New Scientist: Cold Fusion is Back

  • [feedquote='E-Cat World','http://www.e-catworld.com/2016/09/16/new-scientist-cold-fusion-is-back/']Thanks to all who have mentioned a new article by Michael Brooks published in the New Scientist magazine titled “Cold Fusion: Science’s Most Controversial Technology is Back” The subheading reads: “The claim to have tamed the sun in the lab was debunked 25 years ago. So why are governments and investors now pouring money into […][/feedquote]
  • Hi all


    Reported in the link above:


    "...The author says also that the report on LENR that the US House of Representatives requested from the Secretary of Defence will be delayed..."


    Ah either Sifferkol is correct about attempts to delay or we are talking a short wait for the President to announce as an October Surprise.


    Kind Regards walker

  • Delayed answer probably mean they will not say "Cold Fusion is debunked as we always stated"...
    it mean they prepare a better answer than
    "we have been screwed by mindguards who disinformed us, and prevented us to get the good information, despite our suicide navy comando among Which Pam Boss and Richard Kidwell. sorry next time we will use our brain."

  • I'm afraid they have their heads in the sand. The money is still flowing to the power elite and that is all that matters another 30 years and they will all be crying why did no one care. I prefer my fathers take on man and his stupidity, something better will come along!
    :crazy:

  • @AlainCo


    I think you might actually be right on the motivation for delay. "We better get this right" mentality might be prevailing. The DOD is a big place. Perhaps some were taken off guard by the recent Defense Thread Reduction Agency release of the paper confirming that LENR is real and of a nuclear nature. Now they need to get their story straight. The delay actually gives me some hope, for the first time, that they are not going to just outright deny LENR's real nature and applicability.

  • The DOD may have decided that after 25 years of trying, there is just no way to make a bomb out of CF/LENR. And even if they could, old fashioned nuke bombs are way scarier and more devastating, and there are also plenty of nearly as bad standard bomb tech around, so might as well let the CF/LENR info they have out of the dark.

  • And even if they could, old fashioned nuke bombs are way scarier and more devastating, and there are also plenty of nearly as bad standard bomb tech around, so might as well let the CF/LENR info they have out of the dark.


    The DOD never kept their cold fusion research in the dark. I have known about it all along, and I have uploaded papers by researchers sponsored by the DOD, with acknowledgments to the DoD, especially to DARPA. I doubt there is any secret research in cold fusion. If there is I doubt it is any good.

  • @Jed


    Do you think the DOD reps are going to be open and honest with the congressional committee? Do you think they will summarize their findings that LENR is real and has many possible beneficial applications? Just looking for your thoughts.

  • Do you think the DOD reps are going to be open and honest with the congressional committee? Do you think they will summarize their findings . . .


    Sorry, I do not know anything about this. I don't know who at the DoD investigated, or who they talked to. I do not think they contacted any of the researchers I know.


    Previous reviews at the DoE ended badly, so I am not looking forward to this one. It comes at a bad time. It would be nice if they ignored Rossi, but I am afraid that is unlikely.

  • I'm afraid they have their heads in the sand. The money is still flowing to the power elite and that is all that matters another 30 years and they will all be crying why did no one care. I prefer my fathers take on man and his stupidity, something better will come along!


    US government usually only finances research with military use or with no business plan in sight.


    Or the other way round: Give it to the rich, if they smell the money...

  • https://www.newscientist.com/a…rsial-technology-is-back/


    the headline for the article:

    Quote

    Cold fusion: Science's most controversial technology is back
    The claim to have tamed the sun in the lab was debunked 25 years ago. So why are governments and investors now pouring money into it again?


    Bad start, classic. There was no claim by Pons and Fleischmann to have "tamed the sun," but this is how their results was taken. In fact, what they rerported was a heat anomaly, and it was hardly "tamed." It was highly unreliable at first, and still reliability is an issue. And it's not the "sun." That's a plasma. The reaction behind the FP Heat Effect is not the reaction that takes place in the Sun.


    The idea that it was, though, massively diverted attention from the reality: a heat anomaly, and it was only two years later that direct evidence emerged that it was some kind of fusion. Before that, there were piles of anecdotal evidence that, given the massive rejection cascade, could continue to be dismissed as the file drawer effect if one squinted and did not look more thoroughly. And if it is all nonsense, why bother? It takes effort to investigate. In fact, human welfare required, from the beginning, that this research be thoroughly investigated, because the potential value is so high. But that is an overall value, and every individual also makes individual choices based on individual welfare, and that depends on personal history and personal goals.


    Information cascades are a natural phenomenon that probably serves an overall useful purpose, but to move beyond knee-jerk reaction takes vision on another level. I do not blame skeptics for turning away, it was natural. In fact, "blame" is not part of my ontology. I do take responsibility, on behalf of our community, for not yet developing the skills needed to communicate what we know, powerfully and effectively. To be sure, we are already doing that, with accumulating results. To take a word from Beaudette, cold fusion prevailed. It is simply not so visible yet.


