This thread is veering all over the place again.
Whereas if Google can replicate it, especially after the Nature article, I think people everywhere will take notice.
I think this is a really important point. Google's imprimatur is very important.
To circle back, the original question was "What is the highest priority experiment the LENR community wants to see conducted?"
I would submit that to answer this question, another question has to be asked:
"What is the highest priority for the LENR community?"
I would have thought that getting the field taken seriously by other scientists, and attracting new talent into the field, would be the top priority; escaping the so called 'reputation trap', and unlocking the interest and attention of others.
Google can do this. A rock solid replication in a top tier journal can do this. It will attract all kinds of attention.
I think some people are reading the question as "What is the hole in the current field of research and replications that Google can plug?" or "What new exploratory research can Google do?" or "What is the most exciting or dramatic experiment?"
I think this is the wrong way to look at it.
I submit that the correct way to rephrase Google's question, assuming that you parse it the same way I do, is "Which experiment has the best chance of being successfully replicated and published in a convincing manner that can be digested by the scientific community at large?"
Google can do things for this field that nobody else can do. This is a really important opportunity. Consequently, I think that the Google research project should be thought of as entirely seperate from everything else happening in the field. The decision should not be made in reference to other things happening in the field; rather, only in reference to the question as I have reformulated it.
A digression to make a point: Google is a very closely followed company on Wall Street. It's a fast growing, highly profitable monopoly*. It may or may not surprise you to learn that the average Wall Street money manager is fond of fast growing, highly profitable monopolies. Google is followed extremely closely and its stock is owned extremely widely; its quarterly financials are parsed, its news flow is followed, its 'moon shots' are tracked. The portfolio managers who own the stock are as au fait with the company as anybody outside it can be, generally speaking. It's not at all unusual to hear a portfolio manager who manages billions of dollars hold forth on Waymo, or something else going on inside the company.
Any positive result from Google will be written up in places like Quanta, if not New Scientist et al, and it will quickly make its way back to these people. The job of a research analyst on Wall Street is to know everything that's going on inside the companies that they are assigned to follow. "Google replicates experiment that breaks the laws of physics" will set off a lot of confused Googling. And excitement.
Four or five small venture capital firms, deciding to put 10% of an investment fund into the space, would solve all of the funding problems that are present, I would have thought. That would be an eyedropper of what it would look like if real progress were made toward viable industrial products. One would assume that, assuming success, Google would continue to fund research too.
My point is that Google may be capable of not only opening the door to greater scientific respectability, but also the door to proper venture capital funding of the field. They would lift the pall of opprobrium that Woodford and IH have encountered. Maybe not overnight, maybe not with a single replication, but they are committed to the field and their success is beyond important.
So. Now is the time to be disciplined, pragmatic and cooperative. Now is the time to stay on task. This thread has continuously collapsed into paroxysms of disquisition, self indulgence and tangent.
Again: "Which experiment has the best chance of being successfully replicated in a convincing manner that can be digested by the scientific community at large?"
That may not be the question Google intended to ask, but I really think its the question that the field needs to answer.
Here's another question: "Is it dangerous to try to hit a home run with a dramatic but difficult or unproven experiment? To what degree is a chain of base hits preferable to swinging for the fences?"
I get the sense that a lot of people would be disappointed if Google chose, say, SPAWAR's STEM kit** as their next experiment. I'm not saying that that's the correct experiment to choose, only trying to illustrate a dynamic that I see in this thread.
One potential path forward:
• Admins, at a time of their choosing, close the thread to new submissions and prepare a list of everything submitted.
• Those proposals that can be quickly dispatched with because they are not clearly defined LENR experiments are removed.
• A discussion is opened about preliminary criteria that can be used to quickly winnow the list of serious candidates.
•• Are proprietary materials ok?
•• How much documentation is required?
•• Has the experiment been successfully replicated before?
•• Are there commercial constraints which rule out the experiment?
•• Are there concerns about the quality of the work?
• A discussion about the pros and cons of each surviving experiment is opened.
•• Does the experiment only offer excess heat, or also other phenomena that may make for a compelling publication?
•• How challenging is the experiment and in what particular ways?
•• Are the original researchers available to answer questions and provide feedback?
•• What kind of calorimetry is appropriate for the experiment?
• Admins close the discussion of pros and cons and prepare a list of the experiments plus the +/- factors that have been identified.
• A discussion is had weighing the various experiments against each other using the +/- characteristics identified.
•• Is SPAWAR's work preferable to bulk Pd-D experiments because it obviates the problem of loading?
•• How much simpler is R20 than other experiments? How is this simplicity weighed against other factors?
•• How is R20's lack of replication weighed against experiments that have been better replicated?
• A final shortlist is prepared.
I think Shane's idea of passing the decision to a committee of experts is a really good one.
It's not my intention to be rude, or pretend to a level of knowledge I don't have. I've followed LENR for a while, but I'm not a scientist. I'm pretty sure my example questions are rudimentary and perhaps not even helpful, but I'm just trying to illustrate the points. Not my intention to hijack the thread. I'm also aware of Shane's wish that this be a thread of informed discussion from people with experimental experience, so I apologise for weighing in at length. Rightly or wrongly, these are just my thoughts.
* Not a recommendation to buy or sell the stock.
** Apologies, I'm not sure if that's the correct title for their program.