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on August 18, 2009
Putting aside Plichta's self-congratulatory style, he does make some interesting points. I liked his discussion of the hemoglobin molecule as a quadrapole magnet (p. 97), and chapter 16, on fractals, chaos, and reciprocal geometry. Plichta's main claim to fame is his discovery of the prime number cross, which is simply a consequence of arranging number in a rings (or shells) of 24 divisions. (The formula 6n (+ or -) 1 that generates the prime numbers above 3 obviously means that they can be derived from multiples of 6 by either adding or subtracting 1. And 24 divided by 6 is 4, so you have the 4 main arms of the cross. The arms are doubled because some numbers are derived by adding 1, as in (6 x 1) + 1 = 7, or by subtracting 1, as in (6 x 1) - 1 = 5). Had Plichta chosen a different number of divisions in his rings (other than 24), then the 4 armed cross would not appear. Arranging data in novel fashions can sometimes lead to new understandings, but I personally don't see anything revolutionary. The cross has two exemptions, the prime numbers 2 & 3 which do not fall on any of the arms. Plichta fudges on this one, and tries to devalue their status as primes. In other ways he elevates the number 3, along with 24, 81, (19 + 1), etc. finding examples everywhere in biology, chemistry,etc. Much of the early part of the book is exploring the "preponderance of threesomes" in science and all aspects of life. He even treats the speed of light as 3 x 100,000 km per second even thought he concedes that it is not exactly, but almost 3. Being a chemist, he should know that while the discovery of elemental triads was initially helpful in grouping elements together according to similar characteristics and multiples of atomic weights, the devotion to threes became a stumbling block to including more members into the same group (comprising the vertical columns of the modern periodic table. All too often, Plichta seems to fudge the facts to fit the numbers--a true Pythagorean. In this regard, he is reminiscent of 19th century scientist, Gustavus Hinrichs, one of the early discoverers of the periodic system of elements (prior to Mendeleev). Hinrich correlated the sizes of the planetary orbits (which produced a series of whole number ratios, the differences among them being multiples of 20) to ratios of atomic spectral line differences and thus atomic dimensions of various elements. He constructed a spiral periodic system with 11 spokes radiating from the center, with the chemical groups lying along the spokes. Whether or not Plichta's prime number cross will similarly advance scientific knowledge remains to be seen.

One of the key chapters seems to be chapter 13, The Law of Empty Space. The sum of the numbers that make up each concentric ring form prime multiples of 300: first ring 1 x 300, second ring 3 x 300, third 5 x 300, and so on. This kind of number play is reminiscent of magic squares and number games. Plichta's main assertion is that the structure of empty space is number: The atomic nucleus is the centre of the Prime Number Cross. (p. 157) And space is arranged around this point in the form of shells. The four prime number twins (primes that flank a non-prime)of the first shell determine the structure of all further shells. Plichta is excluding 3 which also forms a twin: 3 & 5. 3 also is right next to another prime 2 as is the first positive prime 1. So 1 and 3 are unique among the prime number twins, 2 being the only prime flanked by primes. But this doesn't fit his cross structure, so fudge factor glosses over this. Once you acknowledge these discrepancies, you can appreciate the correspondences that Plichta does make. The idea of "prime number space" as four-dimensional space is interesting, but an artifact of the right-angled space mirror imaging.

