Douglas R.O. Morrison's Cold Fusion Updates
No. 10—April 1995

Back to Morrison Index

(Source: New Energy Times)
Part 1 of Review of the 5th International Cold Fusion Conference.


The Fifth International Cold Fusion Conference, ICCF5, was held in a luxury hotel in Monte Carlo, near Fleischmann and Pon's laboratory, from the 9th to 13th April. It was a remarkable meeting both from the scientific and sociological standpoint - this was the opinion of Martin Fleischmann.

There were relatively few new scientific papers claiming positive effects, and some stating that earlier effects could not be confirmed, e.g. Bressani. Some quite unusual claims were made, though many of the most obviously outlandish claims made at the previous conference, ICCF4, held on Maui in December 1993, had been avoided. This may have been achieved by controlling invitations as it appeared that unsuitable people were not sent invitations unlike previous conferences where those attending the previous meetings were invited - thus Steve Jones, Tom Droege, myself, etc. did not receive invitations this time. There was a discussion about censorship and recording. Some 200 people appeared on the Participants list, which seemed to be rather enhanced. It was not too clear who was running or paying for the conference - it was described only as a non-profit making organisation. No conference chairman was listed. The list of Sponsors is discussed below.

In 1989 there were many funding sources for cold fusion, but they have mainly dried up though there are still some which are, however special. MITI through its New Hydrogen Energy Agency, NHE, has spent over $7 million in two years but only two positive results of rather low statistical significance, were mentioned. The organisation, IMRA which depends on the Toyota car company, which is generously funding Fleischmann and Pon's new lab near Nice, did not report any major excess heat claim. The Electrical Power Research Institute, EPRI, was said by Tom Passell, to have spent over $10 million - it was implied but not clearly said, that they had stopped major funding of cold fusion. Other sources of funding appear to be small. Representatives from French agencies were present - to report they emphasised - but did not appear very impressed. Some American government employees who had been friendly to cold fusion, were also present. While there is some substantial funding, it may be noticed that if cold fusion had some hope, then very many more organisations would be expected to fund it, but they are not.

For the first time, the presence of media representatives was not announced.

For two years there have been circulating rumours of sensational results from Kevin Wolf at Texas A&M, finally Tom Passell presented a graph as a non-publication - the results are controversial.

Initially it was said by F&P and others that they knew they were observing fusion because the excess heat was found with deuterium but not with hydrogen, but now there are so many people claiming excess heat using normal light water, that this major contradiction is seldom mentioned now.

What was NOT said was most interesting. The NHE have been building exact replicas of F&P's original 1989 cells, but these tests and the results were not described. Also F&P have been working in the South of France for some 4 years now in the new well-equipped IMRA laboratory, but few hints of the work or results were given, nor was there a general invitation to visit this laboratory. Similarly people were astonished that Focardi et al. who held a second press conference in Bologna last month to claim some steady 30 Watts for four months, did not turn up nor submit a paper (see section B4).

The theory sessions were hilarious. There are many theories of cold fusion which are inconsistent with one another and this caused some heated discussions - these involved four of the 5 most powerful voices at the conference - Drs. Chubb, Preparata, Li, and Vigier (in decrescendo). Then some well-meaning non-theorists tried to make tables of how the various theories tackled the major problems and what predictions each theory made - this caused difficulties for some, with Preparata and friends leaving before they could be asked to state what predictions their theory could made. Finally the organisers realised what was happening and abandoned the attempt. Prof. Preparata strongly attacked the theories of Prof. Li of Beijing. Later it was announced that next year's conference would not be held in Beijing as expected, but in Japan - for reasons of infrastructure, it was explained.

