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Dear E632 and WA84 Colleagues,
LAWYERS THREATEN LEGAL ACTION. ACADEMIC FREEDOM MENACED.
STOP-PRESS - FINANCIAL SCANDAL - THE END?
The lawyer of Dr. Pons has written to Mike Salamon et al. asking them to
retract the paper they wrote describing how they had found no fusion products
while working in Pons's lab and further he threatened him and his colleagues.
It seems the centuries old method of scientific discussion and experiment is
being replaced by legal injunctions requiring silence on the other side. This is
the first time such a thing has happened, as far as I know, and should be
discouraged now. In the past governing organisations have used legal and
organisational means to support Pathological Science and examples are given
and related to Cold Fusion.
Some further comments are made on the First Annual Cold Fusion Conference.
Some interesting corrections are made.
STOP PRESS - financial scandal breaks - this might be the end.
1. LEGAL AFFAIRS
1.1 The Legal Situation
1.2 What can Salamon et al. do?
1.3 Why did legal action occur at this moment of time?
1.4 Financial Situation
2. PATHOLOGICAL SCIENCE - USE OF ORGANISATIONAL PRESSURE
2.2 Aryan physics
2.3 Soviet genetics - Lysenko
2.4 Soviet physics.
3. FURTHER COMMENTS ON THE FIRST ANNUAL COLD FUSION CONFERENCE
3.1 Experimental summary
3.2 Results of Scott et al.
3.3 Some Theoretical presentations
4. SITUATION IN JAPAN
5.1 Origin of Meshuga
5.2 Guilano Preparata
6. STOP- PRESS - FINANCIAL SCANDAL
7. WHAT IS THE FUTURE?
1. LEGAL AFFAIRS
1.1 THE LEGAL SITUATION
The story of Cold Fusion has taken an unpleasant twist which could end
it prematurely. For some weeks I had been hearing that Dr. Pons was talking of
taking legal action against Mike Salamon who was leader of the group from the
University of Utah who had been asked to install counters in Pons's lab to
find fusion products from four of his cells placed on the table above. During
five weeks of running in May and June, no signal was found and the result
was published in Nature on 29 March 1990. The story broke on 18th May in the
Salt Lake Tribune;
"Triggs(who is the lawyer of Dr. Pons) wrote a letter April 3 to Dr. Salamon
in which he called on the physicist and his scientific co-researchers to
retract the paper they published in the scientific journal Nature"
"'Please be advised that any damages suffered by my clients proximately
caused by any act or omission on the part of yourself or any other co-author
on the subject paper will not be tolerated. I have been instructed by my
clients to take such legal action as is deemed appropriate to protect their
interests in this matter'"
The letter talks of "my clients" - who are they?
(Triggs) "has received payments of more than $50 000 from the University
of Utah for legal work related to Cold Fusion.
"'Triggs represents Stan and Martin and is advising them on a number of
issues, including patent prosecution issues' said Greg Williams, with Van Cott,
Bagley, Cornwall and McCarthey (the state's attorneys). 'He is not representing
Now what is a "patent prosecution issue" - does it mean proceeding with a
patent, or does it mean prosecuting people who get in your way? Anyway the
State's attorneys seem aware of Mr. Triggs's activities
"Mr. Triggs was paid out of funds in the Office of Technology Transfer, the
University department that assists in turning useful scientific research into
profitable ventures. The Office is one of the departments under the supervision
of (University Vice-President for Research, James) Brophy".
"'How they (pay for) it is their business' said Mr. Triggs. 'I simply
send the bills'.....(he) said he had not billed anyone for the Salamon letter.
'I think that is between me and my clients, but I think it's a matter that
affects the entire (cold fusion) program'.
When I saw Mike Salamon at the end of March, he did not seem too worried
about the rumours - he felt he had finished with Cold Fusion and was busy
working on other things - though he appreciated that he was likely to figure
prominantly in Gary Taubes' forthcoming book. His reaction to the legal letter
was typically direct;
"Dr. Salamon said in a written statement (that) Mr. Triggs has sent
several letters to people threatening them with legal action. 'These people
include several of my colleagues and myself at the University of Utah (even a
U of U undergraduate received such a letter). I am extremely disturbed, in fact
disgusted, that the University has apparently been financially supporting
such detestable activity, activity which is antithetical to the spirit of
free academic enquiry"
"What is particularly obscene about this is that my colleagues and I at the
University of Utah are being threatened with legal action for honest scientific
work done at the behest of the University of Utah, and yet the administration
has so far refused to provide us with any legal counsel whatsoever"
This new issue of why the University was supporting some employees and
not others, was raised with the University;
"Dr. Brophy said that Mr. Triggs was 'certainly' not working for the
University when he wrote the letter, and said he saw no problem in the
University paying Mr. Triggs even though he was involved in a legal matter
between faculty members".
How can Dr. Brophy say this? He is very charming man and seems to do most
of the Public Relations work on Cold Fusion, but as someone said, has he not
heard of "conflict of interest"?
