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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.

#3 haram

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Posted 01 November 2016 - 04:53 AM

MIT and Cold Fusion: A Special Report

by (late) Eugene F. Mallove, Sc.D. MIT Class of 1969 (Aero/Astro Engineering ‘69 SB; ‘70 SM) Chief Science Writer, MIT News Office 1987-1991

http://www.infinite-...mitcfreport.pdf

 

 

 "The pressure for conformity is enormous. I have experienced it in editors’ rejection of submitted papers, based on venomous criticism of anonymous referees. The replacement of impartial reviewing by censorship will be the death of science."

 

Julian Schwinger


Edited by haram, 01 November 2016 - 06:26 AM.


#4 exchemist

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Posted 01 November 2016 - 10:16 AM

MIT and Cold Fusion: A Special Report

by (late) Eugene F. Mallove, Sc.D. MIT Class of 1969 (Aero/Astro Engineering ‘69 SB; ‘70 SM) Chief Science Writer, MIT News Office 1987-1991

http://www.infinite-...mitcfreport.pdf

 

 

 "The pressure for conformity is enormous. I have experienced it in editors’ rejection of submitted papers, based on venomous criticism of anonymous referees. The replacement of impartial reviewing by censorship will be the death of science."

 

Julian Schwinger

What point do you wish to make here? All I see is a lengthy article about somebody I've never heard of. Why do you think it is worthwhile to read through it?



#5 fahrquad

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Posted 04 November 2016 - 08:34 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.

 

Is it really worthwhile to comment on one of the bigger scientific hoaxes of modern time?  I am not going to waste my time digging up links to this ancient BS to show how absurd it is.  I thought this was a Science post....



#6 fahrquad

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Posted 04 November 2016 - 08:40 PM

BTW, the Piltdown Man was my great-great-uncle.

 

http://www.nhm.ac.uk...ltdown-man.html



#7 fahrquad

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Posted 09 November 2016 - 01:47 AM

You might want to read this article about the Top 10 Scientific Frauds and Hoaxes.

 

https://youtu.be/uhV4me_k8Y8



#8 haram

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Posted 10 November 2016 - 06:16 AM

What point do you wish to make here? All I see is a lengthy article about somebody I've never heard of. Why do you think it is worthwhile to read through it?

 

"by (late) Eugene F. Mallove, Sc.D. MIT Class of 1969 (Aero/Astro Engineering ‘69 SB; ‘70 SM) Chief Science Writer, MIT News Office 1987-1991"

 

So, it is chronological well-documented recapitulation of earliest events from the first-eye well scientific educated witness, and point is quotation from one among the brightest scientific minds of the XX century. That's why i think it is worthwhile to read.

Besides that, there is at least two others topics about this problem, and my opinion is on one of them.


Edited by haram, 10 November 2016 - 06:27 AM.


#9 haram

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Posted 10 November 2016 - 06:25 AM

You might want to read this article about the Top 10 Scientific Frauds and Hoaxes.

 

https://youtu.be/uhV4me_k8Y8

 

You might want to read this page 87 of

 

NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT FOR FISCAL YEAR 2017
R E P O R T OF THE COMMITTEE ON ARMED SERVICES
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

ON
H.R. 4909
together with
ADDITIONAL VIEWS
[Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]
MAY 4, 2016.—Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

...

 

Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR) Briefing

 

The committee is aware of recent positive developments in developing low-energy nuclear reactions (LENR), which produce ultraclean, low-cost renewable energy that have strong national security implications. For example, according to the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), if LENR works it will be a ‘‘disruptive technology that could revolutionize energy production and storage.’’ The committee is also aware of the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s (DARPA) findings that other countries including China and India are moving forward with LENR programs of their own and that Japan has actually created its own investment fund to promote such technology. DIA has also assessed that Japan and Italy are leaders in the field and that Russia, China, Israel, and India are now devoting significant resources to LENR development.
To better understand the national security implications of these developments, the committee directs the Secretary of Defense to provide a briefing on the military utility of recent U.S. industrial base LENR advancements to the House Committee on Armed Services by September 22, 2016. This briefing should examine the current state of research in the United States, how that compares to work being done internationally, and an assessment of the type of military applications where this technology could potentially be useful.