    Quote

    But few scientific embarrassments raised temperatures quite as much as cold fusion. In 1989, University of Utah chemists Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann announced that they had, at room temperature in the lab, tamed the process that powers the sun: nuclear fusion. This would have been an almost unimaginable technological leap. But no one could reproduce the result, at least not provably, reliably, or to general satisfaction. With no convincing theory to back up the observations either, Pons and Fleischmann were ostracised. Cold fusion – and anyone still willing to work on it – was frozen out.


    First of all, I have not gone over what they said in the press conference. In science, that should have been disregarded. What people not accustomed to the problems of mass publicity will say when blinded by the lights, is of little scientific significance. Their journal article ordinarily would have been what others paid attention to, in addition to personal communication. F&P were critiqued for "science by press conference," but ... the press conference would have been harmless if it were ignored. It was not ignored, and political pressure led to the 1989 ERAB Panel, set up as a rush to judgment. Science takes time and patient investigation. In the paper, F&P reported a heat anomaly, and a radiation anomaly, without correlation. The radiation anomaly was artifact, ascribable to their inexperience with radiation measurements. As soon as that became clear, the claim should have been reduced to an heat anomaly. For them to speculate that this was due to an "unknown nuclear reaction" was reasonable. But definitely not proven.


    That sentence is remarkable, because it does include the truth, but with an obscure performative: But no one could reproduce the result, at least not provably, reliably, or to general satisfaction.


    "Provably." That was true in 1989-1990. By 1991, with Miles' heat/helium result, there was evidence that amounted to proof, because he found the heat was correlated with helium production, at a ratio that was within an order of magnitude of the theoretical deuterium to helium theoretical value. This created a testable hypothesis: the heat was the result of conversion of deuterium to helium (mechanism unknown.) Miles followed up with more confirmation of this, and so did others. This has all been covered by Storms and others, heat/helium in any ordinary field would be considered very adequately confirmed; a dozen research groups and two more precise experiments giving that theoretical value within 10% and 20%, respectively. This is definitely "provable" (either way!). Current work, very adequately funded, is under way to increase the precision on that. (Robert Duncan, lead investigator at Texas Tech, assisted by McKubre and one or two grad students, a parallel project at ENEA, led by Violante, with more groups sought. This is going to "crush the tests." And the funding, it appears, was from Bill Gates, which fits, given the visit of Gates to ENEA. The media have been asleep, or distracted by Rossi. That funding was in late 2014.


    "Reliably." The reaction itself is very difficult to control. However, so was making fire. However, once made, fire has reliable characteristics. Let's say that fire is easier to reliably make than the Anomalous Heat Effect. It took us how long to discover how to reliably make fire? However, fire, from the beginning, converted inflammable organic materials into oxygen, carbon dioxide, and water vapor, and with reliable heat if that conversion could be triggered. Once the ash was known (from Miles, 1991), the correlation and ratio, it appears, was reliable within experimental error, which remained large because of the difficulties of measuring helium. That will be tightened up by the work under way. So, "reliably" is based on a misidentification of the claim. Correlation with initial conditions -- as one has with control -- remains missing. "The alleged shaman Onga claims that heat can be made by rubbing sticks together. I tried all day and found nothing. Onga is an idiot, wasting our time."


    And the kicker:


    "General Satisfaction." Whose satisfaction? "General" implies a population. What population?


    In science, scientific consensus develops among those who actually study a subject. The opinion of the public may affect funding and other such issues, but that's not "scientific." It's "popular." The conflict here is between those who have actually studied cold fusion, who are knowledgeable about the vast body of experimental evidence and its implications, and what might be called "the mainstream."


    But who is the "mainstream"? The normal assessment of this is what appears in mainstream journals. Cold fusion work has been appearing in mainstream journals for years. Some journals -- and some reviewers -- knee-jerk reject anything related to cold fusion, as McKubre pointed out in his 2015 Current Science review, as having been "rejected long ago." That is, quite obviously, not an assessment on the merits, and that rejection was never clearly established in a journal article, only in some editorials.


    (continued)

  • (continued)


    What was experimentally shown and considered, often, to be rejection, was, in fact, evidence of the nature of the effect. No neutrons or very few? Then, the thinking was, "From this, it could not possibly be cold fusion!" I.e., "cold fusion," if real, was expected to be a known reaction. But what was claimed was an unknown reaction, and the original core claim was heat, not "nuclear." Until a correlated nuclear product was identified, this should have resulted in a conclusion that there was no evidence for "nuclear," other than the level of the heat, which then created a mystery, not a true negative result. If not shown to be nuclear, then what? The general reaction was "they must be making some mistake," as Garwin later said about SRI measurement of input power, but that was obviously an unsubstantiated opinion designed to protect his existing ideas. Yeah, perhaps they are making a mistake. What mistake? Lack of curiosity is the death of science.


    One kudo for Shanahan: He tried to identify it.


    There is no "Journal of Mainstream Opinion." That this reporter does not recognize the problem is typical. Journalists read what is in the archives, and tend to repeat it as fact. This is all part of how an information cascade is maintained. By repetition of what is considered known. Very understandable. And obviously quite defective.