Have now received more information. Of the ten authors of the paper by
Salamon et al., nine have received legal letters, the tenth, Haven Bergeson
is an employee of the National Cold Fusion Institute. Several other people
have also received letters including the writer, Gary Taubes and David
Lindley who is an Associate Editor of Nature and is based in their Washington
office - he received his letter personally, not as an employee of Nature.
1.2 WHAT CAN SALAMON et al. DO?
It would be good to believe that they can
continue to speak out freely. However the Law of Tort is very complicated and
scientists' notions of truth and natural justice could mislead them. An
American friend who is a professor, and two colleagues spoke out about an abuse.
The man concerned sued them for a million dollars each. Their University and
the State both agreed to defend them free of cost and said they should win.
They knew they should win, but a million dollars is a lot of money and it would
mean losing house and everything. Eventually they did win easily, but it took
over a year. And there was a major catch - the University and the State's
lawyers said they would be pleased to defend them and they had a winning case,
provided they did not say anything that could cause it to be lost. Hence their
lawyers forbade them to say anything - they were muzzled by their own lawyers
while the other man continued to say scandalous things about them and they
could not reply!
At some stage Mike and the others will need lawyers. And these lawyers may
well ask them not to comment further. Thus it is possible that they will be
muzzled for some period.
But the rest of the scientific community which believes in academic
freedom is not muzzled.
Does this mean that the use of legal restraints works? Yes and No.
Yes, in the sense that the people attacked are probably muzzled so that in the
short term the legal tactic to win a scientific argument is successful.
No, probably it is not successful in the long term, for it turns scientists
against those who use the law to silence oponents in a scientific discussion.
The continuing story of the scientific publishers, Gordon and Breach is
illustrative. A retired professor Henry Barschall studied the cost effectiveness
of various periodicals issued by different publishers. He defined cost
effectiveness, CE, as the cost per printed character divide by the frequency of
articles being cited. The CE values varied by a factor of 850 and Gordon and
Breach came near the bottom. Normally one ignores such indices or one could
point out that the CE index was seriously flawed - for example Fleischmann and
Pons original paper is very frequently cited, though not everyone considers it a
model paper. However Gordon and Breach decided to use the law and sued
Barschall. And since Barschall's article had been published in the American
Institute of Physics's monthly journal, Physics Today, they tried to stop
Physics Today being displayed. Thus a judge in Zurich was given a list of
Institutions, Universities and CERN and an attempt was made to to forbid them
from displaying Physics Today or if they displayed it, certain bits had to be
removed. It was pointed out that CERN being an international organisation,
the court had no jurisdiction.
Robert Park quotes Fred Spillhaus, the Executive Director of the American
Geophysical Union as suggesting that scientists not only refrain from
publishing in the low quality, high cost journals that have proliferated
in recent years, and also they should refuse to serve such journals as reviewers
or editors. Then the Association of Research Libraries formally honoured
Barschall for his "contributions to research libraries and the scholarly
academic community", citing "the personal risks he has taken in pursuit of
access to scientific information"
Thus in the long term it is probable that the attempt to silence
Mike and the others, will hurt those who use legal means in an unscientific
Sometimes the best way to fight fire is with fire. Mike et al. are quite
prepared to make their logbooks available, but although they have requested
to see the logbooks for Pons's four cells, these have never been made available
to them. This could be important as at one period one of the cells started to
boil for two hours and no fusion products were observed - it was turned off on
the instructions of Dr. Pons. The lab workers considered this to be a typical
example of excess heat as claimed, but in a curious letter from Dr. Pons,
he asked that they should not "reference these events as being due to release of
excess thermal energy". Much later Dr. Pons wrote that "there was a two-hour
segmentin which there was excessive thermal release from cell 2-1.....
unfortunately your computer and detector were not under power at that time
since they had not been reset from a power failure which had occurred in the
lab". Salamon et al. agree that 48 hours of data were lost after a lightning
strike but as was later pointed out to them, any neutrons produced could
convert the 23Na of their detector to 24Na and as this decays with a 15 hour
half-life, they should have detected a strong signal - but did not. It is
clearly very important that if the Salamon et al. experiment is being
attacked, then these logbooks of Dr.Pons should be available for inspection
by a court. Thus it would perfectly appropriate for Mike Salamon to ask a
court for an injunction to ensure that these logbooks not be destroyed and,
better, that copies of these logbooks be deposited with the court.
