JedRothwell Verified User
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Posts by JedRothwell

    JedRothwell so in the case of Huizenga, do you think the denial explanation makes sense?

    I met him and talked with him on 2 or 3 occasions. Both of us were courteous. I could not tell what motivated him, or what he truly believed. I wasn't going to ask him, "do you actually believe what you wrote?"

    I assume he meant what he said. I suppose he sincerely thought that theory overrules experiments. That is a strange thing for a scientist to believe, but as they say, "there's naught so queer as folk." In his book, Huizenga concluded that:

    "5. If the reported intensity of nuclear products is orders of magnitude less than the claimed
    excess heat, then the excess heat is not due to a nuclear reaction process.

    6. Furthermore, if the claimed excess heat exceeds that possible by other conventional
    processes (chemical, mechanical, etc.), one must conclude that an error has been made in
    measuring excess heat."

    Quoted by Beaudette and on p. 39:

    I tend to take statements at face value. I believe that people generally tell the truth as they see it. Huizenga had no reason to hide his beliefs. I agree with Maya Angelou, "When people show you who they are, believe them the first time."

    I think he sincerely believed because his beliefs were so appalling. "One must conclude that an error has been made . . ." Can you imagine saying that!?! If I thought that, I would be embarrassed to say it. It reminds me of the joke about a man who cannot be blackmailed because the things you would blackmail him with he brags about.

    I suspect that Robert Park was not sincere. I suspect he did not believe what he said. Huizenga, Morrison and Hoffman seemed sincere. Huizenga was very smart and extremely knowledgeable. The latter two were among the most stupid people I have ever met. They were probably accomplished and very good at the physics they specialized in. I wouldn't know. But their takes on ordinary physics, basic logic, and common sense was astonishingly stupid. Mind boggling. Morrison really did not know the difference between power and energy. He wasn't kidding, or trying to fool people. (See Hoffman actually thought that Ontario Hydro sold used reactor moderator water on the consumer market. The people at Ontario Hydro were not amused to hear that. They pointed out that it is about 100 million times too radioactive. (I think that was the number. I can look it up.)

    Unlike most other skeptics, those three spent a lot of time studying cold fusion. They knew a lot about it. But someone who does not know the difference between power and energy will never understand the fundamentals of cold fusion. Or thermodynamics, calorimetry, heat pumps, or -- I suppose -- how a thermos bottle knows to keep a hot drink hot and a cold drink cold.

    In a telling interview, former Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) executive Tom Passell says that at least some of those involved in the campaign to debunk cold fusion intentionally misled congressional investigators and the public.

    Passell says that shortly after the ERAB panel persuasively denounced cold fusion as junk science in congressional testimony, some of the members of that panel quietly came to EPRI seeking money so they could study the phenomena themselves. Apparently, cold fusion research was only worthless if someone else was getting the money to do it.

    That was hilarious. I forgot that some of those people talked to the Congress.

    Here is the Congressional Record for a hearing. I guess it was the first one? I went through this years ago but I don't recall much about it.

    (By the way, this copy is considerably more readable than the original scan. I did a lot of processing to clean it up, improve contrast, and so on. It is entirely in facsimile format, as you see, so I could not have introduced any mistakes. The underlying text can be copied, but I expect it has many OCR errors.)

    They dismissed it as quickly as I dismiss Creationism, the Flat Earth hypothesis, or the claim that an mRNA vaccine changes your DNA.

    Let me point out a gigantic difference between Them and Me. The DoE did not appoint me to a panel to evaluate cold fusion. I was not called before a Congressional investigation to render an opinion on cold fusion, or invited to write an editorial in the Washington Post, the New York Times, or Nature. I am not a professional scientist. I have no professional obligation to do my homework and be sure my judgement of cold fusion is grounded in a careful reading of the literature and an objective evaluation, whereas these people did have that obligation.

    If it turns out I am wrong about mRNA vaccines affecting your DNA, that would cause no harm to anyone, because the CDC and other experts do not come to me asking about this. I am not a doctor or a public health official.

    As an amateur, I could cause harm with misinformation. I could edit Wikipedia, except the trolls in charge of it will not let me, which is probably a blessing. In the 21st century, with the Internet, Wikipedia, Facebook and other social media, amateurs can cause much more harm than they used to.

    This is not true for Garwin:

    True. He did know a thing or two. There are some others who did their homework, such as Hoffman. But most skeptics I have read in the mass media or heard from know nothing. People such as Bill Nye, the infuriating Science Guy. (Ref. 38, and Carl Sagan ( They are not actually skeptics. You have to do your homework and know the facts before you qualify as a skeptic. People who denounce experiments they know nothing about are nudnicks, not skeptics.

    I have the impression these so-called popularizers such as Nye and Sagan often mouth off about research they know nothing about. Perhaps they begin to believe the public perception that they are Experts in Everything.

    People who make up ridiculous reasons to dismiss experiments -- such as heavy water and light water magically affecting calorimetry outside the cell -- are also not skeptics. They are certified idiots. Or trolls, I guess.

    They never took cold fusion seriously. Not for one minute. They never looked at the data or read any papers. They dismissed it out of hand and never thought twice about it again.

    Except for Huizenga, to give credit where it is due. He wrote a book about cold fusion. It has a lot of in-depth technical information, and it is worth reading. You have to watch out for the illogical minefields, and his final conclusions are outrageous.

    Robert Park was aware of progress in the field. He made a show of not reading the papers. Not even touching a paper in one memorable encounter with me. I think he wanted "plausible deniability" when he went around saying cold fusion was never replicated. He knew better though. Perhaps he sincerely believed that all replications were mistakes, but he knew that many replications were published. Dave Nagel and Scott Chubb kept him informed. I have a photo of them having lunch in 2008. He looks uncomfortable to me. Left to right, Dave Nagel, Robert Park, Scott Chubb:

    I (were I impolite) would say the same of those who argue strongly that LENR must exist: call them pseudo-believers.

    So that is what you think of Gerischer, Schwinger, Fleischmann, Bockris, McKubre, Oriani and the others? They are pseudo-believers. The latter devoted decades to careful, hands-on laboratory science, and they published extensive papers. You have not found a single error in any of these papers. (I know you think you have, but all of the issues you listed here have been mistaken, and you refuse to revisit them or explain them.)

