Is cold fusion Natural?

A few days ago, the internet lit up with news of a new paper on cold fusion in Nature.

Revisiting the cold case of cold fusion

Google has been funding cold fusion research for the last several years. This project, though, was not publicized. The CMNS (Condensed Matter Nuclear Science) research community in general knew little about it, though there were hints and leaks. There is a National Geographic page that tells the story.

Cold fusion remains elusive—but these scientists may revive the quest

However, I’m going to start this series by revisiting an old editorial, 29 March, 1990, by David Lindley, then an associate editor of Nature. He wrote:

The embarrassment of cold fusion

This is best known for its last words:

Would a measure of unrestrained mockery, even a little unqualified vituperation, have speeded cold fusion’s demise?

This editorial was rife with the characteristics of pseudoskepticism, and even disparages real skepticism, essential to science. Real skepticism is open-minded, merely not easily convinced about “extraordinary claims.” But it does not reject those claims based on existing theory, because it is also skeptical that existing theory is universally true. (It is not so open-minded that we find brains on the floor. It will point out the obvious, but it is not a “believer” position.)

This was a year after the announcement by Fleischmann and Pons. By that time, there had been some reports and confirmations of nuclear effects, but it was all still very unsettled. However, Lindley writes as if cold fusion were preposterous, blatantly impossible.

But . . . what is “cold fusion?”

Pons and Fleischmann had actually claimed an “unknown nuclear reaction,” and their claim of “nuclear” was reasonable if they had made no major errors in their calorimetry, and they believed they had seen radiation (which was apparently artifact, error.)

Nevertheless, what they had seen, clear to them, was anomalous heat, at levels that they, as highly skilled chemists, could not explain with chemistry. That would remain a mystery and it still is a mystery, though aspects are now understood. It is not what Lindley imagined “cold fusion” would be, in many ways.

It was not until 1991 that Miles announced that he had found helium correlated with anomalous heat, which was stunning, as Huizenga noted. If this was confirmed, Huizenga wrote, it would explain one of the major mysteries of cold fusion, the nuclear product. However, Huizenga expected that this would not be confirmed, because “no gammas.”

And this shows how mind-locked Huizenga and many at the time were. Gammas are found with two-deuteron fusion, very strong gammas, if helium is the product, but two-deuteron fusion only rarely produces helium, and is a very well-understood reaction (though not entirely, and part of the new paper explores that).

If helium is the main product — it seems obvious in hindsight — the reaction is not two-deuteron fusion! What is it?

Lindley looks at some theories, but simply assumes, as Huizenga, that if this is fusion, it is fusion of two deuterons. That assumption was common, including probably with Pons and Fleischmann and others who supported “cold fusion.”

There is another reaction which may be possible that does not generate that very hot gamma. Cold fusion is taking place in condensed matter, not in a plasma, so more complex structures, including electrons, are possible. Lindley does consider Bose-Einstein Condensates, but only with two deuterons. Not with two deuterium molecules. If two molecules were to fuse, the product expected would be an isotope of beryllium, 4Be8, which will decay into two helium nuclei (2He4). No very hot gamma. While there are other problems to be solved with this theory, I won’t go into them, this may well be on the right track to the actual mechanism behind cold fusion.

But all this focus on theory lost the most important principle in science: Experiment is King, not Theory. The first question to have properly asked (and some did ask it) was not, “Is this fusion?”, but “Is there a real heat effect?” And then, what conditions cause the effect, what are associated and especially correlated effects, what data can we collect?

By focusing on fusion, and looking for “fusion products,” meaning neutrons and tritium, and then concluding, when these were not found, that the heat must be an error, scientists fooled themselves. And where they were considered experts, they also fooled others who trusted them.

Truly ironic is what Lindley remembered before making the vituperation comment:

Perhaps science has become too polite. Lord Kelvin dismissed the whole of geology because his calculations proved that the Sun could be no more than a few million years old; Ernest Rutherford is still remembered for his declaration that talk of practical atomic energy was “moonshine” — but the stature of neither man has been noticeably diminished by their errors, which were as magnificent as their achievements.  Kelvin and Rutherford had a common-sense confidence in the robustness of their judgements which the critics of cold fusion conspicuously lacked.

