Robert E Godes: why Cold Fusion is so opposed by physicists

  • On the experimental argument, I largely agree with THH. It is a shortcoming that must be addressed that there is no "lab rat" experiment that can be easily replicated, with results well above the noise floor. Hopes have occasionally been raised over the years that such an experiment might have been found, but such hopes have not yet come to fruition.


    On the theoretical side, I am largely persuaded that unexamined assumptions and misinterpretations of what expetiments there are abound, both among CF'ers and among mainstream physicists reviewing the body of work from afar, and that through polemics these bad assumptions have been partly codified into a CF dogma, a situation that has helped to lead theory building astray. It does not matter what an intelligent mind such as Peter Hagelstein comes up with if important starting assumptions are incorrect or are experimentally untested. If CF is eventually accepted into mainstream science, I assume that all that will be needed will be some minor adjustments to and elaboration of existing physics and one or two happy coincidences in areas of experimental physics that were up to now poorly explored. There are surely tantalizing possibilities that students of nuclear physics will have stumbled upon in their studies generation after generation, only to be told by their professors with a little too much confidence that while the idea is an interesting one the experiments do not support it. It is in such possibilities that I find the most promising avenues for an explanation for LENR.


    The possibility that radioactive decay rates might be modulated is one such possibility. The idea will have occurred to any physics student after learning about the Gamow theory. The fact that the possibility is raised as a question from time to time on physics.stackexchange.com is an indication that the suggestion is not a radical departure from existing physics. There is even a page at MIT that documents a number of (non-CF) studies that have been done on variability in decay rates. If radioactive decay could be accelerated, many CF experimental findings could be explained. There may be one or two other such possibilities.

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    there is no "lab rat" experiment that can be easily replicated, with results well above the noise floor


    This is misinformation - such an experiments are already there: for example prof. Hagelstein and Swartz from MIT sell NANOR® kit, which enables to start the cold fusion experiments with 100% reliability. And there are another simple systems, which already provide very good reproducibility (codeposition of palladium for example).

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  • This is misinformation - such an experiments are already there: for example prof. Hagelstein and Swartz from MIT sell NANOR® kit, which enables to start the cold fusion experiments with 100% reliability.


    Claims of having a lab rat experiment are very different than actually having one. Can you refer us to various groups that have made use of NANOR's kit to gradually characterize LENR? (Preview of your answer, should you answer directly: you can't.)


    What other simple systems would you consider "lab rats"? Claims by the originators are not sufficient to bestow this label upon an experiment. Note also the important requirement, mentioned by me above, that the phenomenon exhibited by the lab rat be well above the noise floor.


    And there are another simple systems, which already provide very good reproducibility (codeposition of palladium for example).


    This is an example of a promising set of experiments in which the original team had placed a lot of hope for it being a lab rat, but whose unambiguous replication has nonetheless not been forthcoming. I would not call it a lab rat at this point.

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    Claims of having a lab rat experiment are very different than actually having one. Can you refer us to various groups that have made use of NANOR's kit to gradually characterize LENR? (Preview of your answer, should you answer directly: you can't.)


    Such an objection smells with pluralistic ignorance, which is red herring behind one century long dismissal of cold fusion as such with mainstream physics.


    The proponents of this physics claim, that cold fusion doesn't exist, because nobody did succeed with it. ...?!? Well, OK - maybe he succeeded, but it was long time ago and no one has replicated it yet. Well, maybe he already replicated it, but he hasn't published it in serious scientific journal! Well, shit - maybe some journals about it still exist, but they're not peer-reviewed...!! ..Jeez, some of them are possibly reviewed - but they're of low impact and they didn't pass the scrutiny yet - that's it!!!


    And so on - at the very end every evidence of cold fusion will get diluted with unwillingness of physicists to engage in serious replications of cold fusion and the vicious circle of pluralistic ignorance gets closed: the cold fusion doesn't exist, because - you know - no one is willing to try it. But the objective truth cannot depend on our subjective attitude.

  • Such an objection smells with pluralistic ignorance, which is red herring behind one century long dismissal of cold fusion as such with mainstream physics.