    Gerischer was the Director of the Max Planck Institute for Physical Chemistry in Berlin and one of the world's top electrochemists. He talked to every leading experimentalists, and read the literature extensively before concluding, "there is now undoubtedly overwhelming indications that nuclear processes take place in the metal alloys." But as far as you are concerned, his views are no more valid than the views of some anonymous troll in Wikipedia. Expertise counts for nothing. Doing research, reading the literature, and knowing more about the subject than just about anyone else on earth count for nothing. Bockris wrote the two leading textbooks on electrochemistry, but that counts for nothing. He was a pseudo-believer with no rational or scientific basis for his beliefs.

    Do you really think the attitudes of these people is a mirror image of your own? When have you spent years or decades working every day in the laboratory trying to disprove cold fusion? Where are your peer-reviewed papers?

    I've read there info etc and not seen any statement that it works. Which I would expect if it works.

    Why would you expect that? It is being developed with Miura Corp. private money. I would not expect them to say one word about it until gadgets are available for sale.

    My Q for skeptics is:

    Does it work?

    How the hell can anyone know? In their ICCF24 slide they said only, "May 2021, Started Testing 1 kW prototypes." That could mean something or it could mean nothing. "Started testing" does not actually mean the prototypes work. If they wanted to show some evidence the prototypes work, they would have shown a graph or at least a photo of the device.

    I was surprised & pleased they said that much. I'll bet the Miura people were annoyed that they said anything.

    I have trouble buying into the notion that hot fusion proponents had something to lose by cold fusion succeeding.

    They sure did have a lot to lose! That is why they attacked cold fusion within days of the announcement, claiming that F&P were criminals and frauds who should be arrested. That is what they told the Boston newspapers. They got in some trouble for doing that. Not much trouble. Mallove documented it.

    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.

    That is out of the question. They are no more qualified to do cold fusion than electrochemists are to build a tokamak fusion reactor. It is a completely different set of skills. You can tell they were unqualified from the inept experiments they did. In Japan, some of them mixed up the anode and cathode, and made all kinds of other mistakes.

    I think what happened is that Garwin and friends were confronted with irrefutable evidence, they had already stated an opposing position and made some professional/emotional investment, and so, when they were facing this irrefutable evidence, they all experienced a type of fear and insecurity that pushed them into denial.

    I think it was about money. Funding. I do not think you need to look for a deeper explanation.

    I also think some of these Respected authorities also believe they are right because they don't know better.

    I am sure they believe they are right.

    I have met those people, and read what they wrote. I cannot read minds, but I do not have to, because they made themselves clear. Abundantly clear! They never took cold fusion seriously. Not for one minute. They never looked at the data or read any papers. They dismissed it out of hand and never thought twice about it again. It is not as if they did a careful analysis and after consideration determined that it was probably wrong. They dismissed it as quickly as I dismiss Creationism, the Flat Earth hypothesis, or the claim that an mRNA vaccine changes your DNA. I would say: "That's impossible. Completely out of the question. Not worth spending five minutes on. Anyone who believes that does not know the first thing about high school science." That is what the plasma fusion scientists said about cold fusion, and what they say to this day. It never occurred to them to look at the data. They do not think the experiments were ever replicated.

    Here are some of the things they said. Their attitudes are clear. They never hid their contempt for cold fusion, or pretended to seriously evaluate it:

    Yes these produce a deadly shower of high speed neutrons and afford a large gym hall of equipment for a few watts...

    That's funny! But they have produced more than a few watts. The PPPL produced 10 MW, albeit only for a fraction of a second. I think it was 6 MJ total. They said it was "enough for the needs of 3,000 homes," which is sorta true, if your goal is to irradiate 3,000 homes with neutrons for half a second. I guess that would be a public service. It is unclear who "needs" it. Does neutron radiation kill cockroaches? I think homeowners would prefer electricity.

    Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor
    The Tokamak Fusion Test Reactor (TFTR) operated at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) from 1982 to 1997. TFTR set a number of world records,…


    In December, 1993, TFTR became the world's first magnetic fusion device to perform extensive experiments with plasmas composed of 50/50 deuterium/tritium -- the fuel mix required for practical fusion power production. Consequently, in 1994, TFTR produced a world-record 10.7 million watts of controlled fusion power, enough to meet the needs of more than 3,000 homes. These experiments also emphasized studies of behavior of alpha particles produced in the deuterium-tritium reactions. The extent to which the alpha particles pass their energy to the plasma is critical to the eventual attainment of sustained fusion.

    As for carbon credits congress approved a bill in June by a 92-8 vote paving the way for the department of Aggie to give carbon credits to farmers

    That is interesting. I did not know about it. It is not a carbon tax or carbon trading in the sense that has been proposed. It is not a tax because no one is being charged for emitting carbon. There is no trading. This is a reforestation project. There have been similar reforestation projects since the 1930s. They have been successful and cost effective.

    Because plasma fusion and laser fusion seem to be successful.

    They are not at all successful! They produce massive doses of radiation and there is no practical way to generate electricity with them.

    If cold fusion reactors to be small to install the house, it may be useful. But power generation can cover the house electricity.

    Decentralized small cold fusion generators would be far cheaper than power company generators, even if both used cold fusion. The power company needs a distribution network. That costs 1/3rd to 1/2 the cost of electricity. It will not be needed with small cold fusion generators.

    Cold fusion is now on the stage to improve heat generation per volume of the reactor and it must be easy to use for hours application, thus, hazardous gas’s of D2 is not fit to house use.

    Only a tiny amount of D2 gas would be needed for a cold fusion generator or automobile. It could easily be contained in a sturdy tank a few centimeters long. An automobile will use about 1 g of deuterium per year. Even if the tank is breached and the gas leaks out, it not likely to explode. It will rapidly mix in the air to such a low concentration it cannot explode. An explosion from natural gas, such as when a stove flame goes out, or from butane or lighter fluid are far more dangerous than a small deuterium or hydrogen tank. These things are common in many houses today. They will be less common with cold fusion, so the danger of fire will be reduced.