This is odd, looking at it now, knowing the history of cold fusion, and the very early comment of Steve Koonin at the APS conference in Baltimore, May, 1989:

My conclusion, based on my experience, my knowledge of nuclear physics, and my intuition, is that the experiments are just wrong. And that we’re suffering from the incompetence and perhaps delusion of Drs. Pons and Fleischmann.

It has been known for many years that the famous replication failures, that led to conclusions like that of Koonin, were based on a failure to set up the necessary conditions for the effect to be seen. That work is part of the corpus of evidence that is accepted as demonstrating how not to see the Fleischmann-Pons Heat Effect. The negative work was not experimentally “wrong.” They correctly reported that under the conditions they set up, no significant excess heat was observed, nor any nuclear product.

Lewis et al (Nature, 1989) reached a maximum “stoichiometry” (D/Pd ratio) of 80%, and there is no report of the FPHE below roughly 90% at initiation. The current report in Nature is very similar, except that the new authors are quite aware that they did not reach adequate loading, hence their call for more research.

Even reaching adequate loading is not enough. In SRI P14, a Fleischmann-Pons type cell was loaded for months to high loading, and a current protocol (ramping current up and then down) was run, while measuring “excess heat.” The same protocol was run three times. The first two times, nothing happened except a little more noise. The third time, there was clear excess heat, unmistakeable. All other conditions were the same. (And there was a hydrogen control in series, which shows no excess heat in all three runs.)

Something must happen to the material to change it. Loading and deloading palladium with deuterium puts it under stress, it can crack, and the latest thinking is that a new phase of the metal can form at high loading plus stress: super abundant vacancy (SAV) material, which can also load to a higher ratio.

Not all palladium is the same. Nobody has yet found a way to reliably create material that works immediately, or even that works at all. Some protocols are better than others, though, some show excess heat most of the time, but highly variable in amount. The evidence is strong that that the famous unreliability is due to not-understood material conditions.

Add to this the difficulties of calorimetry and the possibility of the file-drawer effect, and we have the Scientific Fiasco of the Century (Huizenga).

What is constant, though, where it has been measured, is that helium is found commensurate with anomalous heat.

That is so strong as evidence for the reality of the reaction that a jury could be convinced in a civil case with it, and possibly even in a criminal case.

I can think of no way that the helium could be consistently correlated with heat, across different protocols and conditions, in many experiments, other than being produced by the same reaction, nor have I seen any proposed that are consistent with the experimental conditions.

Heat is not going to make helium and helium is not going to make heat, if the heat is artifact (or even if not!) and if the helium were leakage or error, it would not be clearly correlated with heat, and the ratio would not so nicely approach that very special value, 23.8 MeV/4He, which is the thermodynamically necessary ratio for any reaction that converts deuterium to helium, regardless of mechanism, as long as there is no radiation loss, and there apparently is not anything significant.

I will examine the Lindley analysis in detail on a page, Lindley 1989.

This series will continue with Cold fusion is in our geography now.


My ideal is better than your reality

Much criticism is based on this comparison between real-world expression and the critic’s ideas, which, of course, may be revised, ad hoc.

This extends far outside science. Our ideas of perfect morality may be, for example, compared with the real behavior of (some) formal members of a religion, as if this demonstrates the superiority of our religion (or our ideals) over the other.

Because there was only one major and relatively deep critique of the Fleischmann-Pons calorimetry, published in a mainstream journal, one debate where there was original publication, critique (by D.R.O. Morrison), and author response, last year I began a page hierarchy to study the debate. The original as-published documents are behind a pay-wall, so I used copies from, that were based on a copy of the Morrison critique from sci.physics.fusion, an internet newsgroup, an obsolete form similar to a mailing list.