    I asked you for the names of groups that are using NANOR's kit to gradually characterize LENR. This is a specific question: there are such groups, or there are no such groups yet. In the first case, we have a bona fide lab rat. In the second case we do not yet have a bona fide lab rate, despite Swartz's claim. This is entirely independent of whether the NANOR kit can eventually be shown to be such a lab rat.


    The proponents of this physics claim, that cold fusion doesn't exist, because nobody did succeed with it. ...?!? Well, OK - maybe he succeeded, but it was long time ago and no one has replicated it yet. Well, maybe he already replicated it, but he hasn't published it in serious scientific journal! Well, shit - maybe some journals about it still exist, but they're not peer-reviewed...!! ..Jeez, some of them are possibly reviewed - but they're of low impact and they didn't pass the scrutiny yet - that's it!!!


    This discussion is not relevant to anything I was talking about, but it's setting up a strawman through insinuation. The topic we were addressing: is there a "lab rat" experiment that can be used to gradually characterize LENR? My response, and probably the opinion of most serious workers in the field, is that there is not such a lab rat experiment yet. In order for an experiment to be a genuine lab rat, it would have to be something that independent labs are able to pick up and run with. You won't know that until independent labs actually do pick it up and run with it.


    This discussion is entirely apart from the question of whether LENR is real.

  • The reason the NANOR does not work for this purpose is that it is very difficult to do reliable calorimetry on such small qtys of power. As the size of active material goes down so the errors go up. Schwarts claims that as the active size goes down the COP goes up....

  • for example prof. Hagelstein and Swartz from MIT sell

    I asked the question to MFMP several months ago, if they had ever contacted Swartz about replicating / independent testing of a Nanor. It has been quite a while and I have not looked up the post (on ECW). If my memory is correct, Greenyer replied that they had made contact, but the response was that they could purchase a wire for a very large amount of money and it seemed that there was little interest on Swartz's part to pursue the matter.


    Perhaps MagicSound could give us some details. It appeared that either the Nanor was not actually for sale or that it was priced so high that no one was going to attempt testing. In any case, I agree with Eric Walker, I have did some brief searches and could find no other entity that has tested a Nanor.

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    The reason the NANOR does not work for this purpose is that it is very difficult to do reliable calorimetry on such small qtys of power

    The idea of NANOR is in doing calibration in situ with current pulses, which would change its heat production in defined way and which is claimed to be most reliable.


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    The topic we were addressing: is there a "lab rat" experiment that can be used to gradually characterize LENR?


    Nanortech is using exactly the same term at its web page. This page also says, that "Nanortech anticipates it will be setting up a pre-order list by Fall 2016. Unfortunately, there is not at present the capacity to make these components generally available in the short term".

  • Nanortech is using exactly the same term at its web page. This page also says, that "Nanortech anticipates it will be setting up a pre-order list by Fall 2016. Unfortunately, there is not at present the capacity to make these components generally available in the short term".


    For the purpose of whether an experimental protocol or apparatus is a "lab rat," as the term is used by workers in the field, it does not matter that someone claims they have a lab rat, as in the case of the NANOR. What matters is that independent laboratories have had success in using it to tease out details about the LENR mechanism. Which hasn't happened yet with any device.


    Is your intention to reach mutual understanding on this topic, or is it simply to reply with retorts to every valid (and in this case, obvious) point that is made?

  • I just said, that reference to lack of evidence cannot serve as the evidence of the opposite - but evidence of pluralistic ignorance. For example ENEA lab achieved the reliability 70% of cold fusion at their palladium samples in 2009 - by now it will be probably even higher.

    The yield for example in CPU production is generally lower than 70% - and yet nobody doubts their existence. Piantelli reported nearly 100% reliability of LENR with his technology (nickel whiskers). Szpak also referenced co-deposition as very reliable system.

    Yet his iconic observation of cold fusion with thermocamera wasn't attempted to replicate yet - is it really the problem of Szpak or even LENR itself? Of course not, the problem is in scientific community itself. The direct observation with thermocamera is more apparent evidence of cold fusion, than many people are willing to admit.


