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Douglas R.O. Morrison's Cold Fusion News
No. 19—25 August 1989

Back to Morrison Index

(Source: New Energy Times)
Dear E632 and WA84 Colleagues,

Cold Fusion Heats Up! New Institutes Founded.

1. Summary
2. Starting up of National Cold Fusion Institute for Research
2.1 Introduction
2.2 Procedings and Vote of Advisory Board
2.3 Funding
2.4 EPRI meeting to discuss positive results
3. Starting up of BYU Fusion Research Centre
4. Starting up of Japanese Institute of Fusion Science
5. Building of Giant Fusion Cell in India
6. Utah Reports no Neutrons or Gammas from Pons's Cells
7. Discussion of Positive results
7.1 Florida Results Contested - Upstairs/Downstairs
7.2 Checks of Texas A&M Tritium Results
7.3 General Electric
7.4 Other Positive results
7.5 Summary of Positive and Negative Results.
8. Other Items
8.1 Visit to Harwell
8.2 Report from Berlin
8.3 Comments on DOE Panel Report by Dr. Pons and Senator Garn.
8.4 Paper from Madrid
8.5 Changes at Los Alamos
8.6 European Physical Society
8.7 High Altitude Cold Fusion

Notes on LEP

1. SUMMARY

The last week has been rather wild and quite fascinating. It might be thought that the recommendation of the Interim report of the DOE Panel on Cold Fusion "against any significant expenditures to establish cold fusion research centres" might have some effect. But the State of Utah has now set up the National Cold Fusion Research Institute after its Advisory Board appeared to have heard only positive testimony. Strong additional funding is expected from industry. Neighbouring BYU does not seem to have been involved, but they have now established their own Fusion Research Centre!

The menace of Japan taking over a great American discovery has been brandished. Now it is reported that a Japanese Institute of Fusion Science is being organised. Also in India a five foot tall cathode is being built which would be bigger than any other.

Then yesterday there was quite a bit of excitement in Utah when Mike Salamon gave a press conference to announce their results (see No.18), that their neutrons and gamma counters see no fusion from the cells in Dr. Pons's lab. The response of Dr. Pons was breath-taking (section 6).

Much of the justification of the Utah State Advisory Board came from the positive results obtained in Florida and at Texas A&M. However the Florida results are contested by a group upstairs(section 7.1) and the lack of checks for the Texas results are discussed in Section 7.2. Finally all positive and negative results are briefly summarised in Section 7.5

Comments from Utah (and elsewhere) on the DOE panel report are fine examples of contemporary politics and worth savouring (section 8.3).

2. STARTING UP OF NATIONAL COLD FUSION RESEARCH INSTITUTE

2.1 Introduction

A major new Research Institute has been set up which is intended to be National, not for the State of Utah only. The funding is expected to be national also. How this came about despite the recommendations of a federal panel, is a classic case worthy of study by students of Science Politics and of Life. The essential seems to be to reinforce the positive and exclude the negative - peer review is excluded.

2.2 Procedings and Vote of Advisory Board

The Utah State Advisory board on Energy/Fusion held hearings to establish whether the original claims of Profs Fleischmann and Pons were confirmed. All accounts agree that only positive results were presented. As they appeared impressive, it is only fair to the board members if we give them.

B. Stanley Pons told the Board that he had used "Cold Fusion" to boil water and suggested that household uses for his purported discovery were in the offing. In his experiment a "boiler" the size of a thermos emmitted 15 to 20 times the amount of heat being put into it -- a reaction that cannot be explained by normal chemical reactions, Dr. Pons said (Rayleigh Times and Observer, July 12). On the other hand it was said by GE that Drs. Pons and Fleischmann have admitted that their early data on gamma ray spectroscopy was flawed. It was said the results were " inappropriately homogenised" (SLC Tribune).

A report from the U. to the state Energy/Fusion Advisory Council was leaked to the Salt Lake City Tribune. It lists the "silent" organisations that have obtained confirmation of Fleischmann and Pons's work but have not published.

