Krivit's new article critiquing the Chemical and Engineering News November 2016 article

  • I was going to title this thread "Krivel" but opted for something more informative and less insider-ribbing.…hemical-engineering-news/

    Krivit does not link to the article he is critiquing. This is it, probably:…fusion-died-25-years.html

    Why only "probably"? There is some indication that the print edition is different, I've not seen confirmation, though.

    So here goes ... S t e v e K r i v i t ! ! ! Take it away, Steve. Quoted under fair use for purposes of critique, perhaps with a liberal dollop of sarcasm.


    Nov. 15, 2016 – By Steven B. Krivit –

    A Nov. 7, 2016, deeply flawed cover story by Stephen Ritter in Chemical & Engineering News, a publication of American Chemical Society, requires me to correct the record. Although Ritter has written on the topic of LENR (low-energy nuclear reactions) before, the subject is extremely challenging for nonspecialist journalists. Landmines are easy to encounter. Confusion is common.

    Indeed. Ritter does repeat some classic tropes, things widely believed but that, if they were true, stopped being true by 25 years ago.


    Unfortunately, as his article reveals, Ritter relied primarily on a single source for key facts about LENRs and did not check those facts independently. Ritter was duped by a professor who has had a long career in science and worked for a reputable university but is one of several scientists who in recent years has promoted fraudulent claims about LENR research. Ritter declined to speak with me on the record about his article.

    We do know that Ritter did not only talk to one "professor." Krivit has developed a theme. He knows the truth about LENR, and most in the field are deluded and promote "fraudulent claims," i.e., what is different from his opinion. What is he talking about here? Krivit also always makes it into a story that someone won't talk to him. In fact, almost all scientists in the field stopped talking to Krivit years ago, as it became clear what he did with the conversations. When Martin Fleischmann wouldn't meet with him, huge story! About Fleischmann? No, about Irving Dardik, who was treating Fleischmann. So he dug up all the dirt and apparent dirt he could find about Dardik. It was at that point that I realized that something was very off about Krivit. Yellow journalist. So his article about Rossi, just a few weeks ago? Of course it talked about the accused pedophile that reported on Rossi (as he reported on all kinds of very fringey energy topics). If it's lurid, it's published.

    Much of the C&EN article is not about cold fusion at all, but about Brilliant Light Power and Randall Mills. Krivit doesn't mention this at all. Why not? Well, Krivit is almost certain supported by Lewis Larsen, of Widom-Larsen theory; his alienation from the cold fusion community started when he began attacking all the researchers and research indication that the FP Heat Effect might actually be some kind of fusion, and WL theory is the "not-fusion" theory. It's sometimes attractive to newcomers, because it allows setting all the arguments aside that "it couldn't be fusion." Which we all know. But it also couldn't be ULM neutrons, that is the problem. Nobody knows what it actually is, yet, excepting, of course, Steve Krivit.


    Ritter’s primary source for technical information about LENRs was David J. Nagel, a research professor at George Washington University. Nagel, who also owns a consulting company called NUCAT, told Ritter that he doesn’t believe that Rossi is a fraud. In May 2011, Nagel gave a presentation at the 15th International Conference on Emerging Nuclear Energy Systems, in San Francisco, California. He said that Rossi’s apparatus had heated a factory in 2007 for 24 hours per day for six months and, as a result, had reduced the factory’s electricity bill by 90 percent.

    In 2011, many scientists took the Rossi reports at face value. That year, I warned scientists against appearing to validate Rossi's claims, until there was independent evidence, but many scientists are willing to accept reports at face value, are unaccustomed to dealing with, for example, fraud. Nagel was not just a "research professor." He was a project manager for the Naval Research Laboratories that did a lot of research into cold fusion. There are still some scientists who seem to be unaware of what has become visible through Rossi v. Darden, and who are still commenting as if there are valid results from "independent evaluations." After all, it looked that way for quite some time. Here is Krivit's source for what Nagel allegedly said:…-Rossi-Factory-Heater.jpg

    This is all under the headline "Additional Information from Rossi." Krivit has translated a fact -- Rossi did provide that "information," into a claim by Nagel, which he then uses to make Nagel look silly and stupid. This shoddy "journalism" is common for Krivit.


    All of the information about Rossi — and Nagel — is in my book Hacking the Atom, which Ritter received on Sept. 10. However, my impression is that he didn’t read it. Nagel also told Ritter that LENR is “not understood theoretically.” As my book shows, in 2005, it was Nagel who first pitched Allan Widom and Lewis Larsen’s theory to me.

    “I believe that this paper describes what may prove to be a viable mechanism for cold fusion,” Nagel wrote.

