LENR Press Briefing at American Chemical Society Meeting, Salt Palace Convention Center, Salt Lake City, 12:00p.m., March 23, 2009. Panel members, left to right: John Dash, Mahadeva Srinivasan, Jan Marwan, Judah Ginsburg (moderator), Steven B. Krivit, Pamela Mosier-Boss, Antonella De Ninno. Photo: Peter Cutts.
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“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.”
—Charles Mackay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds,1841
EDITORIALS AND OPINION
1. Editorial: Nuclear but Not Fusion
By Steven B. Krivit
Photo: Daniel Bosler
For the last few years, I have been noticing more and more reasons why "cold fusion" does not look like a fusion process. This was the core of my presentation at the American Chemical Society meeting in 2008. Any nuclear physicist could tell you that "cold fusion" doesn't look like fusion, but I came into the field with naiveté and a very open mind.
Before you jump to any conclusions about the non-fusion suggestion, note carefully that the empirical evidence for nuclear-scale energy, nuclear products and effects are, at least in my opinion, unambiguous. As I explained this distinction (nuclear phenomena but not nuclear fusion) to a reporter from Wired magazine at the ACS meeting in March, I could see the puzzled look on his face. I realized that the distinction cries out for understanding.
Let me explain by turning the clock back 20 years. In an April 10, 1989, preliminary note, Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons reported an abundance of heat coming from their chemistry experiment - way too much heat to be accounted for by any known chemistry. It clearly was not nuclear fission.
"What else could it be?" Fleischmann asked.
The only mechanism on which they could speculate was fusion. However, they also left room for a wild card: "hitherto unknown nuclear process or processes."
Widespread recognition of the experimental validity of LENR finally arrived in March as a result of the research presented at ACS, and this is a milestone not only for the LENR researchers and their field but also for science in general.
Far too much empirical knowledge exists now for honest skeptics to ask the question, Is it nuclear or not? Or, alternatively, Is it nuclear or chemical? (It's both, in fact.)
Also, far too many contradictions to the claim of fusion - for example, the transmutations with heavy-water systems - exist now for LENR researchers to rationally dismiss the question, Is it a “hitherto unknown nuclear process or processes”?
Far too much experimental evidence suggests that "weak interactions," though energetic, hold strong potential to reveal the secrets of this long-sought-after science mystery.
Recent attempts by some LENR researchers to redefine the word "fusion" to encompass neutron capture/absorption processes are inconsistent with the accepted definition of fusion among nuclear physicists and are just plain academic dishonesty. It's time to adjust.
I am a former nuclear engineer (in the power generation field) who knows nothing about LENR. If anyone can answer my question in the last line, it would be greatly appreciated. My thoughts may sound simplistic, but here we go.
The limit for NIR (infrared) radiation is about 1eV. The emitted radiation would have to be in this vicinity because, from what I have read, most of the energy emitted by these experiments is photonic, at or below the visible light spectrum. This means that the H2 nuclei would be forced together slowly.
If any He4 is emitted, as claimed in these experiments, could it be two very tightly bound H2 atoms (where else would they come from?)?
This might imply that an undiscovered stable nuclear state continuum exists for He4, which could explain the lab explosions back in the early ’90s.
Assuming the above to be plausible, the lower energy states would not be reversible; otherwise, a heat differential would not be produced. However, if a stable nuclear continuum exists (who knows?), it might exhibit a tendency to reduce to lower energetic states all the way down to the base state of He4.
Photon absorption could trigger the collapse to lower energetic states (in 1 eV increments?). Simultaneous collapse across multiple He4 atoms would be initiated if the density of energetic He4 reached a critical mass scenario. The size of these lab explosions sounds about right.
This follows basic nuclear physics principles in terms of chain reaction dynamics, although we are now dealing with photons rather than neutrons, and assuming a hitherto-unknown stable nuclear continuum in the transition from 2X H2 to He4 (could this have been missed?). It would be great to get one’s hands on the gas that these experiments emit.
Now my question is, Has anyone tried to measure accurately the mass of the He4 atoms contained in these gas emissions (for rest mass differences less than 0.0256 amu)? If the results do not match standard atomic tables, that would indicate the existence of a stable nuclear continuum. And, if that is true, then we have ourselves a cheap and powerful new fuel.
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NEWS AND ANNOUNCEMENTS
3. Welcome to New Energy Times 2.0!
Thank you, readers, for your patience while we redesigned our Web site for the first time in nine years. The most significant set of improvements is in the programming and most likely are not apparent to you. They make producing and maintaining the site much more efficient.
Second, you'll see a major revision of our navigation menu systems. The top navigation menu is mostly the same as its predecessor. However, the left navigation menu now offers a sub-menu of other key features of the site, and this menu will be available on all pages to make your navigation easier.
As we painstakingly learned during our renovation, the site has a thousand pages and four thousand total files if you include images and pdf and audio files. The renovation gave us the opportunity to make structural as well as file name changes. In fact, in many cases, the changes were necessary. We know this work is disruptive, and we have tried our best to smooth out the bumps.
One factor that is largely beyond our control is the responsiveness of various search engines to recognize the changes to the site. In time, they will self-correct. In the meantime, we apologize for any temporary inconvenience and will make any effort we can to help you find information you seek on our site.
4. LENR Conferences, Past and Future
Numerous LENR-related conferences, large and small, took place in the last few months. As always, the "Conferences" page has links and information on all of them.
Members of the media are invited to attend the conference, according to conference staffer Maria Polidoro. Polidoro said that media, like the researchers, must pay the registration fee, equivalent to more than $1,000.
I would like to cordially invite you to the Fourth International New Energy Technology Symposium at the American Chemical Society meeting next year, March 21-26, 2010. The symposium will be held in San Francisco, California, USA.
For the fourth year in a row, the American Chemical Society, the largest scientific association in the world, has provided the opportunity for researchers studying low-energy nuclear reaction research to contribute to and participate in mainstream science.
LENR is a potential clean source of sustainable energy and a groundbreaking field for nanotechnology and materials science research.
In March 2009, the Third International New Energy Technology Symposium at the American Chemical Society meeting in Salt Lake City included three dozen presentations over three days. ACS recognized the importance and validity of this new field with a press release and a videotaped press conference (segment1) (segment 2) that garnered worldwide media attention.
Last year, the ACS and Oxford University Press published a peer-reviewed sourcebook of selected papers based on the New Energy Technology Symposium. A second volume (ISBN 978-0-8412-2454-4) is in press and is expected to publish by the end of this year.
Please feel free to submit your abstract (150 words or less) to me at this time. The tentative conference timeline is listed on the New Energy Times Web site.
Alternatively, you may do so online starting in August at the ACS online abstract system (Environmental Division ENVR – Symposium on New Energy Technology). Presenters with accepted abstracts will be given at least 20 minutes for oral presentations; there will be no formal poster session.
5. Arata-Zhang Gas Loading Experiment Replicated at Kobe University
By Steven B. Krivit
Yu Sasaki, a graduate student with the Division of Marine Engineering at the Graduate School of Maritime Sciences at Kobe University, Japan, has reported the successful replication of the Arata-Zhang gas loading experiment reported by New Energy Times last year.
In other work reported at the meeting, Akira Kitamura , Sasaki's adviser, reported a replication of the Iwamura-type transmutation results from gas permeation, and Akito Takahashi presented a discussion on the possible underlying physics of the experiments .
In the Arata-Zhang replication, the researchers used three kinds of Pd powders: 0.1-micron pure Pd, 99.9 percent pure Pd-black, and PdZr oxide composite.
Kitamura told New Energy Times that the PdZr oxide composite was fabricated by Santoku Corp. independently of that used by Arata-Zhang.