It said that scientists at the General Electric Company's "research facility at Schenectady, NY had reproduced the experiment and have 'obtained excess energy at about the 15% level'. The report also says that GE 'after long and careful study..... concludes that the basic calorimetric theory of Pons and Fleischmann is correct and shows excess energy'. GE refused to confirm the report. 'We're not confirming or disclaiming heat', said Peter Van Avery, GE's manager of communications [an interesting title - does it mean manager of telecommunications or of public relations? - my comments are in square brackets] at Schenectady. 'We're not making any claims at all, but the research is continuing.'"

" A scientist from GE also examined the research of (U College of Mines Dean) Dr. Wadsworth, the report said. 'The GE thermodynamist concluded that those data cannot be explained by any error in measurement, nor any chemical phenomenon'"

The Deseret News later said that "The GE scientists also have reported finding significant levels of tritium in the electrolyte, but no signs of helium 4 in the bar".

"The report also said Edmund Storms and Carol Talcott of Los Alamos National Laboratory have electrochemical cells that produced excess heat 'after being coated with a lithium-palladium alloy'" [probably it was the electrodes that were coated].

"Drs. Storms and Talcott had earlier reported the production of tritium, a fusion by-product, in the same cells. Both researchers were unavailable for comment Tuesday".

"Charles D. Scott of Oak Ridge National Lab. has one cell that is showing 'small excess of heat(about 8%)', the report said. Dr. Scott was not in his office Tuesday afternoon, but Oak Ridge spokesman Ed Aebischer said 'He has apparently seen some evidence of heat production'. Mr. Aebischer added that the results were preliminary".

"More confirmation of heat was attributed to Michael Mackubre, a researcher at the Stanford Research Institute in Menlo Park, California. 'He has had several incidents of extended excess heating', the report said"

"The report said Dr. Mackubre used closed system calorimetry. Some critics of the U. research have said that a closed system, where none of the evolving gases is allowed to escape the cell, is more accurate than the open system used by Dr. Pons and the others who have reported the heat."

"Dr. Mackubre was unavailable but the results were acknowledged by a representative of for the Electrical Power Research Institute, which is funding the research."

"'That is correct', said John Maulbetsch, senior adviser in the office of exploratory research at EPRI. EPRI is a non-profit research consortium funded by electrical utility companies. 'There have been some indications of heat, but they have been sporadic'."

"And another scientist at Case Western Reserve University reported'low levels of excess energy'. The researcher was identified only as E. Yeager."

"The report also made reference to instances of tritium production by Thomas Furtek at the University of Colorado. Tritium has been reported by a number of laboratories, but it has come in levels far below the excess heat."

The U student newspaper, the Summer Chronicle, reports some of the testimony of Drs Pons and Huggins. "Pons said one cell he has been experimenting with produced as much as 22 Watts of continuous power. 'Any reasonable engineer would be able to upscale (the experiment) for commercial use', Pons said. For example, the first commercial product will most likely be a typical water heater for a family home."

He said they would be submitting two papers in the next few months [elsewhere it is suggested that the first will be in September but in talking to Martin Fleischmann yesterday, he described to me so many calculations and other work that he would like in the paper, that it could take longer to write and to review]. "The first paper will detail the calorimetric measurements of the experiment and will present error limits for each calculation." It will perhaps be submitted to the Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry [it will be interesting to see if it is reviewed the same way as their first paper which was strongly criticised - for example it is the first paper on calorimetry that I have seen that did not give a single temperature]. "The second will analyze the compound tritium which has been detected in small amounts. Pons said tritium is not found naturally and is only present after a nuclear reaction."

"Huggins said his fusion experiments have also produced excess heat and critics of the U experiment are not performing the thermal measurements correctly. 'At Stanford we have four sets of cells operating and each one has given off heat. But the heat from the experiments is giving very sporadic results. This shows that there are still a lot of questions to be answered' Huggins said."

On 21 July the Fusion/Energy Advisory Council voted unanimously to accept the work of B. Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann as confirmed. In view of the evidence presented above to the Council and the absence of any report of all the other experiments which found no effect, it was reasonable for the council to vote this way. However the Salt Lake Tribune noted that "it withheld approval of budget specifics because of concern over administrative costs".

"The fusion council's executive committee expedited its approval.... upon learning that the fusion race was gaining speed - particularly at the University of Florida where the most favourable confirmation of the U experiment was recently announced. Southern scientists said Gamma rays, tritium, and excess heat sufficient to light a light bulb, have been produced" (Deseret News).

