At first a musician and performance artist, one day she waltzed into Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and got a physics degree. Thinking that math might be easier, she then earned a Masters degree in Math at University of Miami in Miami, Florida. Math turned out to be not much easier, so now, she advocates for cold fusion, the easiest thing in the world. She has made several short documentary films and speaks on the topic. She currently teaches math at College of the Redwoods in Eureka, California and conducts outreach events for the public to support clean energy from cold fusion.
In 1989, Dr. Glenn Seaborg was asked to brief President George H. W. Bush on the “cold fusion” phenomenon. On April 14 of that year he did so.
Eugene F. Mallove wrote in Intimations of Disaster: Glenn Seaborg, the Scientific Process, and the Origin of the “Cold Fusion War” [.pdf]:
Even though the jury was certainly still out on the evidence for or against “cold fusion,” Seaborg, through some as-yet-to-be-revealed process (though he certainly had conducted no experiments), had determined that cold fusion was not what it was claimed to be. On April 14, 1989 Seaborg told President Bush that “it is not due to nuclear fusion.”
We discovered this extremely revealing account of Glenn Seaborg’s actions in the spring of 1989, which appeared in an issue of Skeptical Inquirer, November/December 1997, as part of “The Elemental Man: An Interview with Glenn T. Seaborg”.
SI: During the early stages of the cold fusion furor, President Bush asked you to come to the White House and give him your views on the matter. What happened? What did you tell him?
Seaborg: In April 1989, I was called back to Washington to brief George Bush on “cold fusion,” the totally unexpected phenomenon that University of Utah scientists announced they had discovered by the simple process of electrolysis of heavy water. A couple of days earlier, the purported co-discoverer of “cold fusion,” University of Utah electrochemist Stanley Pons, spoke to an enthusiastic standingroom-only audience of chemists at the semi-annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in Dallas. His talk had attracted so much attention that, apparently, the news had reached the White House. After briefing White House Chief of Staff John Sununu, I went into the Oval Office to brief President Bush on April 14, 1989. I told him about my role in the discovery of the radioactive iodine that had been used a couple of days earlier to treat his wife, Barbara, and said that a similar treatment with radioactive iodine had effected a miraculous cure for my mother, who was suffering from the same condition as Barbara. The president facetiously said that Barbara is now radioactive and she is not allowed to kiss their dog as long as this condition prevails, but he implied that it didn’t seem that this prohibition included himself—the president. I then went on and described briefly the situation with respect to cold fusion. I indicated that this is not a valid observation—that is, that it is not due to nuclear fusion—but, on the other hand, it must be investigated. The president seemed very interested and convinced by my assessment, and encouraged us very much to go ahead with an investigation. [Infinite Energy’s emphasis]
I might add that the panel I recommended to study the purported “cold fusion” process was created and about six months later came out with a report disputing the validity of the observation, pretty much in line with the view I adopted in my briefing of the president. Also it is interesting to note that President Bush himself, two years later, in May 1991, benefitted from treatment with the same radioactive iodine (iodine-131). —(End of the Skeptical Inquirer interview section)—
–From Eugene Mallove’s Intimations of Disaster: Glenn Seaborg, the Scientific Process, and the Origin of the “Cold Fusion War” [.pdf]:
Dr. Seaborg received the Presidential National Medal of Science from President Bush in 1991.
On April 12, 1989, American Chemical Society (ACS) President Clayton Callis hosted a special Presidents Event “Nuclear Fusion in a Test Tube” at the 197th Annual Meeting of the ACS in Dallas, Texas. Valerie Kuck of AT&T Bell Laboratories organized the Symposium and introduced the speakers.
Special guest Dr. Stanley Pons spoke on the then recently announced discovery of the Fleischmann-Pons Anomalous Heat Effect. Watch the entire set of talks courtesy of the New Energy Foundation.
The initial panel included Harold Furth, Director of Princeton University’s Plasma Physics Lab, Allen Bard from University of Texas, Ernest Yeager of Case Western Reserve University, Stanley Pons from University of Utah, and K. Birgitta Whaley of University of California – Berkley.
The Preliminary note Electrochemically induced nuclear fusion of deuterium by Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons, with Marvin Hawkins, was published thirty years ago today on April 10, 1989, in Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry and Interfacial Electrochemistry Volume 261, Issue 2, Part 1 Pages 301-308
Download Electrochemically induced nuclear fusion of deuterium – Preliminary note from Lenr.org here.
This is a re-post of a google-translate of the article first published on Regnum.ru here. Any use of materials is allowed only if there is a hyperlink to REGNUM news agency. The original article has been re-formatted slightly.
On the conference of the Coordination Council on the issue of “Cold nuclear transmutation” of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences on March 23, 2019, dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the press conference of Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons on cold nuclear fusion
On March 23, 2019, the REGNUM press center hosted the30th Anniversary Cold Fusion Synthesis Conference: Results and Prospects, organized by the Coordination Council on the Cold Nuclear Transmutation Problem of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences (RANS).
The main task of the one-day conference is to tell about the history of cold nuclear fusion research in the USSR and the Russian Federation, about the most promising domestic developments in this area and substantiate the thesis about the beginning of a new phase of cold fusion research – the stage of its industrial implementation.
Participants in the conference of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences “Cold fusion – 30 years: results and prospects” on March 23, 2019 in Moscow. From left to right: A.S. Sverchkov, L.V. Ivanitskaya, A.V. Nikolaev, A.A. Kornilov, A.I. Klimov, I.B. Savvatimova, A.G. Parkhomov, A.A. Prosvirnov, V.I. Grachev, S.N. Gaydamak, S.A. Flowers
It so happened that this conference was the first event of the Coordination Council, organized more than a year ago. Such a long delay was due to the fact that, in 2018, two of its organizers and co-chair passed away, the theoretical physicist Anri Amvrosiyevich Rukhadze (09.07.1930 — 07.03.2018) the creator of the Soviet beam weapons passed away in July, and the nuclear physicist, the permanent organizer, and the organizer of the Russian and international conferences on cold fusion and ball lightning, Yuri Nikolayevich Bazhutov (04/21/1947 – 03/09/2018) passed away in March.
Anri Amvrosiyevich Rukhadze and Yury Nikolayevich Bazhutov, Organizers of the Coordination Council of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences for the Cold Kernel Transmutation Problem
By the decision of the Presidium of the Academy of Natural Sciences, a new chairman of the council was elected the chief researcher of the Institute of Physics of the Earth, O. Yu. Schmidt of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Academician of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, Doctor of Physics and Mathematics Alexei Vsevolodovich Nikolaev, and his co-chairs were the Physics Faculty of Moscow State University. MV Lomonosov, Academician of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences Alla Alexandrovna Kornilova, and Anatoly I. Klimov, a member of the Joint Institute for High Temperatures (JIHT RAS), academician of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences, doctor of physical and mathematical sciences.
Member of the Institute of Physical Research and Technology of the Russian University of Peoples’ Friendship (PFUR), head of the All-Russian Cold Nuclear Fusion and Ball Lightning Seminar since 1993, corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences Nikolai Vladimirovich Samsonenko and corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences Alexander G. Parkhomov were elected deputy chairmen of the board.