    I will hasten to add that the rejection cascade certainly does not prove that cold fusion is real. That comes from experimental evidence, extensively confirmed, and for this purpose, weak general confirmation is not adequate to overcome a major rejection cascade. Direct and independently confirmed evidence is needed. With years of study, I have come to a personal conclusion that the evidence of reality is overwhelming. That still does not tell me what mechanism is behind the reaction. The 2004 DoE review showed the situation over ten years ago. In spite of a stacked deck (existing "consensus'), in spite of an inadequate review process (a possible benefit if practical applications are possible of a trillion dollars per year is worth one freaking of meeting? The original DoE review, 1989, invested far far more, with much, much less to study), still came up with 50% of the panel considering the evidence for a heat effect to be conclusive. So what was this heat effect? Telekinesis? What?


    One of the weaknesses of the Hagelstein et al presentation in 2004, was that no *specific* proposal was made. It is quite possible that a coherent proposal (say, over what Duncan et al are doing now) could have received unanimous approval. There was unanimous approval that more research was appropriate. This was not a rejection! I know the process of social transformation. We were not represented by people trained in that. We were represented by scientists, instead. We were not smart, in this regard.


    The author does correctly describe the situation as created by the rejection cascade.


    "Frozen out." This was obviously not scientific process, it was social and political.


    I have no copy of the full article, only the free introduction. I do notice the usage of "LENRs", plural. That is a Krivit trope. "Cold fusion" is heavily used, still. Widom-Larsen theory, almost universally rejected in the Condensed Matter Nuclear Science field, has been popular at NASA, possibly because it allows denial of "fusion." But the evidence is strong that the reaction does convert deuterium to helium, and that the mechanism is unknown does not prevent us from noticing that this is a "fusion result." Widom Larsen theory starts with the fusion of a proton and an electron to form a neutron, which then can easily react. That would require about 780 KeV, which is not really less than fusion itself requires, it is more. The big problem with W-L theory is that it would seem to predict many effects that are not observed. Which are then waved away by postulating other new effects which have no independent experimental evidence, (and, when asked by Krivit on behalf of Garwin, about evidence, Larsen declined to answer. "Proprietary." We are not convinced by this! No evidence has been published.)


    The term being used by Duncan et al is "Anomalous Heat Effect," which is very neutral. Words make a difference. Fleischmann later regretted having mentioned "fusion."


    But, given the evidence we have, "cold fusion" is a reasonable name for some LENR. There are many possible reactions, but specific confirmations remain rare, except for deuterium -> helium.


    Perhaps some kind user will send me a copy of the full article.

  • With no convincing theory to back up the observations either, Pons and Fleischmann were ostracised.


    This is crucial to understand. We don't know enough to develop a "convincing theory." There is almost certainly not enough evidence available.


    There is something commonly overlooked. There are theories possible that have been, effectively, established. I have stated one:


    The phenomenon called cold fusion or the Fleischmann-Pons Heat Effect is the result of the conversion of deuterium to helium, with no major energy leakage through radiation or other products, the released energy is all -- or almost all -- converted to heat.


    This is a theory, it is testable, and it's been tested and confirmed many times.


    But many demand a theory of mechanism. There are theories of mechanism, but too many, Storms used to say until he developed his own "Explanation."


    It seems we want to have the house before we build the foundation. The foundation of science is not theory, at all. It is experimental evidence, which is then analyzed for correlations that allow predictability.


    It is likely that if the "correct theory" magically appears (or already has been proposed (but I doubt that, what has been proposed might have elements of a correct theory), we would look at it and say "Impossible, no way."


    In order to overcome that, the theory would have to include extensive quantitative predictive power, and the fundamental approaches, so far, face so many unknowns and complexities that such is not yet possible. There are pieces that exist or are appearing.


    (The one thing I remember directly from Feynman -- besides his stories -- is that we did not have the ability to predict the solid state, it was far, far too complex mathematically. So approximations were used, and that is exactly what Pons and Fleischmann were testing. They were not looking for and dreaming of an energy source, that is a trope about them that was created by pseudoskeptics. Once they found the Effect, yeah, they did go a little crazy. Who wouldn't?)


    That prediction about our reaction to the "true theory," will eventually fail, when enough evidence is available to allow more precise theorization, and then when the improved theory can make quantitative predictions that are then confirmed.


    Cold fusion is an extraordinary claim. We already have extraordinary evidence as to the reality of the effect, and I will keep hammering on this nail until the pieces are firmly fastened. (or until someone shows me that the nail or hammer are broken!)


    Storms "Explanation" is an ad hoc theory designed to "predict" what is already known. (that's why it can be called "ad hoc.") He then invents a mechanism that, to me, is far worse than leaving the cold fusion mechanism as a mystery. I'm not seeing a lot of clear prediction from the mechanism itself, and the mechanism he suggests, to me, overturns basic nuclear physics. There is no way that this will be accepted without far better evidence than is available. Even if he is right.


    Coming to understand that "being right" is not enough has been a major realization for me.