Charles Seife confuses reality and myth with attack on discoverers of cold fusion

If you want to study journalism, don’t go to New York University where you might get Professor Charles Seife.

NYU Journalism professor Charles Seife shows poor practice of fact-checking.
NYU Journalism professor Charles Seife fails on fact-checking.
His last book Sun in a Bottle: the Strange History of Fusion and the Science of Wishful Thinking published in October 2008 appears to be the fodder for his recently published article Fusion Energy’s Dreamers, Hucksters, and Loons posted on, and he hasn’t researched the field since.

Primarily about the inability of plasma scientists to generate commercial power from hot fusion, the recent piece of typing contains gross inaccuracies about cold fusion stemming from the same falsities that pushed it out of the mainstream science community two decades ago.

For over half-a-century, hot fusion labs have received about a hundred billion dollars research funding under the auspice of producing clean abundant energy “in the future”. The joke is that the future always seems to be ‘thirty years away’. To date, hot fusion projects have not generated any useful energy.

However in the article, the author repeats the same myths about cold fusion that have long ago been dispatched by condensed matter nuclear scientists around the world. Scientists working out of U.S. Navy labs, national labs, nuclear agencies, and universities have confirmed the very reproducible reaction’s effects of excess heat and transmutations repeatedly.

Unfortunately, the Professor gets a D for not taking the time to review the facts, confusing the enormous energy gains in cold fusion with the lack of hot fusion success. He fails further by insulting two of the discoverers of cold fusion Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons, implying a criminal intent by equating them with the actions of Richard Richter.

Seife writes in his article:

For one thing, the history of fusion energy is filled with crazies, hucksters, and starry-eyed naifs chasing after dreams of solving the world’s energy problems. One of the most famous of all, Martin Fleischmann, died earlier this year. Along with a colleague, Stanley Pons, Fleischmann thought that he had converted hydrogen into helium in a beaker in his laboratory, never mind that if he had been correct he would have released so much energy that he and his labmates would have been fricasseed by the radiation coming out of the device. Fleischmann wasn’t the first—Ronald Richter, a German expat who managed to entangle himself in the palace intrigues of Juan Peron, beat Fleischmann by nearly four decades—and the latest schemer, Andrea Rossi, won’t be the last.

Seife is confusing the 100-year-old conventional theory of nuclear reactions with today’s low-energy nuclear reaction (LENR), lattice-assisted nuclear reaction (LANR), and quantum fusion, names used to describe the variants of cold fusion research taking place today.

As Nobel laureate Julian Schwinger said many years ago, “The circumstances of hot fusion are not those of cold fusion.”

Cold fusion reactions take place inside small spaces of solid material, like the metals nickel and palladium. Cold fusion also can be generated in the crystalline porous structures of zeolites, as well as other alloys and materials, including biological systems.

Reactions use a fuel of both plain hydrogen called protium (the H in H2O) as well as hydrogen isotope deuterium, a hydrogen atom with an extra neutron at the center, and found in seawater.

Cold fusion does not take place in a plasma and does not make the kind of radiation that hot fusion does.

In the conventional nuclear theory from one-hundred years ago, fusion can only occur in high-temperature plasmas, when the nucleons gain high-speeds to impact with enough force to stick together, overcoming the very powerful Coulomb barrier, the force that keeps the positively-charged nucleons apart. The collision, and subsequent fusion of nucleons, produces a burst of heat energy and deadly radiation, all at once.

While cold fusion has no definitive theory at this time, the experimental results point to a slower type of reaction that radiates heat over time with little to no dangerous radiation. Scientists in the field are healthy, and clearly not dead from radiation poisoning, though they have measured heat on nuclear levels.

Consistently documented are thermal energy returns of 3, 6 and 25, depending on the cell design and material. Unofficial energy returns of 400 were witnessed by credible European scientists at demonstrations of Andrea Rossi‘s Ecat, who Seife calls a “schemer”. As the technology develops, cold fusion may show energy returns of 3000 and more.

In some cells the only by-product is helium, while other cells produce products like tritium and neutrons on the order of thousands and millions of times less than hot fusion.

Read Edmund StormsA Student’s Guide to Cold Fusion for more on what’s known about the basic science of this reaction.

The article Seife has written is once again drawing on the twenty-year-old myths created by unimaginative drones who felt threatened their funding would be cut were cold fusion to be heralded.

And it probably would have, for the ultra-clean energy from cold fusion, packaged in a safe, portable unit, with no need for an electrical grid will wholly change the face of our society.

The now confirmed experimental science has transferred to the commercial sector as numerous independent labs and small companies race to develop a new energy technology for the public. The challenges are two-fold, and vary between companies.

Some cells have a high-enough excess heat needed to produce useful power, but lack the control and sustained operation needed to make a commercially-viable product.

Other companies have the control, but need to increase the excess heat return.

Despite public unawareness and MSM myth, the development continues. At this point, only a commercial product will bring the much-needed funding that these new energy labs require to engineer the next-generation nuclear power, and inaugurate a renaissance of human creativity and freedom based on green living.

The inability of conventional scientific minds to venture beyond the comfort and familiarity of the old theories they know so well is a recurring historical fact. But in this age, when innovative energy solutions are so desperately needed, the continuing suppression of new energy options endangers our species and our planet.

Let’s respond to Charles Seife and invite him to the open enrollment in Cold Fusion 101 to be held on the MIT campus January 22-30 where he can get an update from two of the top researchers in the field.

Contact the Professor at his website

6 Replies to “Charles Seife confuses reality and myth with attack on discoverers of cold fusion”

  1. If the results are already known then it is not an experiment. It is a demonstration.
    The more sunken capital one has in a model, the greater the propensity to not venture beyond what is known.
    If the good Professor only demonstrates, then he is not a scientist. He is a technocrat. He is resting on his laurels.
    In my books that amounts to intellectual cowardice.

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