    I doubt that a home generator would need more than 20 g of deuterium. That is enough to form 100 g of water, or 5 moles. The heat of formation of water is 285,820 J/mol so that's 1.4 MJ. Gasoline has 45 MJ/kg, so that's how much 31 g of gasoline or butane produces. Granted, setting fire to 30 g of gasoline or 3 broken butane lighters indoors would be hazardous, but if the flames were from a gas that leaked out of a broken tank over several minutes they would probably not cause much damage.

    If cold fusion devices needed kilograms of deuterium gas, that would be another matter.

    You can give a good estimate based on total energy out and number of atoms in the reactor powder.

    That is a minimum bound estimate. You know the minimum energy per atom is: atoms of metal divided by electron volts. Say that comes out to be 680 eV/atom, as estimated above. Based on observations by Pam Boss, Ed Storms and others, it seems likely that only a small fraction of the metal reacts. Less than 1%, I think. If it is 1%, that would be 68,000 eV/atom.

    Actually, a nuclear reaction produces millions of electron volts per reaction. That's a sure thing. So it is probably a lot more accurate and informative to work back the other direction, and go from electron volts to estimate the number of hydrogen or deuterium atoms participating.

    The report is ~300 kJ/0.0022 mole of metal

    A D+D reaction produces 24 MeV. H+H produces 1 MeV. Say these reactions are 1 MeV per pair of H atoms. 0.5 MeV per atom.

    Okay, 300 kJ = 2e+24 eV. Each hydrogen reaction produces 500,000 eV, so I guess that is ~4e18 hydrogen atoms. I suppose the metal is usually intact after a reaction, and one metal atom can catalyze more than one reaction. The reaction spots are concentrated in small areas, so I suppose that happens frequently. That reduces the total number of metal atoms to some number less than the number of hydrogen atoms that reacted, to some number less than 4e18. Let us simplify and assume each reaction was done by only one metal atom. The Storms hypothesis would say that's completely incorrect, but let's go with that for now.

    0.0022 moles = 1e22 atoms in the metal, divided by 4e18 hydrogen atoms that reacted = ~1 in 3,500 metal atoms. or 0.03%.

    Right? Someone should check my arithmetic.

    Jed - I understand that, not looking at the video - you feel on theoretical grounds that this system should not have any foam.

    No, I know for a fact it has no significant foam. I know because I have seen a clear, close up video of a boil off; because there is a photo of a boil-off at; because Fleischmann, Bockris and many other electrochemists told me that bubbles are fatal to cold fusion and most other electrochemical experiments. Those are not theoretical grounds. They are observations and common sense.

    It is difficult to follow accurately the level of water during this period because of the formation of foam, so it is only at the end of the experiment, when the cell is dry that the excess heat can be calculated with precision.

    It seems, Jed, you are incorrect?

    Nope. I am right. I have seen boil off videos etc. Lonchampt was an engineer. When he says "accurately" he means to the nearest milliliter. You don't need to measure it that closely to confirm F&P's results. They are inputting 38 W and getting out 182 W. The water level measurement could be wrong by 30% and it would not affect the conclusion.

    Of course there is some foam from boiling. You would see that if you did the experiment yourself with pure water.

    You only need to measure the water level, and then measure it again 10 minutes later. The difference in 1 minute increments might be hard to measure accurately, but over 10 minutes, the difference is 45 g. That is a lot. It would be 9 g if there were no heat. Anyone can tell the difference between 9 and 45 g, even if there is foam from boiling.

    Perhaps Lonchampt did it wrong - with surfactants. Yes he claims to have excess heat too.

    It wouldn't have worked!

    It is all very confusing.

    No, it isn't the least bit confusing, as you would see if you tried doing it. Which you never will.

    JedRothwell - Found it. I was actually talking about this paper:


    Okay, I have this one. My copy is somewhat cleaner.

    Here is the paper describing the x-ray film I uploaded:

    Rout, R.K., M. Srinivasan, and A. Shyam, Autoradiography of Deuterated Ti and Pd Targets for Spatially Resolved Detection of Tritium Produced by Cold Fusion, in BARC Studies in Cold Fusion, P.K. Iyengar and M. Srinivasan, Editors. 1989, Atomic Energy Commission: Bombay. p. B 3.

    As I recalled, it says: "At times a stack of several films was used. In some cases films were placed on both sides of the sample."

    The papers published by BARC are here:

    BARC Studies In Cold Fusion

    Many years ago I wrote a sort of Q&A. I wrote this in response to people at Wikipedia, and posted it there. I knew they would delete it within minutes, so I did not bother to polish it up or finish it. Ludwik Kowalski liked it, so he preserved it on his website. He is dead and his website is defunct. Here is a copy. I don't think it is worth the effort to improve it and upload it, but someone might use parts of it:

    293) Jed Rothwell comments on some accusations

    Ludwik Kowalski; 4/19/2006

    Department of Mathematical Sciences

    Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ, 07043

    Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia where anyone can delete, add or replace anything. The following message, from Jed Rothwell, just appeared on the restricted discussion list for CMNS researchers:

    The cold fusion article at Wikipedia has grown too large, so it must be split up. Someone asked me to assist with the sub-article "cold fusion controversy." I should not waste my time on this sort of thing, but I did. The skeptics will soon trash this and erase it, but I had a lot of fun writing it. Have a look before it is gone: (The article was deleted in 2006)

    I have a copy on my desk, preserved for posterity. I did not set out to make this humorous, although I can never resist. I doubt the skeptics will see it as funny. But I trust the readers here will see the humor in parts such as my deadpan rebuttal of the claim that cold fusion researchers are insane; my description of Hoffman's masterpiece; and the juicy quote from Happer and its source (Taubes).

    - Jed

    I think that what Jed wrote is worth preserving. Knowing that others will modify his text I pasted it below. It will be interesting to compare the current version with future versions. Be aware that what appears as a link in Wikipedia is nothing but a blue word below.

    = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

    Cold Fusion Controversy

    Originally published in Wikipedia, April 2006, updated 4/20/2007

    Ever since the Fleischmann-Pons experiment in March of 1989, the existence of chemically catalyzed cold fusion has remained a controversial issue. This article discusses the major skeptical arguments in the controversy. Experimental evidence for cold fusion can be found in the main article, cold fusion.

    ==Cold fusion as a violation of theory==

    Most leading skeptics dismissed cold fusion because it appeared to violate the laws that govern high energy plasma physics. In a plasma reaction, copious neutrons "commensurate" with helium are produced, whereas with cold fusion the number of neutrons per helium atom is roughly 11 million times smaller. Skeptics say this means cold fusion is impossible. As Prof. H. Feshbach (MIT) put it in 1991: "I have had 50 years of experience in nuclear physics and I know what's possible and what's not. . . . I don't want to see any more evidence! I think it's a bunch of junk and I don't want to have anything further to do with it." [1]

    The books by F. Close [2] and J. Huizenga [3] are mainly devoted to proving that cold fusion violates theory and is therefore impossible. Huizenga, who was the head of the DoE ERAB panel that dismissed cold fusion in 1989, concluded his book with a 6-point summation. Point number six states that we know a priori that all positive cold fusion excess heat results must be wrong:

    "Furthermore, if the claimed excess heat exceeds that possible by other conventional processes (chemical, mechanical, etc.), one must conclude that an error has been made in measuring the excess heat."

    Cold Fusion researchers feel that they subscribe to the traditional view, that experiments are the standard by which all claims must be judged. [4] [25] They believe this is fundamental to the scientific method. When a phenomenon has been replicated many times at a high signal to noise ratio, that proves it does exist, and if theory predicts it cannot exist, the theory must be wrong. Cold fusion theorists believe that cold fusion does not violate conventional theory. The number of neutrons produced by cold fusion is much smaller than plasma fusion because a metal lattice at room temperature is very different from the center of the sun. As cold fusion theorist Julian Schwinger put it, "The defense [of cold fusion] is simply stated: The circumstances of cold fusion are not those of hot fusion". [5]

    ==Explicit rejection of the experimental method==

    Several leading skeptics have stated that cold fusion proves the experimental method itself does not work. In other words, when dozens or hundreds of laboratories report they have replicated a phenomenon, they might all be wrong, and the only way to be sure a finding is correct is to show that it conforms to established theory. [Close, Huizenga ibid.] [6]

    A variation of this idea was expressed by R. Ballinger (MIT) and B. Kevles (Yale). They say that Fleischmann and Pons were definitely wrong, but those who later replicated them may be right. Ballinger wrote:

    "It would not matter to me if a thousand other investigations were to subsequently perform experiments that see excess heat. These results may all be correct, but it would be an insult to these investigators to connect them with Pons and Fleischmann. . . . Putting the 'Cold Fusion' issue on the same page with Wien, Rayleigh-Jeans, Davison Germer, Einstein, and Planck is analogous to comparing a Dick Tracy comic book story with the Bible." [7]

    Kevles [8] accused Fleischmann and Pons of misconduct (fraud) and "scientific misdeeds,", and she said that the later replications of their work prove nothing to the contrary: [9]

    "Eventually, [Fleischmann and Pons] particular claims were refuted as theoretically unfounded and without experimental support. This is the incident I referred to in my article and it has altogether nothing to do with research since in this field." [10]

    In all of the "research since" researchers used similar materials and reported similar results, and they cited the original paper by Fleischmann and Pons, so it is difficult to judge what Kevles has in mind.

    Cold fusion researchers also assert that incomplete understanding of the process does not invalidate it, often citing the 1898 report by Marie and Pierre Curie that radium was permanently warmer than its surroundings. This report was accepted even though the source of the warmth was not known to science [Beaudette, ibid. p. 3]. Indeed, Nobel laureate Schwinger pointed out that discoveries of processes such as high temperature superconducting are "a prime example of embracing the concept without having to understand the mechanism." [ibid] The comparison is debatable, however. J. Piel, late editor of Scientific American, likened this "incomplete knowledge" claim to Langmuir's criteria for pathological science. [11]

    ==Cold fusion as pathological science==

    Many have dismissed cold fusion as an example of pathological science: in such a science, a scientist, originally conforming to the scientific method, unconsciously veers from that method, and begins a pathological process of wishful data interpretation.

    While there are no rigorous criteria for defining a pathological science, the following characteristics were listed by Irving Langmuir when he invented the term:

    * The maximum effect that is observed is produced by a causative agent of barely detectable intensity, and the magnitude of the effect is substantially independent of the intensity of the cause.

    * The effect is of a magnitude that remains close to the limit of detectability, or many measurements are necessary because of the very low statistical significance of the results.

    * There are claims of great accuracy.

    * Fantastic theories contrary to experience are suggested.

    * Criticisms are met by ad hoc excuses.

    * The ratio of supporters to critics rises and then falls gradually to oblivion.

    ===The causative agent is almost undetectable===

    The causative agent of excess heat in cold fusion experiment, if any, is not certain, but most cold fusion researchers think it is nuclear fusion. Nuclear reactions can only be detected by their effects. Some nuclear reactions have effects that can be easily measured (such as the production of tritium), while others are more difficult to detect (such as the production of helium-4).

    Showing a correlation between excess heat and the amount of helium produced is challenging, but cold fusion researchers say it has been done at China Lake, the Italian national laboratories and elsewhere. [12] [13]

    Other nuclear evidence, such as tritium, neutrons and gamma rays are far easier to measure. Cold fusion researchers say that these products have been confirmed in thousands of experiments in dozens of different laboratories, at levels far above the limits of detection, in some cases thousands of times above those limits. [14] For example, at the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) the reactor safety experts have been measuring tritium for decades with accuracy and confidence. When several experiments at BARC experiment produced tritium, at levels up to 20,000 times above the initial concentration, they had no difficulty whatever detecting or confirming this, and they used several different methods. [15] [16] [17] [18]

    ===The effect is almost undetectable===

    The excess heat has been measured by several different types of calorimeters often at a level that is easily detected, and sometimes impossible to miss. Tritium has been measured at levels ranging from 100 to several million times background. Gamma rays have also been measured far above background. Helium from cold fusion reactions is often close to the limits of detection but in at least one case it exceeded atmospheric concentration. Transmutations have in some cases converted milligram levels of materials, making them easy to detect. [19] [20] [21]

    ===The causative agent is not commensurate with the effect===

    The causative agent of excess heat in cold fusion experiment, if any, is not certain, but every indication is that if they exist it is nuclear fusion. Nuclear reactions can only be detected by their effects. Some nuclear reactions have effects that can be easily measured (eg. neutron emission), while others are more difficult to detect (eg. Helium-4).

