Melvin Miles on Calorimetry: “We got excess heat”

It’s been twenty-three years since the announcement of the discovery of cold fusion, and yet, this powerful solution to our energy needs is not even recognized by the Department of Energy (DoE), despite the interest of other federal agencies like NASA and the military.

In trying to understand why, I learned that it was the top science schools in the U.S. who produced negative reports early in 1989 that influenced both federal policy and mainstream academic science, and still do today. Read Remove Institutional Blocks for more.

In that year, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and California Institute of Technology (CalTech) conducted experiments to test the claims of Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons, two scientists who had discovered a powerful form of energy that could be created in a test tube. These experiments by MIT and CalTech were to be the centerpiece of the DoE’s Energy Research Advisory Board report, a report that would determine the federal response to cold fusion and shape energy policy at the highest level of government.

However, as long as twenty years ago, several studies have shown that the experiments conducted by MIT and CalTech were seriously flawed. Dr. Mitchell Swartz of JET Energy and the designer of the NANOR device still on public display at the MIT campus, did the first analysis showing that some temperature data had been shifted downwards, with no adequate reason given for why.

Since then, Dr. Melvin Miles, a former university chemistry professor and Navy researcher, has performed several studies on the calorimetry of MIT and CalTech finding major mistakes in experimental procedure and heat measurement. The most recent analysis was published in the Journal of Condensed Matter Nuclear Science and co-authored by Dr. Peter Hagelstein, an MIT electrical-engineering professor, and the lone cold fusion researcher on the campus. [.pdf]

I met with Dr. Miles to talk about his work de-constructing the original style Fleischmann-Pons electrolytic cell, and becoming an expert at calorimetry, the art of measuring heat. I wanted to ask him about these early studies that had such influence, and what went wrong. Our conversation ensued for over four hours.

We met at the Chemistry Department at University of LaVerne where Dr. Miles had previously taught and we were joined by Dr. Iraj Parchamazad, Chairman of the Chemistry Department there. Dr. Parchamazad is also a cold fusion researcher who has recently had an amazing success in generating excess heat from palladium-loaded zeolites exposed to a deuterium gas. With no energy input besides that needed to make the zeolites, he is able to get a huge energy return. I will be writing about Dr. Parchamazad’s work in an upcoming article.

These first two videos discuss Miles’ work on calorimetry, on which he has spent two decades of his career.

This is not a discussion about technology, but science. The cells on which Miles works are research experiments, designed to determine variables, and answer the multiple criticisms that have kept this science out of the mainstream. The skills he has developed in calorimetry make him one of the top scientists in the world with this specialty.

I provide for you here this fascinating look into a meticulous researcher’s inner process of discovery, a scientific experiment that has lasted for two straight decades, and which only recently has begun to provide a preliminary model for the mysterious and mercurial cold fusion reaction.


Armed with Science to Fight Climate Change an interview with Melvin Miles from University of LaVerne Campus Times March 2, 2007
“The government needs to be exploring energy alternatives and cold fusion is being ignored,” Miles said. “Even if there is a small chance it will work, it should be explored.”

“There is enough deuterium in the oceans to fulfill the energy needs of the world for 13 billion years. One gram of deuterium costs $20 and has the energy equivalent of 2400 gallons of gasoline. Also, the fusion of deuterium does not cause greenhouse gases that produce global warning.

“Science today is a new type of religion,” Miles said. “New discoveries or concepts that don’t agree with the scientific scriptures are to be banished without a fair hearing.”

Most 4-year-olds’ interests lie in toys, cartoons and cookies.

However, Melvin Miles, research electrochemist, was curious about the moon, stars and electricity.

“I tried to generate electricity at about age 4 by using baling wire, a light bulb, and stolen matches, and received one of my early spankings,” Miles said.

At age 8, he became hooked on chemistry when he experimented with his dad’s chemicals in the family barn.

He began reading his father’s books to learn about chemistry.
Miles went on to earn his Ph.D. at the University of Utah with a major in physical chemistry and a minor in physics. He wanted to become a scientist.

Now at age 70, Miles begins his day with a five mile run. He then researches thermal batteries at the China Lake Navy laboratory.”

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15 thoughts on “Melvin Miles on Calorimetry: “We got excess heat”

  1. Zedshort

    Good grief! He’s 70 and begins his days with a five mile run! Interesting point about the silica coating the seems to help trap the deuterium and enhance the effect.