1.3 WHY DID THE LEGAL ACTION OCCUR AT THIS MOMENT OF TIME?
was performed in May and June 1989 and Dr. Pons was made aware of the results
at that time. In Cold Fusion News No.18 on 30 July, the first report of the
experimental results was given. When the draft paper was written, Dr. Pons was
asked to comment on it. His reply struck me as unusual, but he did not request
the paper not be published, and it was submitted last year. So why were the
legal letters only sent out now? (In the saga of Cold Fusion there was already
a time when critical notebooks disappeared - but that is another fascinating
1.4 FINANCIAL SITUATION
It is interesting to consider the
financial situation of the National Cold Fusion Institute. It was funded with
$4.5 million from the State of Utah, but it has so far failed to attract
any outside funding agency (though an anonymous private person has given
some money). These funds are fast running out and there are no
convincing results to show. For the lawyers the situation was even more
serious - of the $500 000 available it was said on 23 March, that
the money would run out this summer, assuming that legal fees of $30 000 per
month were paid - this was said to a "normal" amount, though activity did not
appear to be great. Now there are reports that some of the potential "profits"
from Cold Fusion exploitation were being offered to investors. The price was
high - 2% of the "profits" for $1.5 million; up to a maximum of 20% was
available. If 20% of the potential profits were disposed of this way, then
many million dollars would be available for continuing the National Cold Fusion
Institute (apart from other uses such as funding lawyers). Now if one is
offering "profits" to investors, it is necessary to give them a prospectus. And
by law this prospectus has to be fair. Clearly this is not a time to have
discordant experimental results widely presented.
2. PATHOLOGICAL SCIENCE - USE OF ORGANISATIONAL PRESSURE.
Irving Langmuir in
the original work, listed six characteristics of Pathological Science. However
with more study, found this inadequate and in 1976 I listed 12, and now with
still more examples, in particular Cold Fusion, list 15 with the three most
significant being given weights. Sometimes am offered suggestions for other
characteristics but I prefer each to apply to more than one example. Thus now
when legal means are used for the first time to bolster an experiment, was
inclined not to include it as a characteristic as it was an isolated case.
However on consideration there are quite a number of examples where legal and
organisational means have been used to assist wrong scientific ideas. Some
well-known and some less well-known examples are given below and the
effectivenness of the pressure commented on.
One of the most widely known example was the legal action taken against
Galileo in 1633 for opposing the idea that the earth was the centre of the
world and suggesting a heliocentric system. The persecution was such that
Galileo, an ill man of 70, recanted.
2.2 ARYAN PHYSICS
When the Nazis came to power in 1933, they used organisational and legal
means to force out Jewish professors and support their pseudo-scientific
beliefs on race. Also they did not believe in Einstein's relativity theory
and even attacked Einstein and all theoretical physicists as Jews or products
of the Jewish spirit. There was talk of German or Aryan physics. People who
did not support these ideas were attacked. Thus in 1937, Heisenberg was
attacked. His mother went to see the mother of the sinister Heinrich Himmler,
the chief of the secret police, the Gestapo. After Heisenberg sent a letter to
Himmler and friends intervened, Himmler stopped attacks on Heisenberg. The
organisational pressure was successful in that Jewish scientists were driven
out of universities and other institutions and protests by other scientists
were silenced. The teaching of theoretical physics was often restricted and
pseudoscientific theories were presented with no opposition.
2.3 SOVIET GENETICS - LYSENKO
In the Soviet Union, Michurin and later Lysenko, refused to believe in
the ideas of Mendel on heridity and the concept of spontaneous mutation. They
rejected all the numerous experiments on which the science of genetics were
based. Instead they believed that if a characteristic could be acquired, it
them became heriditary. Lysenko published in newspapers, special scientific
journals and pamphlets (an early example of using the media, as the press
conferences and Deseret News in Cold Fusion). When his analysis of his own
experiments was shown to be wrong - he rejected mathematics. When his work
was shown to be in contradiction with a great body of experimentation in
genetics - he rejected genetics (one is reminded of believers in Cold Fusion
who are happy to believe that in d-d fusion one can obtain a ratio for
tritium to neutron production of 100 million to one whereas there is a large
body of experiments at all energies down to zero which finds unity in
agreement with the very general considerations of charge symmetry. Only last
week I was accused of using "conventional science" by saying this).
Lysenko was supported by the local political authorities, especially
Khrushchev, even though his results could not be repeated outside the Soviet
Union (an early example of the Regionalisation of Results as I observed with
Cold Fusion; also the local authorities in Utah support Cold Fusion). Money was
invested in planting according to his theories - great losses resulted but
scientists who reported such facts were dismissed.
Gradually most scientists who believed in genetics were made silent or
dismissed. N. I. Vavilov who had originally supported Lysenko, opposed his
ideas and in 1939 said "We will go to the stake, we will burn, but we will not
renounce our convictions". In 1940 he was arrested. His brother, the physicist
S. I. Vavilov, and others tried to help, but he died in prison in 1943.
In August 1948, the V.I. Lenin Academy of Agricultural Sciences held a session
where Lysenko's supporters dominated. A few people still tried to say they
believed in genetics but were shouted down. At the end of the meeting, Lysenko
gave the final talk and the entire assembly rose and applauded( the only
scientific meeting at which there was a similar spirit and where after the final
speaker, most of the audience rose to their feet and applauded, was the First
Annual Cold Fusion Conference where Dr. Fleischmann was the final speaker).