"Mr. Murota of Santoku Corp.," Kitamura wrote, "made the powder without knowing the details and without even looking at the Arata-Zhang powder. His only knowledge of the Arata-Zhang powder came from some of the published papers .”
First of all, no, it's not true. The multibillion-dollar U.S. Department of Energy thermonuclear fusion laboratory is not going to prove "cold fusion." But an online news outlet called Softpedia didn't initially realize the difference between "hot" and "cold fusion."
Yet for some strange reason, the Google News service decided to lead the group of 290 related news stories with the Softpedia lead. Is that irony or what?
Speaking of coincidences, isn't it interesting that the National Ignition Facility folks at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, after many years of building their jumbo-size laser, finished construction in time for an announcement just days after the news of the reality of LENR was heard 'round the world?
Seriously though, if any Department of Energy lab begins to take LENR seriously, it probably won't be LLNL but more likely Sandia National Laboratory.
7. Got Clean Coal? Neither Does the Coal Industry
An organization called The Reality Coalition decided to counteract the coal industry's TV advertisements for clean coal.
The coalition produced a slick parody video. The only problem with the video is that the coalition's counterspin sounds so believable that some people are missing the point that it is a spoof.
8. Journal of Condensed Matter Nuclear Science Vol. 2 Electronically Published
Volume 2 of the Journal of Condensed Matter Nuclear Science: Experiments and Methods in Cold Fusion was electronically published in May. Volume 1 was published in 2007.
The editor-in-chief is Jean-Paul Biberian (Marseille, France). The editorial board, as listed in Volume 2, comprises Peter Hagelstein (MIT, USA), Xing Zhong Li (Tsinghua University, China), Edmund Storms (Kiva Labs, Greenwich, CT, USA), George Miley (Fusion Studies Laboratory, University of Illinois, USA), Michael McKubre (SRI International, USA) and Akito Takahashi (Osaka University, Japan).
[Editor's note: Storms is listed in the journal as an affiliate of Lewis Larsen's company, Lattice Energy LLC, USA. That is incorrect. Storms left Lattice in 2005.]
9. 2008 DARPA Document: LENR Research Budgeted
Hidden deep inside a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency budget justification document is a notice for LENR funding.
It's on page 18 in the pdf or page 216 in the original document: "determine the correlation between excess heat observations and production of nuclear by-products."
You just need to know where to look -- or know an insider at DARPA to help you out.
10. Recent Additions to the New Energy Times Archive
Much has occurred since the Dec. 17, 2008, issue #31 of New Energy Times. Because the New Energy Times Web site was under construction, we reported on many of these things through our blog.
On Feb. 11, 2009, Greg Smith of the Norwich (CT) Bulletin reported that the Connecticut governor’s office "authorized a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the beating death" of Gene Mallove, editor and founder of Infinite Energy magazine.
This announcement followed an earlier news report in which police forensics experts admitted a mix-up with evidence that had been used to incorrectly identify two former suspects. The police have not identified any other suspects.
Cold Fusion Video Censorship
On Feb. 19, I reported that someone attempted to force me to remove a short "cold fusion" video (a documentary of a professor and his students demonstrating an excess-heat experiment) that I produced and published to the Internet. The person succeeded not only in that coercion (a rare event for New Energy Times) but also in exerting pressure sufficient to ensure that the story would not be reported in detail in New Energy Times.
After the drama ended, I received a written warning from one of the aggressor's collaborators that appeared to suggest that I should think twice about exercising my First Amendment rights.
The warning included direct allusions to killing and death and words such as "slay" and "bones." I reported this to Officer Marc Laplante of the San Rafael (CA) Police Department, case #SR09-01803. Laplante advised me that the collaborator would probably say he was just joking. Regardless, I asked Laplante to contact the collaborator and request that he keep his communications with me businesslike.
As Laplante predicted, the collaborator said it was just a joke and there was never any intent to harm or threaten me. The police said they did not find enough evidence to present to the district attorney to file charges, but had the prosecutor done so, the collaborator would have faced felony charges for "threatening to commit a crime with intent to terrorize."
Because the person who coerced me into removing the video from the Internet did not request that I remove the trailers, they remain online. Life goes on.
And multiple sources who are active in the Washington, D.C., energy scene say that Dave Nagel, the person who first got New Energy Times to pay attention to the Widom-Larsen ultra-low-momentum neutron theory, continues to speak favorably about the ULMN theory to the Washington military crowd.
Complete BARC-1500 “Studies in Cold Fusion” Report Republished
With the support of P.K. Iyengar, retired chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India, New Energy Times has electronically republished his and M. Srinivasan's 1989 book of papers. Srinivasan is the retired associate director of the Physics Group at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre.
The book contains 20 historic papers on research on neutron and tritium production from LENR experiments at India’s largest nuclear research laboratory.
Click here to go to the New Energy Times page for the BARC-1500 book.
"There Are No Neutrons in LENR"
"There are no neutrons in LENR." That's what I heard a prominent "cold fusion" researcher tell members of India's Atomic Energy Commission in January, 2008.
That's what the blurb for an October 2008 talk at MIT by the researcher's collaborator said.
Another prominent researcher in the neutron-denial community said the same thing in response to questions about his draft paper submitted to Infinite Energy magazine in the spring.
“I have a problem in telling Pete Wilhelm [Head of the Naval Center for Space Technology] that co-deposition has resulted in production of energetic neutrons," the researcher wrote. "I don’t think that the CR-39 interior or backside etch pits are due to knock-on protons. I can’t support the view that production of energetic neutrons is occurring.”
Running alongside the neutron-denial community is Ludwik Kowalski, a retired physics teacher from Montclair State University in New Jersey. Kowalski is the most prolific poster to the semi-private Condensed Matter Nuclear Science e-mail list; he often professes his sympathy to and for LENR researchers in their battle against the mainstream opponents to LENR. Kowalski explains that his aim is to help the field.
He has long opposed the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center/ JWK Corp. work that has shown evidence of charged particles and neutron signals - strong proof of LENRs. His first opposition was an impromptu presentation at the American Physical Society meeting in Denver, Colo., on March 5, 2007.
More recently, in December 2008, Kowalski published a comment to a SPAWAR/JWK paper in the European Physical Journal. The editors of the journal gave SPAWAR/JWK a chance to reply in parallel, and they analyzed Kowalski's erroneous statements.
American Chemical Society LENR Session - News Heard 'Round the World
SALT LAKE CITY, March 23 -- The news is out - from Yahoo to Fox News - something’s real about “cold fusion” - whatever "cold fusion" really is. The research presented at the 237th American Chemical Society national meeting in March in Salt Lake City, Utah, made the point clear, and it’s been heard around the world.
The ACS symposium was organized by Jan Marwan, an electrochemist from Berlin, Germany, and included about 30 presentations by researchers from the U.S., Italy, Ukraine, Russia, China and India.
Throughout the week, ACS provided opportunities for many researchers, representing a broad cross section of the overall conference, to communicate their research to the media. On March 23, the LENR researchers got their 60 minutes of fame.
Thus, at noon that day, ACS held a press briefing - simulcast on the Internet - with several invited LENR researchers.
This press briefing occurred 20 years, plus or minus a few minutes, after the 1989 press conference. I was on the panel this year, helping to field questions and to bridge the gap between the scientists on the panel and media representatives who did not have expertise in this area.
Some of my journalism colleagues asked informed questions; others didn't. One journalist who writes for Wired with whom I had an interchange sheepishly told me right after the briefing that "it's important to ask mean questions."