It would have been good if someone had presented a compilation of the experimental results, all the experimental results, not just the positive ones. One would expect a table giving for each experiment the results for deuterium, for hydrogen, for deuterium-hydrogen mixtures which Julian Schwinger emphasised should be better - and for each give the result for excess heat, and for production of p, n, t, 3He, 4He, gammas, and X-rays; in each case numbers and errors. This compilation could be used to answer some questions such as (1) does cold fusion occur in both hydrogen and deuterium in the same experiment? and what are the ratios of the products? (2) is it a surface or volume effect? (3) is there a threshold in loading? (4) is there a waiting time for effects to start?, etc. Instead the opening talk by Dr. Storms was a series of anecdotes of favourable results with no serious compilation. A graph of excess heat as a function of surface area was followed by a graph as a function of volume. The neutron flux was stated without evidence, to be 10 to 100 per second excluding bursts, but ignored many others results as such the 1989 claim of F&P of 40,000 per second and also the best experiment which was done by Kamiokande in Japan and which gave an upper limit of 10 E-4 neutrons per second.

To enhance the positive results, people who claimed to be producing excess energy by some other method, were invited and it was suggested that their claims were based on cold fusion. Thus there were talks from people who manufacture a new type of pump, discussions of sonoluminesence, and even a talk about the problems of keeping fish in tanks in Hong Kong - an interesting talk, perhaps one of the best of the conference.

These notes are meant to give the highlights and an overall impression of the meeting without boring the reader. So it is not a complete detailed account of every talk and poster - my apologies to those not mentioned.

Overall, a stranger arriving at the conference could well be impressed by the luxury, by the large well-organised and attractively printed book of abstracts (though it may have been noticed that the old trick was used of only printing on one side of the page to make it look bigger), and the reasonable lunches with unlimited wine (refused by most people from Utah). Yet there was a strange air of discouragement which was even stated by some speakers, for example saying we must find some younger people as they were conspicuously absent. There were many results, but each seemed to claim something different from the others, but few appeared to worry about the contradictions - it was considered another miracle of cold fusion which proved that the subject was new and exciting and funds were therefore needed to study it further. The lack of any single clear reliable result that all respected, plus the lack of any agreed theory, meant that it was not clear what path a True Believer should pursue. However there are still some sources of funds, especially from Japan, so there is a good chance that the next meeting will be held in Japan despite everything.

Should there be any corrections, comments or additions, would be pleased to be informed.

A1. Conference Sponsors
A2. Funding of Cold Fusion - Major Organisations
A3. Funding of Cold Fusion - Industrial Companies
A4. Media Interest
A5. Cold Fusion Magazines
A6. A Scientific Meeting? Censorship?
A7. Regionalization - Cold Fusion in France
A8. How Long will Cold Fusion Last?
B1. New Hydrogen Energy
B2. IMRA France
B3. Kevin Wolf
B4. Focardi et al. Bologna, Siena
B5. Bressani et al., Turin
B6. Celani et al.
B7. SRI, McKubre et al.
B8. Miles et al.
B10. Patterson cell
B11. Matsumoto
B12. Notoya
B13. Russia, Sopogin et al.
C1. Griggs. Hydrosonic Pump
C2. Sonoluminescence
C3. E-Quest
C4. Radioactive decay lifetime changed?
C5. Biology - Fish in Hong Kong


The following were listed as sponsors giving financial support;
Aisin AW Co. Ltd. (Japan)
Aisin Seiko Co. Ltd. (Japan)
NTT (Japan)
Technova, Inc. (Japan)
AGA S.A. (France)
Cegelec S.A. (France)
Novolec S.A. (France)
Riber S.A. (France)
Setaram S.A. (France).

In addition five generous private donations were acknowledged.

It is interesting to note who are NOT sponsoring ICCF5 - these are EPRI and the Office of Naval Research, Arlington, Virginia, who were the only two sponsors named of the previous conference in Maui, ICCF4.