The above three examples of Pathological Science are partly taken from a
new book by Morris Goran, "The Dangerous Ideas of Science", published by Peter
2.4 SOVIET PHYSICS
What is not so well known, is that after the "success" of the session of
the Academy of Agricultural Sciences in asserting political control over that
subject, the authorities started to organise a similar session to control
physicists with the aim of routing out the "idealism in physics" and
"cosmopolitism" of leading Soviet scientists, as well as the concepts of
relativity and quantum mechanics(at CERN Martin Fleischmann suggested that
his surprising new results meant that conventional ideas had to be abandoned,
that maybe quantum mechanics was wrong - John Ellis kindly said he was
prepared to abandon some ideas but not quantum mechanics!.
V. I. Vavilov had become the President of the USSR Academy of Sciences and
at the end of 1948 he and the Minister of Higher Education, appealed to
Malenkov, the Secretary of the Central Committee for permission to hold a
meeting of leading physicists and mathematicians to overcome "evident
shortcomings" such as;
"Idealistic philosophical trends which seek corroboration from modern
physics are not uncovered and duly criticised. Idealistic philosophical
conclusions from concepts of modern theoretical physics (quantum mechanics
and relativity) are particularly dangerous for the students' minds"
"Some Soviet scientists often embrace these idealistic trends instead of
resolutely unmasking them(which get into Soviet higher educational
institutions through the loophole of physics) as contradicting Marxism and
In December 1948, an organising committee was set up to make the meeting
comparable with the V. I. Lenin All-Union Academy of Agricultural Sciences.
As previously, every speech and report had to thoroughly rehearsed and checked
by the committee. The committee held 42 meetings up to 16 March 1949. Most of
the 29 speeches were aimed to unmask, brand, condemn and deal with "idealism"
and "cosmopolitism" in Soviet physics. Some, mainly people from the
Institutes of the the USSR Academy of Sciences, tried to avoid this. While
Vavilov was expected to set the tone, however his report did not satisfy the
committee as most of it was a serious analysis of the development of Soviet
physics, and the committee debated it for two days.
The main theses were "Physics is a partisan science", "some Soviet scientists
in their books articles and speeches, make ideological mistakes when repeating
conclusions made by bourgeois idealist physicists". Names mentioned were
Academicians Frenkel and Ioffe, Corresponding members Fok, Tamm and Markov "who
have adopted a servile attitude towards idealistic wisdom". The speech of
professor Akulov was so strong that it aroused indignation - Academician
Andronov said "the only effect of this speech on me was of disgust.... Accusing
Academicians Papelekski and Mandelshtam of being German spies is dirty,
unsubstaniated and slanderous". It was expected that many prominant scientists
including P. L. Kapitza, A. F. Ioffe, L. D. Landau, V. A. Fok, I. E. Tamm,
Ya. I. Frenkel, M. A. Markov and V. L. Ginsburg would have been victims.
Fortunately between 16 and 21 March, this major meeting was cancelled. It
is not known exactly why, but the sinister Beria, chief of the secret police,
who was also responsible for the Atom bomb project, asked Kurchatov, the
physicist who was head of the project, if it was true that quantum theory
and relativity were an idealist contraption and had better be cast off.
Kurchatov replied "We are working on the A-Bomb project now. The A-Bomb is
based on the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics. Should we discard them,
the project would have to be discarded as well". Probably Beria passed the
information on to Stalin and the meeting was cancelled saving Soviet physics
When I gave a talk (on "N-Rays, Cold Fusion and Pathological Science") at
a major physics institute in Moscow, I noticed a large portrait of an
interesting looking man on the wall of the auditorium and asked who he was.
Was told it was a very fine scientist, Vavilov. Asked how it was possible
that such a man could be involved in such things. It was explained to me that
Vavilov did not want to be President of the Academy but the only other
candidate was Vyshinsky who was a horrible man. He was initially a Menschevik
but changed to being a Bolschevik and apparently felt he had to more cruel to
show his belief. He was responsible for many deaths in the Ukraine before
becoming Chief Prosecutor. A personal experience of him was recounted to me.
So Vavilov sacrificed himself to avoid disaster.
Recounting these stories of Galileo, German science, Lysenko and Soviet
physics, is not pleasant, but we must not forget they actually happened - that
legal and organisational power can be used to support Pathological Science. And
can be successful for some time, good people can be made to conform. This is
the reason that I am so strongly against this new practise of using threatening
legal letters to silence scientists who may report experimental results that
are contrary to others. It should be stopped NOW before it is used again.
Science can only flourish if ALL results are freely available.
3. FURTHER COMMENTS ON THE FIRST ANNUAL COLD FUSION CONFERENCE.
3.1 Experimental Results - General
At the end of the First Annual Cold Fusion
Conference, it was possible for Believers, who made up about 200 of the 230
attendees, to be reasonably happy. Apart from odd comments and someone saying
that 90% of the World's results, including the best experiemnts, were negative,
there was a steady flow of positive results. Previously there had been
unwelcome comments that none of the big National Labs had positive results,
but now there were some from two - Oak Ridge, ORNL, and Los Alamos. At the
final Round Table discussion (as usual the table was straight not round),
Dr Storms gave out a summary of the Positive Results. For 25 groups, their
results for tritium, neutrons, and heat were classified mainly as Yes, No or "?"