No, it’s not. It’s important to ask tough questions. To do so, however, he would have had to learn something new about the field. He did not attend the LENR sessions at the conference. The Wired fellow never did end up writing the story; instead, Wired ran a cold fusion history story by another writer.
Ed Yeates, from KSL-TV, was there, just as he was 20 years earlier at the University of Utah, though with just a touch more gray hair these days. He produced one of the most insightful reports.
The press briefing was not without its entertaining moments. LENR theorist Scott Chubb, who also doubles as the technical editor for Infinite Energy magazine, sat among the journalists and directed loaded questions - ones that he already knew the answers to - at me. Another LENR researcher who publishes a newsletter also sat with the press.
Photo credit unknown
A man named Mike Taggett, who had no affiliation with media, slipped into the room and, after a while, posed a question as if he were a reporter. I didn't realize he had conned the group until we met again later in the hallway and he began asking me probing questions. Then I started asking questions of and about him.
All in all, the American Chemical Society, particularly the Office of Public Affairs staff, was very encouraging and supportive of the LENR researchers and their science. And I am grateful for the opportunity and honor to have participated with the LENR researchers in the symposium and at the press briefing.
Much of the post-conference news coverage was accurate, and this was encouraging. However, a few corrections are called for. One news story said that I have been reporting on the field since 1989. This is not correct; I have reporting on it since 2000. Also, the statement “hitherto unknown nuclear process or processes” is not mine; it belongs to Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons, whom I was quoting.
Bob "Voodoo Science" Park Concedes: LENR Is Real Science
With apparently no option short of placing his head in sand, Bob Park, the witty and often crass former spokesman for the American Physical Society, yielded a concession on March 27, 2009, following the ACS meeting.
After a bit of grumbling and melodrama, Mr. Voodoo Science (see my review of his book) apparently realized that he was better off recognizing LENR as real science than waiting for mainstream science to recognize him as an ostrich.
Park's comment about the research presented at the ACS conference in his Friday newsletter was brief.
"They say they find great mysteries," Park wrote, "and perhaps they do. Is it important? I doubt it. But I think it’s science.”
Park's bitter pill was predictably formulaic, as J.B.S. Haldane wrote in 1963:
Theories have four stages of acceptance: i) this is worthless nonsense;
ii) this is an interesting, but perverse, point of view;
iii) this is true, but quite unimportant; iv) I always said so.
Discovery's Science Channel Features "Cold Fusion"
On March 27, Discovery's Science Channel ran a short news story on the "Brink" program that featured the SPAWAR/JWK LENR results presented at the American Chemical Society meeting.
Producer Carolyn Weiss worked quickly after the ACS meeting and found Dwight Williams, who was introduced by the show's narrator as "a nuclear physicist and a senior science adviser with the U.S. Department of Energy" to explain the results.
"Brink" host Josh Zepps, left, and professional engineer Dwight Williams, right
New Energy Times mentioned Williams' appearance on the Brink show and asked the Department of Energy about it's current perspective on either "cold fusion" or LENR.
Jeff Sherwood, with the Deparment of Energy Office of Public Affairs replied:
"The DOE Office of Science sponsored an outside review of low energy nuclear reactions in 2004. At that time, the review panel identified a number of basic areas of science where it believed useful research might be undertaken in the context of a peer review system. As always, the DOE Office of Science remains open to proposals for research in basic areas of the physical sciences. Such proposals are evaluated by a merit review process, using peer review, and may be funded depending on merit review outcome, Departmental mission priorities, and available funding."
Maddox, “Cold Fusion” Opponent, Is Dead
John Maddox, an accomplished editor at Nature who never conceded even a partial victory to "cold fusion," died April 12, 2009, of pneumonia. He was 83.
In addition to his many achievements while editor of Nature, he took a hard position against "cold fusion" and stuck to it.
He was widely quoted for his antagonistic comment, “Broadly speaking, it’s dead, and it’ll remain dead for a long, long time,” referring to early LENR research.
CBS-TV’s “60 Minutes” Turns Up the Heat
After a year of poking around the field, CBS television's "60 Minutes" aired its show "Cold Fusion Is Hot Again" on April 19.
New Energy Times ran an advance story on the "60 Minutes" show on April 16, based on what we had learned about the show from sources involved with the program.
Considering that the "60 Minutes" show was a news story rather than a science documentary, "60 Minutes" did quite well.
The show featured two experts: one who accepted and one who rejected the science. The showdown came from Richard Garwin, who has had a long history with the "cold fusion" controversy, and a newcomer to the field, Robert Duncan, vice chancellor for research at the University of Missouri and an expert in low-temperature physics.
Duncan performed his own due diligence and, after a few weeks of research and a visit to one laboratory, concluded that LENR excess heat is real.
Garwin went on camera and told "60 Minutes" that he still doesn't accept LENR excess heat, as reported by Michael McKubre of SRI International, as a scientific phenomenon.
“Probably [McKubre] measures the input power wrong," Garwin said.
Garwin apparently forgot that rigorous scientific skepticism requires rigorous critique, rather than a guessing game of myriad things that can go wrong.
Garwin also apparently forgot that, as part of a JASON audit for the Pentagon in 1993, he confirmed that McKubre's successful excess-heat experiments showed "no specific experimental artifact [that is, error] responsible for the finding of excess heat” in McKubre’s laboratory.
Garwin informed the Pentagon of the reality of excess heat but has yet to inform the American public or the scientific community.
Keith Johnson, a blogger for the Wall Street Journal, accused Garwin of "speaking out of both sides of his mouth."
When I told Garwin (in a Sept. 3, 2004, telephone interview) that I had obtained his Pentagon report and published it, we had the following conversation:
Garwin: How long has that report been on your Web site?
Krivit: About half a year. Is there a problem?
Garwin: No, I’m just surprised.
Twenty years ago, on April 20, 1989, Garwin wrote an editorial in Nature stating that cold fusion “will teach us much besides humility.”
Most likely, he has been surprised yet again, considering the published, replicated, reproducible nuclear particle tracks detected by the SPAWAR/JWK group.
Hubler's Memo for DARPA Confirms Excess Heat for "60 Minutes"
Photo by S.B. Krivit
A key feature of the "60 Minutes" program on "cold fusion" (see previous article) was the Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration document shown on the program confirming excess heat.
The document is "Critique by Graham Hubler of Report from DARPA Project (2-21-2007) New Physical Effects In Metal Deuterides." New Energy Times has obtained a copy of the Hubler memo.
Hubler is the head of the Materials and Sensors Branch of the Naval Research Laboratory and sometimes is listed as working at the Office of Naval Research.
Hubler is no stranger to LENR research. In 2004, he was part of the team that brought LENR back to the attention of the Department of Energy.
Hubler is also a co-author on "Progress in Cold Fusion Research," a paper presented by Michael McKubre (SRI International) at the 12th International Conference on Emerging Nuclear Energy Systems on Aug. 21-26, 2005, in Bruxelles, Belgium. Other co-authors were Irving Dardik (Energetics Technologies), Shaul Lesin (Energetics Technologies), and Vittorio Violante (ENEA Frascati), who were also featured on the "60 Minutes" program.
Left to right, Randall J. Hekman, Michael C.H. McKubre, Peter L. Hagelstein, David J. Nagel and Graham Hubler
Hubler was also part of an international collaboration to perform LENR excess-heat experiments in 2006-07. The collaboration was sponsored by DARPA, the Naval Research Laboratory, ENEA Frascati and privately held Energetics Technologies (Page 64).
In 2007, Hubler, with the help of McKubre, Peter Hagelstein and other LENR researchers, also published a review paper on LENR excess heat in the Journal of Surface & Coatings Technology.