    1. GreenWin

      Zed, what is fascinating about this particular energy revolution is it that it’s managed by elders. Not your typical elders. Those who have thrown self-preservation to the wind. After all, what can your nemesis do to you when you are 70-80 years old??

      It is a testament to the refuge truth has sought. Why is it our eldest must teach the truth? If only because they no longer fear ridicule, castigation or death?? Should not truth live in the young, the middle-aged and the elders?? Why have we chased it to the refuge of those too old to have fear?? Human evolution has a ways to go to circumvent this anomaly.

  2. Greg Goble

    While held accountable…
    Proof is irrevocable. Enough said… those who have continued to do what is required… have! Thanks! Give thanks to those who have continued this science… science is pure in it’s findings… an example of good science… is Cold Fusion Research. Thank yous’… all!!

    Beyond what we accept… is cold fusion now!

    Now we know..

    LENR

    Cold

    Fusion

  3. Gerrit

    Great interview, editing is very well done. It can easily be regarded as an educational piece.

    Thanks Ruby, I would like to see more interviews like this one.

  4. Kirk Shanahan

    From above: “The government needs to be exploring energy alternatives and cold fusion is being ignored,” Miles said.

    The government isn’t ignoring ‘cold fusion’, the cold fusion researchers are ignoring (after denigrating and dismissing) the “government’s” criticisms. See:

    Shanahan, Thermochimica Acta, 387(2) (2002) 95-110
    Shanahan, Thermochimica Acta, 428(1-2), (2005), 207
    Shanahan, Thermochimica Acta, 441 (2006) 210
    Shanahan, J. Environ. Monitor. 12, (2010), 1756-1764

    which is a series of papers dealing with conventional explanations of the observations cold fusion researchers claim ‘prove’ excess energy and transmutations. The cold fusion researchers response is to put forward spurious counterarguments and denigrating comments in their papers and then claim victory, even when their arguments are subsequenty rebutted (2005&6 papers re. 2004 paper by Szpak, et al, and 2006 paper by Storms), or when they make fundamental errors (see response to 2010 pub. which is published directly after my paper). They then cite their own erroneous conclusions and proceed to ignore the comments since they supposedly have been ‘proven’ wrong (see esp. 2007 book by Storms, web pages of Prof. Hagelstein).

    What is really needed is for the cold fusion community to face up to the fact that insufficient evidence has been produced so far to drive anyone to a nuclear explanation. In other words, they need to clean up their act and do it right.

    1. Ruby Carat Post author

      I’m sorry Mr. Shanahan, But you are not up-to-date on what’s happening.

      There is twenty years of evidence showing exactly that: excess heat, nuclear products, and transmutations.

      You are correct, the government is not ignoring cold fusion. Check your brother agency, the military. Reports are clearly stated: there is no doubt of the excess heat effect. Navy researchers funded by DARPA, DTRA, DIA are on top of it.

      DoE ought to do better, sir.

      I have not read your papers. I don’t have access to this site where they are. But here is the 2006 Edmund Storms response to you.

      “Comments on Papers by K. Shanahan that propose to explain anomalous heat generated by cold fusion” by Edmund Storms. [.pdf]

      You claim that cold fusion researchers are measuring the heat wrong?

      You believe a guy like Michael McKubre whose been doing this for 23 years is actually measuring the input power wrong? Melvin Miles, as meticulous as he is, is measuring wrong? Yikes.

      Perhaps you are unable to change your perspective. But you ignore this at your peril.

      There is an avalanche headed your way.

      Good day, sir.

      1. Kirk Shanahan

        Ruby Carat wrote:

        “I’m sorry Mr. Shanahan, But you are not up-to-date on what’s happening. ”

        Sorry Ruby, but you’re very wrong on that. Just ask Ed.

        “There is twenty years of evidence showing exactly that: excess heat, nuclear products, and transmutations.”

        All of which is insufficeint to eliminate conventional explanations. In that situation, the normal course is to assume the conventional path is the most likely, and not to conclude the opposite. One is certainly allowed to investigate the alternative, but not to exclude any alternative until it has been proven that it cannot be relevant.

        “You are correct, the government is not ignoring cold fusion. Check your brother agency, the military. Reports are clearly stated: there is no doubt of the excess heat effect. Navy researchers funded by DARPA, DTRA, DIA are on top of it.”

        They haven’t read my papers either…. There is major doubt of excess heat, even with the Rossi device. The general comment is that many assumptions are made but few are proven.