Other critical reviews focused on Plichta's inept mathematics. One review incorrectly charged Plichta with claiming 25 was a prime number (p. 117). A careful reading will reveal that the statement, "The prime number 25 is above the prime number 5," is a typographical error. The figure 2 shows 29 above 5 and 25 above 1, so the text should have said, "The prime number 29 is above the prime number 5." There are 3 other typos: page 119, third line from the bottom: "number 0 also happened to be occupied by the number 23." The O should be replaced by -1. On page 129, the proportional symbol ~ is missing between E2 and 1/time squared2 at the bottom of the page. On page 196, the 5th line of Pascal's Triangle shows after the -> 14631 and should show 14641. I tend to agree with one reviewer who criticized Plichta for "seeing patterns everywhere and in everything when they have no real significance." Significance was made of multi-scale isomorphisms in our pre-scientific past. It was called the hermetic principal of alchemy: "As above, so below." Their numerical significance was celebrated among the Pythagoreans of ancient Greece and have persisted today in NewAge numerology & astrology. A similar study in isomorphic meaning making can be found in Jose Arguelles' Earth Ascending, where the 64 hexagrams of the I-Ching are linked to the 64 codons of DNA and the numerical patterns of the Ben Franklin Square. For Arguelles, the key to the universe is the binary triplet code, inherent in the Mayan Tzolkin, I-Ching trigrams, and DNA codons. For Plichta, it is the prime number cross. Interestingly, neither Arguelles or Plichta ever mentions the golden ratio and equiangular spiral that was regarded as sacred geometry (the Divine proportion) by the Pythagoreans. If anything deserves the title of "God's secret Formula," then it is the golden ratio.
Seeing numbers everywhere can indeed be delusional as the films "A Beautiful Mind" and "23" aptly depict. One thing both positive and negative reviews indicate about Plichta's book: it is certainly stimulating and provocative. I found it worth the read, even though I disagreed with his conclusions. Read it yourself and you decide.
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on July 25, 2000
This book by Dr. Plichta is the wave of the future presented today. Scientists are finding about God more than they ever did in the past. "God is back" as this book declares. It is a combination of biography and scientific findings narrated in a fiction like text. The scientists will find it too simplified and the ordinary reader will find it too complicated unless he/she has a good background in Chemistry and Mathematics. Dr. Plichta 's findings in this book and his others confirm what has been already discovered about 19 years before him. In the book, "The Authorized English translation of the Quran" by Dr. Khalifa, from Amazon.com , the author made the same conclusion that Dr. Plichta discovered 19 years later. Specifically appendix 38 declares that number 19 is the signature of the Creator. It goes into the details of the mathematical miracle of the Quran that is built on number 19. Dr. Plichta in this book concludes that our universe is built on primary numbers with number 19 being the king of these primary numbers. As chemistry-student, he had noticed that each earthly life is built on 19 left-built amino acids, just as the Hamlet Shakespeare is composed also from only nineteen consonants. Then the scientist found out that from 81 natural occurring stable elements of the chemistry, nineteen are pure isotopes. He found out that the number of the double isotopes is also 19. There are further thirty-eight or 2 x 19 elements with even atomic numbers, which are multiple-isotopes with the isotope numbers 3,4,5 .... Dr. Plichta presents a wide variety of his discoveries and findings in an interesting fashion. He tried to get down to "God's Secret Formula". He believes he found it. The book however could have been presented in a more scientific format and down to the point. The details of the life of Dr. Plichta that was forced on the reader in many chapters were unnecessary and actually took away some of the value of this book. In general the book is very interesting and worth the time and money.
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on October 5, 1999
Another self proclaimed "genius" spouting off gradeschool math and not educated enough to realize how incredibly simple his "discovery" is. OF COURSE EVERY PRIME NUMBER IS OF THE FORM 6n +/- 1! Every number in general is of the form 6n-3, 6n-2, 6n-1, 6n, 6n+1, 6n+2. Since 6n-3=3*(2n-1) it's not prime. 6n-2 and 6n+2 are both divisible by 2 and 6n is divisible by 6. What's left? 6n +/- 1. Wow. Big surprise. Plichta's mistaken belief that he is somehow the "discoverer" of this "revelation" just shows how little he understands of math. He also makes the claim that defining 2 as the only "odd prime" is some sort of mistaken exception. This is no less wrongheaded than his 6n +/- 1 "discovery". Guess what? In the same way that 2 is the only even prime (which means "divisible by 2"), 3 is the only prime divisible by 3. 17 is the only prime divisible by 17. Every prime is no more nor less an "exception" in this sense than 2 is. The only difference is that the english language has assigned a name to the concept of "divisibility by 2" - namely, "even". Had we called all numbers divisible by 3 "triune" numbers then we would all be surprised that 3 is the only "triune" number. Mathematical exceptions based on the vagaries of the language like Plichta's are not exceptions at all. Once again, Plichta's failure to grasp this marks him as a mathemetician of the lowest caliber. His views are not "controversial" as he would like us to believe. They are merely irrelevant, trite and misguided to anyone but the mathematically gullible.
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on January 25, 2015
Dr. Plichta needs a great editor to take this book, delete all the self-important personal-journey & the-rest-of-science-and-education-are-oblivious-conformist-ignoramuses passages, tighten up the number science passages, delete most of his jumped-to-out-of-thin-air conclusions (e.g. insects can only comprehend two dimensions (what?!)), move all of the rocket-ship-and-rocket-fuel design material to an appendix, and work with Dr. Plichta to develop better/deeper, more lucid explanations of some of his profound work around the prime number cross and its reciprocal number space (the Sierpinski triangle/fractal) - which deserves a much wider audience (and possibly even a Nobel/Fields/Wolf prize). The english text also appears to suffer from various translation losses (linguistic nuances, tone). Overall, reading this was at times deeply enlightening/inspiring/interesting but also repeatedly annoying or even stressful (impatience, frustration with lack of clarity and/or breaks in logical flow, empathy/embarrassment for how the writing/narrative style could possibly earn Dr. Pichta ridicule instead of respect from the science/physics/math establishment). For me, worth the effort, but most folks I know would not slog through the tone/style/narrative to find the gems.