I first observed the issue of paper integrity in that the FP paper was not identical to the copy, which is likely a copy supplied to that library by an author. That is routine for lenr-canr copies of journal-published papers, for copyright reasons. The changes seemed quite minor (I will check this again more thoroughly). But for no decent reason, I did not check the Morrison critique against the later as-published version, and because that as-published version is not widely available, I preferred to use a version that anyone could check against my copy.

And that was an error. I was then distracted by other business, and as continued participation in the review did not appear, I did not return to my study of the debate until yesterday. I started by completing the adding of URLs for references, and then began going over the Morrison paper. It was full of errors or non sequiturs, immature argument, etc. And I started to wonder how this had gotten past peer review. Journals do not necessarily review critiques as strongly as original papers, and I have seen blatant errors in such critiques. Ordinarily, it is left to the authors to correct such errors. In one case where a blatant error was left standing (the Shanahan review in the Journal of Environmental Monitoring), the error was so ridiculously bad that the authors and others responding completely missed it, instead focusing on Shanahan’s conclusion from his seriously defective analysis. Argument from conclusion, naughty, naughty!)

The Morrison document from the newsgroup had this at the top:
5th DRAFT – Scientific Comments Welcomed.

There were no serious responses to that post, threaded with it. (There were other responses that can be found with some searching, made more complicated by some very poor Google archiving practices, what they did when they took over the newsgroups. I will cover other responses (some of it is interesting) elsewhere.

What Morrison was doing was, in part, to be commended, he was putting his work out there for critique before final submission. However, by this time, the scientific community had become highly polarized, and serious discussion, what might be called collaborative critique, good scientific process, was often missing. It still is, too often. Morrison’s critique would be useful, even if “wrong” in this way or that, because what Morrison wrote would be what many would think, but not necessarily write.

I came back to this issue because I noticed a mention of my study on The remainder of this post is a detailed response to that. Continue reading “My ideal is better than your reality”

Looking for “boring,” finding gold

I’ve been spending most of my days, lately, compiling bibliographic material, and setting up archives of LENR conference papers, as well as a full LENR Library. Where I can find an on-line copy of the Proceedings, it’s easy, merely a bit time-consuming. In other cases proceedings may only exist in a few libraries, and it may take time to find those copies. Sometimes scans are made of books, but the cheap way of doing this, at $0.01 – $0.02 per page, involves destroying the book. These volumes, where they exist, may sell for on the order of $300. It is not necessary to destroy the book to read it, and if it can be read, it can be photographed, and that is now easy with smart phones. My 64 GB iPhone could hold high-resolution photos of every page of a 1000-page book, without breaking a sweat. I might get a little tired, I figure I could, with a simple setup, maybe 2 pages per minute. So 500 minutes for a 1000 page book, 8 hours. To avoid RSI, not less than two days. Doable. I will only do this if necessary, and will attempt to share the work.

All needed, perhaps, because nobody bothered to keep and make available original copies of computer files. Material is still being lost. As an example, abstracts and proceedings have recently disappeared from Documents once hosted by have vanished. Sometimes these can be found on the internet archive, sometimes not.

Below, I report benefits of working with this material. Continue reading “Looking for “boring,” finding gold”

Being right is not enough

or How “fusion” created confusion.

We now have strong evidence that the Fleischmann-Pons Heat Effect, sometimes known as the Anomalous Heat Effect, is nuclear in nature and accomplishes the transmutation of deuterium into helium, as the main reaction generating heat, but this evidence was not available in the early days of the field. Skeptics and “believers” conspired (albeit not realizing what they were doing) to call what was actually observed — or claimed, and the two were heavily confused — by Pons and Fleischmann, “cold fusion.” Even when a little careful thought would have exposed the distinction.\

What Pons and Fleischmann observed, in experiments with extreme loading of palladium with deuterium, was anomalous heat, with an apparent energy density or net energy production higher than they could explain with chemistry. They also saw weak signals associated with fusion, specifically, they believed they had seen evidence of neutrons, they detected tritium, and also helium. They did not have quantitative correlations, and  the quantities found of tritum and neutrons and the ratio of heat to tritium and neutrons, and tritium to neutrons, was far different from that expected if they had succeeded in creating normal fusion.