"60 Minutes" reported that NRL (where Hubler leads a LENR research group) will now be the beneficiary of funding for LENR research.
American Physical Society Protests
In perhaps the oddest reaction to the "60 Minutes" program on "cold fusion" (see previous article), the American Physical Society on April 22 bared its teeth to CBS with a press release/complaint that CBS had published a false statement. The American Physical Society was mentioned in the April 19 video clip at 07:17.
“We asked the American Physical Society, the top physics organization in America, to recommend an independent scientist,” the narrator said. “They gave us Rob Duncan.”
New Energy Times asked Tawanda W. Johnson, APS press secretary, what the fuss was all about.
“Because [“60 Minutes”] stated that APS ‘gave’ CBS Dr. Duncan as an interviewee,” Johnson said, “one could reach the conclusion that APS does endorse ‘cold fusion.’”
The odd thing is that CBS never said in the program that APS endorsed “cold fusion” experimental findings.
Regardless, the resulting sequence of events included the following:
- April 24: CBS removes the entire video from its Web site.
- April 25: CBS uploads a revised video to its Web site. The sentence referring to the American Physical Society was removed and replaced with the text, “We asked another distinguished physicist to have a look at the research.”
- May 24 (or earlier): CBS uploads the original video, complete with the original sentence that triggered the American Physical Society protest.
Perhaps CBS had a chat with APS.
University of Missouri "Cold Fusion" Video Disappears, Re-Emerges
On April 23, Robert Duncan, of "60 Minutes" fame (see previous article), gave a presentation at the Missouri Energy Summit, a conference sponsored by the University of Missouri system.
Duncan’s presentation focused on “cold fusion” and the scientific method.
The video of his presentation and his slides had been available on the University of Missouri Web site. Within a few days of their posting, however, they disappeared without a trace, without notice.
Jed Rothwell, librarian for LENR-CANR.org and not a person to take any kind of censorship lying down, made inquiries to the university about the missing video. Soon after, a notice posted on the site, “Dr. Duncan’s speech and presentation slides are not available,” that left no doubt that the removal was deliberate.
Duncan told New Energy Times that he did not know why the video and presentation were removed. One possible clue to their disappearance is that the master of ceremonies mentioned that Duncan was "recommended by the American Physical Society to serve as an independent scientist to look at the multiple claims of successful cold fusion experiments."
With the help of Jed Rothwell and another New Energy Times reader, we were able to obtain and upload a copy of the Duncan video.
Miraculously, soon after, the original Duncan video and slide show reappeared at the University of Missouri Web site at another Web address without explanation or notice.
12. Challenges of Coherence in LENR
Challenges of Coherence in LENR
By Jeffrey Q. Hullekes
On April 19, professor Robert Duncan, vice chancellor for research at the University of Missouri and an expert in low-temperature physics, said on “60 Minutes” that he accepted the reality of anomalous excess heat in deuterated metals. Duncan did so after he performed a critical study of LENR experimental results that show unambiguous evidence of a still largely unexplained effect. His due diligence followed by his public statements required real intellectual and scientific integrity, which impressed me deeply.
Even though the results of these LENR experiments appear to be inexplicable given our current understanding of physics, he concluded that the experimental results alone speak so loudly and clearly that they justify a deeper investigation into this field of study.
Instead of sticking to old ideas about “how fusion works,” he opened himself up to new possibilities: Apparently, nature is giving certain clues (such as excess heat and helium) about a new and unknown phenomenon, and it is best to keep an open mind and pay attention to what it is trying to tell us.
Twenty years ago, some of these clues were known. Based on the initial findings of Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons' experiments, certain ideas were developed. One such idea was that, because helium and heat were often found together, a fusion reaction between two deuterium atoms might be taking place. In fact, this interpretation has become accepted by at least some people in the LENR field. As a consequence, when this interpretation is believed to be correct, the following two logical implications are often believed to hold for LENR experiments:
Excess heat -- implies -- > Helium-4
Helium-4 -- implies -- > DD-fusion
These two logical implications are that (1) whenever excess heat is measured, helium-4 must necessarily be the (only) main product and (2) whenever helium-4 is found as a product, it must have been produced by some form of DD-fusion reaction.
However, in the last 20 years, many experiments in the field of LENR have been performed, resulting in many other clues. In the last year, I have investigated these results and have found that these old ideas may not fit so well anymore with other (and sometimes new) clues: The interpretations above are challenged by the findings in different experiments. After careful analysis, I have found no theoretical and no experimental evidence for these implications to always hold true for LENR experiments. In fact, there is evidence to the contrary.
I wrote a paper on this subject that was made available during a seminar held by the University of Missouri . This paper is the product of my studies of countless papers and spending a huge amount of time on analysis of their results. Much of my effort has been to make sure this analysis is and will remain coherent, given the variety of results seen in many experiments. The main goal was and is not to confirm any theory or even to disprove one; it is to provide a coherent interpretation of clear experimental results that is largely theory-neutral and to show where its conclusions should be consistent with other experimental results.
My analysis has resulted in a conclusion that marks the borders within which an explanation must lie in order to stay coherent with other experimental results. In my paper , I deliberately explained the logic that I used in order to come to this conclusion (see Appendix A in my paper) to make it much more open to criticism. The goal of the paper is to start a fruitful discussion about possible reactants and products in LENR experiments.
In order to have such a discussion, I have assembled a series of challenges (below) which, given reported experimental results, an explanation of heat and helium phenomena must somehow coherently address. I claim that my analysis and subsequent hypothesis provides such a coherent explanation, and I would like to know whether any LENR researchers or theorists can provide a coherent explanation of products and reactants of the experiments discussed in my paper , based on DD-fusion or any other fusion or nonfusion mechanism.
How is tritium generated without 3He or detectable neutrons in multiple experiments? [2, 3] Because no fusion reaction is consistent with this result, how can this be explained other than with capture of undetectable (low momentum) neutrons?
How is heat generated in the Arata double-structure cathode experiment without 4He as a product in the inside of these cathodes where the loading is extremely high?  How are measurements of very significant isotopic changes of the palladium powder itself inside this hollow chamber explained?  How does this process relate to the tritium found in the same experiment? (see challenge 1)
Why are orders of magnitude more 4He generated in the mixed (D2 and 4He) gas experiments by Arata when more 4He is added?  Why is there approximately exponential growth in the SRI Case experiments?  What, other than 4He being a reactant, could explain this?
What reaction can cause particle tracks that have been computer-modeled as low MeV alpha particle tracks by SPAWAR?  How does this type of reaction relate to the other explanations?
Why is there a sustained reaction in the Mizuno “heat-after-death” experiment?  What other than a sustained chain reaction can explain this?
I argue that the analysis and subsequent hypothesis in my paper  is backed by experimental results because it can answer all or most of the above questions in a coherent form. My question to the reader is, Can you enhance or extend this analysis, or can you come up with another coherent explanation?
As long as a theoretical model tries to explain something that is known to be inconsistent with other experimental results, then that model most likely explains something that does not occur in the first place. There is a risk of a theory becoming purely prescriptive instead of descriptive: nature must first be described in order to be capable of prediction. In other words, you cannot tell nature how it has to do things; nature tells us by experimental results that provide clues that have to be put together in a coherent form.
Going back to the mindset of how to approach this rather complex challenge, I was especially inspired by Duncan’s words:
"Never let anybody else do your thinking for you."
I have been studying LENR research for over a year. Only in the last few months have I started sending my ideas, privately, to LENR researchers. Duncan inspired me to come forward with my own ideas. Although his remark was probably meant for the larger scientific community, it also applies to the smaller LENR community. I hope there is room for discussion about possible solutions and approaches not often discussed or considered.