    Showing a correlation between excess heat and the amount of helium is challenging, but as noted above, researchers at China Lake, the Italian National Nuclear Laboratories, Los Alamos, SRI and other laboratories report success. Tritium and neutrons, which are much easier to detect, have been measured at levels far above the limits of detection in hundreds of laboratories.

    ===There are claims of great accuracy in the measurement===

    Cold fusion researchers do not claim great accuracy. They often use standard, off the shelf instruments within the manufacturer's certified levels of accuracy. Great accuracy is often not called for in any case, since, as noted above, the signal is often quite strong (far above background).

    ===Proposed explanations===

    Critics of cold fusion say there are currently no satisfactory theories of cold fusion. Many cold fusion researchers agree with them. They consider cold fusion an experimental observation that is not derived from or supported by theory at this stage.

    Many theories have been proposed to explain cold fusion, and some of these would generally be considered fantastic or fringe theories. However, other theories have been proposed by mainstream physicists such as Julian Schwinger and Peter Hagelstein. Schwinger and Hagelstein believe their theories are valid, and that that they do not conflict with the canon of established physics.

    ===Initial interest in the topic does not last===

    Skeptics say that interest in cold fusion faded rapidly, and that the "vast majority" of scientists do not believe it exists. They do not cite public opinion polls or other hard data to back up this assertion. A poll published in Japan in 1994 indicated that most scientists there believe cold fusion is real, and nearly all support continued research. [22]

    The majority of newspapers and news magazine reports on cold fusion published in the U.S. are negative. They usually say that the research was "debunked" and that it was fradulent and/or incompetent. (See below.)

    Skeptics [Piel, ibid.] also say that no peer-reviewed journal papers on cold fusion have been published, but this is incorrect. Approximately 1000 have been published in mainstream peer-reviewed journals, [] and they continue to be published despite the hostility and opposition to the research expressed by APS officials, the Washington Post, some MIT professors and others. (See below)

    ==Doubts on the quality of the cold fusion scientists==

    Cold fusion scientists have been often criticized for lacking credentials. However, many of them were previously considered to be world class experts in their fields. Distinguished Prof. John O'M Bockris, for example, wrote an authoritative and widely used textbook, Modern Electochemistry. He is a Fellow of the International Society of Electrochemistry []

    Heinz Gerischer was considered a leading electrochemist. He was the Director of the Max Planck Institute for Physical Chemistry in Berlin, and a prize was established in his memory. He concluded that "there is now undoubtedly overwhelming indications that nuclear processes take place in the metal alloys." [24] Nobel laureate Julian Schwinger was considered a leading theoretical physicist and was respected by most scientists, but he reported being denigrated and attacked after he began writing theoretical papers about cold fusion. [ibid.] Dr. P. K. Iyengar conducted and directed cold fusion research while he was director of BARC. [] He later became the chairman of the Indian Atomic Energy Commission

    Profs. Miles, Oriani and Huggins have published textbooks and hundreds of articles, are designated Distinguished Professors and Fellows by universities and the U.S. Navy, and have been honored by the Electrochemical Society, NATO and other prestigious organizations. Other cold fusion researchers include three editors of major plasma fusion and physics journals, a retired member of the French Atomic Energy Commission, and many top researchers from U.S. national laboratories.

    ===Martin Fleischmann===

    Martin Fleischmann is widely considered one of the top electrochemistry|electrochemists in the world. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and past president of the International Society of Electrochemistry, and he was awarded a medal by the Society. He has published numerous papers in leading journals. On the other hand, he has no credentials in nuclear physics, and his first paper on cold fusion was shown to contain errors in this subject, in neutron detection. However, subsequent research was performed by leading experts in neutrons at Los Alamos, BARC and many other institutions, and these studies confirmed that cold fusion experiments produce neutrons. [Srinivasan, ibid.]

    ==Claims that experiments have been debunked or that they are fraudulent==

    Most newspaper and magazine articles attacking cold fusion say it was debunked, or that it is fraud.

    Debunked. The term "debunked" is not defined exactly, but it is usually taken to mean that replications were attempted but they failed. Cold fusion researchers believe these replications failed because the researchers performing them were not skilled in the art and because the experiment is inherently difficult to perform. The most famous three negative experiments performed in 1989 were at MIT, Caltech and Harwell. All three were subsequently shown to be positive. [25] [26] [27] [28]

    Some articles have said that cold fusion was debunked because it was shown to be theoretically impossible. As noted above, cold fusion researchers believe this is a violation of the scientific method.

    Many skeptics feel that cold fusion should be attacked, ridiculed and actively suppressed. In March 1990, D. Lindley, editor at Nature, wrote: "All cold fusion theories can be demolished one way or another, but it takes some effort.... Would a measure of unrestrained mockery, even a little unqualified vituperation have speeded cold fusion's demise?" [28] Cold fusion researchers feel this is a violation of academic freedom. Schwinger felt that such intemperate views will lead to the "death of science" [Schwinger, ibid.]

    Fraud. Dozens of articles have said this. Writers in the Washington Post have been notably vehement. In 2006 Prof. B. Kevles (Yale) described cold fusion a "scientific misdeed." [Kevles, ibid.] In 1991 Robert Park, [30] wrote the following in a Washington Post review of the book by Frank Close:

    ". . . Close asks in the first chapter, 'Was this a delusion, an error, or a fraud?' By the end of the book, it is clear that cold fusion progressed through all three. What began as wishful interpretations of sloppy and incomplete experiments ended with altered data, suppression of contradictory evidence and deliberate obfuscations.

