Hundreds of scientists, engineers and others have been working to advance the understanding, engineering and commercialization of LENR generators of heat and electricity since the Fleischmann and Pons announcement in 1989. That global community has established that it is possible to initiate nuclear reactions with chemical energies, and that energy gains of over 100 are possible. Now, it is seeking two basic changes. The most fundamental is the recognition that LENR is a legitimate area of scientific inquiry, which also has great practical promise. The second is financial support by governments, which is normally provided for study of such topics. In the U.S., many research subjects are heavily supported for their scientific value, even though they have little or no practical potential. One example is research by the National Science Foundation and its collaborators to develop capabilities to record gravity waves. That effort has been funded by more than $1100M. The project has developed remarkably sensitive measurement capabilities, has indeed detected a gravity wave recently, and is significant scientifically. However, it does not have the near-term practical promise of LENR.
It seems incongruous to the LENR community that government support of LENR has not happened, again for two reasons. First, both the global population and the per capita use of energy are increasing. And, there are strong arguments for development of clean and distributed energy, which is free of radiation problems during and after operation, and also cost-effective. The reasons for this dichotomy between the promise of LENR and its appropriate funding are clear. The “scientific community” is viewed as the gate keeper in deciding what should be funded by governments. But, the community of recognized and relevant scientists has had, and still has, a pair of problems with LENR. Both are generally understandable. For one, a small cadre of vocal scientific leaders has declared that LENR is not worth funding. That group does not participate in the study of LENR. And, there is no evidence that it even stays abreast of developments. Such behavior might be due to some combination of unwillingness to spend time on LENR, attempts to maintain formerly good reputations, or personal financial interests. Further, the broader community of less influential scientists does not pay much attention to LENR, despite the field having many challenging questions.3 Most scientists seem to be busy with their own interests, and unwilling or unable to get into a new field. So, there is no pressure on funding agencies from such researchers.
Beyond the recalcitrant and uninformed scientific community, the general public has a great deal of information about LENR available to it on the internet. It is hard to quantify such interest. The number of hits on websites with articles on LENR would be a nice indicator of general interest, but such information is unavailable. Rothwell publishes the number of downloads of papers from the lenr.org website, as a function of month. That is a quantitative measure of interest in detailed information about LENR. However, it is likely that many, and maybe most, of the people who download articles are researchers and students, and not only the general public. Figure 1 gives Rothwell’s graphic for a dozen years. It shows that the average download rate has exceeded one per minute during a few months.
For one, a small cadre of vocal scientific leaders has declared that LENR is not worth funding. That group does not participate in the study of LENR. And, there is no evidence that it even stays abreast of developments.
Dr. Nagel must not be referring to Tom. While Tom doesn't "participate in the studies", he looked at a couple papers to "stay abreast", and only then came out forcefully against LENR.