So what they had found, if it was nuclear in nature, was not “d-d fusion,” almost certainly, which is very well known, and which is believed to necessarily produce those products.

I just came across some remarkable language from 1990 that shows the issue. This is in a report to ICCF-1, by Iyangar and Srinivasan, from BARC, the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Bombay, India. These were nuclear experts, and there was, for a time, a massive effort to investigate cold fusion.

Wait, to investigate “cold fusion”? What’s that? Getting little details like exactly what one is investigating and why can be, ah, let’s call it useful.

From the abstract, and, remember, I have the benefit of an intervening three decades of history, a huge dollop of hindsight. What I’m seeing here as a misunderstanding that fostered confusion and conflict was something that many, many thought, it was language in common use. From the abstract:

A wide variety of experiments have been carried out by twelve independent teams employing both electrolytic and gas phase loading of deuterium in Pd and Ti metals to investigate the phenomenon of cold fusion first reported by Fleischmann and Pons in March 1989. The experiments were primarily devoted to the study of the emission of nuclear particles such as neutrons and tritium with a view to verify the“nuclear origin”of cold fusion.

Did Fleischmann and Pons report “cold fusion”? It was quite unfortunate that they mentioned the classical fusion reactions in their first paper, because it was totally obvious that what they were seeing, whatever it was, was not those reactions. The evidence that a nuclear reaction was happening was circumstantial, not enough to overcome strong expectation that such reactions would be impossible in the conditions of their experiments

That is, there was heat that they could not explain. If the heat were regular and predictable and reproducible, that could have been enough. But it wasn’t. The heat effect was elusive. “I can’t explain these results with chemistry” is not evidence with which one could convince a physicist. One would first need to convince the physicist that the evidence is clear and not artifact, because if one has telegraphed that you think this is something the physicist will think is impossible, they will examine all the evidence with a jaundiced eye. It’s just human nature.

So “cold fusion” started off with a handicap. It really didn’t help that the neutron evidence that Pons and Fleischmann adduced was artifact. What we know now is that very few neutrons, if any, are generated with their experiment.

(We need to realize that many difference kinds of experiments get lumped together as “cold fusion,” but different experiments may actually show different results, different reactions might be happening under conditions that are sometimes not adequately controlled. By conceptualizing the object of study as “cold fusion,” an assumption is created of a single phenomenon, and then when results differ, the reality of the alleged phenomenon comes into question.l)

What was reasonably being investigated was the possibility of nuclear phenomena in certain metals loaded with deuterium. The first issue to investigate was, for most groups, heat. But groups with a particular interest in nuclear physics often investigated neutrons, and when it was found that many replication attempts produced very few neutrons, this strengthened skepticism. There was also a common assumption that if nuclear reactions were happening, there must be neutrons. That is simply false, but the absence of neutrons from what was being assumed to be deuterium-deuterium fusion, that’s actually a very dificult puzzle.

The first order of business was to detect, measure, and correlate phenomena, not to interpret the results, but this was all pre-interpreted. They were investigating “cold fusion.” Not, say, “the Fleischman and Pons reports of anomalous heat.”

Ask a physicist, could there be deuterium fusion in palladium deuteride at room temperature, and he or she is likely to tell you, straight out, “No.” But ask this scientist if there could be a heat effect of unknown origin, and if they are worth their salt, they would tell you, well, we don’t know everything and sometimes it can take time to figure out what is happening.

Tbe report desperately needing confirmation was what Pons and Fleischmann had actually observed, once the confusion over their neutron reports was cleared up. “Cold fusion” was an interpretation, not an experimental fact, or certainly not yet.