 

https://www.congress...-114hrpt537.pdf

 

?



#10 exchemist

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Posted 10 November 2016 - 09:21 AM

"by (late) Eugene F. Mallove, Sc.D. MIT Class of 1969 (Aero/Astro Engineering ‘69 SB; ‘70 SM) Chief Science Writer, MIT News Office 1987-1991"

 

So, it is chronological well-documented recapitulation of earliest events from the first-eye well scientific educated witness, and point is quotation from one among the brightest scientific minds of the XX century. That's why i think it is worthwhile to read.

Besides that, there is at least two others topics about this problem, and my opinion is on one of them.

OK, but what point do you wish to make from all this? There are many things written, on many subjects, by many far more eminent people that this fellow (who was sacked by MIT over his promotion of cold fusion, after it was debunked), but we can't read them all, can we?  



#11 CraigD

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Posted 10 November 2016 - 01:24 PM

You might want to read this page 87 of
...
The committee is also aware of the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s (DARPA) findings that other countries including China and India are moving forward with LENR programs of their own and that Japan has actually created its own investment fund to promote such technology. DIA has also assessed that Japan and Italy are leaders in the field and that Russia, China, Israel, and India are now devoting significant resources to LENR development.

We discussed this reference in Cold Fusion?!.

One should be cautious about conflating the interest of military in a fringe field like cold fusion/LENR with scientific evidence that that field’s objects of interest actually exist.

The US military has a history of pursuing fringe science, often motivated by other country’s militaries interest in it. For example, in the 1970 and ’80, a few people in the US army tried to develop paranormal abilities like remote viewing and telekinesis, even though there was and remains no credible scientific evidence that such phenomena are possible. The 2004 book The Men Who Stare at Goats is a well-known documentary of these efforts.

I don’t think it a bad thing that militaries spend modest amounts of time and money pursuing fringe science. It’s arguably prudent, because even though the likelihood of the pursuit finding anything real and useful is miniscule, the impact on a country of its military not finding it when another’s has could be great. The basic risk analysis formula risk = probability * severity, where probability is small, severity great, shows it’s wise to spend a little – but not a lot – time and money investigating even outlandish, scientifically debunked ideas.

However, it can be educationally and intellectually harmful to a person when they conclude that the prudent investigation of ideas with very low probabilities of being true or useful implies an increased probability of them being true or useful.

That the US military funded studies and experiments in psychic goat killing doesn’t mean goats can be killed by paranormal means. That it funds experiments in cold fusion/LENR doesn’t mean that hydrogen can be transmuted into helium at a low temperature.

#12 HydrogenBond

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 08:29 AM

Government research labs have a budget for all types of blue sky research. You never know when something useful may appear; diamond in the rough. From a military POV, you practice all types of scenarios, just in case.

 

I think the main problem with cold fusion has been a misunderstanding with how it might work. How it is thought to work, will not work. But if you look at it differently, it has potential. 

 

Here is my POV. If you look at an atom like oxygen, it has 8 protons and 8 electrons. Oxygen can exist as oxide or O-2, which has 8 protons and 10 electrons. The question is how can oxide be stable if there are two extra electrons compared to protons? The answer is, electrons orbital define the paths of electrons in motion. A moving charge, such as an electron, will create a magnetic field. The 10 electrons of oxide, move in such a way in 3-D, that they define enough magnetic attraction sufficient to overcome the added electron repulsion.

 

It follows logically, that the nucleus protons have something similar to the electron orbitals. If we had only static protons, the positive charges will repel adding strain to the nuclear binding forces. If we add motion to the protons; orbital shapes, the protein can generate magnetic attraction that can stabilize the nucleus. 

 

Cold fusion is connected to using election orbitals; chemistry, to tweak nuclear orbitals; physics. 

 

This possibility is based on the assumption that if both the electrons and protons had orbitals, these will interact to minimize the atomic potential. My guess is these will form mirror images. Like the concept of stereo isomers, they will look the same in a mirror, but they can never overlay. This keeps atoms from ever being able to collapse; superimpose. 