    The general understanding of motivation for LENR dismissal with scientists is generally not very deep even here, at the LENR forum. In my opinion this motivation is the jealousy, fear for lost of social credit and informational monopoly - all other well minded opinions are just a sort of evasions of this stance. Yes, the LENR generally lacks the reference system, but only because of generally dismissive attitude for their replications. The fully working nuclear bombs were developed in just five years from first observation of nuclear fission in the test tube - but this research was governmentally supported and it got full financial and intellectual support (for example the USA government supplied its strategical mintage reserves of silver for calutron windings).


    This is what the real research effort means and such an effort would also yield into tangible results soon. Any other approach is just silent delay of progress in an effort to prolonge existing status quo.

  • I just said, that reference to lack of evidence cannot serve as the evidence of the opposite - but evidence of pluralistic ignorance. For example ENEA lab achieved the reliability 70% of cold fusion at their palladium samples in 2009 - by now it will be probably even higher.


    You've conflated evidence for LENR with evidence for a lab rat. We have plenty of evidence for LENR. What we don't have is evidence that there is a suitable lab rat experiment. The evidence for LENR, as we know, is patchy and hard to reproduce, but nonetheless there's a lot of it. The evidence for a lab rat cannot be patchy and hard to reproduce by definition. If such was the case, we wouldn't have a lab rat experiment, and we don't.


    If Szpak had a suitable lab rat experiment in the IR thermography you point to, we would only know after the fact when other independent labs succeeded in reproducing it. It is not Szpak's fault if this is something that would be straightforward to do and other groups have simply not taken the initiative. But neither is that experiment a verified lab rat experiment yet, by widespread understanding of workers in the field, until other groups have seen some success in replicating it and start to use it to characterize LENR. For we're talking about a lab rat experiment and not about LENR in general.


    The general understanding of motivation for LENR dismissal with scientists is generally not very deep even here, at the LENR forum.


    We're talking about a lab rat experiment and not LENR.


  • The problem is this. How can you distinguish between what you imagine - generally dismissive attitude for their replications - and real scientific uncertainty caused by results that are insufficiently validated and non-replicable (or, if replicable, the claims of excess heat etc require unproven assumptions). Where results are close to noise making that distinction is very difficult, and no-one without very significant expertise in all of the experimental issues can do it. Even with such expertise people can reach honest, but different, judgements.


    Perhaps the matter could be progressed if you identified which replication (that is same everything) leads to clear above noise and error results?

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    How can you distinguish between what you imagine - generally dismissive attitude for their replications - and real scientific uncertainty caused by results


    It's actually very simple: the pluralistic ignorance can be objectively measured like the temporal delay between anouncement of findings and its first published attempt for replication. The disinterest of mainstream science can be measured like the delay of first peer-reviewed publication analogously. According to this metric the verification of heliocentric model has been delayed by 160 years, the replication of overunity in electrical circuit has been delayed 145 years (Cook 1871), cold fusion finding 90 years (Panneth/Petters 1926), Woodward drive 26 years, EMDrive 18 years. Please note, that the finding of for example graphene (which wasn't also expected in any way) was immediately replicated in hundreds of labs across the world and after six years it has been awarded with Nobel prize.


    BTW Dr. Michael Dittmar, researcher at CERN, talks about the energy crisis and Big Oil


    Mainstream physicists often accuse the Big Oil lobby from low investments into hot fusion, renewables or nuclear research - but nothing would convince them into interest about cold fusion anyway.

    Each party in the energy research club simply follows its own particular interests instead of interests of tax payers who are paying all this fun - this is the whole problem.


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  • Zephir. if I follow your argument you are saying that results which are claimed but not published with peer-review provide evidence for pluralistic ignorance. But, surely, that could equally be just that the claims are too weak to pass peer-review? But, in any case, there are very many LENR results that have been published in peer-reviewed journals, so i'm not sure how that applies here.

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    But, surely, that could equally be just that the claims are too weak to pass peer-review?