Tritium was widely observed, it wasn’t just BARC. But was the tritium connected with the prime Fleischmann=Pons effect, the heat? And then things really got crazy when reports started to show up of a heat effect with light hydrogen. Again, the concept of a single phenomenon caused confusion. It is not that we know there is more than one reaction, we don’t know that yet. But it is quite possible, the “law of conservation of miracles” is not a law, and cold fusion is not a miracle. It’s something that doesn’t happen very often, and while I use the tern “cold fusion,” often, I would not use it academically without clear definition. At least I hope not!

By “cold fusion” i mean the FP Heat Effect and other possible affects commonly associated with it or believed or claimed to be related. I justify the use of the term because the known product from the FP Heat Effect is helium, which is, Ockham’s Razor with the evidence we have, coming from the conversion oi deuterium to helium. That is fusion in effect, which must be distinguished from “deuterium fusion,” i.e., two deuterium nuclei fusing. Why? That reaction is very well known and the products are well known, and there are reasons to consider that even if this happens somehow at low energy, the products will be the same.

(When a physicist claims that “cold fusion” is impossible, because of the Coulomb barrier making the fusion rate be so low as to be indetectable, they are being sloppy, because muon-catalyzed fusion takes place at extremely low temperatures. Muons act as catalysts, so the immediate question arises, could something else catalyze fusion. An inability to imagine it is, again, not evidence. The universe is vast and possibilities endless, we cannot know all of them, only what is common.)

In 22 different electrolytic experiments whose cathode surface areas ranged from 0.1 to 300 cm2 , large bursts of neutrons and/or tritium were measured. Some of these gave clear evidence that these two nuclear particles were being generated simultaneously. The neutron-to-tritium yield ratios in the majority of these experiments was in the range of 10-6 to 10-9.

“Large bursts” is suspicious. Large compared to what? I have not read the report in detail yet. (I will). But tritium is a minor effect associated with the FP Heat Effect. It may be the case that tritium is enhanced if there is substantial light hydrogen in the heavy water, but even a little light water tends to suppress the FP Heat Effect. Even if there is some single mechanism, it behaves differently when presented with different fuels. The norm with cold fusion experiments, though, is that high-energy radiation and radioactive products are found only at very low levels. The rule of thumb, I state as tritium being a million times down from helium, and neutrons a million times down from helium. Helium production, with deuterium fuel (helium is not reported with light hydrogen as fuel, and we don’t know the product of light hydrogen “cold fusion.”

Those ratios are strong evidence that “cold fusion” is not d-d fusion, because the operation of d-d fusion, how and why the nucleus normally fragments, is well understood. I.e, the fused nucleus, the product of that fusion, is highly energized, it’s hot. That is true even if the reaction is not hot fusion (and the kinetic energy involved with fusion from the velocity of impact is dwarfed by the energy of collapse, as the nucleons collapse under the influence of the strong force. (Very strong force!)  There is so much energy that normally the nucleus breaks into two pieces and there are only two ways it can do that. It can eject a proton or it can eject a neutron, to carry away that energy and leave the nucleus in the ground state, cool. That’s the two branches, and it is mostly equal which nucleon ends up being odd man out. Hence the two common branches,

1H2 (deuterium)+ 1H2 -> 1H3 (Helium-3)+ 1H(light hydrogen, a proton) + energy

1H2 + 1H2 -> 2He3 (Helium-4) + 0N 1 (a neutron) + energy

And then the third branch is very rare. If the nucleus happens to be exactly balanced (I think, maybe balance is not an issue, just the odds), and manages to live intact long enough to generate a photon, the nucleons can stay together and almost all the energy is dumped into the photon, which is very high energy, 23.8 MeV. (The rest of the energy is in the recoil of the helium nucleus.) I think the branching ratio for that is one in 10^-7 reactions. One in ten million.

So that becomes another miracle that exercised Huizenga. If somehow the fusion happens (spectacularly unlikely!), and somehow it manages to produce helium (very unlikely), there must be a gamma ray, a very energetic one. This would be, at the heat levels reported, very dangerous. It’s not observed. That’s strong evidence that d+d fusion is no happening.

