Snippet of correspondence between Bockris and Bard re: Williams

  • An interesting snippet of a letter dated October 20, 1989 from John Bockris to Alan Bard.

    Original file is here: https://documents.theblackvaul…Cold%20Fusion%20Panel.pdf


    Quote

    A good example of all this is in the work of David Williams at Harwell, which has been examined in detail by John Appleby. A conversation between Williams and myself took place in the presence of Bob Sherman in my room. A speakerphone was used. Thus, there is witness to statement by Williams in which he declared that he would have to report the phenomena as non-existent on the basis that they were inconsistent and he could not obtain reproducible results. I asked him then directly whether he saw any heat bursts, and he replied, approximately, "Of course, I see bursts, but I cannot know when they are coming and they are not regular". He made a similar remark on the neutrons. When he came to the tritium, he reported a doubling of tritium concentration but admitted that the D20 which he had used was of World War II vintage and had enormous concentrations of tritium to start with.

  • This quote from Williams is weird in so many ways . . .


    "Of course, I see bursts, but I cannot know when they are coming and they are not regular".


    Of course you don't know when or where they are coming from! You only know there are no chemical reactions, so the heat bursts cannot be explained.


    Whether they are regular or not has nothing to do with the claim. No one said that cold fusion is -- or should be -- regular.


    He never admitted there is excess heat, but other people analyzed his data and determined there was. See:


    https://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/MelichMEsomelesson.pdf

    https://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/MelichMEbacktothef.pdf



    He made a similar remark on the neutrons.


    The same comments about excess heat apply. There is no known source of neutrons from electrochemistry, and no one ever said they should be "regular."



    When he came to the tritium, he reported a doubling of tritium concentration but admitted that the D20 which he had used was of World War II vintage and had enormous concentrations of tritium to start with.


    This makes zero sense. The tritium content is measured before the experiment. Any concentration effects can be readily estimated.

  • This quote from Williams is weird in so many ways . . .

    I think he either genuinely didn't believe his results were strong enough, or he rationalised the same, and that was that.


    There's another letter from Bockris (that I now can't find) that says (paraphrasing): "Williams is less negative than he states."


    He was under just as much pressure as everybody else I suppose, and likely didn't want to bring a furore down on Harwell the way it came down on Utah or Texas A&M.

    Edited once, last by orsova ().

  • He was under just as much pressure as everybody else I suppose, and likely didn't want to bring a furore down on Harwell the way it came down on Utah or Texas A&M.

    At the time, Harwell had not long been operating under the Trading Fund system - and that seemed to inculcate a more mercenary attitude within higher management. Pressure "from the top" could be incredibly strong.


    You could be told, at the start of a research project, what the report was expected to say in its conclusions. If you went against that, because the evidence you found didn't fit those conclusions, then it would be career limiting.

    "The most misleading assumptions are the ones you don't even know you're making" - Douglas Adams

  • At the time, Harwell had not long been operating under the Trading Fund system - and that seemed to inculcate a more mercenary attitude within higher management. Pressure "from the top" could be incredibly strong.

    Not according to THH. He says the UK has perfect academic freedom. And if there were problems, that was then, this is now. Yet Fleischmann and everyone else in the UK told me then . . . and now that academic politics prevent cold fusion research.


    The present era has been marked by the destruction of academic freedom and free speech. Ignorant non-scientists attack vaccinations, climatology and other fields. They are ignorant outsiders, but this trend began with attacks on cold fusion by insiders. Scientists brought this upon themselves. Schwinger feared that “censorship will be the death of science.” Martin Fleischmann said, “People do not want progress. It makes them uncomfortable. They don’t want it, and they shan’t have it.”

  • He says the UK has perfect academic freedom.

    AERE (Harwell) was not academia. It carried out contract research - behind closed doors. Nothing was published without "official" clearance and approval. Also note, that ever since the Klaus Fuchs debacle, Harwell had been particularly strict over its interpretation of the UK Official Secrets Act.


    If you left your job, you were strongly reminded that you could face jail if you ever talked about the things you had been working on - regardless of whether or not you felt the technology was related to national security.


    A while back I mentioned that I knew someone socially, at the time, who was on the Cold Fusion laboratory team. When he told me, he didn't actually know that I had just left my job there (and was in the process of relocating to another part of the country). He actually panicked a little, later in our conversation, when he discovered I was no longer working at the site - but decided he hadn't said enough to have to report himself to his bosses for an unintended security leak, especially as I had only just left.


    What I will say is that he seemed very happy to have been selected for the multidisciplinary team, and was both enthusiastic and excited about the work. He most certainly did not give me the impression that the team was "going through the motions" as part of some charade. I can also remember him saying, even at that relatively early point in the project, that the technology seemed "peculiar".


    Last time I also mentioned that I bumped into this chap again, a couple of years later, and tried asking him a bit more about the CF project. However, he was visibly uncomfortable at my questions, and would not really talk about it - even though the report had long since been published by then. He just said that if I wanted to know any more, I should contact Dr David Williams directly (which, of course, I never did).


    However, I note that by 1991 Dr Williams had moved to University College London (UCL).

    "The most misleading assumptions are the ones you don't even know you're making" - Douglas Adams

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