For tritium the totals were 15 Yes, 1 no and 9 "?" . For neutrons the score was
13 Yes, 0 No, and 11 "?". For heat there were 12 Yes, 0 No, and 12 "?".
It looked impressive and sent many away with a good feeling.
However some points should be made;
(1) This was only 10% of the groups -the other 90% that obtained negative
results were excluded, and this exclusion was not commented upon - unusual
for a report labelled "Los Alamos".
(2) As far as I could make out the "?" entry meant that the quantity had not
been measured, or the result had been withdrawn.
(3) I am familar with many of the measurements and think the conclusion in
some cases should have been "No" and not "yes".
(4) Some results I had not seen and were not presented such as Alqasmi from
the Arab Emirates.
(5) No attempt was made to see if the results agreed with one another.
(6) Claims of high rate of cells giving effects were made but no set of
statistics were given. The highest rate, 80%, has been several times claimed
by Appleby and his group. When one of his group presented their results, this
claim was not made. However in the discussion Dr. Bockris mentioned it and
it was confirmed. I then pointed out that if 5 cells are operating then if 80%
of the time they are giving excess heat, then the probability of none of the
five performing during a visit was 3000 to one and if there were 7 cells, the
odds of none giving excess heat was 80000 to one. But when the DOE panel made
their visit, none of the cells was working. The Chairman intervened to say
this subject had not been raised during the talk and by the rules could not be
discussed, however I pointed out that the speaker had talked about it during
the discussion. The speaker then said he thought one cell was in fact working
during the visit, but John Huizenga, the Co-Chairman of the DOE Panel, could
confirm for me that no cell was working. Similarly during my visit none of the
7 cells there was working. Later the Chairman apologised and said he hoped
I did not think he was trying to restrict the discussion.
3.2 HELIUM PRODUCTION
This is one of the murkiest regions of Cold Fusion. At
one time Dr.Pons claimed that helium 4 had been observed. But then the cathodic
rods were said to be sent to Johnson-Matthey for analysis. Although the analysis
should not have taken very long, no results came out. The DOE panel was told
"soon". At the NSF/EPRI meeting in October it was said that the result had
been made meaningless by mishandling of the rods, though it was hard to
see how touching the surface could remove helium created deap inside the
rod. At this Conference D. T. Thompson of Johnson-Matthey managed to give
a long technical talk that gave no result. Nate Hoffman who said he was
neither a believer nor a sceptic, gave a carefully worded talk (for he was not
entirely a free agent) which hinted but did not quite say, that they had found
Other experiments have analysed their rods and found no helium, but then if
they did not claim to observe excess heat or fusion products, it could be argued
that they would not be expected to observe helium. Still if people claim to
observe Watts of excess heat for hours, then easily measurably amounts of helium
should be observable. It smells of cover-up.
3.3 RESULTS OF SCOTT ET AL.
After the conference two Believers asked me how I regarded the results of
Scott et al. from Oak Ridge National Lab. giving positive results for
excess heat, neutron emission, gammas and tritium formation. This is the
experiment that seems to have impressed Believers most. I already made some
comments on the work from my notes, but have since received a copy of the
paper of Scott et al.
My comments are;
a) tritium - like the others I had the impression that they had observed
tritium, but my notes actually say "Within errors cannot say any tritium" Also
the paper by Scott et al., accepted by Fusion Technology, 4/17/90, does not
claim any tritium formation in the conclusions.
b) Neutrons - the effects are surprisingly small, about 25 extra counts per day
which would correspond to about 0.0003 neutrons per second. After correction
for inefficiencies, this becomes 0.23 neutrons per second. If the neutrons came
from fusion this would correspond to less than E-12 Watts or one picoWatt. The
authors conclude "the detected rates are too low, by many orders of
magnitude to explain the observed energy excesses in terms of conventional
d-d fusion theory".
The operating conditions (current density, electrolyte temperature and
concentration) were changed rather frequently. Some of the best neutron peaks
occurred when fusion was not indicated.
There is only one neutron counter whereas experience has shown that one
should have several. Also no control seems to have been made for Cosmic Rays
or solar showers, etc.
c) Gammas - "The most significant increases in gamma ray counts occurred in the
energy range 2.64 to 3.14 MeV; therefore, mean values of the count rate for
this range have been included' But why? this is an unexpected energy range
and more likely indicates that something is wrong. it would be good if the
authors were to explain their unconventional energy spectrum. They also say
"Surprisingly, there were no statistically significant increases in the
gamma-ray rate count in the energy region of 2.12 to 2.63 MeV(the energy level
where gamma rays are emitted from neutron interactions with proton". Thus it
seems any anomaly is claimed even if it the wrong effect.
d) Excess heat - Initially an open cell was used (as do Fleischmann and Pons)
but this was found to be unsatisfactory because of "inherent incertainty".