Something else is happening. In that context and with that understanding, and given the mishegas about “cold fusion” it was important to be investigating phenomena, not explanations. Tritium was actually contradictory to the FP Heat Effect, in general. It was lumped together with it because if tritium was being produced, “something nuclear” was happening. But what is the evidence that the heat was nuclear. Maybe if we look carefully, we will see nuclear reactions happening at low levels in unexpected places.

A unique feature of the BARC electrolysis results is that the first bursts of neutrons and tritium occurred (in 8 out of 11 cells) on the very first day of commencement of electrolysis, when hardly a few amp-hrs of charge had been passed.

This is evidence that the effects they are seeing are not the FP Heat Effect! It doesn’t happen that early, in FP type electrolysis experiments. There are rapid effects reported with codeposition, a different approach.

But the occasion for this post was the linguistic anomaly here. I’ll repeat it:

The experiments were primarily devoted to the study of the emission of nuclear particles such as neutrons and tritium with a view to verify the“nuclear origin”of cold fusion.

“Fusion” is a nuclear reaction. So they are looking to verify the nuclear origin of a nuclear reaction. It’s a tautology. As to looking for nuclear particles associated with what was called “cold fusion,” the FP Heat Effect, they are missing, mostly. What BARC found was at very low levels. Helium was suspected early on, but (because of no gammas) was not given a great deal of credence, and there was an additional reason to doubt helium evidence: helium is present in the atmosphere at levels normally greater than those expected if the FP Heat Effect were producing helium. So in many experiments (not all), leakage can be a possible artifact. It took careful work (beginning with Miles as to what I know so far) to actually show that helium is the main product of the FP Heat Effect.

That has been done, and confirmed many times. Tritium, however, is interesting, scientifically, and there is much work still to be done with tritium, and in particular, investigating tritium correlations with other products and conditions.



Subpage of proceedings/iccf-4/

The ICCF-4 Proceedings were originally published and then hosted by EPRI, but that copy has disappeared and the internet archive for it is broken. There is some evidence that EPRI has been acting to remove copies, specifically, New Energy Times had an archive of copies, and that has been taken down, and one of the documents removed there has, associated with it, mention of action from EPRI demanding take-down (this was a letter from an EPRI paralegal, actually withdrawing the particular take-down notice.)

I found broken links to the New Energy Times archival copies, and then searched for those pages on the internet archive, and found the following. Most links there are dead, but all can be tracked back and the documents found.


EPRI-NSF Workshop on Anomalous Effects in Deuterided Metals
October 16-18, 1989, Washington, D.C., Published: August 1993Proceedings: Fourth International Conference on Cold Fusion Vol. 1: Plenary Session Papers, TR-104188-V1, July 1994Proceedings: Fourth International Conference on Cold Fusion Vol. 2: Calorimetry and Materials Papers, TR-104188-V2, July 1994

Proceedings: Fourth International Conference on Cold Fusion Vol. 3: Nuclear Measurements Papers, TR-104188-V3, July 1994

Proceedings: Fourth International Conference on Cold Fusion Vol. 4: Theory and Special Topics Papers, TR-104188-V4, July 1994

Development of Advanced Concepts for Nuclear Processes in Deuterated Metals, TR-104195, Research Project 3170-01, August 1994

Development of Energy Production Systems from Heat Produced in Deuterated Metals, Volume 1, TR-107843-V1, June 1998
M4 Excerpts (12 Mb)

Development of Energy Production Systems from Heat Produced in Deuterated Metals, Volume 2, TR-107843-V2, November, 1999

Cavitation-Induced Excess Heat in Deuterated Metals, TR-108474, March 1998

Bush, Ben F. and Lagowski, J.J., “Trace Elements Added to Palladium by Electrolysis in Heavy Water, (Albert Machiels, Thomas Passell, Project Managers) TP-108743, November 1999 (Abstract)

The EPRI-NSF Workshop is the page that had been targeted for take-down. It had in October 2016, what may have been a link to the full text, but that is, by the date of that the NET page archive, not a link but rather a summary. However, the page archive history goes further back.  The actual link was last captured November 11, 2014 and shows a copy of the full text, still accessible on, converted to searchable PDF.

