July 30, 2010
Issue #35


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20. Moving Forward

By Steven B. Krivit

The Future of LENR Research and Applications

Nanotechnology: Where the most important and most immediate LENR mysteries likely will be (or may have been) solved.
Surface Chemistry: Specifically, surface plasmon polaritons seem to be very important.
Transmutations: Likely to provide expansive windows into understanding LENR. 
Fully Repeatable Experiments: Any effect, no matter how seemingly banal, that is fully repeatable provides a powerful platform from which to explore LENR. Using expensive and highly constrained diagnostic devices makes little sense when researchers are not confident the experiment will provide a positive result.
● Material Pairing: There appears to be a paired relationship with deuterium-palladium systems and nickel-hydrogen systems. For reasons not clearly known, a reversal of the pairing does not seem to work as effectively.
● Deuterium/Hydrogen Gas: Future applications are far more likely to use either a gas phase device or some kind of solid-state device rather than a liquid electrolytic device.
Back to the Future: Some of the most valuable research in LENR may have occurred two decades ago. It is incorrect to assume that the research promoted today is more significant or successful than that performed 20 years ago. Attitudes about LENR research have gone through many phases and sometimes come full circle.
Regional Perspectives: There are strong variations in the international view of LENR. Most countries with active researchers have developed a localized set of perceptions of and preferences for the research.
Excess Heat is Only an End Product: The study and measurement of excess heat as its own goal has limited use. Instead, investigate the conditions, materials and processes which lead to excess heat.
Involve the Nuclear Community: Contributions and guidance from experts in nuclear physics, particle physics and nuclear chemistry will be essential.

Insights for Potentially Revolutionary Science
(Ideas by S.B. Krivit unless otherwise noted)

Scientific Critique

● "Breakthrough science cannot be peer-reviewed." (Sri Kumar Banerjee, chairman of Indian AEC)
●  Critical and honest scientific skepticism is essential to the scientific method and to the advancement of scientific progress. Clever skeptics can always find ways to theorize and imagine alternate explanations for anomalies in controversial science. If the critic cannot provide explicit and specific explanations about the hypothetical alternative explanation, the skepticism is pathological, and worthless. 
● Proving a negative, or the non-existence of an idea, can be close to impossible. (Labinger and Weininger)

Scientific Replication

● Failure to replicate means failure to replicate.
● People who do not want to successfully replicate an experiment most likely will achieve their goals. (Paraphrased from Fleischmann)
● "Negative results can be obtained without skill and experience." (Bockris)
● There is a crucial distinction between a scientific replication attempt and a scientific result, though they are closely related.
● When a dispute arises about a scientific replication attempt, the replicator's opinion about the accuracy of the replication is no more valid than the originator's opinion about its accuracy.
● There are no completely independent replications; a minimal level of knowledge must transmit between parties. Newer and more difficult replication attempts require greater knowledge transfer; more mature and simpler experiments require less. 
● The highest confirmatory power of a scientific replication is not an identical replication. (Collins)

Science Sociology

Scientific behavior tends to change among people exploring potentially revolutionary science. The high stakes and opportunities, known best by the most knowledgeable players in the field, influence behavior of scientists in unexpected ways. Remain vigilant. 
● Scientists and scientific establishments – new or old – are not, white lab coats notwithstanding, as pure as the driven snow. (Scientists are human beings, too.) (Beaudette)
● Science philosophy, specifically science sociology, is in need of overhaul. Scientific skepticism must follow the same rigor as scientific claims. (Baloney Detection Collection)
University coursework in science sociology, ethics, conduct and research integrity is woefully inadequate. 
● In new science, there are no established authorities or experts; the playing field is wide open. 
● Science journalists must not forfeit a critical attitude to so-called or self-proclaimed science authorities. The same journalistic discipline should apply as that used in reporting politics, business, crime and society. (Pownall)

Science Philosophy

● Experiment trumps theory, always, no matter how many centuries old a theory may be. (Paraphrased from many people)
● Honest mistakes are essential to science. (Pownall/Popper)
● Science is never wrong, but sometimes people are. 


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