The results a closed cell were considered "most significant" in the paper.
As there is still heat loss from the top of the cell, a future design is being
made to rectify this problem.
For the open cell, after 540 hours, heat excesses were observed ranging
up to 11% (error is about 3%), but after a few hours they tended to fade away.
Looking at fig. 8, these are not the biggest effects which are negative energy
balances which also last much longer, about 60 hours when the run finished. In
the paper these negative results are explained by noting that the current had
been increased to 800 mA/cm2, and "This was probably due to increased heat loss
to the environment". Unfortunately for this "explanation", the temperature of
the electrolyte had been lowered at this time, and was lower than previously.
Further it is interesting to recall that this cell was open similar to F&P's
and who claim that increasing the current to the range of 800 mA/cm2 should
greatly increase the heat excess instead of driving it negative.
For the closed cell, the power balance during the first 740 hours was more
negative, but later there were two periods of excess power which lasted
several hours (i.e. small compared to 740 hours) with "relatively modest
excesses with maximum values of about 6%". Later after 1320 hours there was a
sustained excess of 5 to 10%.
Two comments can be made;
A) Since neutrons are claimed and no tritium (limit 200 Bq/L), this result
is in contradiction with the belief of Believers that the tritium
to neutron ratio is about 100 million to one
B) For a major laboratory like Oak Ridge, this is a very small effort with
only one neutron and one gamma counter -other national labs such as Harwell,
Karlsruhe, Sandia did much more complete experiments (e.g. Harwell used 56
neutron counters) - and they found nothing, no tritium, no neutrons, no gammas
and no excess heat.
I am still waiting for one single good convincing experiment.
3.4 SOME THEORETICAL PRESENTATIONS
As a Nobel prize winner, Julian Schwinger
commanded great respect and it was quite out of character that he was not
at a press conference or on a panel - in fact he was hard to find. Will not try
to reproduce his theory but seemed to saying d-d fusion creates excited states
of 4He and lots of phonons. Carleton Detar asked questions about the absence of
barrier penetration factors. Afterwards Richard Petrese and I tried to get him
to say what the final state was - Was it 4He? No it could be something else;
Was it 3He? No it could be something else; Was it 3H? No it could be something
else. The point of the questions were that we could then compare with
experimental results. Finally I asked if he assumed baryon number conservation -
end of discussion.
Guiliano Preparata was one of the main characters of the conference,
speaking frequently and powerfully. He started by pointing out all the problems
of Cold Fusion - it sounded as if he was a Sceptic, but then explained he would
present a solution that could account for them all, including the "Believers"
ratio of tritium to neutron production of 100 million to one. His talk was a
modification of his paper, T. Bressani, E. Del Guiice and G. Preparata, Il
Nuovo Cimento, 101(1989) 845. I made a serious effort to understand it by
spending three sessions of 1, 2 and 2 hours with one of the authors. They
calculate that the 10 d-shell electrons of Palladium oscillate coherentlty with
an amplitude of 0.3 A and the deuterons also oscillate coherently with an
amplitude also of 0.3 A. They then consider the "superradient" dynamics of a
plasma of deuterium nuclei in a metal matrix. While I could follow some of the
calculations, my real problem was that when I unearthed the assumptions, I
could not find justifications for them and in fact they seemed in contradiction
with my image of potential in a three-dimensional Palladium lattice ( a
two-dimensional lattice was drawn in the transparencies). So finally we agreed
to differ. Another paper is being written. However if the theory deduces that
the tritium to neutron ratio is 100 million to one, and if experimentally,
this has not been established, for example the work of Scott et al. then this
must require some serious modification of the theory.
Have just found a write-up of the talk - it is Milan preprint MITH-90/3
and is entitled "Theoretical ideas on Cold Fusion" by Guilano Preparata
Peter Hagelstein had a theory which also seemed to depend on superradients
in the Dicke sense which accelerates the coherent reaction. Again if one
assumes baryon conservation, what is the form of the product baryons, 4He, 3He
plus neutrons or tritium and protons and why have they not been found?
4. SITUATION IN JAPAN
Am told that in Japan the situation is still unclear as
when Prof. Ikegami came back from the First Annual Cold Fusion Conference, he
wrote an article for a major popular science magazine without making any
critical comments. But most scientist outside of Cold Fusion, do not believe
As a counter balance, there is an article in the science magazine,
Kagaku which has the Scientific American level of articles. It is in
vol 60, (1990) pages 395 - 397 and is mainly based on a note of mine (it
is freely available and will give a copy to all who read Japanese).
5.1 ORIGIN OF MESHUGA.
When Edward Teller decided to try and explain all
the contradictory results on Cold Fusion (even though he does not believe
in it), he invented a new particle which he gave the name "Meshugtron"
He explained to me that this was from the word "meshuga" meaning crazy.
