cc. Cornelia Hesse-Honegger is a scientific draftswoman. In radiation-hazard areas all over the world, as also in Switzerland, she looked for insects with malformations never demonstrated before. She documented her results in scientificly precise and artistically exeptional illustrations. In her book she shows that weak ionising radiation emitting day and night from nuclear facilities, in particular from nuclear power plants, is harmful for mankind and nature.
With her informative book “The Power of weak Radiation” Cornelia Hesse-Honnegger presents the educational, exiting and successful combination of arts and sciences. The author began her research on the risks of ongoing weak ionising radiation in 1986, in response to the Chernobyl reactor disaster. Therefore, the book is also the life report of an engaged creative artist who stands up for people and nature truly dear to her heart.
The author started her professional education as a scientific draftswoman at the University of Zurich. For many years she accumulated knowledge and experience in different scientific institutions, last not least from genetically mutant insects due to toxins or radiation. She continued her artistic creation with extreme care and a keen eye. Due to that she became able to detect and demonstrate evidence for ongoing weak ionising radiation in nature. “The Power of weak Radiation” takes us on a journey into the field of radiation biology. She shows that plant bugs can definitely deal as bioindicators for the biological effects of permanent radiation, independently of the paradigm of radioactivity thresholds. The results have to be taken seriously. The author points out, as if it was a thriller, how protagonists of the nuclear lobby as well as associated institutions again and again tried to marginalise her results.
At the same time she shows how to work scientificly free from sponsors’ interests, and which privations are related to this.
Also for those who did not have the opportunity to study medicine or to gain detailed knowledge in physics or biology it becomes possible to understand the facts and problems transparently and at the same time scientifically precisely.
The book is composed of three chapters. “Art as research” shows the beginnings of the analysis and the initial research with bioindicators due to the consequences of Chernobyl. The chapter “Interjection ‘over time the truth comes to light’” illustrates concepts like the Petkau-effect and the problem of the arbitrarily set radiation thresholds. The biggest chapter: “Unpunished radioactive contamination” deals with the following subjects: uranium mining, nuclear weapons, nuclear power plants, and nuclear waste. It shows the consequences of nuclear mining for the local population in various regions of the world. The interlinking between nuclear energy and nuclear weapon production cannot be overlooked in this chapter. Here it becomes clear which efforts lobbyists undertake to trivialise the consequences of ionising radiation as results from nuclear weapon experiments (also with human beings), images of atomic bombs (as dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki), reactor disasters, incidents, and radioactive waste disposal.
The appendix gives clear insight into physical concepts. The chapter “The brave”, also part of the appendix, is something like a “Who is who” of scientists, physicians, publishers, who deal critically with nuclear energy in all its facets. One can understand, this is not only a handful of naïve or politically radical activists but eminent persons. We should listen to them.
At the end of our review we close with the words of Ernst Bloch, words which Cornelia Hesse-Honegger cited in her book and which might have inspirated herself: “We are not only responsible for our decisions and actions but also for what we leave undone”.
We hope this book will find a broad readership. •
(Translation Current Concerns)
Hesse-Honegger, Cornelia. Die Macht der schwachen Strahlung – was uns die Atomindustire verschweigt. Solothurn 2016 (in German)
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