ERAB panel & evidence denial

  • Why do you think that Garwin, Huizenga, and Schiffer, along with the rest of the ERAB panel, were so unwilling or unable to consider the BARC neutrons and Bockris (and others) tritium results?


    I'm looking for detailed, substantiated explanations, so please refrain from responding with arbitrary speculation.


    I have trouble buying into the notion that hot fusion proponents had something to lose by cold fusion succeeding. I see no reason that the hot fusion crowd could not have simply switched gears and begun applying their skills to develop LENR-based systems.


    Further, the tritium results should have been incentive for the hot fusion crowd, since their reactors need tritium for fuel. Correct me if I'm wrong.


    I have my own theory, but I'd like more data points. Personally, I think Huizenga and Garwin truly believed that cold fusion must be pathological science, and I don't believe they were acting maliciously, but if anyone here can provide evidence to the contrary, I'd very much like to know about it. From what little I know about Seaborg, it seems he never gave it much thought from the outset, he seems to have drawn a very early conclusion based on a flawed and overly simplified description of the F&P claims.

  • I think you are asking a question That everyone has his own take about. Politics in Academia is probably the most easy to target culprit.


    I personally think the 2002 book of the late Beaudette has a very balanced and detailed enough account of the historic facts.


    You will never be able to fully discard some degree of ill intention, but probably not for the usual reasons.


    Excess Heat
    books.google.cl

    I certainly Hope to see LENR helping humans to blossom, and I'm here to help it happen.

  • There is an argument that, to some extent, all science can be described as pathological. Without that obsessional drive, there can be no progress ;)


    Actually, I'd take issue with the notion that “hot fusion people could switch”. Big money projects have little to do with actual science – they have an economic, political, and industrial momentum all of their own.


    Another little story:


    Back in 1982 I went for a job interview at the JET project at the Culham laboratory, in Oxfordshire. They were still building the main torus at that point, so I was able to have a tour around the facility and see the workings in some detail. It was certainly impressive – as it should have been, considering the huge amounts of money being spent. High value, high precision components were arriving from subcontract companies based all over Europe. A large and expanding skilled workforce was needed to integrate and run everything – from the high power electrical supplies, gas processing equipment, complex instrumentation, to mainframe computing. Nothing was cheap. Even the main reactor hall had to be built using thick expensive borated concrete, to shield everyone from the huge neutron flux that would radiate from the machine when “fired up”.


    During the interview I was told of a few of the inherent problems they were trying to overcome in the technology. Instability in the toroidal plasma was a major one – as the stream of ionised atoms has a horrible tendency to squirm and flail inside the vacuum chamber (before collapsing). Purity of the gas to be ionised was another issue – as the plasma would vaporise anything it touched (chamber walls, probes, antennas), leading to contamination with metal ions. But most troublesome, in my view, was the intense neutron flux that radiates from the plasma when “squeezed”. Neutrons have a habit of activating everything in their path – and, at the intensity involved, the flux would steadily degrade the insulation of any and all electrical equipment, as well as drastically shorten the life of any semiconductors.


    I actually queried the long-term implications of the neutron flux problem. The whole machine relied on electromagnets for its operation, and so even if “continuous fusion” was achieved, then surely an electromagnetically confined generator would be unfeasible. The answer, which came with a shrug from my interviewer, was that they would just have to “cross that bridge when they came to it” - maybe by using some new kind of shielding (that hadn't yet been invented).


    It was at that moment that I realised how far they still were from achieving any form of hot fusion energy production. It was clearly so far away that there were still known “bridges” that they had not even bothered to think about. In other words, despite the impressive engineering, it was still just a basic experiment.


    But this wasn't just a couple of people, in a small lab, with some relatively cheap apparatus. They couldn't just “switch” to another area of research, on a whim. The billions needed, even up until that point, had been squeezed out of multiple government budgets through gushing promises of future energy security. Many scientists, engineers, and administrators' careers relied upon it, and they would not have taken kindly to the suggestion that they should just stop what they were doing, and try something else. After convincing governments that this was “the only game in town”, none of them would want any doubt creeping into the minds of politicians that they might be funding the wrong thing.


    Unfortunately, the continued existence of hot fusion research suits too many vested interests, and all for the wrong reasons. Politicians like it because it enables them to boast about the marvellous future they are funding for their potential voters. The fossil fuel barons like it because hot fusion power has continued to be “40 years away” for the last 60 years.