On 7 August the state council voted to release $4.5 million for research into cold fusion and this allows the funding of a National Cold Fusion Institute for Research. The vote was 7 to 1 plus one abstention - he was Wilford Hansen, the only physicist on the panel, who had caused some controversy by staying on the the panel although at the last moment he had applied for $750 000 of this money for his research. The negative vote was believed to be Dr. Karen Morse who is Dr. Hansen's Provost at USU who was particularly worried about the high administative costs. These two are the only scientists on the panel.

State officials said that this money represents one-third of the State's annual investment in economic development (Deseret News).

U officials said the initial staff will be composed of U faculty members supplemented by interested faculty from Utah State University, BYU, and visiting researchers from other universities and industrial labs. A permanent staff will be developed as quickly as funding levels and the recruiting process permits (Deseret News).

Someone who has studied the State bill to fund the research says that it is carefully written so that funding could be given even though the effect is not fusion.

2.3 Funding of The National Institute

A 25 000 square foot facility has been taken over in the University's Research Park and apparently the first employees were hired some time ago. There is a five year funding plan. Of the $4.5 million voted by the Utah State legislature, between $2.8 million (75% of the Institute's budget) will be spent the first year and the remaining $1.7 m (37%) in the following year. This is regarded as seed money and it is expected that a further $20 million will be forthcoming from industry and government sources. Dr. Pons has said that he will not be joining the Institute as he wishes to concentrate on experiments he should do and wants to do. Some Council members were worried that Drs Pons and Fleischmann would not be adequately funded but Dr. Brophy said "Dr. Pons will get whatever he wants" (Deseret News). He has received funding from the Office of Naval Research (SL Tribune).

The Electrical Power Research Institute, EPRI, is a group sponsored by many members of the electrical power industry. Its leaders and members appear to be believers in the production of excess heat, though they are cautious about other claims. While it is expected that government agencies will fund, this will take some time; the EPRI will fund fairly rapidly, in a few months. The local power utility, Utah Power and Light, is not a member of EPRI, though they follow cold fusion - but they look at ALL the data, both positive and negative.

The Deseret News of 8 August reported that GE has signed a financial agreement to develop fusion research. U. President Chase Peterson said that GE's investment would be "sizable". Dr. James Brophy told the Council that additional corporate funding, likely to include Westinghouse, is being sought and eventually funding from the DOE is anticipated. In this connection, Robert L. Park of the APS reports that Rep. Wayne Owens (R-UT) whose district includes the U, recently sent a "Dear Colleague" letter to fellow members of Congress, urging them to keep an open mind on cold fusion in spite of the negative report of the DOE cold fusion panel.

It is expected that ONR and NSF will fund but mildly.

2.4 EPRI Meeting to discuss positive results.

Yet another meeting has been held at which results and experimenters were selected. Only positive results on cold fusion were given. Dr. Bockris of Texas A&M told me that it was a most impressive meeting. The results from Florida are the most advanced in respect of the fact that they have heat, tritium, neutrons and gamma rays.

He considers there are distinct "types of heat emission;
(1) For most of the time the electrodes do nothing
(2) For maybe a quarter of the time.....they emit a low-level heat .... 10 to 15% excess heat.

(3) What is really exciting is that from time to time the electrodes emit heat which is often 3 to 4 times and sometimes 7 to 8 times, the energy being put in. These bursts last anywhere between 10 minutes to 90 hours. Many of them last 10 to 15 hours. They stop as suddenly as they have begun."

For tritium, he says that 7 or 8 labs have it now though 2 government labs will not announce until they get reproducibility. At Texas they have tried 12 electrodes now and get tritium in large amounts from all of them, but the curious thing is that you never know when it will start - between 7 days and 10 weeks.

The argument as to whether it is a volume or a surface effect continues. Prof Bockris considers that there "are two parties now;
(a) The Fleischmann-Pons party which thinks everything is compressed inside the electrode
(b) The Bockris party which believes that things happen because of very high fields at dendritic tips on the surface."
[It would be good to have some solid experimental evidence to justify these two opinions.]

Hear rumours that there may be other meetings organised at which only positive results and not all results, will be presented.