It was not clear if all the sponsors understood what they were sponsoring. In the hall outside the lecture hall were a few displays. One was a French company which made calorimeters. One of the representatives explained that their calorimeters were very accurate so they expected many cold fusion people would want to use them to confirm their excess heat. He then asked why I was laughing and I explained that the True Believers remaining after six years, did not really want strong independent checks of their results. Good scientists are always trying to prove themselves wrong; poor scientists who make an unexpected claim, vary their experiment only marginally, they say it is not their responsibility, they stick by their results, it is up to the questioner to prove them wrong. Later when the representative was dismantling their display, he said that they had not had any serious enquiries for calorimeters.

On the first day of ICCF3 in Nagoya, October 1992, two researchers of NTT, then the company with the highest share capitalisation in the world, announced they had achieved cold fusion reproducibly - and the shares value of NTT rose 8 billion dollars in one day, but then slipped back to normal within a few days. NTT offered to sell the apparatus but have not heard of any being sold except one to the Science ministry. As the researchers concerned then transferred, it is perhaps surprising that NTT are still supporting cold fusion.

ENECO is a company set up by Fred Jaeger which has bought up most of the cold fusion patents from F&P and almost everyone. In a talk, Fred explained that they aimed to cover all possibilities so that investors were sure to win. They have some investors but privately was told they have little capital and have used much of it to send many people to this elegant and expensive conference in a five-star hotel - however no financial numbers were given so this must remain unconfirmed. Would be happy to correct this comment if sent the numbers.


The largest amount of funding at present comes from an organisation set up by the Japanese government ministry MITI. Dr. N. Asami said that in 1993, they founded the New Hydrogen Energy agency, NHE (avoiding calling it cold fusion - just in case) with a budget of about $30 million over four years. He said that $2.5 million was spent in 1993 and $5.4 million in 1994. (Dr. Bush asked if he could apply for funds - no clear answer).

The Institute of Applied Energy set up two NHE labs, in Tokyo and in Sapporo. They work with the National Labs and with leading industrial companies. Nine universities and 11 groups are collaborating.

EPRI has been one of the main supporters of cold fusion which could well have died without its generous funding. In a talk at ICCF5, Tom Passell said that EPRI had given $10.6 million to SRI(formerly the Stanford Research Institute)and other institutes. It was impossible to get a straight answer to the question as to whether EPRI was to continue funding cold fusion, but it seems that it will not give any serious funding in the future. Thus it was said that SRI funding would now come from Japan. Looking up EPRI in the World Wide Web (invented in CERN), could find no mention of cold fusion in its list of accomplishments nor in its budget for 1995.

Tom made an interesting remark about the question of whether we reward researchers appropriately. At EPRI if you produce a solid result, you are fired; if you produce an ambiguous result, you're hired for 10 or 20 years. This might explain what happened to Steve Jones - when he produced irregular results supporting cold fusion, he was funded by EPRI; but when he showed that his results were artifacts and that many other people's results were mistaken, his funding stopped even though he was continuing research and producing results.


Information about industrial funding was scarce since most companies do not wish to talk about such matters, especially if there is some probability of loss.

From the MITI talks it is clear that some large Japanese companies are carrying out research together with MITI - it was not clear whether they do it cheerfully or reluctantly.

In Europe was told several times that the Italian automobile company, Fiat, is giving finance to the Bologna/Siena group of Focardi et al. (see section B4). Also another large Italian company is giving funding to cold fusion, plus a German automobile company - but these funds may be quite small. Shell Oil in France helped Jacques Dufour initially and is named as a co-sponsor of his present abstract (see section A7).

There had been rumours at ICCF4 that AMOCO had found excess heat, and at ICCF5, Dr. M. Eisner described how in 1989, when measuring the gradient of gravitational fields to find gas and oil, they used the gravitometer for a cold fusion experiment and found about 30% excess heat. However there were problems with reproducibility. No one at AMOCO would make a statement, but it seems that the company have not continued work on cold fusion since then.