    Anyway – to end the story – although I was offered the job, I turned it down and decided to continue with my education instead, ending up working at another research site only a few miles away...

  • Few people is aware that the concept of hot fusion as is being developed is only experimental, exactly as you say, but what I still can’t figure out is why a concept that was originally proposed for space travel propulsion (where many of the limitations that make it impractical for the purpose of energy production were not relevant) became so widely embraced without so small resistance.

    I certainly Hope to see LENR helping humans to blossom, and I'm here to help it happen.

  • I have trouble buying into the notion that hot fusion proponents had something to lose by cold fusion succeeding. I see no reason that the hot fusion crowd could not have simply switched gears and begun applying their skills to develop LENR-based systems.


    Further, the tritium results should have been incentive for the hot fusion crowd, since their reactors need tritium for fuel. Correct me if I'm wrong.


    I have my own theory, but I'd like more data points.

    mitcfreport.pdf (coldfusionnow.org)

  • Not trying to hijack Rob's thread, but in searching around for an answer to his question, I came across a CF pioneer we always forget about, and gets little credit. His name was John Tandberg, and he submitted the 1st CF patent in 1927 in Sweden (A method to produce helium and useful reaction energy).


    It was denied, but Tandberg never backed down on his claims. There was a book written about it, as far as I know it is no longer around. It would be interesting to see his work. He was mentioned on the forum Pioneers of Cold Fusion/LENR - help wanted. - Players - LENR Forum (lenr-forum.com) and here is an AP article about him right after the FP's announcement:



    Cold Fusion? It Was First Tried in 1927


    HELENE MURDOCHMay 11, 1989


    STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) _ A scientist claims to produce nuclear fusion in a jar at room temperature. But few believe him, and his application for a patent is rejected.


    The story may sound familiar, but it happened in Sweden in 1927, more than a half-century before two researchers stunned the scientific world with a similar experiment in the United States.


    John Tandberg’s experiments ″seemingly were very similiar to the ones performed in Utah,″ said Bertil Wilner of the fusion research department at the Royal Institute of Technology.

    ″It’s amazing that his findings have been completely forgotten for 60 years,″ said Wilner, whose father worked on the project and kept notes.


    Tandberg began looking into cold fusion in 1927 when the 33-year-old chief scientist for the Electrolux Co. became intrigued with fusion experiments being conducted in Germany, Wilner said.


    Two Berlin researchers who were trying to produce helium for airships said they fused hydrogen into helium using a palladium catalyst. But later they discovered errors that forced them to retract their claim of fusion.

    ″The German scientists weren’t interested in producing energy, since the world’s energy sources seemed inexhaustable at the time,″ Wilner said.


    ″But Tandberg immediately realized the energy aspect of the experiment and its potential importance,″ Wilner said in an interview.

    The National Patent and Registration Office refused to accept Tandberg’s application to record his experiment. ″Their experts claimed it was impossible to release nuclear energy through cold fusion,″ Wilner said.


    Soon afterward, Tandberg ended his fusion research and dedicated himself to other fields. He later left Electrolux, still one of the world’s largest makers of home appliances, and became a professor at Stockholm University.


    In March, B. Stanley Pons, chairman of the University of Utah’s chemistry department, and Martin Fleischmann of the University of Southampton, England, announced they achieved cold fusion that produced up to 50 times the amount of energy they put into their experiment.


    Their findings were met with incredulity.


    The latest scientist seeking to explain away their claims, Nobel laureate Dr. Linus Pauling, suggested chemical reactions, not fusion, could have produced the heat.


    Pauling, 88, of the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine at Palo Alto, Calif., said in a letter published today in the British science magazine Nature that the palladium would have combined with deuterium heavy water to form palladium deuteride, which is unstable.


    ″After the beginning of electrolysis, this unstable deuteride may begin to decompose either slowly, resulting in an increased liberation of heat, or explosively, as Fleischmann and Pons observed,″ wrote Pauling, who won the Nobel prize for chemistry in 1954.


    But, if they are right, it could open the way to a cheap, inexhaustible way to create energy in the same way that the sun and stars produce heat and light. Fusion derives its energy from forcing atoms of deuterium or hydrogen together. The reaction produces an atom of helium, a burst of energy and a neutron.


    The work of Pons and Fleischmann ″bears a strong resemblance to the way Tandberg carried out his experiments, according to my father’s notes,″ Wilner said. Wilner’s father wrote a book on Tandberg describing the experiment.