3. STARTING UP OF BYU FUSION RESEARCH CENTRE

Not everyone in Utah agreed with the setting up of a National Fusion Research Institute in Utah. When Stephen Jones of Brigham Young University was interviewed for local news on channel 2, he said that he "respectfully" disagreed with the findings of the committee. "We have input that would be useful to the committee", he said. However the Y News, a paper of BYU, on 11 August wrote that "A Center for Cold Nuclear Fusion Studies has been established on campus with B. Kent Harrison, professor of physics as director. Stan L. Albrecht BYU academic vice-President and associate provost said the centre will conduct research on a wide range of fusion-related projects, expanding on the work of Stephen E. Jones and his associates who have been conducting cold nuclear fusion research at BYU since 1986."

"Jones, an associate professor of physics and Douglas N. Bunion, a professor of chemical engineering and chairman of that department, will serve as Associate Directors of the center."

"Harrison said the centre will facilitate the scholarly exchange of information in peer-reviewed journals and at professional meetings and will correlate fusion research at BYU and with other organisations. He said the centre will also attract funding in support of research and develop commercial applications for cold nuclear fusion."

It may be seen that these two centres in Utah have quite different styles.

4. STARTING UP OF A JAPANESE INSTITUTE FOR FUSION RESEARCH + 5. BUILDING OF A GIANT FUSION CELL IN INDIA

Have heard some reports of a centre being set up in Japan. The fullest account is in the Salt Lake Tribune of August 24;

"The editor of an Asian science and technology journal said Wednesday that scientists in Japan have organized an Institute of Fusion Science and are rapidly moving ahead in cold fusion.

"Japan is the most organized of all the countries," said Ramtanu Maitra, editor of Fusion Asia, a journal of energy and other technology issues published in New Delhi.

Mr. Maitra was in Utah to see fusion scientists at the University of Utah and Brigham Young University. He met with BYU physicist Paul Palmer Tuesday and with U. of U. College of Mines Dean Milton Wadsworth and National Cold Fusion Institute Director, Hugo Rossi, Wednesday.

Mr. Maitra has a master's degree in nuclear physics from the State University of New York at Stonybrook, but he said he came to Utah as a scientific journalist, not a nuclear scientist. Mr. Maitra said the institute was set up Aug. 1, and some 80 scientists will join under the leadership of Hideo Ikegami, a respected scientist.

He said the Japanese are very cautious and would not embark on such a thing unless it was worth pursuing. "They have found something. It's very clear."

University of Utah officials, in their bid for fusion funding, have repeatedly raised the specter of Japanese scientists using an organized effort to commercially exploit cold fusion before the United States.

He also said the Japanese tend to take a long-term approach to their research. "They won't get very euphoric, but they won't get very discouraged either....You have to get out of the mind-set that if it doesn't happen fast, it doesn't happen at all.

"We have to remember that Japan has an advanced hot-fusion research base," Mr. Maitra said. "This is not something totally new for them." The Japanese have been closed-mouthed about fusion, he said. It's very difficult to get information...

But he believes they will eventually be willing to publish more on fusion than their U.S. counterparts, who tend to classify such research for national security or patent reasons.

Mr. Maitra also said his own country, India, has stepped up its cold-fusion efforts at the country's nuclear research centers, including the Trombay Nuclear Research Center. Trombay, about 20 miles from Bombay, has 12,000 scientists [surely an error - it should be "staff" not "scientists"], he said.

One Indian group has build a five-foot-tall cathode for a cold-fusion cell, which far exceeds anything built in the United States. "They wouldn't have gone for it if they were't seeing anything significant," he said. He said Asian scientists are acutely aware that cold-fusion research was launched in Utah, and several of them expressed envy that he was visiting here."

Have minimal confirmation of what Mr. Maitra has said and would welcome any completely independent confirmation. In the early days there were reports of work on cold fusion in Japan and Tokyo and Hokkaido Universities were reported as confirming some effects, but since then there have been remarkably few reports. Maybe as Sherlock Holmes said in the Hound of the Baskervilles, the real question is why the hound did NOT bark.

In India three labs have reported results which could be considered positive confirmation. Dr. P. K. Iyengar, Director of the Bhabba Atomic Research Centre at Trombay, Bombay, has sent me a paper "Cold Fusion in BARC Experiments" where he reviews a series of positive results obtained by groups at his institute. He says that full papers are being prepared and one looks forward to receiving them.