In news No.21 I said the word was from Hebrew, but later was told this was
wrong, so in No.22 gave a correction to say it was a Yiddish word.
Have now received delightful and erudite letters from a friend at the
Technion in Haifa, Jacques Goldberg
Firstly he says meshuga is a Hebrew word, being applied by Avilek to King
David. It has been used as an adjective in Deut 28-24, Jeremiah 29-26,
Osias 9-7, Kings 11, 11-9 and Samuel 1, 21-16.
While Meshuga is a Hebrew word, there is a Yiddish word Meshuge'a which means
drivINg rather drivEN into a state of being crazy.
There is a claim that there was a thriving Jewish community in the Mainz-Worms
region when the second temple was being built, about 350 BC and this is about
the time when the oldest known manuscripts of the bible were being written.
However it is unlikely that they invented Yiddish and wrote it into the Bible
in time. To trace this claim, it would be necessary to contact the author,
but he was murdered by the Nazis in Budapest in 1945.
There is much more, but you should contact Jacques.
5.2 GUILANO PREPARATA
I had been told that Dr. Preparata had explained some
anomalous theories of water, but when he protested, I went back to the papers
and could not find any refernce to it among his papers on the structure of
water. Asked my source, whom I regard as a very reliable person, who confirmed
his belief and we searched together in the library. On thinking further, he
started to realise that he had been given a paper on water and had been told
it explained the anomalous water theory, so he naturally threw the paper
away. However we now realise that this statement to him was incorrect. Thus I
would like to withdraw completely what was written about water in No.22 and
apologize to Dr. Preparata.
There was also a comment about Dr. Preparata and gravity waves that needs
expansion now that I have done some research on it. Dr. Weber has claimed the
observation of gravity waves and this claim is rejected by the scientific
community. However Dr. Weber has a new theory of coherent motion in the antenna
which he claims (as recently as March at a Californian meeting) gives an
enhancement of his signal of 40 orders of magnitude (!) and hence his
observation of gravitational waves was correct. Dr. Preparata investigated
this and in Nuovo Cim. 101B (1988)625, claimed to found a flaw. But in Milan
preprint MITH 89/11, Dr. Preparata noted the analyses of coincidences
between events recorded at the antennas of Rome and Maryland and the neutrinos
detected at Mont Blanc, Kamioka and Baksan at about the time when
Supernova 1987A exploded. Such a coincidence would require the gravitational
waves emitted to be 6 orders of magnitude stronger than standard theory.
Dr Preparata investigated this and found a mechanism giving 5 orders of
magnitude, as required! He used his ideas of "superradience" and that a
high degree of order and coherence exists in solids. He concludes that "Weber's
intuition that the coherent behaviour of the atoms in a bar greatly
enhance their gravitational interaction is seen to be confirmed, though through
a different logics".
Now it happens that I worked extensively on Supernova 1987A. The idea
that there were two neutrino burst some four hours apart and that the first
burst gave a strong gravitational wave, is still held by a very few. The only
detailed rejection of this hypothesis that I know of is one that I wrote in
a review of Supernova 1987A which appeared as CERN EP 88-9 also was published
in Usbecki vol 156 p719 of Dec. 1988.
6. STOP-PRESS - REPORTS FINANCIAL SCANDAL
The National Cold Fusion Institute
has a funding problem as the money, $4.5 million, given from the State of Utah
was meant to be seed money and it was expected that industry would pour in
many more millions. However industry has studied Cold Fusion, has even received
cells that are claimed to be working, but because of tight agreements are
not allowed to say if these cells worked - though from comments it is
clear that they did not work. So industry has given almost no money to NCFI.
At the Supervisory meeting on 23 March, it was said that an anonymous
person had given a donation. I was told the identity of this donor and it
seemed very reasonable and in character. However Gary Taubes who is
writing a book of Cold Fusion and who is unhappy with what he finds (to say
the least), investigated and found out that the mysterious donor was none
other than the University of Utah itself. And the name I was given may have
The trouble is that this money, $500 000 was in a foundation controlled
by U. of U. It derives its income from rent on office space in the University
Research Park (where NCFI is located) and from proceeds from university owned
The story should have appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune on Thursday but
as Dr. Brophy, the Vice-President for Research, did not return the Trib's
phone calls, they gave him another day. So it really broke last night, 1 June
on the channel 2 News at 10. Dr. Brophy had some problems but has said that
"anonymous donation" was an "inappropriate terminology" and that they would not
use that terminology any more - one is back with the wonderful jargon of
the Nixon White House!
Have now been sent the full text of today's article in the Tribune by
Tim Fitzpatrick (Thanks to sender).
The money was referred to in the Institute's quarterly report as "external
funding" and a May 3 press release called it a "recent anonymous gift
of $500 000" which had been used to bring in three visiting scientists from
Malaysia, Poland and South Dakota.
"The revelation prompted disdain from members of the panel that oversees
the State's $5 million investment. Panel Chairman Raymond l. Hixson said
'I'm a little upset about it because it was inferred that it was a private,
anonymous donor and therefore we could consider it as an effort by the
University to secure outside funding. This, to me, is not quite the same thing.