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on January 29, 1999
This book is nothing more than the ravings of a bitter man who obviously thinks quite a lot of himself. There are two possibilities: 1) Plichta is a genius beyond Einstein and nobody else on the planet is smart enough to see it, or 2) he is a pathetic, average-intelligence man who believes that he has solved all of science where the rest of humanity over all of history has not. I am putting my money on #2. This book is, however, an interesting case-study on how humans can delude themselves into seeing patterns everywhere and in everything when they have no real significance. Plichta takes several numerical examples from physics and biology and attaches all sorts of divine and mystic significance to them. Essentially it is worthless 'numerology', and shows how, in a large enough sampling of items, you can always find the odd example to support your wild claim.
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on November 27, 2014
Very interesting book. It is interesting, but hard to understand in parts.
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on April 29, 1999
Good Lord, what an incomprehensible book!!! I have a doctorate (in an unrelated field), but there were entire pages where I had NO CLUE what the author was trying to say. I guess I was expecting something more along the lines of Fred Alan Wolf's laymen's guides to quantum physics. The author may well be the Scientist of the Millenium that he keeps telling you (and telling you, and telling you ...) he is, and his theories may well be the paradigm-shattering bombs that he claims, but frankly I never even understood what the heck he was talking about. It truly seemed to me like near-gibberish. You'd better have some background in chemistry and advanced mathematics, or you're going to be as lost as me. I learned more about the author's theories in a 15-second offhand comment on National Public Radio than I learned from trying to wade my way through this wacky book. I bought the equally incomprehensible Physics of Immortality at the same time -- I think the Universe is trying to tell me to lighten up.
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on December 20, 1999
This is a difficult book; partly because it was written at the request of the publisher as a "popular" exposition and partly because Plictha is somewhat full of himself. The 3 Volume set, Das Primzahl Kreuz is easier to understand but is only available in German (amazon.de). He is a highly competent chemist and his observations about the two "missing" elements must be understood before much of his work can be understood. Much of what he puts together in number theory is well known in pieces, but his conclusions are fascinating. I would not recommend the book for someone without a fair grounding in chemistry and number theory, unless it's for casual reading. I would give the 3 volume set 5 stars just for it's attempt to explain the patterns of nature in a comprehensive and interesting way. Whether or not Plichta is correct in all or some of his cosmography is for the reader to decide.
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on July 15, 2002
This book has three interwoven threads: 1)the author engaging in a mild form of patting himself on the back (I hope he didn't break anything), 2)material dealing with chemistry, and 3)material dealing with mathematics, specifically prime numbers. The first two threads are irrelevant to me, as the book is marketed as a solution to the riddle of the universe through the use of "a mathematical formula, based around prime numbers" (back cover). Let us then examine the mathematical content of this work. First, as an aside, I think it is safe to say that 99.9% of the mathematics intellectual community would require any "solution to the prime number situation" to include either a proof or disproof of the Reimann Hypothesis - Plichta gives neither, of course.
Claim 1 (p.113, yes, it takes that long to get to the math): the reason 1 is not counted as prime is because its root "can be easily calculated" - its actually so the Fundamental Theorem of Arithmetic will hold (roots have nothing to do with prime #'s by the way).
Claim 2 (p.114-5): neither 2 nor 3 should be counted as prime due to their "special significance"; however, both 1 and -1 ARE prime - what then could be a coherent definition of 'prime number' given this restriction? Also, the primes range over only the natural #'s, so negative #'s, real #'s, complex #'s, etc. are neither prime nor non-prime.
Claim 3 (p.116): we are supposed to be awed at the symmetry of the prime sequence in a clock diagram of the numbers -1 to 24 - this symmetry only occurs due to the denial of prime status to 2 and 3, furthermore it does not continue into the number sequence.
Claim 4 (p.117): 25 is a prime number - I read this sentence about 25 times to make sure I wasn't somehow impaired (due to a bout of hysterical laughter, I am not going to be able to refute this charge).
Claim 5 (p.119): all prime numbers are of the form 6n(+/-)1 - actually they are of the form 6n-1 or 6n-5 (i.e. they fall in either column one or column five of a six column array of the natural numbers), 6n+1 delivers composite numbers as well as primes, Leibnitz was actually right.
When I began this review, I fully intended to go through most of the math in this "groundbreaking work," but I got really sleepy reading such bad math again just to convince a bunch of people that this Plichta guy is a big old load of nonsense. If you're wondering why I didn't include the "earth-shattering" discovery in this critique, its because frankly there isn't one. For those of you who may be disappointed, I'll make one up:
"Mind-Blowing" Claim #1: The number 19 is actually the number 3 in disguise. Here's how its done: 3 is the second prime number, so it's really a 2. Now 2 is the first prime number, so it's really a 1, but figuring this disguise wasn't good enough, the number 3 made three copies of itself (i.e. 9), and put those together with its disguised self (i.e. 1), giving us the perfect disguise of 19.
Now if I could just find a publisher . . .
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on May 3, 1997
First let me preface my review by admitting that I've only read half of this book, but I did this in 8 hours streight after happening accross it in a local Border's Books and Music. I will undoubtedly have to add to this review once I finish the rest of this wonderfully entreagueing work, which I'm sure will happen soon!