6. UTAH REPORTS NO NEUTRONS OR GAMMAS FROM PONS'S CELLS

In the previous note, No. 18, it was explained that while several of Pons's cells were running on a table in his lab, Mike Salamon, Ed Wrenn and Haven Bergeson and Collaborators were operating neutron and gamma counters underneath the same table. No fusion products were detected.

On 24 August Drs Salamon and Bergeson went public with their results which caused considerable local interest. They have written a paper for Nature.

Their main result are;
a) the upper limit for neutrons corresponds to less than one billionth of a Watt from the reaction d + d ---> 3He + n
b) the upper limit for gammas corresponds to less than one billionth of a Watt from the reaction d + d ---> 4He + gamma
c) the upper limit for internal conversion electrons is about one billionth of a Watt - these would be the E2 nuclear gammas from Coulomb excitation of the even-even Pd isotopes by the 3 MeV protons produced in the reaction d + d ---> t + p
[These would seem to cover the main fusion reactions]

[These results would appear to exclude the helium internal conversion theory of Chaves Walling and John Simmons. And what is important today, be in contradiction with the results reported on tritium production. It would be good if it were possible for a group finding tritium were to co-operate with the Utah group to make simultaneous measurements as a single measurement of a surprising result needs confirmation by a simultaneous measurement of a different nature, to be generally acceptable.]

Neither physicist was willing to dismiss Pons and Fleischmann's results but they said it would require a mechanism unknown in nuclear physics.

According to a previous agreement they showed their paper first to prof. Pons. His answer was very simple - in the six weeks in May and June when they were running, there had been no heat excursions. The Salt Lake Tribune quoted; "'I'm not at all surprised by their results' said Dr. Pons, who said the cells they were monitoring were running at barely detectable levels. Dr. Pons said the cells had none of the heat 'bursts' that have been reported. These bursts have produced up to 50 times the energy supplied by the cells battery, Dr. Pons has reported, but they have been extremely elusive."

"'We have purposely kept the power amounts low on these cells', Dr. Pons said, explaining that he and colleague Martin Fleischann are trying to 'lower our error bars' in their heat detection."

[All this is rather strange. In his previous report in No. 18, it was written "During this period we were informed at least twice that there was at least one "active" cell; during one of these times, the D2O electrolyte was personally observed to be boiling. Our discussion focusses on the episode, which lasted approximately two hours {until the cell was turned off under Prof. Pons's instructions -- this was to avoid a catastrophic event}". Also Dr.Pons's group tried to generate cell activity for them by changing the current suddenly from 100 mA to 600 mA in the most promising cell (the one that boiled later). There seems a contradiction here. However it could easily be resolved by looking at the original log books kept by Pons's group. From past history, it is possible that the reply will be given that the lawyers will not allow it. This would be a surprising reply since Dr. Salamon has measured one billionth of a Watt which could be of no practical importance to a lawyer. However the argument might still be employed, so it is to be hoped that the pages will copied and stored separately and carefully to avoid any unfortunate accidental erasing of such historically important data].

The Tribune continues "Despite their null result in Dr. Pons's lab, Dr. Salamon and Dr. Bergeson are setting up a lab at the National Cold Fusion Institute. The scientists say they will not be operating any fusion cells themselves but they will be assisting others in looking for fusion particles." So far as I can make out the Institute will run almost as a funding agency with various groups being semi-independent. Thus Dr. Salamon will be a group which will be called on whenever another group finds a heat excess and his group will make independent measurements, usually of different fusion products. [This seems an excellent procedure - and I hope my understanding is correct!]

[It strains one's belief that during the six weeks in May and June that Dr. Pons did not once wish to do a test which made a cell active, especially when he knew that his colleagues were making a test during these six weeks. However if we assume it were true, then Dr. Pons has just said "we purposely kept the power amounts low on those cells". Now "keeping low" normally means that the power was not zero. What is the smallest possible power that Dr. Pons could measure? Certainly more than a one milliwatt (this surely will be given in their forthcoming paper). Now at a milliwatt of power from fusion, this would imply a flux of over a billion neutrons per second. Since this enormous signal was not observed, then from the results of Dr Salamon et al. and the statement of Dr. Pons, it must be concluded that the heat they observe cannot originate from nuclear fusion].