Since IMRA depends on Technova which depends on Toyota, no funding arrangements were given though clearly millions have been spent in setting up a well-equipped lab in the Sophia Antipolis Science Park near Nice, and another lab in Hokkaido. No clear description of results on the use of F&P cells was given, though there was considerable technical discussions of how to treat palladium and to load deuterium into it. Of their two most important employees, Pons was ill with 'flu and was rarely glimpsed. Martin Fleischmann spoke four times - once briefly to open the conference; secondly a paper about positive feedback explaining that heating the system to boiling and talked of "Life after Death" which is the emission of excess heat from a cell for three hours after it has been boiled dry - it was rather obscurant mathematics ("the experimental protocols become part of the parameter space of the system"); thirdly was a talk entitled "The Experimenter's Regress", "a concept drawn from the field of sociology" which was Martin at his most charming. Agreed with him when he said that "When the dust has settled, the sociology of science will be the most important". He re-examined some of the raw Harwell data of David Williams et al. and concluded that they had observed bursts of excess heat just as F&P had observed them. (From other sources learnt that considerable work has been done to analyse the Harwell data and a draft of a paper has been written). Fourthly he gave the concluding remarks. Overall for the last few years there has been a remarkable absence of evidence supporting or making reproducible the original work that F&P claimed to have done in the five and a half years before 23 March 1989.

A3.1 Bechtel Corporation

On the last morning Mr. Bruce Klein of the Bechtel Power Corporation was invited to speak. This is a major corporation based in California which is said to be so powerful that it can get elected a governor of California and a US President - who appointed some Bechtel people to his cabinet.

Mr. Klein looked like a perfect Californian business man and he gave a delightful talk explaining how cold fusion should be marketed and developed. He started by saying that he assumed that cold fusion was established. At the same time he mentioned the problems of cold fusion, lack of reproducibility and reliability, no working model, and the fact that the US patent office will not accept patents - this he did in a manner that had True Believers laughing. Overall a very pleasant and skilful performance which appeared to delight and encourage his audience. However he missed out two things. Firstly I commented that normally in considering a new technological project, the ROI or Return on Investment, is considered. For example, if cold fusion were successful, this might mean a profit of a billion dollars and if the probability of cold fusion working were one percent, then an investment of a million dollars would give a good Return on Investment. On the other hand the reason that more than 99% of scientists do not believe in cold fusion, is because of the barrier penetration problem, the deuterium ions are forced further apart in palladium than they are normally in deuterium gas, so that the probability of fusion is at least 10 E-50 lower than desired. So if the profit from an investment in cold fusion was even a trillion dollars, $10 E12, than an investment of one cent would give a factor of 10 E14 which is very much less than 10 E-50. Thus an investment of one cent would give a very bad Return on Investment. After the disagreements had died down, added that secondly, Mr. Klein had asked for a working model - but there was a working model described with photograph, in 1989, which was claimed to provide a family with hot water the year round and "simply put, in its current state it could provide boiling water for a cup of tea". This time people seemed to remember the photo of Prof. Pons and his water heater, and there were no protests.

In preparing this note, came across a brochure for CETI, the company that is promoting the Patterson power cell being displayed in operation at ICCF5. There it was written "'Based on seeing this device at work, I have confidence in promoting this technology within Bechtel' - Mr Bruce C. Klein, PE, Bechtel". Must admit this changed my opinion of the beautiful and skilful presentation of Mr. Klein. Do not know if Bechtel is providing substantial funding apart presumably from Mr. Klein's expenses.


F&P's first press conference on 23rd March 1989 attracted great media attention. At their first annual conference a year later, there were again many reporters from around the world. The second and third in Italy and Japan, attracted a good number of reporters but almost entirely from the host country. For the Fourth conference in Maui in December 1993, a media expert was hired specially to deal with the expected host of reporters, but it turned out that he was under-employed as there were only two - Jerry Bishop of the Wall Street Journal and a student from the local student newspaper. This time at the reception desk, was told there was no media specialist and Tom Passell said during his talk that there was no one, not even Jerry Bishop who had been so helpful in the past. Even in the local paper, the Nice Matin, did not find any mention. Does this mean that people were so pessimistic that they did not even try to raise media interest as they had previously?