I'm going to have to look into it. At this stage, I can tell you I'm not very
happy about it".
Faculty members also were not happy. "The following statement came from
College of Science Dean Hugo Rossi and 22 Faculty members representing all
of the college's departments;
'After learning that an unnamed donation, described as "external funding"
in the last quarterly report of the Cold Fusion Institute, was in fact, from
the University Research Foundation, I called a meeting to discuss the
implications of this apparent deception'.
'The perception that desperate means are now being used to continue support
of claims unsubstantiated by peer review of the data is unavoidable. It was
the sense of the group that a complete and objective financial audit and
scientific review must procede any further state or university funding of
this project, and in a separate document we are asking the chair of the board
of directors of the institute as well as the university, to convene such
review panels in consultation with the faculty of the University of Utah'".
"Dr. Rossi, who was at one time the interim director of the fusion institute,
said he wanted to make it clear that the statement came from faculty in all
departments in his college, including the Chemistry Department, to put to rest
the notion that there is a battle between physicists and chemists over how the
fusion situation has been handled".
I am very pleased with this statement, in particular the call for Peer
Review which I regret was dropped from the final DOE report (though a weaker
phrase was employed) as consider this an essential part of the scientific
process which can greatly reduce (though not eliminate) Pathological Science.
It is also good that now that Dr. Pons has given up the Chairmanship of the
Chemistry Department and Cheeves Walling has taken over, that there is now
a normal relationship between all Science departments.
There is a rule in politics that when something exciting is happening,
one should be there - for the last two weeks Drs. Pons and Fleischmann have been
at a conference in Portugal and discussed Cold Fusion very little.
There is the question of how those implicated reacted;
Dr. Brophy has already been mentioned with his "inappropriate terminology".
The U President, Chase Peterson said "there was no intention to mislead
anyone" according to the Tribune. "we assign hundreds of large and small
amounts of money to different parts of the university during the year, and we
rarely discuss the source of the particular fund, nor does anyone generally
"Dr. Peterson said that after a report in the Tribune referred to the
donation as anonymous, he called Institute Director Fritz Will to clarify it.
'I called to say that it was inappropriate to suggest the gift represented
support of the fusion study from an outside person or corporation'". Curious,
this seems in contradiction with Dr. Peterson's previous comment that it did
not matter and no one cared!
"Dr. Will said he never knew until Wednesday what the source of the money
was. He said he was asked after the money was sent if he was comfortable
with not knowing the source, and he said he was". Strange this does not
seem to quite agree with the statement above of Dr. Peterson.
"When (Dr. Will was) asked who had asked him if he was comfortable with
the arrangement, Dr. Will said 'I'd rather not say'".
Dr. Fleischmann was in Southampton this last week. In view of the serious
nature of the stories I was hearing, I tried to warn him by letters, many phone
calls and even a draft version of this News, as I liked him and found he had
put forward many fine principles that were the hallmark of not merely a
good scientist (which he has amply shown himself to be), but also a
responsible and moral scientist. However he consistently avoided replying.
Maybe this was to protect a colleague, though the lawyer's comments suggest
otherwise. I cannot but feel disappointed.
So who was responsible for this fiasco? Probably not any one person but
rather a group of people, with a hint of paranoia, who reinforced one another.
7. WHAT IS THE FUTURE?
From my studies of Pathological Science, it is possible
to make some guesses.
The National Cold Fusion Institute will continue a bit but will fade away
even though the Tribune says that the Electrical Power Research Institute has
approved in principle the giving of $172 000 "but the patent lawyers are still
ironing out final details before the money will be sent". This is a relatively
Those groups that have found positive results will not suddenly find errors
and withdraw their papers. Rather they will publish work en route but then
will stop publishing. They will say they have never found anything wrong with
There will be a few more publications of positive results from groups who
have not heard it is dead.
Fleischamnn and Pons will write a book, and will find a publisher. It will
describe the positive results but barely mention the negative results.
Many other books and articles apart from those of Gary Taubes, Frank Close
and David Peke, will be published and Science Historians will feed on it for
I hope I am wrong partly.
I have come to like the University of Utah and Utah (especially the great
skiing at Alta). There are many fine people and scientists there. The University
has clearly suffered from the Cold Fusion incident, but it seems a cleansing is
already under way. I happened to get to know some people working on artificial
hearts - there was a premature beginning with the Jarvik heart (in which Dr.
Chase Peterson was involved as PR man with almost daily press conferences), but
they have recovered from that and now are doing some of the most advanced work
on something that is greatly needed and that is sure to come in time. Let us
hope that the similar false start on studies of metals structure and metal
hydrides that were done for Cold Fusion, will also lead to something.
This is probably my last Cold Fusion News.
Let us be sympathetic for the unfortunate and humble for ourselves.
Good Night and Good Luck!
Douglas R. O. Morrison.