When, in different experimental arrangements, interactions do occur,
>they imply modifications in the effective electromagnetic coupling. This
>is applied to promote concentration-dispersion changes in hydrated
>charge carriers from the cytoplasm of a cell to another, on periodic pat-
>ternings with both spatial and time frequencies, against the percolation
>and other viscosities and above thermal isotropy. Even on theoretical
>models, tiny discrepancies, which are real, are reasonably assigned to
>the AS YET unconsidered exchange processes involving more than two
>"particles". The electromagnetic field dependent part of M (F) is ob-
>viously non-local, since it is constructed from the propagation functions
>(gamma of cap-pi plus or minus (M minus i epsilon)) to the minus one.
>When this DISTRIBUTED magnetic moment interaction is examined
>over VERY SHORT time intervals, as represented by the complemen-
>tary limit gamma of cap-pi towards infinity, it becomes asymptotically
>(3 alpha divided 4 pi) e q sigma F multiplied by the inverse of gamma
>cap-pi; and thus vanishes without a residual local interaction! Besides,
>there is still another way of presenting the magnetic moment calculation
>which is still more phenomenological, by a modified Green's function
>that contains, added to m, the magnetic moment interaction.
>The dynamical term M (F) is certainly altered by the changed electro-
>magnetic properties, but if one only retains effects of the order alpha
>divided by two pi, such changes can be neglected as of higher order.
>You ought to impose a phenomenological normalization requirement,
>of course, by a contact term designed to remove the electromagnetic
>field dependence. One point, connected with another thread of this
>forum (on radiative/non-radiative losses and hysteresis losses) de-
>mand a comment, however. No mention has been made of photon
>emission or absorption directly from the sources, although we know
>such processes to be important for the physical consistency of the
>description and so I suggested (on said another thread) to study
>the works by Green & Triffet and Chr. Tourenne. The reason of
>course is that the magnetic moment calculation is unaffected by
>these processes, with their element of arbitrariness. So leaving this
>point aside, I then cannot but finally wonder:
>Why did you not use the treatment by Julian Schwinger, PSF vol.
>1, pages 227-254 (Addison-Wesley, 1973)?????
>Unless you provide some reason, I believe that I sorrily ought to think
>that also your biophysical work is attacking an inexistent problem.
This Zaman left without technical response: "you fail to understand
the basic issue", he chastised her; "The future of the science of
consciousness is wide open to those with the vision to see it,
and the objectivity to pursue it. " And also: "it is clear that you have
absolutely no understanding of the subject. Your critical comments
(poison pen letters is a better description) have been nothing
more than smoke and mirrors, intended to draw one away...
despite your diatribes to the contrary "
(End of the first part of three in a long message)
Lic. Gabriel David Noel
<postmaster at neubio.gov.ar>
Institute for Advanced Study,
Buenos Aires, Argentina.
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