My paper  would not have been possible without all the work done by the researchers in the field of LENR, without the laborious work to make available so many of their papers (especially by Jed Rothwell on www.lenr-canr.org) and without the investigations and discussions made available on the newenergytimes.com Web site.
13. Review of Adamenko Book by Thomas Dolan (University of Illinois)
Controlled Nucleosynthesis, Breakthroughs in Experiment and Theory, Stanislav Adamenko (Editor), Franco Selleri (Editor), Alwyn van der Merwe (Editor), Springer Verlag, Dordrecht, The Netherlands, 2007, ISBN-13: 978-1402058738
This book describes a series of revolutionary experiments conducted at the Proton-21 Laboratory, Kiev, Ukraine, during 2000-2006, in which they measured nuclear transmutations induced by impact of a relativistic electron beam (REB). Chapters 1-3 discuss the history of the experiments, concepts of nucleosynthesis, and the experimental procedure. When the researchers focus a fast-rising REB onto the hemispherical end of a cylindrical metallic anode target (Cu, Fe, Pb, …) they see evidence of an explosion from the center of the anode hemisphere that peels away the metal and deposits debris on a nearby collecting plate.
14. Successful Replication but Not Very Independent
By Steven B. Krivit
According to New Energy Times' criteria, Energetic Technologies' recent claim of independent replications of LENR experiments is not very independent.
Energetic Technologies LENR research was successfully replicated by Michael McKubre and his team at SRI International and by Vittorio Violante at ENEA, the Italian National Agency for New Technologies.
"Replication in independent laboratories is the cornerstone to corroborating advancements in science and breakthrough technology," the site says. "Independent replication is an absolute must, especially given the controversial history of cold fusion." [Emphasis original]
According to one of the criteria, to qualify for moderate independence, there must be no personal, business or financial relationships between originator and replicator.
However, the fact that McKubre is a co-assignee on a patent application with Energetics Technologies and three of the Energetics Technologies staff - Irving Dardik, Shaul Lesin and Ehud Greenspan - sets the highest possible level of independence at Low.
The ENEA replication either falls into either the Moderate or Low category, depending on whether Energetics' staff entered Violante's laboratory. The matter is confused further by the fact that cathodes for all three groups were fabricated only by Violante's group at ENEA.
Rigorous interpretation of the term "independent" notwithstanding, the multi-laboratory replication of excess heat, sponsored by Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, does represent a significant milestone in the progress of low-energy nuclear reaction research.
15. University of Missouri School of Journalism Student Goofs; Scientific American Learns to Listen
By Steven B. Krivit
Katherine Harmon, an online intern with Scientific American and master's student at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, wrote a short blurb about "cold fusion" on March 18. Her article "5 Big Alt-Energy Letdowns: Ideas That Sounded Good But ... " appeared to be written based either on 1989 information or on Wikipedia's "cold fusion" page.
I contacted Editor Ivan Oransky at Scientific American and let him know they had goofed. Oransky gave no direct response.
However, consequently or coincidentally, as readers of New Energy Times noted on March 23 with astonishment, for the first time in history, Scientific American wrote a reasonable, accurate article on "cold fusion" and left out the invective.
16. Peer Review From Science Fans
By Steven B. Krivit
One of the rare media reports to bash "cold fusion" recently is an article by Charles Petit.
In Petit's article for Science News, he didn't bother to look into current developments of the subject. Even when he called me to ask whether discoverers Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons were alive, he declined my offer to learn about recent developments. Mistake.
He went forward and wrote his article - replete with major inaccuracies and misrepresentations - and then got an earful from a worldwide cadre of science fans who took him to task.
After a number of well-informed readers posted technical rebuttals to Petit's article, several readers expressed their views.
"There appears to be much more to this story than Petit provided," Phil Grimm wrote. "Cold fusion is obviously a more advanced enterprise than the article suggested."
"I would think that Science News would correct this story," Brian Paterson wrote, "or at least make up for the appalling lack of technical expertise by producing another article - ASAP."
"This article is fatally flawed," Edward Wall wrote. "The need to recognize the solid evidence is very great. Petit performs a great disservice by failing to even hint at recognition."
It was like the cavalry had shown up. The science fans provided no escape for Petit.
Petit is the "lead tracker" for the Knight Science Journalism Tracker, an MIT program that performs "peer review within science journalism." Trackers analyze news stories for accuracy and a variety of other qualitative aspects.
Instead of responding at the Science News site, Petit retreated to his own Web site and lamented "the difficulty of revisiting cold fusion."
17. Coming Out of the Woodwork
By Steven B. Krivit
The recent increase in attention to LENR has inspired all sorts of people to come out of the woodwork. Some of them have demonstrated character and integrity. And then there are the others.
A message left on the New Energy Times voicemail apprised us that the caller had the "story of a century" and that his colleague had discovered the secret to "cold fusion," and he implored us to pay immediate attention to their work.
After we ignored his message, the caller spammed our e-mail box with consecutive, repetitive messages and attachments. We will not reward either the caller or his accomplice by naming them. Suffice it to say that such approaches for media attention do not work well at New Energy Times - or at most news outlets.
The pitchman then infiltrated the CMNS e-mail list and made extravagant claims to that audience, hoping for, presumably, respect and peer recognition.
"My colleague, [redacted], the top scientist in cavitation and cold fusion expertise," the pitchman wrote to the list, "has made a tremendous discovery regarding how and why cold fusion works. Unfortunately, we have been suppressed by several leading journals and other established groups. I also personally discussed this issue during the '90s with the late great Dr. Eugene Mallove.”
"I have discovered the true cause of cold fusion," the pitchman wrote. "I know what the rest of the cold fusion world does not know; all the details of how to produce the right combination of temperature and pressure to trigger D-D or D-T fusion."
In his e-mail to the list, the pitchman name-dropped what he called "some of the most prominent names in cold fusion research." He said that one of them, however, "mysteriously would not return my calls or e-mails."
"My work deserves all the media attention it can get, not censorship and suppression," the pitchman wrote. "When the truth comes out, these discoveries will rank as the greatest of all time and eliminate any more controversy over the subject."
Mr. Pitchman's complaints raise one valid issue: Seminal work in paradigm-breaking science cannot be peer-reviewed because there are no peers yet. This is a serious limitation of science.
If Mr. Pitchman wants respect from the media or his scientific peers, he can fully share his discovery with his peers and present his ideas at open scientific meetings.
18. The End of Innovative Energy Solutions
By Steven B. Krivit
Does anybody remember Innovative Energy Solutions Inc. from Edmonton, Canada? It was a startup that made a lot of noise about a grand development in a practical "cold fusion" technology in 2005. As part of a public demonstration, the company flew in Martin Fleischmann to admire its work.
Left to right: Martin Fleischmann, Peter Hagelstein, Hyunik Yang.
Photo: S.B. Krivit
A New Energy Times reader recently alerted us to a development from last year in the demise of this would-have-been "cold fusion" company.
Photo: S.B. Krivit
The reader sent us a document dated March 12, 2008, reporting that the Alberta Securities Commission issued a decision and sanctions against the company and personally against one of the company's founders, Patrick Cochrane, for illegal conduct and securities violations.
As New Energy Times has reported in the last few years, a shrewd Korean professor named Hyunik Yang learned of a cavitation method developed by Russian scientist Alexander Koldamasov that produces anomalous LENR effects, including, allegedly, excess heat.
Yang hooked up with Cochrane, who had a knack for using other people's money for speculative technology investments. Most likely, there was and still is something legitimate about the underlying science.
But the guys running the ship at IESI weren't the most scrupulous characters, as wildcatters go. Hype and exaggerations, combined with poor and unethical business management, led to their downfall.