 

The original experiments using hydrogen and platinum, was based on using hydrogen protons to add a third layer of orbitals; hydrogen, to the platinum nuclear and electron orbitals mirror images. This somehow tweak the nuclear bonding orbitals to a higher energy state triggering a reaction that has not be easy to reproduce. 

 

The way I would do this is create an exotic oxidation state, like  -6 induced into orbitals. The nucleus will try to reflect this being pulled into an excited state leading to fission. Ideally, if we could make stable products, we have clean fission.  



#13 haram

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 09:59 AM

 
We discussed this reference in Cold Fusion?!.

One should be cautious about conflating the interest of military in a fringe field like cold fusion/LENR with scientific evidence that that field’s objects of interest actually exist.

The US military has a history of pursuing fringe science, often motivated by other country’s militaries interest in it. For example, in the 1970 and ’80, a few people in the US army tried to develop paranormal abilities like remote viewing and telekinesis, even though there was and remains no credible scientific evidence that such phenomena are possible. The 2004 book The Men Who Stare at Goats is a well-known documentary of these efforts.

I don’t think it a bad thing that militaries spend modest amounts of time and money pursuing fringe science. It’s arguably prudent, because even though the likelihood of the pursuit finding anything real and useful is miniscule, the impact on a country of its military not finding it when another’s has could be great. The basic risk analysis formula risk = probability * severity, where probability is small, severity great, shows it’s wise to spend a little – but not a lot – time and money investigating even outlandish, scientifically debunked ideas.

However, it can be educationally and intellectually harmful to a person when they conclude that the prudent investigation of ideas with very low probabilities of being true or useful implies an increased probability of them being true or useful.

That the US military funded studies and experiments in psychic goat killing doesn’t mean goats can be killed by paranormal means. That it funds experiments in cold fusion/LENR doesn’t mean that hydrogen can be transmuted into helium at a low temperature.

 

@CraigD, you missunderstood me. Information about some briefing is not any proof per se, of courseit just possibly marks new era of research on that matter, because so far was banned, scattered and poorly funded. And there is significant part of scientific community that thinks that matter is very worthy of research - that is clearly confirmed in that congressional report (which was, as I'm aware for now, delayed for unknown reason).

 

I'm aware of that it is long history of misleads and pseudo-scientific researches in US military (and even mr.Rossi himself has back there in 1980's sold some number of useless "generators" to US Army, as also he has some fraudulent past in Italy), but for that reason we shouldn't neglect purely scientific scrutiny.

 

Around 60 years was past from first flights of Wright brothers to first moonlanding, and 60 years most advanced nations building experimental hot fusion reactors without significant success (sustainable process is always "30years away")... maybe is time to governments redirect some efforts in new energy projects like cold fusion/LENR to clear that matter, instead of leaving it to broad range of dilettants, fraudsters and blurred private entrepreneurs? Fission research also was greatly boosted by the Manhattan Project and arms race - without it, maybe even today controllable fission would be object of research of small scientific community (like pre-war era it was), and also object of controversy. 


Edited by haram, 12 November 2016 - 10:02 AM.


#14 haram

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 10:43 AM

Government research labs have a budget for all types of blue sky research. You never know when something useful may appear; diamond in the rough. From a military POV, you practice all types of scenarios, just in case.

 

 

 
From one point, I disagreed on that. They have carefully distributed funds. See how ITER must have to wait budget break approval - last one is (or was?) very questionable. But research should be started at the first place, and that is impossible if whole phenomena is ignored.
 
I think the main problem with cold fusion has been a misunderstanding with how it might work. How it is thought to work, will not work. But if you look at it differently, it has potential.

 

 

I agreed on that. Observed experimental anomalies shouldn't be rejected in favour of present theories, it is to many of them in past 25 years, to be prescribed by measurement errors. Since F-P experiment, measuring equipment was improved greatly, and experiments still shows similar anomalies.

 

 

Other parts of text I'm unqualified to comment, would like to see the other experts (or scholars) opinions.


Edited by haram, 12 November 2016 - 11:18 AM.


#15 haram

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 11:05 AM

What point do you wish to make here? All I see is a lengthy article about somebody I've never heard of. Why do you think it is worthwhile to read through it?

