Foreword to the Present Version

The aim of this critical review is (and was) to present the work of Professor Dr. L.W.J. Holleman on a series of experiments on the possible biological transmutation of chemical elements in cultures of the alga Chlorella vulgaris to as wide an audience as possible. It is hoped by this means that further research may be encouraged. This present work was commissioned by the Stichting Professor dr. L.W.J. Holleman [a not for profit foundation].

At the centre of this review lies an experiment that was for Holleman the culmination of a life long search to prove the possible existence of the biological transmutation of elements. He took his inspiration from the agriculture-course, a number of lectures given by Rudolf Steiner in June 1924 to a group of farmers in Koberwitz, Poland. The experiment was written up (in German) and privately published and circulated by Holleman in 1981. He reported the provisional results of an experiment involving a series of closed Chlorella cultures and which demonstrated the disappearance (and subsequent reappearance) of the chemical element potassium. This report referred to a critical review article on the biological transmutation of chemical elements that was shortly to be published, covering both historical and modern experiments, including details of his own work. Sadly, this review article was never completed.

The present provisional review article is an attempt to translate [from his native Dutch] and complete that unfinished article. The first 5 and parts of the 6th and 7th sections of this present review article are direct translations of the surviving drafts of Holleman's manuscript. Unfortunately these drafts were not extensive enough to make it possible to complete the article as Holleman presumably intended. The final form of the last half of the review was never fully sketched out. The final sections that I have written to complete this work are therefore mostly based on his surviving laboratory notebooks, notes and letters, as well as on his privately circulated report of his initial, intriguing potassium results that were obtained in experiment II of his experimental series with the alga Chlorella.

It is likely that Holleman wrote his surviving drafts over an extended period of time, certainly up to 1982. That he intended to write up his Chlorella work fully once the potential transmutation results of experiment II had been confirmed might help explain why his fourth main experiment, which was designed to confirm these results, was hardly written up at all. It was as if he were holding his breath for the analytical results of experiment IV, which were completed by the end of 1982, before writing anything down. The results were, sadly, negative. The blank pages in his laboratory notebook, which he had left ready for a description of the methods, materials and the full results, were never completed. Something had gone terribly wrong which he could not explain. Experiment V led to experiment VI and still no replication of the unexplained results from experiment II. Eventually, some 14 years after starting his Chlorella work, he lost his laboratory. However that did not stop him from wishing to continue. Old age and infirmity played a part, but I believe it to have been disappointment that stopped him in the end.

Nevertheless he made several things clear. Firstly that he had not lost his faith that biological transmutations may be possible. Secondly that his belief was not enough. It had to be proved under rigorous scientific conditions, and not once but many times. To this end he intended that this and related work must be written up so as to invite the criticism of others. This he felt to be essential so that the future research that he wished for might have the benefit of the wisdom of others.

In February 1995 I was invited by Wim Holleman's daughter, Sophia Holleman, to continue her father's research. This I tentatively accepted. It led, in May 1996, to the presentation of my initial studies of the literature and other sources relating to this subject in a colloquium to the Louis Bolk Institute of the Netherlands. Despite the colloquium's positive reception I found myself unable to take on the tremendous burden of responsibility involved in conducting such revolutionary work [literally so for the conventional scientific community: Of note is that Holleman described this subject as precarious, even treacherous; the 19th century German transmutation researcher Herzeele, who provided Holleman with much of his inspiration, described it as a hopeless task. If the phenomenon of the biological transmutation of chemical elements was an easy one to prove, it would already be a generally accepted fact]. My wish here is to facilitate the possibility that others may continue Wim Holleman's pioneering work. This I hope to do by means of a critical translation and review of Holleman's notes and writings relating to his Chlorella research.

A few words may be needed on the style and content of this review. As was previously mentioned, the first 5 sections and parts of the 6th and 7th are direct translations of Holleman's rough drafts of his intended review. Only occasionally [though more so in the later sections] did I find it necessary to rewrite individual sentences, though only where I believed that their comprehension might otherwise have proved difficult. Where I felt the need to comment directly on Holleman's text [which I have freely done] I have chosen not to use footnotes. To distinguish his commentary from that of my own, I have identified mine by writing it in the first person and the present tense. I hope that this may prove acceptable to the reader. The final sections, covering Holleman's work from 1982-1989, are entirely my own, though wherever possible I have drawn directly on the thought processes recorded by Holleman in his numerous scattered notes and letters. This has proved to be extremely challenging, though highly rewarding. This present review makes no claim to be complete; given more time and financial resources, many references quoted by Holleman could have been checked and further relevant literature referred to; during the writing many questions were raised for which answers might have been obtained. Comments would however, be gratefully received, either by myself or the Stichting.

I have taken quite literally Holleman's request, in his own draft Foreword that is to follow, to bring forth any criticisms that I have had during my studies of this work. This is a highly controversial area of science that I believe must be approached in a direct, open, but rigorous manner. The main criticism that both Holleman and myself have for other previous research, is not that the experimental results were right or wrong, but rather that the experimental methods were rarely published in sufficient detail to enable an independent assessment. I hope that this review of Holleman's work goes some way in enabling both the lay reader and the scientific specialist to be able to assess much of the large volume of work conducted by Holleman on this subject.

Since writing this report, further notes and papers relating to Holleman's work have been discovered. It is intended some time in the next few months, once funds become available, to review these in the hopes of shedding more light on Holleman's as yet unexplained, intriguing, and challenging results.

David Cuthbertson, February 1999.