The work of board leaders has long been known in the international community of cold fusion researchers. In a flawless experiment, Alla Kornilova proved the possibility of implementing nuclear fusion reactions in microbiological cultures (biological transmutation), and her technology for accelerated deactivation of liquid radioactive waste using a radiation-resistant microbial association, developed in the late 1990s, passed successful state expertise in South Korea, the results of which were published on February 28, 2019 (see Kyou-Jin Yum, Jong Man Lee, Gun Woong Bahng and Shanghi Rhee withAn Experiment of Radioactivity of Radionuclide (137Cs) with Multi-component Microorgani sms of 10 Strains).
In terms of its official recognition, the South Korean expertise is a landmark event for the entire scientific field of research on cold fusion, recognition which has already occurred at least in the USA, Canada, Japan, South Korea, India and China. We hope that this will finally happen in Russia.
Today, there are all the conditions for the technology of accelerated microbiological deactivation of liquid radioactive waste and contaminated land to become part of world practice before the cold fusion power reactors are widely used.
Vladimir Grachev, Editor-in-Chief of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Radio Electronics, Nanosystems, and Information Technologies (RENSIT), demonstrates the thematic issue of the journal (# 1, 2017) on cold nuclear fusion
The vortex plasma power reactor of Anatoly Klimov in its parameters is included in the group of world leaders among numerous power plants that use cold nuclear fusion energy. The work of Alexander Parkhomov on “deciphering” the e-cat reactor Andrea Rossi of Russia has become widely known in the world due to its complete openness. Today, the Parkhomov reactor in all respects “comes on the heels” of its secret Italian prototype.
* * *
A few hours after the Russian conference opened, the two-day memorial colloquium at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2019 LANR / CF Colloquium at MIT), dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the sensational press conference at the University of Utah, Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons, at which they reported that they managed to get a nuclear fusion reaction during the electrolysis of water.
The participants of the Russian conference sent a greeting to the American colloquium:
“Dear colleagues, please accept our warmest regards to the International Colloquium on the 30th anniversary of cold fusion.
We were 30–40 years old when we all united around the idea of cold fusion. For many years, we have conducted research, exchanged knowledge, built models and theories, and everyone has matured a bit during this time. Today, as leaders of this science, we want the thirst for knowledge not to leave us, and for us to manage to pass on our vast experience to the younger generation.
The Russian community of cold fusion researchers wishes all their friends and associates from different countries to see the fruits of the realization of our ideas and results, and have time to enjoy this in the coming years.
Successful work of the International Colloquium and see you soon at the 23rd International Conference in Italy.
March 23, 2019, Moscow. ”
The MIT colloquium also did not go without pleasant surprises. It became known yesterday that the American Classifier of Patents and Trademarks (CPC – Cooperative Patent Classification) in section G21 “Nuclear Fusion Reactors” has introduced a new class of reactors 3/00 “Low-temperature nuclear fusion reactors, including the so-called cold fusion reactors.”
New section in the classification of US patents for low-temperature nuclear fusion rectors (highlighted in red)
March 23, 1989 – the day of the press conference of Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons – today is considered to be the date of birth of the direction of cold fusion research. However, we know that Martin Fleischman and Stanley Pons were not sole pioneers of the cold fusion phenomenon, and even the term cold fusion was coined by journalists much earlier, in 1956, in connection with the research of Nobel laureate Luis Alvarez on muon catalysis, one of the “scientifically recognized” options obtain cold nuclear fusion.
Pioneering experimental and theoretical work on cold nuclear fusion within the framework of emerging nuclear physics and quantum mechanics was carried out in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Some results of these forgotten studies for many years have been reproduced at the present experimental level only at the turn of the XX and XXI centuries.
After the end of World War II, the classics of Soviet nuclear physics — Igor Kurchatov, Yakov Zeldovich, Andrei Sakharov, Yevgeny Zababakhin — also wrote about the possibility of implementing cold nuclear fusion.
Why exactly did the poorly reproducible, modest in its results, and frankly “raw” work of Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons cause unprecedented interest in the whole world to begin research in cold nuclear fusion? What exactly gave impetus to thousands of highly professional and frankly amateurish research?
The answer to this question will become clear after becoming acquainted with the reports of one of the leading theorists of cold synthesis, Professor of Kiev University T. G. Shevchenko, Academician of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences Vladimir Ivanovich Vysotsky, member of the NPO Luch, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences Irina Borisovna Savvatimova and Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences SergeyAlekseyevich Tsvetkov.
Works on cold fusion by I. B. Savvatimova and S. A. Tsvetkov began, like many other Soviet researchers, literally several days after the press conference of Drs. Fleishman and Pons, and V. I. Vysotsky published his first article on cold fusion back in 1981.
Already in May 1989, the first applications for copyright certificates on cold fusion were filed in the USSR. The work carried out at the highest methodological level by leading specialists of the institutes and nuclear centers of Sredmash and the USSR Academy of Sciences, allowed not only to successfully reproduce the results of Fleischmann and Pons, but also to obtain nuclear fusion reactions using other methods (including shock waves, saturation from the gas phase, cavitation, electrolysis in molten salts, etc.).
At the end of 1990, the Interdepartmental Council for Chemistry and Chemical Technology of the State Committee on Science and Technology of the USSR held a closed competition on the issue “Cold synthesis stimulated mainly by electrochemical means”. According to the results of this competition, and under the guidance of the Director of the Institute of Electrochemistry of the Ural Branch of the Academy of Sciences of the USSR, Academician Alexei Nikolaevich Baraboshkin, the project of the All-Union Cold Nuclear Fusion research program was developed.
Academician Alexei Nikolaevich Baraboshkin (1925–1995), author of the unrealized All-Union research program “Cold Nuclear Fusion” of 1990
The program was not funded due to the collapse of the USSR. Despite this, by the mid-1990s, participants in the program practically solved all the tasks formulated in the draft program, the main ones of which were clarifying the conditions for the reproducibility of cold fusion reactions and determining the most promising directions for its use.
After the death of academician A.N., since 1998, Baraboshkina began the shameful scientific period of the existence of cold fusion, shameful for the Russian Academy of Sciences, which continues in Russia today. How did they almost completely forget the Soviet achievements in the study of cold fusion – one of the many “mysteries” of post-Soviet Russia?
In any case, today we are grateful to Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons for their civic courage, for their press conference that violated the canons of scientific communications, but played the role of a trigger to study the numerous “anomalous” manifestations of cold fusion accumulated by that time in nuclear physics, materials science, plasma physics, catalysis, biophysics, geology and other scientific disciplines.
All reports of the participants of the conference “Cold Synthesis – 30 years” will be published on the site of IA REGNUM and on the site of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences. by Andrey Sverchkov
Conference of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences “Cold fusion – 30 years” is a re-post of a slightly reformatted google-translate of the article first published on Regnum.ru here. Any use of materials is allowed only if there is a hyperlink to REGNUM news agency.