7 DISCUSSSION OF POSITIVE RESULTS REPORTED.

7.1 Florida results contested. Upstairs/Downstairs.

In May I heard that at the University of Florida in Gainsville, evidence had been found for tritium in cells. However I then heard that there were two groups working in the Nuclear Science building.

It was the Downstairs group of G. Schoessow and J. A. Wethington, both Emeritus professors of Nuclear Engineering, who had held a press conference to announce the observation of tritium in their one cell which had been running for a few days.

The Upstairs group consisted of 9 people, who are a mixed team of nuclear chemists, electrochemists, condensed matter physicists and nuclear physicists. They had been running much longer and studying calorimetry, neutrons. gammas and tritium. They did not find any effect. They also pointed out that the Downstairs group were working with heavy water that was heavily contaminated with tritium.

Felt that this affair was closed so commented very little about it.

However on 4 August on the KUER radio fusion update programme of NPR, Prof. Schoessow said that they claimed to see tritium. In the CNF summary part 1, version 2 is written "After 48 electrolysis, they find about 1 E9 tritons. After 100 hours, they find about 2 E10 tritons. A control run without current produced negligible tritium. They subjected the the Pd to a 'special treatment' before the experiment but are uncertain which 'adaptation may have contributed to their findings.'"

" On the radio he said that he has a cold fusion cell of his own design, patent pending. He claims he can vary the heat output continuously, and on demand, from no excess heat to 200% of the input energy. He has measured tritium at a rate of 50 000 disintegrations per minute per ml of electrolyte. He said he has deliberately not said much about his work. He did not want it to leak out before he was sure of his results. His university had asked him not to speak to the press, but he had granted an interview to NPR before the request was made. He went on to say he had been called by many companies that are trying to get a cold fusion cell working. He said they often have 20 or more cells running and cannot get any effect.

Prof. Bockris has been reporting to me that the observations of tritium at Florida confirm their own work in Texas A&M. He feels they are the most advanced series as they have heat, tritium, neutrons and gamma rays. He says he is most impressed by them especially as they are respectively 81 and 75 years old (though still younger than Lineus Pauling who had a paper on Cold Fusion published in Nature at the age of 88 years). The results of the Downstairs group have apparently made a great impression in Utah and greatly helped the new National Cold Fusion Institute. Prof. Bockris says he is going to visit them these days.

I have sent a message to them asking for copies of their results as it is not possible to judge from the indirect messages I have received.

The Upstairs group have continued their measurements with one to three cells. They find no evidence for cold fusion and therefore do not endorse the claims of Drs. Schoessow and Wethington. In particular their methods are different.

[The situation seems unclear but since they are neighbours it should be possible to arrange for an internal workshop to discuss exhaustively the two sets of experiments. Naturally I am sure that in these circumstances it would be best for the reputation of the Department, if there were no publications, press releases or TV interviews].

PS This evening, 30 August, received a message that the Upstairs group leader, Dr. Muga and Dr Achey have talked with professors Schoessow and Wethington who said that they only claimed excess heat and they did not claim particles or tritium. When asked specifically about tritium, Prof. Schoessow replied "We do not want to see tritium".

7.2 The Texas A&M Tritium Results

Prof. Bockris sent me the preprint of their paper "Production of Tritium from D2O Electrolysis at a Palladium Cathode" by N. J. C Packham et al. which they had submitted to Nature but the referees reports were unsympathetic. He asked for my opinion. The paper reports on 24 cells tried. Results of measurements for tritium for nine of them are tabulated for a variety of running conditions and activities up to 5 E7 disintegrations per minute per ml were given. These are very high rates and my immediate concern was for the health of the experimenters. If the tritium was from the reaction d + d ---> t + p then the 3 MeV protons would give large numbers of neutrons from the charge exchange reaction, p + n ---> n + p , and the 1 MeV tritons would produce neutrons from t + d ---> n + 4He. A serious biohazard.

There were checks that the initial materials did not contain tritium, but the obvious check that has been many times discussed (e.g. Nature) to repeat the measurements with ordinary water, H2O, had not been done. Also the check where the cathode was replaced by an inert material such as platinium had not been done. As a fairly experienced referee and editor, this was sufficient grounds for asking for further work as when one claims an important result, normal standards of refereeing should apply. In addition the paper was not up to normal standards in several other respects.

