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Cold Fusion, 23 Years Later


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#1 Ludwik

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Posted 18 March 2012 - 04:29 PM

Cold Fusion, 23 years later



Some of you are probably not too young to remember what happened nearly 23 years ago, on March 23, 1989. It was a dramatic announcement of the discovery of the so called Cold Fusion. Some people think that this was the greatest fiasco of the last century; others believe that this discovery was an important step toward future technology of pollution-free nuclear energy. The link to my free online book about Cold Fusion is:

http://ludkow.info/cf/403memoir.html

Please forward this post to those who might be interested. Thank you in advance. It is my third book written after the retirement.

#2 CraigD

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Posted 27 March 2012 - 02:13 PM

:thumbs_up I just read your linked-to memoir Cold Fusion is not Voodoo Science, Ludwik, and found it interesting and informative. It wowed me. I think the guidance from your writer workshop to write more of a personal narrative than a technical monolog, and your decision to follow it, were wise, and critical to making CFinVS readable. Of your recent memoirs I’ve read, I enjoyed this one the best. I don’t know if the option is a feasible one, but think CFinVS (likely with a different title) would benefit from a professional editing, and could be promotion and widely published.

I remember well my reaction to Fleischmann and Pons’s 1989 cold fusion announcement, which I can best describe as making a credulous, over-excited fool of myself. I was a recently married, 28-year-old, new to a medical computer programming career self-styled technologist, with just enough of a following of people who found me guru-ishly smart to have a receptive and enthusiastic audience for my rantings of how solid-catalyzed CF heralded “it’s the end of the world as we know it (and I feel fine)” (the title and refrain of a popular song at the time), and how we could almost certainly expect to see reproduction and trumpeting of their results in university and private labs around the world in the coming weeks and days, and practical power generators within a few years, turning the technological/commercial status quo topsy-turvy. I even went as far as hedging against the unlikely IMO possibility of a draconian attempt to discredit and suppress the technology by the commercial interests that stood to lose in the coming energy and economic renaissance by rushing to the nearest junkyard and buying a trunk full of junked catalytic converters (for nearly nothing, as a lot of junk dealers then didn’t know that even a falling-apart converter has about $100 worth of recyclable platinum and palladium) to have some Pd at hand, and read up on micro electric generation in anticipation of taking my apartment off grid within the year.

As we all know, that didn’t happen. Instead, I and others had to sheepishly admit our overreaction, at least some of us cursing F&P as academic scam artists of the worst ilk, the U of Utah as a herd of hapless rubes at best and conniving thieves at worse, and wishing them all their just come-uppances. That didn’t exactly happen, either, unless you consider being effectively run out of Utah and the US to France a come-uppance, rather than a pleasant indefinite sabbatical.

On the subject of LENRs (a more respectable name for a scientific field I hope will eventually shed its disreputable associations with the events of 1989-1998, and its ongoing association with the vast crank/conspiracy theory free energy community), I’m intrigued that they might happen, and be explainable in a bottom-up way via conventional quantum mechanics and gigantic computer modeling projects, but fairly convinced they’ll never be a practical civil power source. I suspect that the unexplained heat from the various “stuff in a jar” LENR experiments is merely that – unexplained, but not unexplainable per conventional physics – and that those that aren’t simply instrument or analysis errors actually involve low-power fission reaction from contamination of materials with various radioactive elements, such as the uranium contamination you describe reporting at ICFF11.