The display of ICCF-4 Proceedings Vol. 1 shows “The page you are seeking has been moved or deleted.” However, tracking versions back, there is the document, as image PDF, live as of April 25, 2015.
TR-104188-V1.pdf. Similarly I found

For the splits to papers linked in the page supra, I used the copies, as searchable PDF, except for a few damaged or redacted pages, which were supplied from the above. I have not uploaded these to our site, but they could be uploaded if necessary. It is enough for now that they are available on For actual study, our purpose here, it is enough to have the papers.

The NET page for TR-104195.pdf is dead, but the link (as above) is directly available, the page error never having been archived.

TR-107843-V1, TR-107843-V2, and TR-108474 are also live as archived similarly.

TP-108743 shows a page error, but, looking back, can be found as linked here.

A current NET page, a later version of the page copied above, was last archived in August of 2018, v2/archives/EPRI-LENR-Archives.shtml and shows links for some of the documents, but others have been removed with this note: “PDF link to report removed on Dec. 20, 2016, by request of EPRI) .” All the other links, though, are dead, including the NSF-EPRI report, even though the take-down notice had been abandoned.

The later technical reports will be separately covered on this blog. They use EPRI page numbering, which is a nuisance in studying them, so I will be converting the tables of contents to show links to actual PDF pages.


Wikipedia on cold fusion patents

This is a subpage of jcmns/v13/p118, a review of an article by David French on Patents and Cold Fusion


Although details have not surfaced, it appears that the University of Utah forced the 23 March 1989 Fleischmann and Pons announcement to establish priority over the discovery and its patents before the joint publication with Jones.[30] The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) announced on 12 April 1989 that it had applied for its own patents based on theoretical work of one of its researchers, Peter L. Hagelstein, who had been sending papers to journals from the 5 to 12 April.[174] On 2 December 1993 the University of Utah licensed all its cold fusion patents to ENECO, a new company created to profit from cold fusion discoveries,[175] and in March 1998 it said that it would no longer defend its patents.[75]

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) now rejects patents claiming cold fusion.[88] Esther Kepplinger, the deputy commissioner of patents in 2004, said that this was done using the same argument as with perpetual motion machines: that they do not work.[88]

It’s a problem when Wikipedia alleges a current state of affairs with “now,” especially based on an old source. Reference 18 is to this article, from 2004. From that article, this:

… The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has refused to grant a patent on any invention claiming cold fusion. According to Esther Kepplinger, the deputy commissioner of patents, this is for the same reason it wouldn’t give one for a perpetual motion machine: It doesn’t work.

This is popular language, not a legal position. Perpetual motion machines violate a strongly-held understanding of thermodynamics, so any claim of one is going to be met with skepticism, and if skepticism is broad and wide on a particular class of inventions, and if the USPTO notices this, and if an invention actually claims what is considered impossible (that is not the same as actually being impossible), it will require proof of utility and enablement. 

These problems, Hagelstein and McKubre argue, are all tied to the 1989 DOE review. While the report’s language was measured, pointing out the lack of experimental evidence, “it was absolutely the intention of most of the framers of that document to kill cold fusion,” McKubre says.

McKubre was probably correct about that intention, though the document itself was modified to avoid that, in theory (it actually recommended research). However, the intention, whatever it was, is irrelevant to the patent situation. What is the problem is a widespread belief that cold fusion experiments are not reliably reproducible, or not reliably reproduced from a specific protocol, or . And that belief happens to be reasonable, it’s also understood by many LENR researchers, and that bears directly on patentability.

Not all real effects are patentable. They must actually be useful, and not merely potentially useful at some point in the future, but in the present. The enabling description in the patent must be adequate to generate practical results, of practical utility, when implemented by a Person Having Ordinary Skill In The Art (PHOSITA), and not only that, the patent and evidence shown to the USPTO must be such as to convince such persons that the invention will work. (or at least is likely to work!)