7.3 General Electric

It was written in a confidential report that was obtained by the SL Tribune, that GE personel had found 15% excess heat. However in a radio interview, Hugo Rossi, the new Director of the National Cold Fusion Institute explained that he had written the letter himself to the Council. He said that the GE scientists had been given three P&F type cells prepared in Pons's own lab, one of which (according to P&F's measurements) consistently produced 15% excess heat. The three cells were taken back to Schenectady for GE scientists to make their own measurements. There was evidently some question in the minds of the GE people over the calibration and Rossi stated that if a conservative view was taken, the 15% would evaporate. Rossi made it clear that GE scientists had not confirmed excess heat.

7.4 Other Positive Results

7.4.1,2,3 The three positive results that most impressed people at the EPRI meeting were from Florida, Texas and GE and they have been discussed above. About the other quoted results;

7.4.4 Utah - see measurements of Salamon et al. discussed earlier.

7.4.5 Drs Storms and Talcott at Los Alamos National Lab. The Lab has called these results preliminary. It is said that after the first two cells subsequent cells (60 of them!) had failed to show an effect.

7.4.6 Dr. Scott of Oak Ridge National Lab - the Lab spokesman called these results "preliminary"

7.4.7 Dr. Mackubre of Stanford Research Institute has claimed 8% excess heat. The EPRI funding agency described them as "some indications of heat, but they have been sporadic". More information is necesary.

7.4.8 At Case Western Reserve University, "low levels of excess energy" have been reported - more information is necessary.

7.4.9 Tritium production at the University of Colorado at levels well below that corresponding to claims of excess heat - again more information is necesary to judge

7.4.10 Prof. Huggins of Stanford University has reported 12% excess heat based on observing that the cathode got warmer when D2O was used than when H2O was used - however this is natural given the different properties (e.g. heat capacities) of the two systems - but await more information, including these effects being taken into account.

7.5 Summary of Positive and Negative Results

There are a number of experiments that have given positive results, but if one asks that the experiments have all the checks done (including H2O and dummy cathodes), be well analysed with conventional statistics and show a statistical significant effect consistently, then I do not know of one which satisfies these normal scientific requirements.

On the other hand there are groups which have done careful work, explained it, obtained consistent results, but these groups all obtain null results i.e. they observe no cold fusion effects. Examples are Harwell, Karlsruhe, Yale-BNL, ATT, Bugey-Frejus, Caltech and several others.

Many of the groups obtaining positive results emphasise that the effects they observe are sporadic and irregular. They cannot predict when they happen. Normally this is taken as a sign that the results are untrustworthy. But this is turned into an advantage saying it shows this is something new and needs further investigation. But before further investigation it is necessary to establish that any effect is taking place at all and this means doing an experiment that meets with the criteria of normal science. If one wishes to believe the effect is caused by fusion then a reasonable experiment would try to observe more than one fusion product simultaneously and do the elementary check that the rates deduced from each fusion product are in agreement.

If only there were one good experiment that was well done and well described. Just one.

8. OTHER ITEMS

8.1 Visit to Harwell

Visited Harwell and spent some time with David Williams. Discussed the Harwell work - it is very impressive and extensive. They have written a major paper for Nature, but when I checked with David today, they still had not heard whether it has been accepted. But the essential results are they they do not see any excess heat, neutrons, gammas, tritium or helium and have been able to give upper limits on processes which are very low.

8.2 Report from Berlin

Prof Marx of the Freie University of Berlin (who had worked with Prof. Kreysa of Frankfurt) told me that they had put tritium also in their cell and found that they quickly had DTO. They looked for neutrons and found "nothing, absolutely nothing"

8.3 Comments on DOE Panel report by Dr Pons and Senator Garn

The Deseret News printed comments on the interim report of the Department of Energy Panel by Dr. Pons;

"'It's a totally useless committee that is telling untruths. It serves no purpose.' He said he agreed with a statement made by Senator Jake Garn, R-Utah.

Garn critised what he sees as dirty politics in the scientific community for smearing cold fusion research and ruining its chances for large federal spending.

'I used to think politicians were dirty, slimy dishonest people. I've decided that the scientists are far worse than politicians', Garn said.