Juxtapositional ending: Here is a photo taken from the 1st Russian Cold Fusion Conference. Can you name these pioneers of science?–Ruby Carat
On the 30th Anniversary of the Discovery of the Cold Fusion Phenomenon by Hideo Kozima [.pdf] was first published in the Cold Fusion Research Laboratory CFRL News No. 107 (2019. 3. 1)
March 23 is the birthday of the cold fusion phenomenon (CFP). On this day 30 years ago, the existence of the nuclear reactions in a solid at near room temperature was declared by Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons at the press conference held in the University of Utah, USA. This event, right or wrong, is the start of the open research on the CFP lasting 30 years since, and has given a specific destiny to the research field we have been involved in. The investigation on the physics of the CFP has lasted without interruption and is developing day by day now.
I would like to recollect the history of the cold fusion research from my point of view focusing at my research activity kept about 30 years from the beginning of this science.
First of all, it is necessary to recollect the great pioneering works accomplished by Martin Fleischmann. We give a brief survey of Fleischmann’s work in Section II focusing on his mental phase of the cold fusion research. It is interesting to notice the motivation of the scientist who discovered the new phenomenon – nuclear reactions in transition metal deuterides and hydrides at around room temperature – with an inappropriate premise on the nuclear reaction between two deuterons. In Appendix A, we cite several sentences on this point from writings by Martin Fleischmann.
Here, we give a short comment on the words “Cold Fusion Phenomenon” we used to call the events observed in CF materials, i.e. materials where the CFP has been observed.
We notice the words “Cold Fusion” and “Cold Fusion Phenomena” are used in the titles of several Fleischmann’s papers (c.f. Appendix A). In the words “Cold Fusion” he had given a special meaning as we see in Section II where we survey his mental process resulted in the discovery of the CFP
“Cold Fusion Phenomena” used by Fleischmann means whole events resulting from nuclear reactions occurring in materials composed of host elements (Pd, Ti) and deuterium. In the progress of research in this field, we know now that nuclear reactions occur not only in deuterium systems but also in protium systems. Furthermore, we know the observables related to the nuclear reactions in this field ranges not only to excess energy but also to transmuted nuclei including tritium, 4He, and neutron. We can guess that the events producing these products in such various materials had been called as “phenomena” by Fleischmann. He would has used “Cold Fusion Phenomena” to express whole research field he explored and developed since 1989 combining the “cold fusion” in his mind from the beginning and “phenomena” containing various events observed. Borrowing his terminology partially, we would like to use the “Cold Fusion Phenomenon” to call the whole events thus occurring in the CF materials where occur nuclear reactions at around room temperature without acceleration mechanisms for participating particles
I. My Research on the Science of the Cold Fusion Phenomenon
I have published two books and many papers on the CFP. The books are:
H. Kozima, Discovery of the Cold Fusion Phenomenon – Development of Solid State-Nuclear Physics and the Energy Crisis in the 21st Century –, Ohtake Shuppan Inc., 1998, ISBN 4-87186-044-2. [Kozima 1998]
H. Kozima, The Science of the Cold Fusion Phenomenon, – In Search of the Physics and Chemistry behind Complex Experimental Data Sets –, 1st Edition, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 2006, ISBN-13: 978-0-08045-110-7. [Kozima 2006]
These books give record to the progress of my research; Book 1 had shown effectiveness of the phenomenological approach with the TNCF model (trapped neutron catalyzed model). This is also understood as evidence of the participation of neutrons on the nuclear reactions in materials composed of host elements and hydrogen isotopes (CF materials) where occurs the CFP.
Book 2 had shown that the premises assumed in the TNCF model have been explained using quantum mechanics where a new feature of nuclear interactions between nuclei of host elements at lattice sites (lattice nuclei) and hydrogen isotopes at interstitial sites (interstitial protons/deuterons) works effectively to realize a new interaction between lattice nuclei not noticed before.
In addition to the possible new interaction between lattice nuclei, the effect of complexity on the CFP has been investigated in relation to various experimental data.
It should be mentioned here about an elaborate work by Edmund Storms who compiled and published an extensive list of papers until 2007 [Storms 2007]. This work is very useful to contemplate the total image of the CFP
I-1 The Subtitle of “The Discovery of the Cold Fusion Phenomenon”
The subtitle of the Book 1 is suggestive to the history of the cold fusion research: Development of Solid State-Nuclear Physics and the Energy Crisis in the 21st Century.
The first half of this subtitle is reflected in the papers I have presented at JCF 19 held on October 2018:
H. Kozima, “Development of the Solid State-Nuclear Physics,” Proc. JCF19, 19-15 (2019) (to be published), ISSN 2187-2260. [Kozima 2019c]
In this paper, the essential contents of the solid state-nuclear physics have been systematically surveyed. The complexity in the process of formation of the CF materials and the novel features of the interactions between host elements and occluded hydrogen isotopes have been extensively investigated.
Key concepts developed in our theory are; (1) Complexity in formation of the metal-hydrogen superlattice (2) Super-nuclear interaction between neutrons in different lattice nuclei (3) Neutron energy bands and neutron drops in them (4) Nuclear interactions between neutrons in the neutron bands and nuclei at disordered sites.
The second half of that subtitle “the Energy Crisis in the 21st Century” has shed various light on the cold fusion research. This problem is discussed below in Sections II and III.
I-2. The Subtitle of the book “The Science of the Cold Fusion Phenomenon”
We now take up the subtitle of the Second Book – In Search of the Physics and Chemistry behind Complex Experimental Data Sets –.
We have noticed many characteristics of the CFP observed in metal-hydrogen systems and carbon-hydrogen systems as pointed out in our papers [Kozima 2006, 2016a]. It should be noted here that the chemistry of the CFP seems to be a key factor to form the CF materials in the electrolytic systems [Kozima 2000b (Sec. 4)]. It was noticed a characteristic of the CF materials in the electrolytic systems is the preference of a cathode metal and an electrolyte: “It should be emphasized here that there are preference for combination of a cathode metal (Pd, Ni. Ti. Pt, Au, etc.), an electrolyte (Li, N, K, or Rb) and a solvent (D2O or H2O) to induce CFP.” [Kozima 2000b (p. 45)].
The physics of the CFP seems to be the fundamental factor for the occurrence of the nuclear reactions in the CF materials. Main efforts to explain the nuclear reactions in CF materials at near room temperature without any acceleration mechanisms have been endeavored as follows [Kozima 2004, 2006, 2013, 2016b, 2019c]. To give a unified explanation of these complex experimental data containing such characteristics, we have struggled with successive trials (shown below) arrived at our final image summarized in the paper published in 2019 [Kozima 2019c].
We follow the history of our research chronologically:
Observation of neutron emission from Pd/LiOH+H2D/Pt electrolytic system [Kozima 1990].
Proposal of the TNCF model (trapped neutron catalyzed model) assuming quasi-stable neutrons in CF materials [Kozima 1994].
Publication of Book I compiling experimental data analyzed by the TNCF model [Kozima 1998].
Proposal of the ND model (neutron drop model) assuming formation of the cf-matter containing neutron drops AZΔ composed of Z protons and (A – Z) neutrons [Kozima 2000a].
Publication of Book II compiling experimental data analyzed by the TNCF and ND models [Kozima 2006]
Explanation of the neutron energy band (one of central premises of the ND model) by a quantum mechanical verification of the super-nuclear interaction between neutrons in different lattice nuclei [Kozima 2009].
Compilation of three laws in the CFP induced from experimental data sets [Kozima 2012].