The book is essentially an autobiography of Dr. Peter Plichta's life as a scientist, and how he branched from his primary interest in pure chemistry into physical chemisty, biochemistry, nuclear chemistry, pharmacology, and theoritical physics, and the connections he made progressively along the way between biological phenomena, and natural and physical laws.

For example, Plichta sites that there are 19 "left-oriented" amino acids, and one "right-oriented" one which comprise the building blocks for every protien that exists in every living organism. There are also, out of the 81 stable, non-radioactive elements, 20 elements that have a single isotope - 19 have odd molecular numbers and 1 has an even molecular number. He also draws a connection between the inverse square law of gravitation force (ie as objects get more distant their mutual gravitational attraction decreases as an inverse square of that distance - 1/r^2) and the fact that in the first four orbital layers that electrons exist around atoms, there's a squaring effect in that on the first layer (closest to the atom), one pair exists, on the second four, on the third nine, and on the fourth 16. He makes continuous inferences to the abundance of three's found in nature and also the 3+1 configuration. Another interesting pattern that repeats itself is that of the number 273. Absolute zero is -273 degrees Celsius, 273 is also the number of days in the term of a human pregnancy and each lunar month is 27.3 days. He hints at the significance os prime numbers but halfway through the book has not linked them to any of these other connections per se. Plichta even ventures into planetary science by making the point that the moon is not a sattelite at all, but rather twin planet - since it was formed from part of the earth and not simply captured as a completely foreign body as with the moons of the gas giants. I suppose this would complement his patterns of threes and 3+1(or 4)'s as the earth would alternate between being the 3rd planet and the fourth depending on what part of the orbit the moon was in.

What made this such a hard book to put down is that Plichta does not put all his cards down on the table in the first chapter or even in the first half of the book, but strings the reader along with fascinating connections like the ones above in addition to the continuous recountings of how his discoveries and enlightenments progressed, and how his knowledge increased and enabled him to make these connections.

From only reading half the book, his thesis seems to be something akin to the idea that all these connections, these dualities, and patterns that are repeated uncannily throughout the
biological, chemical, physical, and even linguistic and psychological worlds could not have been mere coincidence and so are good grounds for positing the existance of a conscious designer of physical laws and biological entities and in particular human beings. Someone or something that understood how numbers work and could create these patterns and connections at will.

There is a good deal of technical information in the book, mostly about chemistry, which, though some is explained, is not "dumbed down." This adds to the impression that Plichta is addressing his readers as competant thinkers. This is fortunate because a great deal of the autobiographical detail in this book, though perhaps factually 100% correct, sometimes gives one the impression that Plichta is a bit too taken with his intellect.

I am not a scientist by trade or hobby, though I have taken limited studies in physics and chemistry. I would recommend this book to those with a layman's interest in science and perhaps to true scientists as well.
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