Some profit from cold fusion is apparently being made by publishers of magazines.

Wayne Green who has a turbulent history, started publishing "Cold Fusion" which was a glossy magazine with Mallove and friends running it, but after a sho time there was a break-up with Wayne Green complaining that Mallove et al. were taking too much of the income - they say otherwise. Now it continues but not so glossy. At ICCF5, Wayne Green gave out (free) copies of issue No. 9 - price $10.00. It says that the magazine has "an all-volunteer staff" - does this mean they are not paid? There are some articles of very non-standard theories; the most interesting article is Tom Droege's report on his visit to Griggs (see section C1). There also some experimental results including Dr. Matsumoto's (see section B11).

The Letters pages are most interesting, especially one reading "I was delighted to find someone interested in cold fusion. I have been interested in hydrogen since my neighbor tried to burn me up with heavy water. My wife's brother had hired the neighbor to break up our marriage even if it killed us. This was the last of Feb. 1974. Four days later the arsonist burnt down the LDS Stake House using hydrogen. As you may know, heavy water is a marvellous arson tool, the building is burned before the fire alarm can go off. Several years ago, I did the so-called 'cold fusion' experiment. I believe it was in '84 that the UFO came & indicated they would no longer help me with my experiment. They explained that I had not conjugated with a certain high school girl. I went to Las Vegas with the Ancient Astronauts Society and they indicated that I was back in favor and that I should write the truth about hydrogen. ....... Please let me help you to get started making tritium heavy water. My brother-in-law stole $10,000 from me so I am broke".

Gene Mallove gave out copies of his glossy new magazine called "Infinite Energy" - the name caused some discussion and comment. The price is $5.95 per issue. The front page is a striking colour photograph of Roger Stringham of E-Quest (see section C3). It has quite a few adverts which should bring in the money though some full-page adverts are for the magazine, for Gene's 1991 book and another is to buy tapes made by Gene et al. of the "MIT Cold Fusion Day - January 21, 1995".

This first issue contains articles of variable quality. One is the talk by Nobel Laureate Julian Schwinger read in his absence last year at ICCF4, where he recounts the saga of his calculations and beliefs in cold fusion. It is entitled "Cold Fusion Theory; a Brief History of Mine". Initially he thought it was due not to d-d reactions, but to p-d reactions from the H2O contaminant in the D2O; later he thought sonoluminescence could be the explanation. He describes his problems of getting his papers published - the first was rejected impolitely by Physical Review Letters, so he resigned from the APS, but managed to publish it in a German journal. Finally he wrote 8 papers supporting cold fusion. His article begins "As Polonius might have said:' Neither a true-believer nor a disbeliever be'". There is also a report by Bruce Klein of the Bechtel Power Corp. on the Patterson cold fusion cell (see section B10).

The Letters were also varied. In one is intriguingly written "I've being working on a set of biographical vignettes entitled 'Scientists who were Shafted'".

The date and place of the next conference, ICCF6, is given as Spring/or Summer 1996 in Beijing, China.

Both of the magazines have letters from Arthur C. Clarke who is regularly supplied with literature by cold fusion advocates. Slightly discouraging, as after Arthur invited me to give a couple of lectures in Sri Lanka last year, I tried to give him a somewhat different view of cold fusion but he feels the weight of positive evidence should not be neglected though I tried to explain that a judgement should be based on the totality of evidence, both negative and positive, and not a subset. However he did write that "I am a little embarrassed to recall that exactly two years ago, I addressed a distinguished gathering of American, Russian and other naval staff officers (including the OIC, US Pacific fleet) on the subject of 'cold fusion' - and hinted that the breakthrough would be 'real soon now'".


