Summary of 5th Widom-Larsen Paper
By Lewis Larsen and Allan Widom

Back to Widom-Larsen Theory Portal

(Source: New Energy Times) We have attached a new 3-page preprint, "Energetic Electrons and Nuclear Transmutations in Exploding Wires", arXiv:0709.1222v1 [nucl-th] 8 Sep 2007 by Widom, Srivastava, and Larsen. In this paper, we extend our theory of low energy nuclear reactions (LENRs) beyond the domain of relatively low temperature chemical cells to include closely related nuclear phenomena that occur in much more energetic, violent environments associated with high-current exploding wires.

One aim of our paper is to resolve an old controversy. In 1922, Wendt &Irion, two chemists from the University of Chicago, reported the results of relatively simple experiments that consisted of exploding tungsten wires with a very large current pulse under a vacuum inside of sealed glass "bulbs." A huge controversy erupted because Wendt &Irion claimed to have observed the presence of anomalous helium inside sealed bulbs after the tungsten wires were blown, suggesting that transmutation of hydrogen into helium had somehow occurred during the "disintegration of tungsten." Widespread press coverage triggered a response from the scientific establishment in the form of a negative critique of Wendt &Irion's work by Ernest Rutherford that was published in Nature. Rutherford won the contemporary debate; he was believed --- Wendt &Irion were not. After 1923, Wendt and Irion abandoned their exploding wire experiments and turned to other lines of research.

Until recently, this controversy had been almost totally forgotten. However, it now appears to us that Rutherford was incorrect in his criticisms; Wendt and Irion were right. First, we cite recent experimental evidence on exploding wires that decisively settles the experimental issues in favor of Wendt &Irion. Neutrons are produced in such experiments, making it entirely plausible that nuclear transmutations can occur. Second, we cite additional recent experiments in which, "fast neutrons have been seen in exploding wires even though there were no deuterons initially present." Since distinctive gamma signatures have not been observed along with any such neutrons, it appears unlikely to us that D-D fusion is the mechanism responsible for producing them.

We also aim to resolve the remaining theoretical issues. Utilizing collective effects with electrons in wires, well-established physics, and only four equations, we go on to explain a "theoretical paradox in low energy nuclear reactions that has remained unresolved for over eight decades."

We conclude that, "It is presently clear that nuclear transmutations can occur under a much wider range of physical conditions than was heretofore thought possible."

The resolution of this 85 year-old controversy is especially poignant when one considers that: (a.) in 1920 Rutherford himself had predicted the existence of a neutral nuclear particle with ~ the same mass as a proton, saying that it could be formed by the capture of an electron onto a proton ;(b.) the existence of the neutron would not be experimentally verified by James Chadwick until 1932; and (c.) fission would not be discovered by Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassman until 1938.

Since they can be difficult to obtain, for your convenience we have attached a second Adobe Acrobat document that contains copies of all three original publications as follows: (1.) Wendt and Irion's initial paper, "Experimental Attempts to Decompose Tungsten at High Temperatures," from the Amer. Chem. Soc. 44 (1922); (2.) Rutherford's comments about their work in Nature 109 418 (1922) - also reprinted with permission in Science (attached); and (3.) Wendt's subsequent response to Rutherford in Science 55 567 (1922).