    Fleischmann and Pons were no longer alone. Inept scientists whose reputations would be tarnished, greedy administrators who had involved their institutions, gullible politicians who had squandered the taxpayers' dollars, lazy journalists who had accepted every press release at face value -- all now had an interest in making it appear that the issue had not been settled. Their easy corruption was one of the most chilling aspects of this sad comedy.

    To be sure, there are true believers among the cold-fusion acolytes, just as there are sincere scientists who believe in psychokinesis, flying saucers, creationism and the Chicago Cubs. The lesson from Too Hot to Handle is that a PhD in science is not an inoculation against foolishness -- or mendacity."

    The on-line database at lists 3,400 papers on cold fusion written by 4,688 authors and co-authors, as of April 2006. Most of these papers have been positive, and none of the authors has benefited financially or otherwise. On the contrary, many of them have seen their careers stalled or ruined because they pursue this research. [Beaudette, ibid.] So there does not appear to be any motive to commit fraud, and it would be difficult for roughly 4,000 people to commit fraud and keep this fact secret.

    ==Claims that all cold fusion researchers are deluded or incompetent==

    Articles in the press and in major scientific magazines have often said that all cold fusion scientists are practicing pathological science and all are deluded or incompetent. Robert Park made that assertion in the Washington Post article quoted above, in his weekly column, and in e-mail letters to cold fusion researchers. One of the members of the 1989 DoE ERAB panel, Prof. W. Happer, said that: "Just by looking at Fleischmann and Pons on television you could tell they were incompetent boobs." [Taubes, ibid.] F. Slakey, the Science Policy Administrator of the American Physical Society, said that cold fusion scientists are "a cult of fervent half-wits" "While every result and conclusion they publish meets with overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary, they resolutely pursue their illusion of fusing hydrogen in a mason jar. . . . And a few scientists, captivated by [Fleischmann and Pons'] fantasy . . . pursue cold fusion with Branch Davidian intensity." [31] S. Koonin said in May 1989 at an APS meeting, "My conclusion is that the experiments are just wrong and that we are suffering from the incompetence and delusion of Doctors Pons and Fleischmann." [32] Skeptics sometimes say they have not made such intemperate comments, but there are hundreds of well-documented examples from major establishment scientists, publishers and officials. [Mallove, Beaudette, ibid.]

    The people making these comments repeated them often, and they have never retracted or apologized. They say they are not exaggerating and they honestly believe that Fleischmann, Pons and all other cold fusion researchers are severely deluded and grossly incompetent. The people listed above were assigned a direct role in establishing U.S. policy toward cold fusion, in the ERAB panel and elsewhere, and their views have had great influence.

    As noted above, leading cold fusion researchers and theoreticians include many prominent experts in electrochemistry and physics. It is unlikely that such people are deluded or incapable of performing experiments in their own fields.

    ==Claims that experimental errors have been made==

    Since cold fusion is an experimental claim, cold fusion researchers feel that the only way to prove it is wrong is to demonstrate there is an error in the experimental technique or instruments. However, only a few skeptical authors have searched for such errors. Skeptics have written one book, at least five papers, and one magazine article citing errors, but cold fusion researchers feel the skeptics have failed to make their case. Some well-known examples include:

    * D. Morrison versus M. Fleischmann debate [33] Morrison accused Fleischmann of employing "a complicated non-linear regression analysis" . . . "to allow a claim of excess enthalpy to be made." Fleischmann pointed out that they did not use that analysis. Morrison estimated that recombination might have produced 1.1 MJ at 145 W maximum power; Fleischmann pointed out that chemistry textbooks prove it could only produce 600 J at 5 mW maximum power. Several other points are disputed.

    * N. Hoffman, A Dialogue on Chemically Induced Nuclear Effects [23] Much of this book is devoted to the hypothesis that all tritium results in cold fusion were caused by contaminated heavy water. This heavy water was contaminated, the author says, because the Ontario Hydro Company sold used moderator water from Candu fission reactors through chemical supply houses, to members of the public. There are two problems with this hypothesis. First, tritium levels are always measured before the experiment begins, so if the heavy water was already contaminated this would be noted. Second, upon learning about the book, Ontario Hydro vehemently denied selling used moderator water. They pointed out this would be illegal because this water contains roughly 100 million times more radioactive contamination than allowed by law, and it would cost tremendous amounts of money to remove this contamination and make the water safe. (Other sections of the book dealing with the Joule-Thompson effect and helium studies do not dispute the published results.) Cold fusion researchers at SRI pointed out that this book does not mention any experiment showing excess heat even though most experiments in the field have been done to look for heat.

    * W. B. Clarke and Mass Spectrometry. Clarke published several articles with coworkers examining various aspects of helium detection in cold fusion-related samples. One study [42] has led to suggestions that some of the cold fusion researchers have not adequately handled the analytical chemistry technique of mass spectrometry.

    * K. L. Shanahan and Calibration Constant Shifts. K. L. Shanahan has published 3 articles proposing a non-nuclear means to obtain apparent excess heat signals in cold fusion cells. In the first[34], Shanahan proposed that the system heat distribution and/or heat flow pathways might change and that this would induce a change in the calibration constants for the cell. He reanalyzed some actual cold fusion data published by E. Storms[37], under an assumption of zero excess heat, and found a variation in calibration constants of +/- 3% would explain the results, which is within typical error bounds of a fairly high quality scientific study. Subsequently, Szpak, Mossier-Boss, Miles, and Fleischmann questioned the proposal[39], and Shanahan replied [35] with an expanded explanation and applied it to explain the authors results. E. Storms rebutted Shanahan [38] by pointing out that the data does not fit his model.

    * A Scientific American article in 2006 with a sidebar that said there are four weaknesses in the cold fusion experiments. [40] (The article is here […1C&ref=sciam&chanID=sa006], but the sidebar is missing. It is quoted here: [].) These statements are not in evidence in the experimental literature. In a letter to J. Rothwell, the editors said they have not read any of the experimental literature on cold fusion, because, they say, this literature does not exist: no papers have been published "in major peer-reviewed journals." [Piel, ibid.] Presumably this explains why the editors made these four errors.