Explanation of the formation of the metal-hydrogen superlattice and the nature of the three laws in the CFP by complexity inherited in the CF materials [Kozima 2013].
Justification of the phenomenological approach using the TNCF and the ND models to the CFP by inductive logic and the meta-analysis [Kozima 2019c].
II. Martin Fleischmann – A Great Scientist who co-discovered the Cold Fusion Phenomenon
In this section, we follow Fleischmann’s idea which lead to the discovery of the cold fusion phenomenon (CFP) through his papers. We know that anyone can’t be omnipotent. Even Martin Fleischmann is, regrettably, not its exception. He had been uncomfortable in the d – d fusion reactions at several points* but remained there without stepping over its conceptual barrier to a mechanism applicable not only to deuterium systems but also to protium systems.
*There are several sentences showing his insight into new mechanisms for the CFP. Followings are some of them cited from his papers referred in this paper.
“The most surprising feature of our results however, is that reactions (v) and (vi) are only a small part of the overall reaction scheme and that the bulk of the energy release is due to an hitherto unknown nuclear process or processes ) presumably again due to deuterons).” [Fleischmann 1989 (p. 308)]
“In the development of any new area of research (and especially in one likely to arouse controversy!) it is desirable to achieve first of all a qualitative demonstration of the phenomena invoked in the explanation of the observations. It is the qualitative demonstrations which are unambiguous: the quantitative analyses of the experimental results can be the subject of debate but, if these quantitative analyses stand in opposition to the qualitative demonstration, then these methods of analysis must be judged to be incorrect.” [Fleischmann 1991 (p. 2)]“An important key to the understanding of the system is given by the strange properties of D and H and T in such lattices. We must ask: how can it be that D can exist at a ∼ 100 molar concentration and high supersaturations without forming D2 in the lattice?”
“How can it be that D diffuses so rapidly thorough the lattice (diffusion coefficient > 10–7 cm2s–1 greater than that of either h or T!) whereas He is practically immobile?”
The answer to the last questions, of course, that deuterium is present as the deuteron whereas 4He does not form α-particles.” [Fleischmann 1991 (p. 9)]
In Appendix A, we have collected several sentences showing Fleischmann’s ideas on the CFP; there are his interesting ideas from the original simple one resulted in the paper published in 1989 to later ones speculating possible mechanisms for various experimental data obtained in the progress of the science in this field. Short explanations are given for each sentences from my point of view at present by an afterthought.
III. Problems related to the “the Energy Crisis in the 21st Century”
In this section, we focus on the financial phase of the scientific research in modern society which has given enormous effects on the cold fusion research.
The financial support to scientific researches has been a fundamentally important problem to promote the research programs in the modern society. We have given a short investigation on this problem [Kozima 2017]. In the discovery and development of the CFP, there are shadows of this problem from the first up to present. The financial faces of the CF research until 1990 had been written in the DOE Report I published in 1989 [DOE 1989] and also written by Taubes [Taubes 1993] and by Huizenga [Huizenga 1992]. The same problem after 1989 until 2004 appeared in the DOE Report II published in 2004 [DOE 2004].
III-1. DOE Report I [DOE 1989]
The shortcomings of the DOE Report I were discussed in my book published in 1998 [Kozima 1998 (Sec. 1.2 DOE Report), 2016a (Sec. 2 DOE Reports 1989 and 2004)] as follows:
“The Committees in the Department of Energy had been composed of experts in relevant fields to the CFP and their technical opinions should be esteemed. It should, however, be pointed out limitations imposed on them by their duty different from the researchers in this field. Their duty binds them to confine their sight and also their expertise limits their investigation of the data of the CFP inside their field preventing extension of their sight.” [Kozima 2016a (p. 163)
Let us point out mistakes in the DOE report
Conclusion (1) is based on Conclusions (2) ~ (5), and it has no basis if Conclusions (2) ~ (5) are incorrect. The issue of excess heat and fusion products discussed in Conclusion (2) has significance only when D + D reaction is assumed as the main process. This assumption was adopted by the majority of the scientists at that time, including those who discovered cold fusion.
If there is some other mechanism governing the process, this argument is no longer valid. If you are searching for truth, whether one assumption made by a scientist is correct or not has no importance. You should search for the truth based on the fact that the phenomenon did occur. From this point of view, we will show, in Chapters 11 and 12, that it is possible to explain the results of cold fusion experiments without any inconsistency.
Conclusion (3) was based on the fact that the cold fusion phenomenon presented poor reproducibility. However, the reproducibility of a phenomenon is determined by the condition of the entire system, in which the process takes place. Simple analogy from other physical phenomena should not have been used to draw a conclusion. We will also show the reasons for the poor reproducibility and the way to improve it in Chapters 11 and 12.
Conclusion (4) only shows that the interpretations of the discoverers of cold fusion were not appropriate, and it has nothing to do with the truth. It is hard to believe that board members have made such an elementary mistake. It was found later that inside solid, such as Pd or Ti, with a combination of various factors, complex phenomena can occur. There is always such possibility in science. Today, it is quite obvious to everybody. The board members might have forgotten for some reason that natural science is built upon the fact.
Conclusion (5) is similar to Conclusion (4). If any new findings had been denied only because they were contradiction with the existing knowledge, there would have been no progress in science and there will not be any progress in the future.
The discussions expressed in the DOE Report remind us Procrustes’ bed. As Procrustes used his bed as an absolute standard to measure heights of his captives, the critiques against cold fusion used d – d reaction as an inevitable standard to judge anomalous events.” [Kozima 1998 (pp. 3 – 7)] It is difficult to evaluate scientific works without a right point of view, even if he/she has enough knowledge about the theme of the works.
III-2. DOE Report II [DOE 2004
Almost 15 years since the DOE Report I, several scientists in the U.S.A. asked their Department of Energy to reconsider the evaluation issued in 1989.
The DOE Report 2004 [DOE 2004] has a different character from that of 1989. The new Report was issued according to the request presented by several CF researchers as a document [Hagelstein 2004].
“’The Department of Energy’s (DOE) Office of Science (SC) was approached in late 2003 by a group of scientists who requested that the Department revisit the question of scientific evidence for low energy nuclear reactions. In 1989 Pons and Fleischman first reported the production of “excess” heat in a Pd electrochemical cell, and postulated that this was due to D-D fusion (D=deuterium), sometimes referred to as ‘cold fusion.’ The work was reviewed in 1989 by the Energy Research Advisory Board (ERAB) of the DOE. ERAB did not recommend the establishment of special programs within DOE devoted to the science of low energy fusion, but supported funding of peer-reviewed experiments for further investigations. Since 1989, research programs in cold fusion have been supported by various universities, private industry, and government agencies in several countries.”[DOE 2004]
According to the limited evidences given to the DOE as clearly written in the above Abstract, the material is confined to the “The experimental evidence for anomalies in metal deuterides” and does not include the data obtained in the protium systems. Therefore, the material given to the DOE is necessarily an incomplete one to show the cold fusion phenomenon as a whole. However, the Report [DOE 2004] had merit to evaluate positive phases of the CF researches after the DOE Report 1989 [DOE 1989].
“Conclusion of DOE is cited as follows: “While significant progress has been made in the sophistication of calorimeters since the review of this subject in 1989, the conclusions reached by the reviewers today are similar to those found in the 1989 review.”