And don't forget the foolishness of trying to sell technology when they didn't fully understand the science yet.
Yang bailed out and found other financiers to entice. The three primary principals - Ronald Foster, Patrick Cochrane and Frederick Dornan - were slapped with $15 million in compensatory damages and $45 million in punitive damages after conveniently filing for bankruptcy.
But that was all after bilking hundreds of small private investors in Canada and the U.K. of their hard-earned savings and flying Fleischmann from the U.K to western Canada to use him as part of their publicity stunt.
The idea to use the figurehead of "cold fusion" was repeated a year or so later by Russ George in one of his many perpetual "cold fusion" startups. D2Fusion bit the dust, too.
And I'm sure D2Fusion won't be the last "cold fusion" startup to use Fleischmann for its marketing promotions.
19. He's Baaaaack - Russ George Tries Again
By Steven B. Krivit
I gotta hand it to Russ George - his persistence in trying to commercialize LENR is commendable.
New Energy Times has written extensively about Russ George and his companies and his attempts to commercialize "cold fusion" and carbon credits. We will spare the reader treading old ground.
Making a profit from producing clean energy is a worthy endeavor and an honorable contribution to society and the environment.
The yearlong mystery of why some Russian LENR researchers were unable to obtain U.S. visas in time to attend the 14th International Conference on Condensed Matter Nuclear Science in August deepens.
The accumulating explanations by conference organizers beg the question of whether the conference organizers tried to exclude the Russian LENR transmutation researchers.
New Energy Times began covering this matter in issue #30 on Oct. 14, 2008, and continued in issue #31 on Dec. 17, 2008.
The Most Recent Explanation
Infinite Energy magazine mentioned the visa problem in its March/April 2009 issue #84. There, conference organizers David Nagel and Mike Melich wrote an article in which they discussed their strategies and agenda for ICCF-14. A sidebar to their article, credited to "IE Staff," offers an explanation for the Russians’ failure to get their U.S. visas for the conference.
ICCF-14 conference organizers David Nagel (left), Michael Melich (right) Photo: Edward Wall
The title of the sidebar is "Problems Related to Obtaining Foreign Visas." However, the matter discussed in the sidebar is obtaining U.S. visas for Russian scientists coming to ICCF-14.
The sidebar states that some changes "occurred with the Russian visa process." Again, the alleged problem didn't involve Russian visas but Russians getting U.S. visas.
The sidebar states that the U.S. visa process changed "after the ICCF-14 instructions on visas were posted" on the ICCF-14 Web site and that this prevented the Russians from obtaining their visas.
The ICCF-14 conference instructions were posted on April 18, 2008. However, once the alleged changes to the U.S. visa process allegedly occurred, organizers did not post a notice about such changes. In fact, this is the first we have heard of such changes.
Furthermore, the sidebar does not explicitly state what changes were made by the U.S. State Department or exactly when those changes were made.
Before getting to the major problems, let's review the previous explanations.
Review of Previous Explanations
At the ICCF-14 conference, Nagel said the organizers did everything they could to help get the visas for the Russian colleagues. He implied that the lack of visas was the result of normal processing time by the U.S. State Department; he offered no other explanations at the time.
In New Energy Timesissue #30, we explained how Melich, despite making a trip to Moscow from Jan. 31, 2008, to Feb. 3, 2008, to coordinate his ICCF-14 "country history" project, failed to make invitation letters (required in order to start the visa application process) available until after April 18, 2008. But this didn't leave enough time for the application process.
In New Energy Timesissue #31, we reported that Melich blamed the American consulate in Moscow for instructing him to tell the Russian researchers that they could not apply for their visas earlier than May 1, 2008. According to Melich, the May 1 date was the primary constraint that prevented the researchers from having enough time to obtain their visa applications. He offered no other explanations at the time.
On Oct. 21, 2008, New Energy Times contacted Christofer Van Bebber, vice consul for the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, and he contradicted Melich's assertion; Van Bebber said the consulate provided no such instruction.
On Oct. 22, New Energy Times asked Melich for comment. Melich failed to respond.
Major Problems With New Explanations in Sidebar
Curiously, the sidebar omits reference to the previous explanations given by Nagel and Melich. Instead, the text presents a new reason for the "visa problem."
The sidebar says that, in late spring, shortly after the ICCF-14 organizers posted on the ICCF-14 Web site the visa application instructions for prospective attendees of the conference, the U.S. government changed the rules.
The sidebar states that, before the rules allegedly changed, a visa obtained by a foreign visitor "would have to be used within a set period of time (90 days) after issuance and was a single-entry visa."
The sidebar repeats the 90-day idea: "At that time [April 18], the issued visa would be good for 90 days only, so being approved before May 1 would not allow travel to the conference in early August."
According to the sidebar, visitors would have to leave the U.S. 90 days after May 1, which puts the exit date at July 30. But the ICCF-14 conference took place Aug. 10-15. Therefore, this explanation - by whoever wrote the sidebar - is illogical.
The explanation fails for a second reason.
New Energy Times spoke with Adrianna Gallegos, a press officer with the Bureau of Consular Affairs in the State Department.
According to Gallegos, two key time periods apply to U.S. B-1 (business nonimmigrant) visas. The first period is "duration of visit," also known as "period of admission." This means how long the visitor can stay in the U.S. The clock does not start ticking on this period until the visitor enters the U.S.
The other key period is "period of validity," also known as "validity of visa." The clock starts ticking on this period as soon as the visa is issued. For B1 visas, Gallegos stated, this period is one year - not 90 days as stated in the sidebar.
Furthermore, Gallegos was unable to recall any changes to the "period of validity." New Energy Times researched changes to the "period of validity" for U.S visas and found a reference from 2002 as well as a reference from June 2008.
In 2002, according to the Department of Justice, the maximum period of validity allowed by law was 10 years.
In June 2008, after the alleged rule change, the maximum period of validity allowed by law was still 10 years, according to the Department of State.
The "period of validity" has not changed. The assertion - by the anonymous author of the sidebar - that the visa problem was the result of a 90-day limit doesn't hold water for yet another reason.
The multiple explanations that the LENR research community has received about the "Russians' visa problems" are unsatisfactory.
A group of researchers from Russia who perform important work on LENR transmutation were unable to obtain their visas and participate in ICCF-14. The given explanations, replete with logical inconsistencies and serious contradictions, leave observers with the question of whether the conference organizers tried to exclude the LENR transmutation researchers and, if so, why. The explanations offered by Melich and Nagel are wholly unsatisfactory.
Yeong E. Kim, “Theory of Bose-Einstein Condensation Mechanism for Deuteron Induced Nuclear Reactions in Micro/Nano-Scale Metal Grains and Particles”, Naturwissenschaften, DOI 10.1007/s00114-009-0537-6 (14 May 2009)
We the undersigned scientists write to draw attention to a neglected aspect of the current economic crisis. Robert Solow won the Nobel Prize in economics in 1987 for his 1950s discovery that technical change was the biggest source of growth, a discovery that seems to have been forgotten.
Scientific advances are not predictable. Lasers, nuclear power, transistors, computers, antibiotics, molecular biology, for example, all took us by surprise. Luckily, for most of the 20th century scientists could usually pursue their own agenda, and we could enjoy science's prodigious harvest. But success led to increasing numbers of scientists so that by the 1970s there were more than the funding agencies could support. In response, they required researchers to submit written proposals from which they selected the best, a policy that works well enough for the mainstream but fails at the margins where unpredictable and transformative discoveries are made.