    ==Burden of proof argument==

    Many skeptics have said that the burden of proof is on cold fusion researchers to prove their point. As the editor of the Scientific American put it: "But it is not up to mainstream physicists to disprove LENR-CANR [cold fusion]; it is up to LENR-CANR's physicists to come up with convincing proofs. The burden of evidence is on those who wish to establish a new proposition." [Piel, ibid.]

    Cold fusion researchers feel they have met this burden. Cold fusion experiments are based upon traditional instruments and techniques, such as calorimeters (most of them developed between the 1780 and 1840), autoradiographs (circa 1890), and conventional tritium detection and mass spectroscopy. Calorimetry is based upon the laws of thermodynamics. Since most skeptics agree that autoradiographs, the laws of thermodynamics and so on are valid, cold fusion advocates argue that the skeptics should agree that cold fusion experiments are valid, and that the burden of proof is on those who say these techniques and laws are inoperative.

    ==Other skeptical arguments==

    Some skeptics say they do not believe the results because there may be an error in the experiments which has not yet been discovered. This argument is invalid because it cannot be falsified, and because the same can be said for any experiment.

    Skeptics quote Carl Sagan's axiom that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." Cold fusion researchers disagree. They feel that extraordinary claims are best supported with ordinary evidence from off-the-shelf instruments and standard techniques, and this is the kind of evidence they have published. They also feel that all claims, and all arguments (including skeptical assertions that attempt to disprove cold fusion) must be held to the same standards of rigor.

    Hagelstein has encountered skeptics who say "a commercial product is the next hurdle to be jumped through before any significant funding can be justified." He responded, "This is simply not right." He explained:

    "Scientists in the field have gone to extremes in attempts to satisfy skeptics. Cells were stirred, blanks were done, extremely elaborate closed cell calorimeters have been developed (in which the effect has been demonstrated), the signal to noise ratio has been improved so that positive results can now be claimed at the 50 sigma level, the reproducibility issue has been laid to rest; but still it is not enough." [41]

    Hagelstein and others point out that plasma fusion has failed to produce a practical power reactor despite 60 years of research and over $100 billion in funding, yet no one questions the existence of plasma fusion for that reason. They also point out that countless other natural phenomena have no practical application, but are not disputed.

    Lindley [ibid.] and many other skeptics have said that before they believe the experimental results, cold fusion researchers must first provide a complete theory to explain the phenomenon. This also violates a fundamental tenet of the scientific method, since there are and always have been countless unexplained phenomena which are unquestionably real (such as high temperature superconductivity and radium fission, as noted above). Cold fusion researchers feel that it is the job of science to explain anomalies rather than to dismiss them.


    1.^ Feshbach, H., Interview with E. Mallove, May 1991

    2.^ Close, F., Too Hot to Handle. The Race for Cold Fusion. 1992, New York: Penguin, paperback.

    3.^ Huizenga, J.R., Cold Fusion: The Scientific Fiasco of the Century. second ed. 1993, New York: Oxford University Press.

    4.^ Beaudette, C.G., Excess Heat. Why Cold Fusion Research Prevailed. 2000, Concord, NH: Oak Grove Press (Infinite Energy, Distributor).

    5.^ Schwinger, J., Cold fusion: Does it have a future? Evol. Trends Phys. Sci., Proc. Yoshio Nishina Centen. Symp., Tokyo 1990, 1991. 57: p. 171. []

    6.^ Taubes, G., Bad science. The short life and weird times of cold fusion. 1993, NY: Random House.

    7.^ Ballinger, R., The Gordon Institute News, March/April 1991

    8.^ Kevles, B, Barely a Drop of Fraud, Washington Post, January 2006

    9.^ Kevles, B., letter to E. Storms, January 2006

    10.^ Kevles, B., Professor's mention of cold fusion intended as reference to incident, Yale Daily News, January 2006 [][]

    11.^ Piel, J. letter to J. Rothwell, 1991. []

    12.^ Miles, M., et al., Correlation of excess power and helium production during D2O and H2O electrolysis using palladium cathodes. J. Electroanal. Chem., 1993. 346: p. 99. []

    13.^ Miles, M. Correlation Of Excess Enthalpy And Helium-4 Production: A Review. in Tenth International Conference on Cold Fusion. 2003. Cambridge, MA []

    14.^ Chien, C.C., et al., On an electrode producing massive quantities of tritium and helium. J. Electroanal. Chem., 1992. 338: p. 189. []

    15.^ Radhakrishnan, T.P., et al., Tritium Generation during Electrolysis Experiment, in BARC Studies in Cold Fusion, P.K. Iyengar and M. Srinivasan, Editors. 1989, Atomic Energy Commission: Bombay. p. A 6. []

    16.^ Srinivasan, M., Nuclear fusion in an atomic lattice: An update on the international status of cold fusion research. Curr. Sci., 1991. 60: p. 417. []

    17.^ Krishnan, M.S., et al., Evidence for Production of Tritium via Cold Fusion Reactions in Deuterium Gas Loaded Palladium, in BARC Studies in Cold Fusion, P.K. Iyengar and M. Srinivasan, Editors. 1989, Atomic Energy Commission: Bombay. p. B 4. []

    18.^ Iyengar, P.K., et al., Bhabha Atomic Research Centre studies on cold fusion. Fusion Technol., 1990. 18: p. 32. See also: []

    19.^ Iwamura, Y., M. Sakano, and T. Itoh, Elemental Analysis of Pd Complexes: Effects of D2 Gas Permeation. Jpn. J. Appl. Phys. A, 2002. 41: p. 4642. []

    20.^ Iwamura, Y. Observation of Nuclear Transmutation Reactions induced by D2 Gas Permeation through Pd Complexes. in Eleventh International Conference on Condensed Matter Nuclear Science. 2004. Marseille, France. []

    21.^ Higashiyama, Y., et al. Replication of MHI transmutation experiment by D2 gas permeation through Pd complex. in Tenth International Conference on Cold Fusion. 2003. Cambridge, MA []

    22.^ Inoguchi, S., Jyouon kakuyouugou no ankeito wo bunseki, Trigger, June 1993

    23.^ Hoffman, N., A Dialogue on Chemically Induced Nuclear Effects. A Guide for the Perplexed about Cold Fusion. 1995, La Grange Park, Ill: American Nuclear Society.