 

"by (late) Eugene F. Mallove, Sc.D. MIT Class of 1969 (Aero/Astro Engineering ‘69 SB; ‘70 SM) Chief Science Writer, MIT News Office 1987-1991"

 

- it's vell documented chronology from very close credible eyewitness, point is comment from Julian Schwinger (hope you heard of him), since on this forum are at least three different themes about CF/LENR and initial post on this one is referring on institutional possibly supressing aspect in that affair, my link is contributing in that direction.


Edited by haram, 12 November 2016 - 11:24 AM.


#16 exchemist

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Posted 12 November 2016 - 12:58 PM

"by (late) Eugene F. Mallove, Sc.D. MIT Class of 1969 (Aero/Astro Engineering ‘69 SB; ‘70 SM) Chief Science Writer, MIT News Office 1987-1991"

 

- it's vell documented chronology from very close credible eyewitness, point is comment from Julian Schwinger (hope you heard of him), since on this forum are at least three different themes about CF/LENR and initial post on this one is referring on institutional possibly supressing aspect in that affair, my link is contributing in that direction.

OK so you're pushing cold fusion, I get that. But the only thing that would interest me would be further work that corroborates the apparently discredited findings of Pons and Fleischman. Merely rehashing history, in the form of the views of dead scientists, serves little scientific purpose.

 

If the results were real then someone ought to be have been able to reproduce them. Plenty of people tried but nobody has succeeded. When you combine that failure with the fairly solid theoretical reasons why it would appear not to be possible, you have good reasons to stop spending time on it.

 

This looks like zombie science - a failed idea that will not die because the cranks have got hold of it. 


Edited by exchemist, 12 November 2016 - 12:58 PM.


#17 haram

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Posted 14 November 2016 - 07:45 AM

OK so you're pushing cold fusion, I get that. But the only thing that would interest me would be further work that corroborates the apparently discredited findings of Pons and Fleischman. Merely rehashing history, in the form of the views of dead scientists, serves little scientific purpose.

 

If the results were real then someone ought to be have been able to reproduce them. Plenty of people tried but nobody has succeeded. When you combine that failure with the fairly solid theoretical reasons why it would appear not to be possible, you have good reasons to stop spending time on it.

 

This looks like zombie science - a failed idea that will not die because the cranks have got hold of it. 

 

1) I'm not "pushing" anything, except urge for scientific consistency.
 
 
2) Those are some of the "cranks" who are/was "pushing" CF/LENR:
 
-  one of the brightest physicists of modern era, Julian Schwinger:
After 1989 Schwinger took a keen interest in the non-mainstream research of cold fusion. He wrote eight theory papers about it. He resigned from the American Physical Society after their refusal to publish his papers. He felt that cold fusion research was being suppressed and academic freedom violated. He wrote: "The pressure for conformity is enormous. I have experienced it in editors’ rejection of submitted papers, based on venomous criticism of anonymous referees. The replacement of impartial reviewing by censorship will be the death of science."
more sources:
 
-  prof. Peter L. Hagelstein, associate proffesor at MIT
 
-  dr. Louis F. DeChiaro 
 
- Ph.D. Pamela Mosier-Boss and her personell of the U.S. Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center
 
-  dr Allan Widom
- Lewis Larsen
(Widom-Larsen theory:  http://newenergytime.../WLTheory.shtml )
 
... and many other specialists on nuclear physics and electrochemistry recognised as experts on their fields, who certainly can't be called cranks. Except late Schwinger, al they are very alive, and still working, proposing theories and successfully reproducing and extending F-P experiment.
 
 
3)  Besides US, after F-P experiment, many foreign labs and teams continued research on CF/LENR. It is to long list to be named in this post, so this is link on informations gathered by The Defense Intelligence Agency ( https://en.wikipedia...lligence_Agency , http://www.dia.mil/ ):
Technology Forecast: Worldwide Research on Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions Increasing and Gaining Acceptance
- dated 13. November 2009.
 
Investigation of nano-nuclear reactions in condensed matter - final report, approved for public release; distribution is unlimited © 2016 P.A. Boss, L.P. Forsley, P.J. McDaniel
 
 
- doesn't look like "zomby science" supported only by "the cranks", to me.

Edited by haram, 14 November 2016 - 08:28 AM.