'I wholeheartedly agree with him' Pons said. 'In fact I am thinking about changing professions and becoming a politician'".

[and I used to think US Senators were distinguished responsible people]

Actually Dr. Pons had started attacking the Panel in the Salt Lake Tribune the day before, agreeing with Dr. Bockris that it was a "killer commission" and attacking Nature editor John Maddox especially because of his editorial calling on scientists 'to dismiss cold fusion as an illusion'. "'John Maddox's problem is he only reads his own newspaper", Dr. Maddox said, emphasising that Nature 'is a newspaper not a scientific journal.'"

[Pity, I've just ordered Nature and rather enjoy it].

8.4 Paper from Madrid

In June was invited to go to Madrid where the group of Carlos Sanchez had detected neutrons with a BF3 detector plus some gammas and variations in tritium concentration. They have now sent me a copy of their paper which will be published in Solid State Comm. The paper gives the data and at the foot of the table is written "After finishing this record (on 9 June) the current was switched on and the experiment is still running in the same conditions. From that day until now only background-like signals have been recorded from detectors and counters." [ Carlos is a very kind man and I was most impressed by a physics course that he has set up for blind students, which particularly interested me. There are also practical demonstrations that he has built. In Note No. 15, I asked if any other university had a similar course for blind students. So far I have had no replies - does this mean that Carlos's course is the first?]

8.5 Changes at Los Alamos

In the subject of cold fusion, Los Alamos has tried to be very fair and even-handed. However at the Santa Fe conference that they mainly organised with varible success, people from Los Alamos presented results which both established cold fusion and showed that it did not occur. The null results have not, as far as I know, been questioned, but the reports of positive results have been controversial. At the meeting, after the evidence for neutron bursts had been presented, I asked if the essential control experiment of using normal H2O had been done and was told by Dr. Menlove that it had not been done but they would do it next. However they have now issued a preprint in which other experiments have been added but this promised check is not reported. Have asked their BYU collaborator several times about this but so far have not had a reply. Now I hear from various sources that they have trouble repeating these sporadic bursts - it would be good to have this cleared up. There is also considerable confusion over the press reports that Drs Storms and Talcott had found tritium but the Lab called the results preliminary. Again they may be having trouble repeating their results. The Wall Street Journal of 19 July carried an advertisement for a Director and Deputy Director of Public Affairs.

[It is often difficult to be fair and balanced. For example if you were making a film where the earth is shown to be round, would you agree to a demand from a member of theFlat Earth Society for equal space to show the earth was flat?]

8.6 European Physical Society

It is interesting to see how opinion among physicists changes with time about cold fusion. In May the American Physical Society organised two sessions on cold fusion but for their bi-annual meeting next month the European Physical Society has decided that cold fusion should not be discussed.

8.7 High Altitude Cold Fusion

In the August 21 edition of Community College Week, it is reported that at Colorado Mountain College they are trying cold fusion in their science lab which is at 10 000 feet. This is part of a large project by Rockwell International to test several variations of the Utah experiment. Associate professor Peter Jeschofnig and student volunteers have monitored the cold fusion experiment using equipment supplied by Rockwell. The company collected the data files as well as gases generated by the experiment to conduct further research. Dr. Jeschofnig said "the college altitude test did appear to generate fusion. It looks like a positive test" he added. Rockwell received funding for its test through the Department of Energy. At other sites the company is using several other variations in addition to altitude.

The aim of the study at high altitude was to look for muon-generated fusion.

[It is possible that it was not known that more decisive and better controlled experiments have been performed and reported on of tests on cold fusion using muon beams. Also theoretically one would expect the muons to be quickly trapped on the high-Z palladium cathode.]

Douglas R. O. Morrison

PS There is no truth in the rumour that the five-foot cathode is really intended for Kali.

PPS Some scientists in Utah have begun to refer to the inconsistencies coming out of the Cold Fusion establishment as HEAVYWATERGATE.

NOTE ON LEP

During the five or so days of the pilot run of LEP, some collisions were obtained during less than 16 hours and the four experiments found a total of over 50 examples of Z0 events. Commissioning of LEP is continuing and a beam of over one milliAmp has been obtained. It is planned to start a physics run on 11 September.