    24.^ Gerischer, H., Memorandum on the present state of knowledge on cold fusion. 1991, Fritz Harber Institute Der Max Planck: Berlin. []

    25.^ Mallove, E., MIT Special Report. Infinite Energy, 1999. 4(24): p. 64. []

    26.^ Miles, M. and B.F. Bush. Calorimetric Principles and Problems in Pd-D2O Electrolysis. in Third International Conference on Cold Fusion, "Frontiers of Cold Fusion". 1992. Nagoya Japan: Universal Academy Press, Inc., Tokyo, Japan. []

    27.^ Hansen, W.N. and M.E. Melich, Pd/D Calorimetry- The Key to the F/P Effect and a Challenge to Science. Trans. Fusion Technol., 1994. 26(4T): p. 355. []

    28.^ Melich, M.E. and W.N. Hansen. Back to the Future, The Fleischmann-Pons Effect in 1994. in Fourth International Conference on Cold Fusion. 1993. Lahaina, Maui: Electric Power Research Institute 3412 Hillview Ave., Palo Alto, CA 94304. []

    29.^ Lindley, D., The Embarrassment of Cold Fusion. Nature (London), 1990. 344: p. 375.

    30.^ Park, R., The Fizzle in the Fusion, in Washington Post. 1991. p. B4.

    31.^ Slakey, F., When the lights of reason go out - Francis Slakey ponders the faces of fantasy and New Age scientists. New Scientist, 1993. 139(1890): p. 49.

    32.^ Mallove, E., Fire From Ice. 1991, NY: John Wiley.

    33.^ Debate between Douglas Morrison and Stanley Pons & Martin Fleischmann. []

    34.^ Shanahan, K., A Systematic Error in Mass Flow Calorimetry Demonstrated, Thermochimica Acta, 387(2) (2002) 95-110 []

    35.^ Shanahan, K., Comments on "Thermal behavior of polarized Pd/D electrodes prepared by co-deposition, Thermochimica Acta, 428(1-2) (2005) 207

    36.^ Shanahan, K., Reply to 'Comment on papers by K. Shanahan that propose to explain anomalous heat geneated by cold fusion', E. Storms, Thermochim. ActaThermochimica Acta, 441 (2006) 210-214

    37.^ Storms, E., Excess Power Production from Platinum Cathodes Using the Pons-Fleischmann Effect, in F. Scaramuzzi (Ed.), ICCF8 - Proceedings of the 8th International Conference on Cold Fusion, Lerici (La Spezia), Italy 21-26 May 2000, Società Italiana di Fisica 2001, 55-61

    38.^ Storms, E., Comment on papers by K. Shanahan that propose to explain anomalous heat generated by cold fusion. Thermochim. Acta, 2006. 441: p. 207-209. [].

    39.^ S. Szpak, P. A. Mosier-Boss, M. H. Miles, M. Fleischmann, Thermal behavior of polarized Pd/D electrodes prepared by co-deposition, Thermochimica Acta, 2004, 410, 101-107

    40.^ Choi, C., News Scan: Back to Square One, in Scientific American. 2005. p. 21.

    41.^ Hagelstein, P.L., Summary of ICCF3 in Nagoya, MIT, 1993. []

    42.^ W. Brian Clarke, Stanley J. Bos, Brian M. Oliver, Production of 4He in D2-Loaded Palladium-Carbon Catalyst II, Fusion Science and Technology, 43(2)(2003

    Additional input from Jed. (4/23/06):

    Writing this Wikipeida article has been an education for me. It has revealed aspects of the skeptical imagination and thought processes I was unaware of. One thing that shocked me is how many skeptics are livid with anger because I am quoting verbatim Huizenga and other leading skeptics. Several times they have erased these quotes. They do not want to hear their own side!

    Here is an example of what I have learned. This is kind of trivial yet thought provoking. The skeptical argument that all researchers are incompetent or frauds is weak. It has to apply to 100% of researchers. If a skeptic admits that 1% or 2% are competent and honest, that makes cold fusion real. There are very roughly 3,000 to 4,000 authors of the positive papers at LENR-CANR. So 1% would be ~40 researchers in ~10 institutions. Most researchers worked ~10 years. (Most are now retired or dead.) So that would be 10 or more independent replications repeated dozens of times. I have never heard of anyone publishing a claim that only one cell in run produced heat, or tritium, or transmutations. Bockris used to run 100 cells at at time.

    Anyway, in normal science, that many replications would be considered conclusive proof that an effect is real. Some people want to see 3 or 4 replications, others hold out for 10. But dozens of repeated experiments at 10 labs would surely meet anyone's standard of proof. I guess this is why some skeptics are so adamant. Their claim must be airtight or it fails. Cold fusion has been replicated hundreds if not thousands of times. Of course most skeptics are unaware of this. They think there were only a dozen experiments. But take a skeptic who is vaguely aware of the facts -- one who has glanced at the list of papers at LENR-CANR, and shivered inwardly. He has to force himself to believe that every single one of these tests was a mistake, or fraud. It must a terrible mental burden, forcing yourself to believe such crazy ideas, in violation of all your professional training and common sense.

    That is why so many skeptics suffer from cognitive dissonance. They shout to drown out their own inner doubts. They insist that I have distorted their views in this article, when in fact I have reproduced their views faithfully and completely, with verbatim quotes from the best sources available. If a skeptic were to write what Huizenga wrote, 'we know a priori all excess heat results are wrong,' his fellow skeptics would clap him on the back and say 'right on bro, Amen to that.' When I quote Huizenga, and source it, and compare that to Schwinger's rebuttal, they become hysterical and they accuse me of "POV violations" (expressing a point of view). One of them came in and immediately erased all of the rebuttals. He wanted to see skeptical claims in isolation, and he had no sense that they represent a "point of view" (POV). But when they were paired with the CF researchers point of view, he felt it was an abomination.