        “DoE ought to do better, sir. ” I agree, they certainly could have been more conclusive in the 2004 DOE review. I personally know 2 members on the review panels, and neither was given any of my material, which would have allowed the Committee to come to much stronger negative conclusions.

        “I have not read your papers.” My, my. What Jed Rothhwell would say! He is famous for his “do your homework” quips.

        “I don’t have access to this site where they are. But here is the 2006 Edmund Storms response to you.

        “Comments on Papers by K. Shanahan that propose to explain anomalous heat generated by cold fusion” by Edmund Storms. [.pdf]”

        Given that I published a rebuttal (Thermochimica Acta 441 (2006) 210–214) to that paper (Thermochimica Acta 441 (2006) 207–209) back-to-back with it in Thermochimica Acta, I already have the paper and understand it well. It does not in any way rebut my claims.

        From your perspective, it should be important to note that my rebuttal was completely ignored by Storms in his 2007 book. This is one of the points that forms the basis of my contention that the primary CF researchers have adopted an ‘ignore Shanahan’ rule. Normally, when a paper is rebutted, that fact is mentioned inany discussion of the scientific issues, but Ed chose not to do so. I wonder why…

        “You claim that cold fusion researchers are measuring the heat wrong?” No. I claim in fact that they generally build very high quality calorimeters ( with some execeptions as is always the case in any field). But, all experiments have variation (sometimes called error or noise), and it is the job of a scientist to quantify that variation by standard methods. Cold fusion researchers have never done this, and thus they miss the largest variational factor, calibration constant shifts (which I showed were quite systematic for Ed Storms’ Pt experiments, the only extensive enough CF data set to allow that to be determined). What this boils down to is that they are _interpreting_ their data incorrectly. (Note that I am focusing on Fleischmann-Pons-type electrochemical cells here, which is what most excess heat claims are based upon. Other types of experiments have different errors of course, but I detailed many (not all) of tem in my 2010 pub.)

        “You believe a guy like Michael McKubre whose been doing this for 23 years is actually measuring the input power wrong?” No, see above. I usually take their data at face value as long as no obvious problems are present.

        “Melvin Miles, as meticulous as he is, is measuring wrong? Yikes. ” No, see above. I usually take their data at face value as long as no obvious problems are present.

        “Perhaps you are unable to change your perspective. But you ignore this at your peril. ” I would love for CF to work. The world faces an energy crisis soon, and resource shortages usually bring on violence. But I am not going to fall for every claim that the solution has been found just because I want one to be found. I will test the scientific validity of the claims just like any lesser claim.

        “There is an avalanche headed your way.” Yes, but of what?

        “Good day, sir”

        Same back at you.

        1. Ruby Carat Post author

          Dr. Shanahan, Thank you for taking the time to write. I do appreciate you’re coming to our site and checking out the different perspective.

          But I have to disagree. The caliber of scientists doing this work is too high to claim they are ignoring “error” and “noise”.

          I don’t want to be cheeky. I will let scientists working in the lab answer your criticisms.

          I can only hope you will visit the lab of a scientist and see for yourself the kind of fastidious care that goes into these experiments.
          I could probably find a cold fusion researcher willing to host you in a visit. Please contact me or Dr. Storms if you are interested.

          But you have to ask yourself, if there was even a small chance that this could be what we claim it is, the next-generation nuclear power produced cleanly from the fusion of hydrogen in a tiny test-tube-sized device, that since the fuel is derived from water, is safe and abundant, and could provide a technology to revolutionize our economy, our environment, and our energy future, wouldn’t you want to investigate?

          Wouldn’t you want to pursue that possibility?

          That’s what they’re doing.

          Beyond that, I will quote one very high-caliber scientist Dr. Robert Duncan, another expert in measuring devices, “If you think that the excess heat effect is not real, you’re being oblivious to data.”

          1. Kirk Shanahan

            Ruby Carat wrote:
            “The caliber of scientists doing this work is too high to claim they are ignoring “error” and “noise”.”