When the US National Institutes of Health unveiled plans last week to spend $1bn over the next five years on "high-risk, high-impact transformative research", it marked the latest effort by academic funders and publishers alike to tackle growing concerns about a process at the core of scientific progress: peer review.
Science has a cure for wishful thinking. It goes like this: You have an elegant idea, you do the experiment, it seems to work. Colleagues and competitors repeat or refine your experiment, and now it doesn’t work. You really want it to work so you do it again, differently, and then so do they, and it still doesn’t work. After enough of this, and sometimes years of it, you admit it doesn’t work and everybody quits.
But sometimes wishful thinking is incurable: the poster child is nuclear fusion, the subject of Charles Seife’s substantive and lively new book, “Sun in a Bottle.” Fusion — the process by which hydrogen bombs explode and stars shine — could potentially mine cheap, limitless energy from atomic nuclei, but after decades of experiments and numberless careers, it still doesn’t work and still nobody quits. “There’s something about fusion that is a little different,” Seife writes, “that makes generation after generation of scientists deceive themselves.”
President-Elect Barack Obama is expected to tap John P. Holdren, a Harvard University professor who is an expert in energy and climate change, as his science adviser. The announcement is expected to be made on Dec. 20, according to Harvard University.
By choosing Holdren as his science adviser, Obama continues to build an inner circle of senior officials poised to address climate change. Others include Nobel Laureate Steven Chu, director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and Obama's pick for energy secretary, and Carol M. Browner, the president-elect's energy and climate-change coordinator who was EPA administrator under former President Bill Clinton.
KINGSTON, Tenn. - What may be the nation's largest spill of coal ash lay thick and largely untouched over hundreds of acres of land and waterways Wednesday after a dam broke this week, as officials and environmentalists argued over its potential toxicity.
Federal studies have long shown coal ash to contain significant quantities of heavy metals like arsenic, lead and selenium, which can cause cancer and neurological problems. But with no official word on the dangers of the sludge in Tennessee, displaced residents spent Christmas Eve worried about their health and their property, and wondering what to do.
Two things have conspired to hamper evolutionary leaps in peacetime fusion research. The first is bad press. To the great frustration of people like Laberge and Richardson, fusion's good name has been besmirched by a handful of highly publicized failures...
In the face of mounting economic troubles, Russia cut off deliveries of natural gas to Ukraine on Thursday after Ukraine rejected the Kremlin's demands for a sharp increase in gas prices.
A similar reduction in supplies to Ukraine in 2006 caused a drop in pressure throughout Europe's integrated natural gas pipeline system and led to shortages in countries as far away as Italy and France.
A "small decentralised desktop reactor" capable of producing 50 to 100 kw of electricity in optimum conditions to power individual houses or commercial establishments is a real possibility, according to Mahadeva Srinivasan, a physicist and former scientist of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Trombay, Mumbai.
Pursuing the research for this project in laboratories across the US, Dr Srinivasan told Deccan Chronicle that the reactor, based on cold fusion technology, offered an era of gridless electricity and would use palladium, platinum and heavy water.
The governor's office has authorized a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the beating death of a New Hampshire author at his Norwich rental property.
Norwich police, in conjunction with state police, Wednesday released fliers seeking leads in the death of Eugene Mallove, 56, who was found dead May 14, 2004, on the lawn of his rental home at 119 Salem Turnpike. Mallove lived in Pembroke, N.H. He was president of the Concord, N.H.-based New Energy Institute and editor-in-chief of its magazine, Infinite Energy.
Police announced Wednesday they are offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for the 2004 killing of physicist Eugene Mallove in Norwich.
The 56-year-old Mallove, who lived in Pembroke, N.H., was found beaten to death in the driveway of his mother's house at 119 Salem Turnpike on May 14, 2004. Mallove was editor-in-chief of Infinite Energy magazine and a prominent scientist who had championed cold fusion.
What if a laser-powered fusion energy power plant that would have all the reliability of coal, without the carbon dioxide, all the cleanliness of wind and solar, without having to worry about the sun not shining or the wind not blowing, and all the scale of nuclear, without all the waste, was indeed just 10 years away or less? That would be a holy cow game-changer.
By Charles Petit Science News
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Twenty years ago, newspapers and broadcasters burst with news from the campus of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City delivering what seemed a miracle. Its name was cold fusion. Its lure was simple: inexhaustible, clean and affordable energy...
Cold fusion's balloon began leaking quickly as the great majority of independent groups found nothing to report, and could poke holes in the claims of others who did...
Hard feelings remain. ... But cold fusion briefly struck such a powerful chord in society that - one is tempted to think 20 years on and with the energy predicament in many ways even worse - the cold fusion story provides some perspective for viewing things now. To start: Is there any reason to believe that the world might get another chance, another cold fusion, another bolt from the blue - with the bonus of being real?
Rusi Taleyarkhan, who claims to have discovered a relatively safe and inexpensive form of nuclear energy known as bubble fusion, filed a civil suit against Tatjana Jevremovic last year in Tippecanoe County. The lawsuit claimed defamation, civil harassment and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
According to John Lewis, Taleyarkhan's Indianapolis attorney, Jevremovic offered to settle the suit, which accused her of making a false statement to the magazine Nature about Taleyarkhan.
Also from the realm of the theoretically dubious, cold fusion (or low energy nuclear reaction) has had a hazy history since it was first reported in 1989. The process, which allegedly created an unexpected burst of heat in an experiment by electrochemists Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons at the University of Utah, apparently occurred when some heavy water (water that contained extra hydrogen isotopes called deuterium), was zapped with electricity by an electrode made of palladium (a rare metal). So far it hasn't been replicated to satisfy either the scientific community or the Department of Energy, leaving this type of fusion's future out in the cold for now.
For those of you with memories that go back to 1989, the news that cold fusion has not slinked off into the abyss might come as a bit of a surprise. After all, the claim 20 years ago that atomic nuclei could be induced to fuse at room temperatures (rather than the temperature of the Sun, as happens in fusion reactors) and to emit measurable quantities of heat was shown to be based on poor measurements, nonexistent controls and nutty theory. But off in the dim, dark corners of physics, the field—since renamed “low energy nuclear reactions”—continues apace, albeit without quite shaking the stigma attached to the original claims, especially now that the world’s need for carbon-free energy sources has become even more desperate than it was 20 years ago.
Researchers are reporting compelling new scientific evidence for the existence of low-energy nuclear reactions (LENR), the process once called "cold fusion" that may promise a new source of energy. One group of scientists, for instance, describes what it terms the first clear visual evidence that LENR devices can produce neutrons, subatomic particles that scientists view as tell-tale signs that nuclear reactions are occurring.
Twenty years to the day that two electrochemists ignited controversy by announcing signs of cold fusion at an infamous press conference in Utah, a separate team has made a similar claim in the same US state. But this time, the evidence is being taken more seriously.
Researchers at a US Navy laboratory have unveiled what they say is "significant" evidence of cold fusion, a potential energy source that has many skeptics in the scientific community.
The scientists on Monday described what they called the first clear visual evidence that low-energy nuclear reaction (LENR), or cold fusion devices can produce neutrons, subatomic particles that scientists say are indicative of nuclear reactions.
When Pons and Fleischmann made their first announcement (boy, what an error of judgement that was), everyone basically said, "where are all the neutrons?" Nuclear fusion reactions are meant to give out high energy neutrons.
This week is the 20th anniversary of what would have been the greatest scoop of my journalistic career - if it had been true. Sadly it is remembered mainly as a classic “bad science” story.
Cold fusion made its first public appearance on the front page of the FT on March 23, 1989, ahead of a press conference at the University of Utah at which two chemists, Martin Fleischmann and Stan Pons, were to announce a sensational discovery. They had created a potentially unlimited source of clean energy, by carrying out controlled nuclear fusion - the reaction that powers the sun and the H-bomb - in a simple electrochemical cell.