    This consideration is already contained within pluralistic ignorance being subjectivistic. The existence of attempt for replication indeed doesn't imply the conviction about factual existence of effect in question at all.
    Such an attempt for replication can be even completely dismissive, i.e. with negative result - but it must be done and published. No attempt means no actual interest about subject.

    The actual conviction can come much later. After all, even by now - after 200 years after Darwin - about 60% of USA citizens doubts the evolution and this is even quite correct stance.


    You should be never sure and satisfied with any theory or observation, as Popper methodology teaches us. The methodology of science is about falsification, not confirmation of theories.

    But the absence of falsification can be replaced in no way in it - and this is just what can be interpreted like the pluralistic ignorance.


    Why scientists dismissed to look through Galielo's telescope? Did they because his claims were considered too weak in his time?

    Nope, such a causality is reversed: they dismissed to look for evidence, because they just wanted to have it weak. And this is indeed the difference.

  • This consideration is already contained within pluralistic ignorance being subjectivistic. The existence of attempt for replication indeed doesn't imply the conviction about factual existence of effect in question at all.
    Such an attempt for replication can be even completely dismissive, i.e. with negative result - but it must be done and published. No attempt means no actual interest about subject.

    The actual conviction can come much later. After all, even by now - after 200 years after Darwin - about 60% of USA citizens doubts the evolution and this is even quite correct stance.


    You should be never sure and satisfied with any theory or observation, as Popper methodology teaches us. The methodology of science is about falsification, not confirmation of theories.

    But the absence of falsification can be replaced in no way in it - and this is just what can be interpreted like the pluralistic ignorance.


    We will have to disagree about evolution. And about Popper. If a theory consistently makes non-trivial predictions which are validated it has merit. Modern genetic research has allowed neo-Darwinist evolution to do that, in many areas.


    I'm not sure I understand how the rest of your post applies to LENR. And again you leave out the possibility that replication attempts fail because the original result was erroneous.

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    We will have to disagree about evolution. And about Popper. If a theory consistently makes non-trivial predictions which are validated it has merit.

    Popper's methodology is completely symmetric in this point - it's just about falsification. The negative hypothesis, i.e. the dismissal of facts like the evolution or cold fusion is also hypothesis, and as such subject of another doubt and falsification. In this respect the creationism has no advantage over evolution.


    I'm myself supporter of evolutionary theory and I'm even proposing the ways, in which the terrestrial life could emerge from solely physical systems. My ideas get already gradually vindicated with mainstream science. So far so good. But has such an evolution start just at the Earth, after then? Why it should, if the universe is much older? IMO such a finding just supports the Fred Hoyle panspermia hypothesis, according to which various viruses rain from space all the time. He tried to prove this theory with coincidence of influenza waves and solar cycles, pushing the viral particles toward Earth. It's just another example of taboo and pluralistic ignorance in science, because the research of Hoyle and Wickramasinghe has never been attempted to extend or just replicate. It was simply ignored.


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    IMO the terrestrial life evolution can be still affected for example with raining of viruses from cosmic space - i.e. with "creationist act" of the rest of Universe - and I don't even talk about multiple evidence of possible visits of extraterrestrials from the opposite end of evolutionary chain. Not to say, that Darwinian theory itself in its consequences leads into horizontal gene transfer and another features of Lamarckian evolution - every theory therefore has its dual side, which denies its own postulates.


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    And again you leave out the possibility that replication attempts fail because the original result was erroneous.


    Failed or not, it must get published in standard way - or nothing like this did ever happen and the pluralistic ignorance takes place. Work, finish, publish.

    I'm aware that mainstream journals avoid the publishing of negative results, but such an ignorant attitude is already the intrinsic part of pluralistic ignorance mechanisms.


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    I'm not sure I understand how the rest of your post applies to LENR


    The ignorance of cold fusion has way more general roots than just LENR - it's omnipresent mechanism, which applies in nearly all areas of science. If you want to understand it, then the analogies outside the LENR research scope may be useful.