“The current reviewers identified a number of basic science research areas that could be helpful in resolving some of the controversies in the field, two of which were: 1) material science aspects of deuterated metals using modern characterization techniques, and 2) the study of particles reportedly emitted from deuterated foils using state-of-the-art apparatus and methods. The reviewers believed that this field would benefit from the peer-review processes associated with proposal submission to agencies and paper submission to archival journals.” [DOE 2004]
It should be cited one of the positive comments in the Report as follows:
“It is now clear that loading level and current density thresholds are required in order to observe excess heat in these experiments. The values are consistent regardless of the approach used and the laboratory where the experiment was conducted. Early failures to reproduce the heat effect were, in part, due to not meeting these requirements. It has also been found that thermal and current density transients, which are thought to effect the chemical environment such as deuterium flux, can trigger heat ‘events’. “
“SRI has published an expression for the correlation between excess power and current density, loading, and deuterium flux. These discoveries have led to a better understanding of the phenomena and more reproducibility.” (Reviewer #9) [Kozima 2016a (pp. 164 – 165)]
Even if the nuclear transmutation in the CFP was excluded from the investigation by experts in the review team of DOE, the partial positive evaluation given in their Report was encouraging to the cold fusion society.
III-3. Two Books by Huizenga [Huizenga 1992] and Taubes [Taubes 1993]
The unpleasant episodes about the financial support around researchers described by Taubes in detail in his book [Taubes 1993] and the movement in the State of Utah to establish the National Cold Fusion Institute described by Huizenga [Huizenga 1992 (Chap. X)] had made the atmosphere around the cold fusion research dark or even black. These episodes had given very strong negative influence about the CFP on scientists all over the world.
Some examples of the negative influence are seen in book reviews for these books. The scientists wrote these reviews by only reading the books by Huizenga [Huizenga 1992] and Taubes [Taubes 1993] without reading original papers and contemplating experimental data written there. Even if a scientist is trained in one of established branches of modern science, it is not easy to understand the pioneering work in a truly novel field of researches if he/she don’t use his/her scientific spirit for the field which is alien to him/her.
It should be remembered that there is a scientist in the Cold Fusion Panel in the U.S. Department of Energy who insisted to add several words on reservation to deny the existence of the cold fusion events making the preamble as follows:
“A. Preamble Ordinarily, new scientific discoveries are claimed to be consistent and reproducible; as a result, if the experiments are not complicated, the discovery can usually be confirmed or disproved in a few months. The claims of cold fusion, however, are unusual in that even the strongest proponents of cold fusion assert that the experiments, for unknown reasons, are not consistent and reproducible at the present time.”
“However, even a single short but valid cold fusion period would be revolutionary. As as a result, it is difficult convincingly to resolve all cold fusion claims since, for example, any good experiment that fails to find cold fusion can be discounted as merely not working for unknown reasons.”
“Likewise the failure of a theory to account for cold fusion can be discounted on the grounds that the correct explanation and theory has not been provided. Consequently, with the many contradictory existing claims it is not possible at this time to state categorically that all the claims for cold fusion have been convincingly either proved or disproved. Nonetheless, on balance, the Panel has reached the following conclusions and recommendations:” [DOE 1989 (V. Conclusions and Recommendations, A. Preamble, p. 36), Kozima 1989 (Sec. 1.2 DOE Report), 2016a (Sec. 2)]
The history of the CF research in these 30 years since the observation of a part of the CFP induced by nuclear reactions in a CF material is a typical story of discovery of a new science. There had been no framework to put the events in it and we had to treat them by trial-and-error. In the processes of trial-and-error, there were many unintentional errors which might be, regrettably, supposed intentional. The social condition for scientific activity in modern times has been severe asking shortsighted success for investment which is not fit with science.
I have endeavored to give a unified scientific explanation for the complicated variety of experimental data obtained in various CF materials. Fortunately, the phenomenological approach using a model with the trapped neutrons in CF materials could explain experimental data qualitatively and sometimes quasi-quantitatively. As summarized in Section I, our trial on this line developed to enclose whole phases of the CFP. I hope that my system of explanation for the CFP thus established may be, at least, a tiny step to establish the solid state-nuclear physics even if I remember in my mind a sentence I wrote above anyone can’t be omnipotent. However, I would be behind the words “to err is human; to forgive, divine.”
Appendix A. Martin Fleischmann on the Cold Fusion Phenomenon
[Fleischmann 1989] M, Fleischmann, S. Pons and M. Hawkins, “Electrochemically induced Nuclear Fusion of Deuterium,” J. Electroanal. Chem., 261, 301 – 308 (1989), ISSN: 1572-6657
[Fleischmann 1990] M. Fleischmann, “An Overview of Cold Fusion Phenomena,” ICCF1 lecture (March 31. 1990, Saturday), Proc. ICCF1, pp. 344 – 350 (1990)
[Fleischmann 1991] M. Fleischmann, “Present Status of Research in Cold Fusion,” Proc. ICCF2, Addition to the Conference Proceedings, pp. 1 – 10 (1991), ISBN 88-7794-045-X
[Fleischmann 1998a] M. Fleischmann, “Abstract” to “Cold Fusion: Past, Present and Future,” Proc. ICCF7.
[Fleischmann 1998b] M. Fleischmann, “Cold Fusion: Past, Present and Future,” Proc. ICCF7, pp. 119 – 127 (1998). ENECO Inc., Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
[Fleischmann 1989] Martin Fleischmann had considered the realization of the dream F. Paneth dreamed 70 years ago that deuterons will fuse in a palladium metal where they are occluded with a very high concentration.
“A feature which is of special interest and which prompted the present investigation, is the very high H/D separation factor for absorbed hydrogen and deuterium. This can be explained only fi the H+ and D+ in the lattice behave as classical oscillators (possibly as delocalised species) i.e. they must be in very shallow potential wells. In view of the very high compression and mobility of the dissolved species there must therefore be a significant number of close collisions and one can pose the question: would nuclear fusion of D+ such as 2D + 2D → 3T (1.01 MeV) + 1H (3.02 MeV) (v) 2D + 2D → 3Te (0.82 MeV) + n (2.45 MeV) (vi) be feasible under these conditions?” ([Fleischmann 1989 (p. 302)]
However, it is interesting to notice following sentences in the same paper: “The most surprising feature of our results however, is that reactions (v) and (vi) are only a small part of the overall reaction scheme and that the bulk of the energy release is due to an hitherto unknown nuclear process or processes ) presumably again due to deuterons).” [ibid. (p. 308)]
His motivation to this experiment published as a preliminary note in the Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry was printed in his later article [Fleischmann 1993a]
The controversial contents of this paper in addition to other data obtained following few years had been consistently analyzed by the TNCF model [Kozima 1997].
