Letters, Correspondences by Andrew K Fletcher
Letter to DG Mackean Author of GCSE Biology And His Reply
Care of John Murray (Publishers) Ltd
50 Albermarle Street,
Tuesday, 04 May 1999
Dear Mr MacKean
I have been advised to contact you by Des Dunne at Qualifications and Curriculum Authority 29 Bolton Street, London, with a view to obtaining you comments on a completely new theory for fluid transport in plants and trees.
In 1994 I picked up your GCSE Biology book and read your comments about fluid transport. It was you honesty with regards to the lack of supporting evidence for current explanations which caused me to take a fresh look at the problem.
I ignored everything, which had been written and looked at the problem from a new prospective. Being a lateral thinker, I took into account only the things I could see to be relevant to a tree.
The tree trunk is near vertical.
The tubes inside the tree are predominantly either vertical or sloping.
98% of the water drawn in at the roots is lost as transpiration through the leaves.
The liquids in the tree contain soluble minerals and sugars, which are heavier than water.
The liquid that is lost in the evaporation from the leaves is pure.
Evaporation must concentrate residual liquids at the leaf. Gravity acts upon the heavier fluids by drawing them down, providing the tree with a power source. An equal reaction must occur in the less dense liquids, as you cannot have something flowing down without something flowing up to replace it.
This simple flow and return system caused water to flow seventy-eight feet up a cliff in Brixham in 1995, in front of Forestry Commission Scientists and Journalists. Given that the apparatus is a single length of open ended tube and a couple of glass open ended bottles filled with boiled water and a small amount of concentrated saline solution provides the power source, one would have presumed that this demonstration delivered a deadly blow to osmosis capillary action and root pressure.
What actually happened was that the people who witness this experiment do not want to rock the boat of accepted science. Following the last five years I have begun to understand why it is so difficult to offer new explanations to established science. But and it’s a big BUT. The truth has to prevail and this simple experiment may be reproduced at Infant level education.
It may not have been written in a way that will suit everyone but it is the truth and to me that’s all that matters in science.
I know that you are the correct person for this to sit with and I would have written earlier but couldn’t get through the red-tape. If you doubt my words then please repeat my experiments.
I look forward to your comments with interest and thank you for showing integrity when you wrote about fluid transport, for if you had not been so honest, I would never have begun this fascinating journey.
Dr David Cutler of the Jodrell Laboratory Kew has said that he will help me to write a paper, Bill Davies from New Phytologist, but we can’t do it alone and hope you might be interested in joining us.
Andrew K Fletcher