  • The reason the NANOR does not work for this purpose is that it is very difficult to do reliable calorimetry on such small qtys of power.

    It is very difficult with the methods used by Swartz. But with a microcalorimeter it should be easy. Microcalorimeters take some expertise to use, and they are expensive, but they can easily measure much smaller power levels. Bob Duncan made one to measure the effect of a single cosmic ray whacking into a space based detector. These people are making one too:


    https://flightopportunities.nasa.gov/technologies/124/


    In another example, microcalorimeters have also been used to measure the heat from a chirping cricket.


    There are commercial units available:


    http://www.tainstruments.com/products/microcalorimetry/


    http://www.mt.com/us/en/home/p…TA_Family_Browse/DSC.html

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    It is very difficult with the methods used by Swartz. But with a microcalorimeter it should be easy. Microcalorimeters take some expertise to use, and they are expensive, but they can easily measure much smaller power levels. Bob Duncan made one to measure the effect of a single cosmic ray whacking into a space based detector. These people are making one too:

    Thanks Jed. Yes I expect such could be used, with care. Though I have not studied how to do this and would not like to be confident that this would be easy until I had. Anyway it seems that the barriers to testing Schwartz's device are set quite high. A shame, if it worked, since clear evidence of such large qtys of excess heat (over input power, and integrated over many days) as Schwartz claims would make scientific headlines.

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    Failed or not, it must get published in standard way - or nothing like this did ever happen and the pluralistic ignorance takes place. Work, finish, publish.

    I'm aware that mainstream journals avoid the publishing of negative results, but such an ignorant attitude is already the intrinsic part of pluralistic ignorance mechanisms.


    In medicine, for example, the publishing of results can often give a skewed overall picture of the data. Results here are typically correlations, and then neither strong nor informative as to cause. Selection mechanisms winnowing down tens of thousands of results can then seriously bias findings (and at the low quality end of the spectrum you get totally random results published as real).


    The general criteria is that papers must be interesting, and negative results where a positive is not expected do not count as this. After all, if they did, generating new interesting publishable data would be trivial. Just test anything expected to be false and obtain the expected result.

  • I did not know that solar spots were linked to flu epidemia, but it is a long time knowledge that solar spot were linked with wheat price in England.

    Explanation is simple, it is climate. I imagine flu is also related to cold weather like are high wheat price.


    Lack of interest in a subject may be detected by lack of replication or publication, but delay can be explained by failures to replicate.


    What I know from Galileo, is that even if he have good ideas, his evidences were quite weak , and he have many problems to explain. His instruments was very hard to use. Finally he was a very ideological activist and was attacked mostly for that.


    Attack to LENR can be explained by many facts, from pathetic errors, experimental difficulties, wrong category of experimentator used as references, patent wars, budget fights, theoretical groupthink, incoherent answers to theoretical questions, awful communication, community battles, politicians involvement, journalist prides...

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    I imagine flu is also related to cold weather like are high wheat price.


    The historical sources noted, that outbreaks of the Plague were caused by foul-smelling "mists". Those mists frequently appeared after unusually bright lights in the sky - i.e. the auroras. IMO the solar storms induce the nucleation of water vapor and formation of smog, i.e. many but tiny droplets, inside of which the viral particles can spread easier. The high smog concentration also results in "fouling smell mists", as the medieval cities like London were already flooded with coal stoves.


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    Attack to LENR can be explained by many facts, from pathetic errors, experimental difficulties, wrong category of experimentator used as references, patent wars, budget fights, theoretical groupthink, incoherent answers to theoretical questions, awful communication, community battles, politicians involvement, journalist prides...


    These explanation may apply to the dismissal or ignorance of any other findings - but we can note, that the intensity of denial is proportional to number of people threatened with this finding. The cold fusion competes the research of many methods of energy production, conversion, transport and/or storage which would be replaced with fusion once it will succeed, and the energetic research (from nuclear or wind plant to batteries) involves more than half of contemporary applied research. Paradoxically the plurality of energetic research represents the largest obstacle of introduction of really effective solutions, because too many people in this research just want to keep their jobs.