Critique of Widom-Larsen Theory by Dr. Julian Brown

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(Source: New Energy Times) I really appreciate what you are trying to achieve, and commend the way you are trying to force a large-scale peer review. Widom's theory is certainly one of very few candidate CF-theories worth taking seriously at the moment.

Since I don't think I am going to get a response from Widom, regarding my queries, here is my opinion of the preprint, for what it's worth.

This IS for the record. It won't make me any friends, but here goes.

Since I am a solid-state and QED person, I am not qualified to pass judgement on the electro-weak aspects.

Regarding the QED and solid-state aspects, I am rather unhappy with the way Widom and Larsen have chosen to represent the effect of the cathodic surface environment on the electrons as an effective mass effect. The paper would be a lot easier to follow if they had simply come out clean with a statement to the effect that they believe an electron can borrow energy-momentum from the electric field at the cathodic surface which is subsequently paid out as an electroweak vector boson and neutron. This mechanism is perfectly possible to represent as a Feynmann diagram, which would make the whole business much easier to understand and critically evaluate.

The problem, for Widom and Larsen, however, is that when you express the idea in this, more orthodox, form it rather looses its mystique, because there is clearly no way in which an electron could absorb 1 MeV or so via either a single or many photon absorptions. Their attempt to justify this possibility appears ultimately to rest on their claim that, in their Ref. 20, Kemali, Ross et al. found evidence for collective proton oscillations in saturated PdH. This is simply not the case. I have discussed this matter with Ross personally, and he emphatically denies that the neutron scattering data shows any evidence of collective proton oscillations of the type claimed by Widom and Larsen in the first paragraph of section C of their current preprint Theoretical Standard Model Rates of Proton to Neutron Conversions Near Metallic Hydride Surfaces, September 25, 2007.

Without the collective proton oscillation mode, the coherent electromagnetic field of huge amplitude needed for their heavy (read: highly energetic) electrons does not pertain. Needless to say, a thermally random E-field will NOT yield anything like the (huge) time-coherent amplitude quoted in Eqn (87).

Since this question of a coherent field lies at the heart of Widom and Larsen's thesis, I consider this objection fatal to their whole attempt at explaining the cold fusion anomalies. As an aside: a theory that predicts H3 and neutrons as the main products does not sit at all well with the observations of countless experimenters - from Fleischmann-Pons onwards - of lots of He4, very little He3 or H3 and very few neutrons.

More specifically, haven't the Frascati people demonstrated a quantitatively correct correlation of exothermy with He4 yield? In fact, it was this result that turned me into a cold-fusion believer, and I suspect the same is true of many other people as well. For this reason, I consider the a priori scepticism of Dr Storms more than justified.

However, I find the theory deficient in its own terms anyway, for the reasons set out above. (Source: New Energy Times)

Sorry to be so negative. It is extremely hard to make theoretical sense of the LENR/cold fusion puzzle, and Widom and Larsen at least deserve a round of applause for a brave try.

It's back to the drawing board folks.