Normally scientific meetings are open and people can speak and note as they wish. If a True Believer was asked if ICCF5 fulfilled these requirements, he would answer that it did. However there were worries. Previously the meeting was widely announced and everyone who went to a previous meeting received a personal invitation to the next. This time only True Believers and some selected neutral people appear to have been invited. People who might be regarded as Sceptics did not receive an invitation - thus Steve Jones was not invited although he was one of the original founders of cold fusion but who has now retracted his previous positive results and publishes experiments and criticisms of positive claims. Also Tom Droege, myself and others received no invitation. Was told it was advertised in Fusion Technology, the journal that has a strange refereeing process for cold fusion papers, though it is regarded as serious for hot fusion papers.

Also on arriving the ICCF5 Information Sheet contained a section on Recording Policy which says that for copyright reasons, "The filming, video-recording, tape recording, photographing, or reproduction in any other form of the proceedings, lectures, posters, or statements of the lecturers, or any other contents of the 5th International Conference on Cold Fusion is neither sanctioned nor permitted by the Association or the governing committees of this Conference." This sounds pretty tough but it is followed by saying that it can be done "with the express consent of the participant". "We suggest that the participant in question obtain appropriate assurance, in writing or otherwise, from the person undertaking such recording of the reasons for and the future use of any such recorded material."

Have never seen such rules in a scientific conference before. So did not use my video or tape recorder, but then found that Gene Mallove was recording extensively everything and Carol White of the magazine 21st Century (has had interviews with Lyndon Larouche from his prison cell e.g. about cold fusion) and Mike Melich were also recording freely. So on the final morning brought my tape recorder and when Martin Fleischmann rose to begin the final talk, asked him if he minded if I recorded him, adding that Mallove et al. seemed to be recording freely without having asked permission. Mallove said he had asked permission, but I replied that I had asked several speakers that morning and none had been asked for their agreement - Mallove responded that he intended to ask them afterwards. Martin said that he did not mind being recorded, but would insist that I let him see what I had written - it was only normal politeness. So wonder if Mallove, White and Melich will follow Martin's insistence on the special cold fusion conference practice of consulting people before publishing?

It may be noted that Gene Mallove is selling tapes of the MIT Cold Fusion Day - wonder if he intends to market his tapes of ICCF5?

After the meeting ended, one owner of a company wished me good-bye and said he would see me again in Sapporo in October 1996. Said I would be happy to see him then if I were invited: so suggested we go over and ask Martin if I would be invited this time. Martin answered that of course I would be invited.

On the other hand this conference resembled a scientific meeting in that, in general, there was no personal animosity, though the theory sessions were a little hot at times. Similarly, though I was not on the original invitation list, was well received by almost all, Martin Fleischmann being especially warm.


In May 1989 when I was trying to organise all the cold fusion results that I had collected, decided to group them by country for convenience. But was greatly astonished to find that some countries and regions had mainly positive results whereas other had mainly null results. This Regionalization of Results persisted with time except that some regions that at first had mainly positive results had switched and now had mainly null results. This is quite contrary to belief in the Universality of Science.

Later Dr. Scaramuzzi who started the great excitement over cold fusion in Italy, stated that Cold Fusion stops at the Alps. And indeed for long there were no positive results to the North - not in Germany, Britain, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands, etc.

However in the summer of 1993, L'Express reported that supported by the theoretician, Prof. Vigier, Dr. Jacques Dufour had begun experiments at the Shell laboratories near Rouen and then moved to the labs of CNAM, the Conservatoire National des Arts et Metiers. Dr. Dufour was quoted as saying "I obtain out an energy double What I put in." However at ICCF4, J. Dufour, J. Foos and J.P. Millot of CNAM, Paris, did not report any positive results but proposed a theory involving three-body collisions and virtual polyneutron states such as (proton plus an electron) which would explain the otherwise impossible results of low amounts of tritium, neutrons and 3He also variable amounts of 4He, and transmuted nuclei. They said they were going to test this unusual theory by sparking in hydrogen isotopes.