            Hmmm…I see we have a little problem here, akin to hero worship. What you are officially doing here is ‘appealing to authority’, which is an invalid logical device. Let me set you straight… (A) The ‘caliber’ of the scientists working in the field is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is the quality of the process they use to achieve the conclusions they promote. (B) It is a well known fact that many highly qualified scientists have been deluded about things during some point in their career. A case in point is Wendell Latimer, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wendell_Mitchell_Latimer, who became enamored of the Allison Effect, conducted work and published an exciting ‘discovery’ based on it, and then was unable to reproduce it. (C) The error I describe in my first publication on the subject is a systematic error. Systematic errors are the nightmares of the scientific world, because they can often go undetected for many years, yet when found, appear to be very evident. It is not surprising nor unusual that a systematic error has crept into cold fusion research and is being routinely repeated by CF researchers. What is sad though is that this error was pointed out in 2002, and they have yet to absorb that fact. There is a history in the field that explains why they allowed this error to arise, but I don’t have the time here to expand on it.

            “I can only hope you will visit the lab of a scientist and see for yourself the kind of fastidious care that goes into these experiments.”

            Again a few points: (A) I am not arguing that they conduct their experiments sloppily. For example, I acknowledge that Ed’s calorimetry is at the edge of the best technology available. He captures ~98% of the heat released in the experiment after all. (B) I am arguing that they have not done the requisite error analysis. (I do this for Ed’s Pt work in my 2002 publication.) My whole proposition is that minor (+/- 3% max) changes in calibration constants produced Ed’s ‘excess heat’ peaks. This is simply a mathematical fact. A 3% span technique is approximately a 1% RSD technique, which is about as good as chemistry usually gets. (see point (A) above) (C) I have built computer models of several chemical processes over my career to varied levels of accuracy. In all cases, ‘seeing’ the equipment, in action or not, is of very little worth. What is critical though is that I get all relevant operating data from the process being studied. With that I can be thousands of miles away and have the same information as someone right there. My study of Ed’s work is a case in point. He posted his data to the Internet, I got it, looked it over, and found a conventional way to explain it.

            “But you have to ask yourself, if there was even a small chance that this could be what we claim it is, the next-generation nuclear power produced cleanly from the fusion of hydrogen in a tiny test-tube-sized device, that since the fuel is derived from water, is safe and abundant, and could provide a technology to revolutionize our economy, our environment, and our energy future, wouldn’t you want to investigate? Wouldn’t you want to pursue that possibility?”

            Ah yes, the ‘infinite return on investment’ ploy. Of course I would, if it were in my power. Why do you think there was such a massive flurry of activity world-wide when Fleischmann and Pons made their announcement? Everyone who could tried it. And they all found the effect was not reproducible. And it is still highly irreproducible today, 23 years later. The irreproducibility is a clear indication that the researchers are barking up the wrong tree about what causes the effect (note that I agree there is an effect…). But there is no indication that cold fusion researchers acknowledge this. They earn the label ‘pathological’ by ignoring criticisms and constantly repeating experiments substantially similar to the prior ones, i.e. they do not modify their approach based on the fact that it has repeatedly failed to bring understanding. In my publications, beyond the simple mathematical reanalysis, I proposed a possible _conventional_ mechanism to obtain the results they get, but they steadfastly refuse to even learn what I proposed, as is evidenced by the complete misconstruing of my systematic error explanation as ‘random’ (see J. Environ. Monitor. 12 (2010) 1765).

            “Beyond that, I will quote one very high-caliber scientist Dr. Robert Duncan, another expert in measuring devices, “If you think that the excess heat effect is not real, you’re being oblivious to data.””

            And likewise, ‘if you think that the excess heat effect is nuclear, you’re being oblivious to data.’ Signals in excess heat plots produced by cold fusion researchers can usually be interpreted as arising from a calibration constant shift. Something real causes that shift to occur, and it seemed very systematic in Ed Storms’ work. That means it should be understandable, if one would just make the effort to do so. However, the alternative proposition being non-nuclear, CF researchers refuse to do so. Thus they continue to generate irreproducible results, results that are not of sufficient quality to extract those cause-effect relationships that produce the Fleishmann-Pons-Hawkins Effect. Because of their pathology, cold fusion researchers are doomed to wander the abyss of the ‘nuclear solution’ forever, always searching but never finding.

            I’m not really interested in participating in this much more. I have given you a thumbnail sketch of my work in the field. You can take it or leave it as you prefer. Just realize it is hard facts and control of results that produces scientific truths, and there ain’t none in CF right now.

  5. Ruby

    Richard Garwin contributor of the hydrogen bomb, muses on 60 Minutes that Michael McKubre is measuring the input power wrong!

    Can you imagine a guy like Melvin Miles measuring the input power wrong?