    ″The book was never translated and was forgotten a long time ago,″ he said, which helped explain why the work stirred so little interest among contemporary scientists. Tandberg, who died in 1968, apparently never withdrew his claim of having produced cold fusion.


    Like Pons and Fleishmann, Tandberg used palladium electrodes placed in deuterium-rich heavy water, Wilner said.

    According to the notes, the experiment produced helium and energy. ″But in those days it wasn’t possible to record whether the reaction produced more energy than was used to initiate it,″ Wilner said.


    There is no evidence that U.S. researchers knew of the experiments in Germany and Sweden.

    Johan Rafelski, working on a fusion research team at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, was in Sweden last month to report on the U.S. experiments. ″He seemed amazed to find that cold fusion attempts were performed all those years ago,″ Wilner said.

  • Yes, when he quit MIT. His death had nothing to do with LENR.

    I meant in the sense that he passed away while fully involved in the LENR field. Not because of it (which is an idea that probably will never be entirely abandoned by the crowd) but that we lost his talent to the field.

    I certainly Hope to see LENR helping humans to blossom, and I'm here to help it happen.

  • Probably StevenBKrivit has more to say about Tandberg, one of his books deals with pre 1989 “Cold Fusion” related claims. He has done an exhaustive body of research about this aspect.


    Edit to add: indeed covered the German Work of 1927, but not Tandberg, in this book:

    Lost History (Explorations in Nuclear Research Book 3)
    Lost History (Explorations in Nuclear Research Book 3)
    www.amazon.com

    I certainly Hope to see LENR helping humans to blossom, and I'm here to help it happen.

  • Not trying to hijack Rob's thread, but in searching around for an answer to his question, I came across a CF pioneer we always forget about, and gets little credit. His name was John Tandberg, and he submitted the 1st CF patent in 1927 in Sweden

    I do not know anything about Tandberg, but Paneth and Peters claimed that palladium can transmute hydrogen into helium. Fleischmann knew all about their work, and discussed it with Mallove and others. Paneth and Peters retracted their claims, but others think they may have been right after all.


    See:


    https://www.lenr-canr.org/acrobat/PanethFthepublica.pdf


    There is no evidence that U.S. researchers knew of the experiments in Germany and Sweden.

    They definitely did know about Paneth and Peters. They all heard from Fleischmann, eventually. It was in Mallove's book, and elsewhere.

  • The primary thing I'm interested in is the sociological / psychological explanation for the actions of the ERAB panel members. Sure, there's many things that came before F&P, and evidence in many places if we go looking for it, but what I care about is why such very smart people – the ERAB members – could have seen such clear and irrefutable evidence, and basically rejected it.

  • The way I see it, absent a scientific breakthrough that gives us a 100% reliable experiment, providing an adequate explanation for how it's POSSIBLE for such intelligent people to ignore such irrefutable evidence, is very important to bringing new people to this field. People need a plausible answer to the question, "why haven't I heard of this before?".


    Again, I think I've read enough books that I can provide a good explanation, but I'm curious what the community thinks.

  • The primary thing I'm interested in is the sociological / psychological explanation for the actions of the ERAB panel members.

    Well then, you came to the right place. Everyone here is highly opinionated, and armchair experts in human nature. If we can't provide the right answer, we will make something up.


    Seriously now; I think it is a good topic. Thanks.

  • what I care about is why such very smart people – the ERAB members – could have seen such clear and irrefutable evidence, and basically rejected it.

    The ERAB panel was convened early in the history of cold fusion. They turned in their final report in November 1989. There was not much clear evidence at that time. Most replications had not even been published yet. The panel did ignore some of the unpublished information they collected. For example, when they talked to Mel Miles, he told them he had not seen any excess heat. Later on, he saw heat and he got back in touch with the panel. They ignored him, and in their final report they counted him as a negative.


    The ERAB report did not summarily reject cold fusion. It recommended some funding. This recommendation was ignored. The head of the panel, Huizenga, said: "The present evidence for a new nuclear fusion process is just not persuasive." The article described the committee’s final report as differing "only slightly from a preliminary report the committee made public in July." Issuing a preliminary report in July was ridiculous.


    The 2004 DoE review panel did reject clear and irrefutable evidence. See:


    2004 DoE Review


    Their reasons for rejecting the evidence were highly unscientific, to say the least:


    https://www.lenr-canr.org/acrobat/RothwellJresponsest.pdf


    Like the ERAB panel, the 2004 DoE panel did recommend funding for cold fusion, but this recommendation was again ignored.