“- – – We, for our part, would not have started this investigation if we had accepted the view that nuclear reactions in host lattices could not be affected by coherent processes. The background to this research has been presented from the point of view of the behavior of D+ in palladium cathodes since this has been our exclusive concern. A somewhat different account would be relevant to the behavior of deuterium in titanium, the other system which has been the subject of intensive research following the description of the generation of low levels of neutrons during cathodic polarization.” [Fleischmann 1990 (p. 347)]
“It is now also essential to broaden the base of the research to include both the quantitative evaluation of the effects of the many variables leading to the control and optimization of particular outputs (compare(46) ) and the extension of the range of systems showing the various effects. For the Pd-D system the central conundrum, the disparity of the excess enthalpy generation and of the expected nuclear products according to reactions (i) and (ii) however remains unsolved. It is clear that there must be other nuclear reaction paths of high cross-section and that these will only be discovered by a careful search for products on the surface and in the bulk of the electrodes (as well as in the solution and gas spaces).” [ibid. (p. 348)] [Fleischmann 1991]
He seems to have had realized the nature of the CFP and necessity of qualitative approach which had been elucidated in our recent paper [Kozima 2019b].
“In the development of any new area of research (and especially in one likely to arouse controversy!) it is desirable to achieve first of all a qualitative demonstration of the phenomena invoked in the explanation of the observations. It is the qualitative demonstrations which are unambiguous: the quantitative analyses of the experimental results can be the subject of debate but, if these quantitative analyses stand in opposition to the qualitative demonstration, then these methods of analysis must be judged to be incorrect.” [Fleischmann 1991 (p. 2)]
He was persisting in the d – d fusion reactions: “The most rudimentary measurements of the generation of tritium and of the neutron flux (or rather the lack of it!) show that the nuclear reaction paths 2D + 2D → 3T (1.01 MeV) + 1H (3.02 MeV) (i) 2D + 2D → 3Te (0.82 MeV) + n (2.45 MeV) (ii) which are dominant in high energy fusion (and which have roughly equal cross-sections under those conditions) contribute to only a very small extent to the observed phenomena.
We reach the conclusions: i. The lattice has an important influence on the nuclear processes; ii. The observed processes are substantially aneutronic; iii. The generation of excess enthalpy is the main signature of these new nuclear processes.” [Fleischmann 1991 (p. 4)]
He was aware of the correlation between the super-diffusivity of D in Pd and the CFP in it.
“An important key to the understanding of the system is given by the strange properties of D and H and T in such lattices. We must ask: how can it be that D can exist at a ∼ 100 molar concentration and high supersaturations without forming D2 in the lattice?”
“How can it be that D diffuses so rapidly thorough the lattice (diffusion coefficient > 10–7 cm2s–1 greater than that of either h or T!) whereas He is practically immobile?”
“The answer to the last questions, of course, that deuterium is present as the deuteron whereas 4He does not form α-particles.” [Fleischmann 1991 (p. 9)]
This point has been explained in our recent paper [Kozima 2019c]
[Fleischmann 1998a, 1998b] He explained his basic concept of his experiment on the CFP done before 1989.
“In 1983, Stanley Pons and I posed ourselves the following two question: i) Would the nuclear reactions of deuterons confined in a lattice be faster (and different) from the fusion of deuterons in a plasma? ii) Could such nuclear reactions be detected?” [Fleischmann 1998a]
He was adhered to the d – d fusion reactions and looking for a mechanism to realize them in solids. He considered the Q.F.T (quantum field theory) is the savior for his expectation:
“- – – The scientific importance lies in the fact that whereas the Bohm-Aharanov Effect is a clear demonstration of the need to replace the C.M. (classical mechanics) by the Q.M. (quantum mechanics) paradigm, the Coehn-Aharanov Effect (indeed, “Cold Fusion” in general) is a demonstration of the need to go one step further to the Q.F.T. (quantum field theory) paradigm.” [Fleischmann 1998b (p. 123)]
[DOE 1989] DOE, “Cold Fusion Research,” November 1989, A Report of the Energy Research Advisory Board to the United States Department of Energy, Washington, DC 20585. DOE/S – – 0073, DE90 005611
[Huizenga 1992] J.R. Huizenga, Cold Fusion―The Scientific Fiasco of the Century, University of Rochester Press, Rochester, NY, USA, 1992. ISBN 1-87882-207-1
[Kozima 1990] H. Kozima, S. Oe, K. Hasegawa, H. Suganuma, M. Fujii, T. Onojima, K. Sekido and M. Yasuda, “Experimental Investigation of the Electrochemically Induced Nuclear Fusion,” Report of Faculty of Science, Shizuoka University, 24, pp. 29 -34 (1990), ISSN 0583-0923
[Kozima 1994] H. Kozima, “Trapped Neutron Catalyzed Fusion of Deuterons and Protons in Inhomogeneous Solids,” Transact. Fusion Technol., 26, 508 – 515 (1994), ISSN: 0748-1896.
[Kozima 1997] H. Kozima, S. Watanabe, K. Hiroe, M. Nomura, M. Ohta and K. Kaki, “Analysis of Cold Fusion Experiments generating Excess Heat, Tritium and Helium,” J. Electroanal. Chem., 425, pp. 173 – 178 (1997), ISSN 1572-6657.
[Kozima 1998] H. Kozima, Discovery of the Cold Fusion Phenomenon – Development of Solid State-Nuclear Physics and the Energy Crisis in the 21st Century –, Ohtake Shuppan Inc., 1998, ISBN 4-87186-044-2.
[Kozima 2000a] H. Kozima. “Neutron Drop: Condensation of Neutrons in Metal Hydrides and Deuterides”, Fusion, Technol. 37, 253 – 258 (2000), ISSN 0748-1896.
[Kozima 2000b] H. Kozima, “Electroanalytical Chemistry in Cold Fusion Phenomenon,” Recent Research Development in Electroanalytical Chemistry, Vol. 2 – 2000, pp. 35 – 46, Ed. S.G. Pandalai, Transworld Research Network, (2000), ISBN 81-86846-94-8.
[Kozima 2004] H. Kozima, “Quantum Physics of Cold Fusion Phenomenon,” in Developments in Quantum Physics, Ed. V. Krasnoholovets and F. Columbus, Nova Science Pub. Inc., pp. 167 – 196 (2004), ISBN 1-59454-003-9.
[Kozima 2006] H. Kozima, The Science of the Cold Fusion Phenomenon, – In Search of the Physics and Chemistry behind Complex Experimental Data Sets –, 1st Edition, Elsevier, Amsterdam, 2006, ISBN-13: 978-0-08045-110-7.