    Right. When W-L theory was announced, many thought it might be possible. It takes some time to thoroughly examine a theory, just as it took time to understand the problems with the Lugano test. Not the obvious conflict of interest problem, i.e., Rossi's presence, but the scientific problems. Notice "pitch." That's how Krivit looks at what scientists do. They, from his point of view, "pitch" what they believe. Krivit's book was in the hands of Ritter. I suspect that Ritter took one look and set it aside as junk polemic. But ... I don't know that.


    However, the problem that soon emerged for Nagel was that the Widom-Larsen paper proved there was a viable mechanism for neutron-based LENRs, not room-temperature deuterium-deuterium fusion. Loyalty to his longtime friends in the field took precedence for Nagel, and he soon began to ignore the theory for reasons as unprofessional as the fact that neither Widom nor Larsen spoke at the 14th International Conference on Cold Fusion that Nagel and his fusion-believing friend Michael Melich had organized.

    The Widom-Larsen theory is unique in the history of the field in that it easily explains most of the well-measured experimental data in the field, is mathematically correct, does not rely on new physics, can be understood by scientists and non-scientists alike, and has received unprecedented third-party support. Several years later, in 2010, the Widom-Larsen group provided a broad summary of additional details of their theory. Their paper published simultaneously in the peer-reviewed Pramana – Journal of Physicspublished by the Indian Academy of Sciences and in an American Chemical Society reference book. (For full disclosure, I was the co-editor of that ACS book, and I solicited the paper.) [9, 10]

    Widom-Larsen theory can't get the time of day from CMNS researchers any more. The theory is actually preposterous, and that has been amply explained in many places. It's purely in the head, there is no clear experimental evidence for it. In order to postulate that this explains the FP Heat Effect, one has to ignore or wave away many effects that would be predicted.


    By relying solely on Nagel for his technical information about LENRs, Ritter unwittingly promoted Rossi and his unsubstantiated E-Cat claims while ignoring the work of many legitimate researchers in the field.

    First of all, the Ritter article was shallow and misleading in many ways. However, does the article "promote" Rossi? No. It provides some information, fairly shallow and not necessarily accurate, but certainly not "promotion."


    In 2015, despite a complete absence of credible scientific data or commercial evidence for Rossi’s E-Cat claims during a five-year period, Nagel published a paper in Current Science, promoting Rossi’s E-Cat as real and as scientifically credible. [7] Moreover, in that paper, Nagel published a table of results from gas-loading experiments. Nowhere in that table did Nagel identify the source of that data. On the previous page, his text reveals the data came from Rossi. By all indicators, that data was fabricated. Nagel copied it from a paper written by Rossi and Sergio Focardi, then a retired and elderly scientist whom Rossi had befriended late in his life. Rossi published that data only on his blog. [8] This is the source of Ritter’s claimed nickel-hydrogen power gain of 400 times.

    Okay, the Nagel paper:

    What we need to understand is that this was published in February, 2015. It reports fact and claims that existed then. At that point, it was known that Industrial Heat was working with Rossi. (It's a coincidence that the alleged 1 MW power plant started operating that month in Doral, Florida, but Nagel certainly knew about IH.) At that point, everyone paying attention to the field knew of what Krivit was proclaiming from the rooftops: FRAUD! But real people with real money decided to find out, and for a time, this being known, it was assumed that they knew something we didn't. So the credibility of Rossi was at a high. I advised against writing things like what Nagel wrote, but he was not outside of what was legitimate to write. He attributed claims, at least so far as I've seen (Krivit complains that he didn't put the attribution with a table, but ... it's actually on the same page, not the page before, for Table I, and Table 2 data did not come from Rossi, but from Levi et al in an arXiv paper on that test.)

    The C&EN article is poor, in many ways, but Krivit's article is directly misleading, from someone with a huge axe to grind, attacking almost the entire CMNS field.

    The February 2015 issue of Current Science had 34 articles on cold fusion. I have found none, so far, that mention W-L theory. There is no apparent exclusion of Widom and Larsen from CMNS conferences. (I'd want to know about it! And I would report on it. However, there have been papers written critiquing the physics, which, of course, Krivit disounts. They are all biased, deluded and blinded. Krivit at one point described his former belief in "fusion." He was fooled by the "promoters" of fusion theory being "PhDs." So what did he do? Learn for himself? Not really, he flipped to a new, smaller set of PhDs.

    Nobody knows for sure what is happening in these experiments, or if someone knows, it has not been explained and established through controlled experiment, except for one result: it appears now, by the preponderance of the evidence, that deuterium is being converted to helium, mechanism unknown. That's close enough to "fusion" that I allow the word. Even if it is not a classic fusion reaction, it is fusion in result. Larsen actually confirms some of this work, but then provides a Rube Goldberg explanation of how his neutrons could pull it off. Krivit attacks all the work, in a series of examinations that do little more than demonstrate how little he understands about the science.