On Monday, scientists at the American Chemical Society (ACS) meeting in Salt Lake City announced a series of experimental results that they argue confirms controversial "cold fusion" claims.
Chief among the findings was new evidence presented by U.S. Navy researchers of high-energy neutrons in a now-standard cold fusion experimental setup-electrodes connected to a power source, immersed in a solution containing both palladium and "heavy water." If confirmed, the result would add support to the idea that reactions like the nuclear fire that lights up the sun might somehow be tamed for the tabletop. But even cold fusion's proponents admit that they have no clear explanation why their nuclear infernos are so weak as to be scarcely noticeable in a beaker.
In Greek legend, the hydra was a many-headed monster. If a head was severed, it grew back. Indeed, in some versions of the story, two new heads sprouted. Some scientists wonder whether cold fusion is a similar beast. On March 23rd, 20 years to the day since Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons announced that they had accomplished nuclear fusion at room temperature in apparatus built on a laboratory bench (they hadn't), experimental results purporting to demonstrate such cold fusion were presented to a meeting of the American Chemical Society in Salt Lake City, Utah.
A company owned by a Korean American says it has found scientific evidence for the existence of low-energy nuclear reactions(LENR), the process once called "cold fusion" that may promise a new source of energy.
JWK Technologies in Virginia presented the results of its joint research with the U.S. Navy at the American Chemistry Council.
After more than a decade of work and $3.5 billion, engineers have completed the world's most powerful laser, capable of simulating the energy force of a hydrogen bomb and the sun itself.
The Energy Department will announce Tuesday that it has officially certified the National Ignition Facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California, clearing the way for a series of experiments over the next year. Scientists hope the experiments eventually will mimic the heat and pressure found at the center of the sun.
Things don't often work as neatly as scientists might like. Doing science is messy and difficult - and that's before you factor in its human side. Jealous rivals, journal editors who think your subject is a joke, or colleagues with a lot to lose if your latest discovery pans out: other people can all make the scientific life a difficult one.
Perhaps the most notorious example of this phenomenon is the cold fusion debacle, which celebrated - if that is the word - its 20th anniversary last week.
March 23, 2009 marks the 20th anniversary of the public announcement of cold fusion, now often called LENR (for Low Energy Nuclear Reactions) or CANR (for Chemically Assisted Nuclear Reactions). Personally, I think a better term is CMF, for Condensed Matter Fusion, or perhaps CMNR for Condensed Matter Nuclear Reactions.
It's always hard for me to write about cold fusion; it brings back too many bad memories of how poorly "my guys," the physicists, conducted themselves. If the Oxygen and History channels ever get together to produce a TV show called "Scientists Behaving Badly," the first episode should deal with how physicists, fusion physicists in particular, acted in the weeks and months following the cold fusion announcement.
It was with great sadness that I and my colleagues at Nature learned of the death on Sunday of Sir John Maddox - or 'JM', as his colleagues always referred to him.
There was puzzlement, too. Yes, John had been looking frail recently, but, well, this was JM - the perpetually restless, irresistible, unstoppable force. The editor who conducted some gatherings with 'shock and awe' as some recall. The 'man with a whim of iron' as others used to call him. And the man who survived countless cigarettes and glasses of red wine, many consumed late into the night as he wrote the week's Editorials at the last possible moment.
Full tributes to him will appear in next week's issue, but it is appropriate promptly to recall (JM never split an infinitive) some of the highlights of his time at Nature.
Cold fusion? Limitless energy on a table top? Wait a minute. Wasn't that discredited 20 years ago?
It was, in fact, 20 years ago last month that two scientists, Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons, announced they had created nuclear fusion at room temperature. They created the popular equivalent of an H-bomb explosion -- an explosion that quickly was snuffed out when other scientists said no fusion had taken place.
But a few researchers continue to work on it.
A team of researchers, led by Pamela Boss of the U.S. Navy and Lawrence Forsley of the technology firm JWK International, reported evidence that they have seen high-energy neutrons, a possible side effect of nuclear fusion, in a laboratory experiment.
Wasn't cold fusion supposed to be a myth? Apparently not-"60 Minutes" ran a story Sunday night arguing that so-called cold fusion is "hot again."
The thrust of the "60 Minutes" piece is that laboratories around the world have managed to do what scientists could not in the wake of the now-infamous 1989 announcement of cold fusion: replicate the results.
Tom Friedman's brain is flat. That is the only conclusion I can reach after reading his New York Times piece on Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory's National Ignition Facility (NIF). A flat brain cannot tolerate complexity. It turns things--such as globalization and laser facilities--into cartoon versions of themselves.
If you've got a plan to transform America's energy future, now's the time to put it on paper.
Starting today, the Department of Energy is accepting proposals for energy R&D projects that "disrupt the status quo. The Nation needs transformational energy-related technologies to overcome the threats posed by climate change and energy security, arising from its reliance on traditional uses of fossil fuels and the dominant use of oil in transportation."
LIVERMORE, Calif. - Here in a dry California valley, outside a small town, a cathedral of light is to be dedicated on Friday.
"Bringing Star Power to Earth" reads a giant banner that was recently unfurled across a building the size of a football stadium.
The $3.5 billion site is known as the National Ignition Facility, or NIF. For more than half a century, physicists have dreamed of creating tiny stars that would inaugurate an era of bold science and cheap energy, and NIF is meant to kindle that blaze.
There's mounting evidence that nuclear fusion can be created at room temperature, and if that energy can be harnessed, it has the power to change the world, scientists and researchers agreed yesterday at a University of Missouri seminar.
It will take significantly more experiments, though, to fully understand how cold fusion works, said Vice Chancellor of Research Robert Duncan, who hosted the seven-hour gathering in Memorial Union.
The 2009 Military & Aerospace Electronics Forum kicked off today with a keynote address by Dr. Frank Gordon, head of the Research and Applied Sciences Department at the U.S. Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) in San Diego. In his presentation, titled "Challenges and Strategies for Integrating Next-generation Avionics and ATM Technology," Gordon discussed novel technologies upon which he and his SPAWAR colleagues are focused, including innovation to suppress improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Eugenie Samuel Reich says these books on scientific fraud are genuine stand-outs:
• The Case of the Midwife Toad, by Arthur Koestler
• Betrayers of the Truth, by William Broad and Nicholas Wade
Voodoo Science, by Robert L. Park
The Patchwork Mouse, by Joseph Hixson
The Threat and the Glory, by P.B. Medawar
The world will have to wait even longer to find out whether nuclear fusion will be a viable alternative energy source, it seems. Central experiments for the multibillion-dollar, yet-unbuilt International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER), probably won't get underway until 2026, according to an Agence-France Presse (AFP) report, five years later than recent timelines indicated.
The ITER team has broken ground for the test site in Cadarache, France (near Marseille), which will run a smaller reactor "less complete than initially thought," a spokesperson for France's Atomic Energy Commission said in a press conference yesterday.
Steven B. Krivit, editor of the online publication New Energy Times, which has been chronicling cold-fusion/LENR research for many years, says Mosier-Boss's study is
"big," although it might not be fusion per se. It could be some other unknown nuclear process, Krivit says.
University of Maryland physicist Robert L. Park, a longtime critic of cold fusion/LENR, says he doubts the new research is important. But he conceded for the first
time in 20 years that the studies qualify as real science as opposed to some type of pseudoscience, alchemy, or quackery.
Krivit sums up the situation like this: 'The possible implications of LENR may be wonderful, terrifying, or both."