  6. Edmund Storms

    The conflict between Dr. Shanahan and myself along with the entire CF community is easy to explain – he and I are looking at two different realities. I base my reality on the hundreds of studies showing excess heat and nuclear products. From these several thousands papers I conclude that LENR is a real phenomenon during which nuclear reactions make heat by a unique process. Dr. Shanahan appears to base his reality on a few measurements of heat.

    I ignore his paper and critique because he is simply ignorant of what has been discovered or chooses to ignore it. My goal is not to convert everyone to accepting my reality – this would be impossible.

    My goal is to make information and understanding available so that people with an interest and an open mind can get the facts, from which they can form their own opinions. Dr. Shanahan has obviously not taken advantage of this information.

    The stakes are high because LENR is a source of clean and inexpensive energy; a kind of energy the world desperately needs. Rejecting development of such an energy source is irresponsible.

    In addition, the mechanism is clearly novel, which opens new windows into how nuclear reactions can occur. Only a fool would turn their back on something so important no matter how unlikely they think the claims might be.

    1. Kirk Shanahan

      “The conflict between Dr. Shanahan and myself along with the entire CF community is easy to explain – he and I are looking at two different realities. I base my reality on the hundreds of studies showing excess heat and nuclear products. From these several thousands papers …”

      Hundreds and thousands (just a small few actually, 3 or 4 or so, not 30 or 40 or 300 or 400 thousand like most viable scientific fields) of excess heat and nuclear product claims that can alternatively be attributed to non-nuclear processes…

      “…I conclude that LENR is a real phenomenon during which nuclear reactions make heat by a unique process. “

      On what basis is that conclusion drawn Dr. Storms? Any data you present can be interpreted as arising from chemical processes, and I have outlined those most recently in my 2010 J. Environ. Monitoring comment on the 2009 Marwan and Krivit article. Your response to that, along with 9 other prominent CF researchers, was to misrepresent my explanation and then ‘prove’ it wrong. That technique is called ‘using a strawman argument’, and it is an invalid logical device. In 2006, you published a comment on my proposal which claimed it was not based on anything valid or real, but I rebutted you point-by-point in a reply published back-to-back with your comment. But then in 2007 you published a book which claimed you had dealt with all my objections and which failed to even mention my published response. That is not good science. Who is it really that is dealing with a ‘different reality’?

      “Dr. Shanahan appears to base his reality on a few measurements of heat. “

      This is known as a ‘personal attack’, and is also an illegitimate argumentation technique. Not to mention it is wrong.

      Please cite a paper that you think proves excess heat signals truly arise from a nuclear process. Don’t cite studies that just claim it, that is ‘science by assertion’, which is how Aristotle did his work. We do it differently today. Also, make sure when you cite said paper that it contains the means to evaluate the claims, i.e. it needs to specify the calibration equations used, and the span of input and output parameters employed and observed, so that error magnitudes can be estimated. Also remember that a small error integrated looks really big, i.e. that claims that the heat is ‘beyond’ chemistry are only true if the mechanism can be exclusively shown to be nuclear. Just integrating a signal to get megajoules is merely suggestive and assumes the signal is real. We also don’t do science by assumption these days. I will be surprised if you can find one paper (excepting your own whose data I reanalyzed in my 2002 publication) out of the ‘thousands’ that meets those criteria. (Oh, and make sure it is published in a reasonably public forum also. I don’t have ESP, so I can’t deal with unpublished results. But if such exist that prove your case, they should be published ASAP.)

      “I ignore his paper and critique because he is simply ignorant of what has been discovered or chooses to ignore it. My goal is not to convert everyone to accepting my reality – this would be impossible. “

      Another incorrect personal attack. What do you think I have been doing for the last 17 years? Do you allow this in your blog Ruby?

      “My goal is to make information and understanding available so that people with an interest and an open mind can get the facts, from which they can form their own opinions. Dr. Shanahan has obviously not taken advantage of this information. “

      Another personal attack (also wrong as usual)…this is getting boring…

      “The stakes are high because LENR is a source of clean and inexpensive energy; a kind of energy the world desperately needs. Rejecting development of such an energy source is irresponsible. “

      …if it is real. So far, it doesn’t look that way. 23 years of work and where are we…?

      “In addition, the mechanism is clearly novel, which opens new windows into how nuclear reactions can occur. Only a fool would turn their back on something so important no matter how unlikely they think the claims might be.”

      …if it is real. So far, it doesn’t look that way. 23 years of work and where are we…?

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