At Monte Carlo Drs. Dufour and Foos were delighted to tell me that they had greatly improved and extended their apparatus and while they did have anomalous effects, they had made a major effort to measure nuclear products and concluded that they were definitely not observing cold fusion. This is how the scientific method should work - try and prove yourself wrong. In detail they wrote that they had observed excess power up to 7 Watts, both on H2 and D2, representing 25 to 30% of the incident energy. They had found very small amounts of 4He and 3He and of neutrons (twice background), no tritium , but copious emission of low energy (50 to 200 keV) gammas under certain conditions. They conclude that "part of the excess energy we have measured is not of nuclear origin and probably comes from the formation of tightly bound hydrogen atoms", e.g. as proposed by Vigier. Warned them that Tom Droege had pointed out that it is very difficult to know exactly what is happening with discharges. They were anxious to find an explanation of their anomalies, so suggested that Tom be invited to visit them as he has a remarkable wide range of expertise - they appeared to welcome this suggestion to help solve their mystery.

So it seemed that cold fusion did stop at the Alps, but then next day Dr. J-P Biberian of Marseille University, presented a paper claiming large amounts of excess heat using a perovskite, AlLaO3. The deuterated sample was heated to 400 - 600 C and a current applied. He wrote that excess heats of up to ten times the input energy were found and that neutrons and photons were detected. He expected that if the current were increased, then the excess heat would increase, but found it was not the case. In his talk he claimed that a deuterium density as great as that of liquid deuterium can be obtained, but seem to remember that the separation of deuterium nuclei in liquid deuterium is only the same as that of D2 gas, that is about 0.7 Angstroms, and this is far too large a separation to give cold fusion - it is off by a factor of about 10 E-40 from Steve Koonin and Mike Nauenberg's calculation(1).

When Dr. Biberian was asked if he had done a control with hydrogen instead of deuterium, he said he had not done so - amazing, six years after F&P's press conference.

So has cold fusion crossed the Alps, or has it slid round the edge via Monte Carlo to Marseille? We await the result of Dr. Biberian's urgent controls, with light hydrogen. Will he save the purity of France?


Am often asked how long I think cold fusion will last - but what is new is that some True Believers asked me this question. A short answer could be slightly longer than the supply of money. But actually it is more complicated than that and we need historical examples. N-rays lasted only a few years as Wood exposed Blondlot's mistake in a devastating way. Allison rays and Mitogenic rays lasted for more than ten years because there was never any devastating disproof and because the originators did not disprove themselves or retract. Polywater(2) lasted for many years as it was supported strongly by a distinguished Russian scientist and a distinguished American scientist, but finally first one then the other realised they were wrong and both retracted. More recently the existence of a 17 keV neutrino(3) was claimed, disproved but the claimant then attacked the null results (as True Believers in cold fusion attack the null results from Harwell, Cal Tech, and from MIT) and this caused uncertainty until there was overwhelming evidence against the 17 keV neutrino. Then 3 of the 4 main believers, decided they must be wrong and went back to re-examine their own experiments, and did further experiments which proved themselves wrong. Their retraction then stopped the matter for almost everyone. Thus the time a wrong result persists, depends on whether the original proponents retract or not. Cold fusion started with Fleischmann and Pons closely followed by a much weaker effect claimed by Steve Jones. Now Steve has retracted. If Fleischmann and Pons also retract their excess heat results (they may already have retracted their original 1989 claims to have observed 4He, neutron and tritium - not too clear), then cold fusion would end quickly. But if they persist, then it could drag on several years.

1. S.E. Koonin and M. Nauenberg, Nature 33991989)690.
2. F. Franks, "Polywater", publd. by MIT, 1991.
3. D.R.O. Morrison, Nature 366(1993)29.

(c) Douglas R. O. Morrison.

Address for correspondence;
Email; drom@vxcern.cern.ch
Fax; 41 22 767 90 75

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