[Kozima 2009] H. Kozima, “Non-localized Proton/Deuteron Wavefunctions and Neutron Bands in Transition-metal Hydrides/Deuterides,” Proc. JCF9, pp. 84 – 93 (2009), ISSN 2187-2260. http://jcfrs.org/proc_jcf.html
[Kozima 2012] H. Kozima, “Three Laws in the Cold Fusion Phenomenon and Their Physical Meaning,” Proc. JCF12 (Kobe, Japan, December 17 – 18, 2011), pp. 101 – 114 (2012), ISSN 2187-2260. http://jcfrs.org/proc_jcf.htm
[Kozima 2013] H. Kozima, “Cold Fusion Phenomenon in Open, Nonequilibrium, Multi-component Systems – Self-organization of Optimum Structure,” Proc. JCF13 13-19, pp. 134 – 157 (2013), ISSN 2187-2260
[Kozima 2016a] H. Kozima, “From the History of CF Research – A Review of the Typical Papers on the Cold Fusion Phenomenon –,” Proc. JCF16, 16-13, pp. 116‐157 (2016), ISSN 2187-2260 and posted at the JCF website; http://www.jcfrs.org/proc_jcf. html
[Kozima 2017] H. Kozima, “The Sociology of the Cold Fusion Phenomenon – An Essay –,” Proc. JCF17, 17-13, pp. 148‐219 (2017), ISSN 2187-2260 and posted at the JCF website: http://www.jcfrs.org/proc_jcf. html
[Storms 2007] E. Storms, The Science of Low Energy Nuclear Reaction – A Comprehensive Compilation of Evidence and Explanations about Cold Fusion –, World Scientific, Singapore, 2007, ISBN-10 981-270-620-8
[Taubes 1993] G. Taubes, Bad Science―The Short Life and Weird Times of Cold Fusion, Random House Inc., New York, USA, 1993, ISBN 0-394-58456-2
List of papers published by the Cold Fusion Research Laboratory [html][.pdf]
(On March 23, 2019 at the 30th Anniversary of the Discovery of the CFP) —Hideo Kozima
On the 30th Anniversary of the Discovery of the Cold Fusion Phenomenon by Hideo Kozima [.pdf] was first published in the Cold Fusion Research Laboratory CFRL English News No. 107 (2019. 3. 1)
This is a re-post of Icebergs in the Room? Cold Fusion at Thirty by Huw Price and first published here.
From aviation to zoo-keeping, there’s a simple rule for safety in potentially hazardous pursuits. Always keep an eye on the ways that things could go badly wrong, even if they seem unlikely. The more disastrous a potential failure, the more improbable it needs to be before we can safely ignore it. Think icebergs and frozen O-rings. History is full of examples of the costs of getting this wrong.
Sometimes the disaster is missing something good, not meeting
something bad. For hungry sailors, missing a passing island can be just
as deadly as hitting an iceberg. So the same principle of prudence
applies. The more we need something, the more important it is to explore
places we might find it, even if they seem improbable.
We desperately need some new alternatives to fossil fuels. To meet
growing demands for energy, with some chance of avoiding catastrophic
climate change, the world needs what Bill Gates
called an energy miracle – a new carbon-free source of energy, from
some unexpected direction. In this case it’s obvious what the principle
of prudence tells us. We should keep a sharp eye out, even in unlikely
Yet there’s one possibility that has been in plain sight for thirty
years, but remains resolutely ignored by mainstream science. It is
so-called cold fusion, or LENR (for Low Energy Nuclear
Reactions). Cold fusion was made famous, or some would say infamous, by
the work of Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons. At a press conference
on March 23, 1989, Fleischmann and Pons claimed that they had detect
excess heat at levels far above anything attributable to chemical
processes, in experiments involving the metal palladium, loaded with
hydrogen. They concluded that it must be caused by a nuclear process –
‘cold fusion’, as they termed it.
Many laboratories failed to replicate Fleischmann and Pons’ results,
and the mainstream view since then has been that cold fusion was
‘debunked’. It is often treated as a classic example of disreputable
pseudoscience. But it never went away completely. It has always had
defenders, including some scientists at very respectable laboratories.
They acknowledged that replication and reproducibility were difficult in
this field, but claimed that most attempts on which the initial
dismissal had been based were simply too hasty.
Such work continues today, as cold fusion approaches its thirtieth birthday. A recent peer-reviewed Japanese paper
lists seventeen scientific authors, from several major universities and
the research division of Nissan Motors. These authors report ‘excess
heat energy’ which ‘is impossible to attribute … to any chemical
reaction’ (with good reproducibility between different laboratories).
The field has also been attracting new investors recently (including, some claim, Bill Gates himself).
These seventeen Japanese scientists might be mistaken, of course.
Scientists – not to mention investors! – often get things wrong. But
their work is only the tip of a very substantial iceberg. If there was
even a small probability that they and the rest of the iceberg were on
to something, wouldn’t the field deserve some serious attention, by the
prudence principle with which we began?
When I wrote about these issues in Aeon
three years ago, I argued that the problem is that cold fusion is stuck
in a reputation trap. Its image is so bad that many scientists feel
that they risk their own reputations if they are seen to be open-minded
about it, let alone to support it. That’s why the work of those Japanese
scientists and others like them is ignored by mainstream science – and
why it doesn’t get the attention that simple prudence recommends.
The reputation trap is nicely illustrated by the tone of a New Scientisteditorial from 2016. It accompanied a fairly even-handed article describing recent increases in interest in LENR, from investors as well as some scientists. The editorial concludes:
There’s still no compelling reason to think cold fusion
will work. Let those with money to burn take the risk and, if proven
right, the rewards for their chutzpah too. For the rest of us, cold
fusion is better off left out in the cold.
There’s no mistaking the tone, but if we translate it to the safety
case the logic has a chilling familiarity: ‘There’s no compelling reason
to think that there will be icebergs at this latitude. Let those with
money to burn take the slower route to the south, and the rewards if
they turn out to be right.’
The fallacy here is obvious. It puts the burden of proof on the wrong
side. What matters is not whether there is a compelling reason to think
that there are icebergs, but whether there is compelling reason to be confident that there are not.
That’s what’s distinctive about these safety cases, and it stems from
the high cost of getting things wrong – hitting the icebergs, or missing
In the safety case, we know what happens when reputation and similar
cultural and psychological factors get in the way of prudence. Icebergs
are unlikely, and our reputation is at stake, so full speed ahead! NASA
fell for precisely this trap in the case of the Challenger disaster, ignoring warnings about the O-rings. Something similar underlies the tone of the New Scientist editorial, in my view – a kind of misplaced rigidity, engendered in this case by the norms of scientific reputation.
Reputation plays an indispensable role in science, as an aid to
quality control. But sometimes it gets thing wrong. There are famous
cases in the history of science in which new ideas were ignored or
ridiculed, sometimes for decades, before going on to win Nobel prizes.
(Classic examples include the work of Barbara McClintock on mobile elements in genetic material, and the discovery by Australian scientists Barry Marshall and Robin Warren that stomach ulcers are caused by a bacterium. )
Usually this doesn’t matter very much – science got there in the end,
in these famous cases. But it is easy to see how it might be a problem,
where prudence requires that we take unlikely possibilities very
seriously. If what’s at stake is a serious risk, the normal rate of
progress in science – one funeral at a time, as Max Planck put it, commenting on science’s conservatism – might simply be too slow.
So the normal sociology of scientific reputation may be pathological
in special cases – cases in which the cost of wrongly dismissing a
maverick idea is especially high. In my Aeon piece I suggested
that LENR is such a case. I proposed that to offset this pathology we
need some carefully targeted incentives – an X-Prize for new energy
technologies, say. To mainstream scientists this idea sounds absurd,
even disreputable, at least in the case of cold fusion. But that’s just
the pathology talking, in my view – and the rational response to the
pathology is to hack it and work around it, not to give way to it.
Not surprisingly, my article was controversial – some commentators
wondered what it would do to my own reputation! Critics didn’t disagree
with the principle that we need to take low probability risks (or
potential missed opportunities) seriously, when the cost of overlooking
them would be high. But many denied that cold fusion falls into this
category. They felt that is so unlikely, so discreditable, that we can
safely leave it in the reputation trap. (Sometimes this response came
with considerable vehemence, even from friends.)
How likely would cold fusion have to be, to be worth serious
attention? This is debatable, but a generous 5% should be
uncontroversial. (Who would argue that we should ignore a 1 in 20 chance
of some interesting new physics, let alone carbon-free energy?) My
critics thought that the probability that cold fusion is real is much
lower than that.
I felt that many of these critics were simply not paying attention.
If one took the trouble to look, there was a lot of serious work,
including recent work, suggesting real physical anomalies. If we ask not
whether this evidence is entirely compelling, but simply whether it
lifts the field above a very low attention threshold (say 5%), the
answer seemed to me to be obvious. We shouldn’t be ignoring this work.
(Instead, we should be trying to hack the pathology that makes it so
easy to dismiss it.)
In addition to scientists at respectable institutions who work on
LENR, there are also some inventors and entrepreneurs who claim to be
developing practical LENR-based devices. I mentioned two in my 2015
article. One was a controversial Italian engineer, Andrea Rossi. His
claims in 2011 had attracted me to the topic in the first place, and in
2015 he seemed to be doing well. The other was a less colourful
inventor, Robert Godes, whose Berkeley-based company Brillouin Energy also claimed to be on a path to a commercial LENR reactor.
My critics were confident that both Mr Rossi and Mr Godes must be
frauds, or else deeply confused. What other possibilities are there,
after all, if – as my critics were convinced – there’s no genuine LENR? I
thought that this dismissal was far too hasty. I wasn’t certain by any
means that Rossi or Godes did have what they claimed, but I thought that
the probability was well above a reasonable attention threshold (given
what success might mean).
With several critics, these differences of opinion led to bets,
at long odds. I would win the bets if, after three years, at least one
of Rossi or Godes had ‘produced fairly convincing evidence (> 50%
credence) that their new technology that generates substantial excess
heat relative to electrical and chemical inputs.’ If my opponents and I
couldn’t agree whether this is the case, the question would go to a
panel of three judges for arbitration. (Either way, the proceeds will
support research on existential risk.)
The three years is now up, so how am I faring? About Rossi, I am
happy to concede that he hasn’t made it to the finishing line, even at a
modest 50% credence. I think there is still some reason to think that
that he may have something, based in part on claimed
replications by far less colourful figures. But there is also evidence
of dishonesty, especially in his dealings with his US backer, Industrial
Luckily for me, I backed the ants as well as the grasshopper. About
Godes’ Brillouin Energy (BEC) the news is much better. There are now three positive reports (from 2016, 2017, and 2018) by an independent tester, Dr Francis Tanzella, at the Menlo Park lab of SRI International. The first report already confirmed low levels of excess heat, and important progress in reproducibility:
This transportable and reproducible reactor system is
extremely important and extremely rare. These two characteristics,
coupled with the ability to start and stop the reaction at will are, to
my knowledge, unique in the LENR field to date.
The more recent reports describe steady progress in two directions.
First, a modest improvement in excess heat as measured by the the
so-called Coefficient of Performance (COP) – the ratio of output power
to input power. Second, a large increase in the absolute level of excess heat, from a few milliwatts in 2016 to several watts in early 2018.
The last of Dr Tanzella’s three reports covers the period to July 2018. Since then, BEC themselves have claimed even better results – consistent output power around twice the level of input power, with excess heat of around 50 watts.
What are the options, if we are not to take these reports at face
value? Essentially, one needs to dismiss as incompetent or fraudulent
not only Mr Godes and his BEC team, but also Dr Tanzella and his SRI
colleagues. However, as the 2018 report notes, SRI ‘brought over 75
person-years of calorimeter design, operation, and analysis experience
to this process’, much of it in the field of LENR. SRI, and Dr Tanzella
himself, are among the most experienced experts in the field.
Accordingly, it seems to me greatly more likely than not that BEC do
have what they claim – in the words of my bet, a device that ‘generates
substantial excess heat relative to electrical and chemical inputs’.
Readers wishing to make up their own minds should study Dr Tanzella’s
reports, and listen to a recent podcast
in which he speaks about his work. (The same site also offers a recent
interview with Robert Godes, in which he discusses BEC’s latest
Some critics will say that Dr Tanzella must be wrong, because the
claims are simply so unlikely. That would be an understandable view if
BEC’s claims were a complete outlier, unrelated to any previous work.
But as I said, there’s an iceberg’s worth of work beneath it, much of it
from eminently serious sources (people and institutions). Only someone
who hadn’t taken the trouble to look at this work could think of BEC as
As a very small sample from this iceberg, see this and this for overviews of long programmes of work by two US laboratories, SRI International themselves and the Space and Naval Warfare (SPAWAR) lab, San Diego, over the 1990s and 2000s; this for a short summary of the recent Japanese work mentioned above; and this and this for two additional recent technical papers. All these pieces report results not explicable by known chemical processes. This site offers hundreds of other papers.
Finally, for our Norwegian readers, there’s this recent 45 page report
by the Norwegian Defence Research Institute. The author, an
electrochemist, concludes that in his view ‘LENR is a real phenomenon,
the development of which ought to be closely watched.’ He says that the
alternative ‘is to believe in a conspiracy of independent researchers at
a number of different institutions’, and adds that for the original
Fleischmann and Pons reactions in particular, ‘the documentation is
The question I want you to ask yourself – after examining
this material – is not whether you agree with me that BEC has made it
over the finishing line specified in my bets. That’s an interesting
question, but not the important one. The crucial issue is whether LENR
in general makes it over a much lower bar, the one that recommends it
for serious attention, given how desperate we are for Bill Gates’ energy
miracle. If you don’t agree with me even about the low bar, I’m
wondering what you take yourself to know, that all these authors do not,
that could possibly justify such certainty?
If you do agree with me about the low bar, I encourage you to join me
in trying to hack the reputation trap. It may be too much to expect
mainstream science to scan the horizon very far to port and starboard.
That’s how science works, and rightly so, in normal circumstances. But
if that’s where the energy-rich islands might be, that’s the direction
someone needs to be looking. So we need some unconventional thinkers –
especially young, brilliant, sharp-eyed thinkers – and we need to cheer
not sneer at their efforts.
In my view, it’s as much a mistake to let reputation blind us to
prudence in this case as it is was for the icebergs and O-rings. True,
it isn’t necessarily so catastrophic. But unlike the Titanic and the Challenger, the planet has all of us on board. So let’s loosen our collars a little, remind ourselves of the virtues of epistemic humility, and try to encourage our energy mavericks.
For the moment, as cold fusion turns thirty, it remains a black sheep of the scientific family. But as the history of science shows us, it’s often black sheep who bring home black swans. We don’t know whether cold fusion will follow the same path. We do know that it’s in the whole family’s interests to show it some warmth. For safety’s sake, cold fusion needs to be cool.
Read the original article Icebergs in the Room? Cold Fusion at Thirty by Huw Price here.
* * *
Price is Bertrand Russell Professor of Philosophy and a Fellow of
Trinity College at the University of Cambridge. He is Academic Director
of the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence, and a
co-founder with Martin Rees and Jaan Tallinn of the Centre for the Study
of Existential Risk. Before moving to Cambridge he was ARC Federation
Fellow and Challis Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sydney,
where from 2002—2012 he was founding Director of the Centre for Time.