There came to be, after that rushed 1989 report, plenty of experimental evidence that there was a real effect, and even that the effect was nuclear in nature. (Some of that evidence shows the reality without requiring reliability, through correlation; specifically, the effect is difficult to set up, but when it does occur, there are reliable correlates.)

[. . . ] According to McKubre, the reason cold fusion experiments can’t be reproduced on demand is a materials issue: It’s a matter of developing a form of palladium, or another metal, with the right mix of impurities. With help on that issue and more funding, he suggests, a small cold-fusion-powered heater or generator could be ready in as little as two years.

And that’s the rub. That “issue” is still unresolved. If it were resolved, the suggested possibility is not unreasonable. With such a material to specify, if it were creating reliable heat and if this heat were adequate for practical use, not merely measurable experimentally — which would be enough for science — then such a generator could be patented. Until then, once the substantial doubt has been raised, clear evidence is required to rebut the skepticism.

This is often considered unfair, because most patents don’t need to provide that kind of proof. However, the courts have again and again supported this position, and I have to agree that it is sensible. There are ways for inventors to proceed, if they actually have found a way to make a practical device.

Patent applications are required to show that the invention is “useful”, and this utility is dependent on the invention’s ability to function.[176] In general USPTO rejections on the sole grounds of the invention’s being “inoperative” are rare, since such rejections need to demonstrate “proof of total incapacity”,[176] and cases where those rejections are upheld in a Federal Court are even rarer: nevertheless, in 2000, a rejection of a cold fusion patent was appealed in a Federal Court and it was upheld, in part on the grounds that the inventor was unable to establish the utility of the invention.[176][notes 5]

Yes. (This is much better than what the article used to have on this topic, by the way.) Note 176 refers to In re Swartz, called “Swartz I” in the 2018 Swartz v. PATO rejection.

A U.S. patent might still be granted when given a different name to disassociate it from cold fusion,[177] though this strategy has had little success in the US: the same claims that need to be patented can identify it with cold fusion, and most of these patents cannot avoid mentioning Fleischmann and Pons’ research due to legal constraints, thus alerting the patent reviewer that it is a cold-fusion-related patent.[177]

The issue is not the name, so much as the claim. Patents have been granted which were cold-fusion related. One of the problems is that “cold fusion” is a loose popular name for the Fleischmann-Pons Heat Effect, and there is a large family of such effects, more commonly called Low Energy Nuclear Reactions, and that the “reactions” are nuclear in nature is a matter of theory, and only in a few instances, strong and direct evidence. Mostly what is seen is anomalous heat. “Little success in the US” is a bit misleading. Looking up the source, this was Voss, in Science, 1999, ‘New Physics’ Finds a Haven at the Patent Office and I doubt he understood the real situation (he seems to think that fringe science should not be patentable). Few cold fusion related patents had been granted by 1999, and there are fast-approval exceptions, for example for the age of the inventor. There are more, now. I don’t have the article (paywall). There was a sidebar, though, referring to Thomas Valone case. A Free Energy Enthusiast Seeks Like-Minded Colleagues. Valone won an arbitration with the USPTO. 

David Voss said in 1999 that some patents that closely resemble cold fusion processes, and that use materials used in cold fusion, have been granted by the USPTO.[178] The inventor of three such patents had his applications initially rejected when they were reviewed by experts in nuclear science; but then he rewrote the patents to focus more in the electrochemical parts so they would be reviewed instead by experts in electrochemistry, who approved them.[178][179]

Note 178 refers to Voss and gives the three patents:

US 5,616,219  US 5,628,886  US 5,672,259 are broken links. These work:  US5616219 US5628886 US5672259 .  These are Patterson patents. My understanding is that these were issued under a fast-track rule for inventors over 70 years old. So these have nothing to do with normal Patent Office practice.

Note 178 refers to a Law Review article, which I found of high interest. 2006 Wis. L. Rev. 1275 (2006) They cite an Internet Archive copy, this is the original publication: A Case Study of Inoperable Inventions: Why is the USPTO Patenting Pseudoscience, Daniel Rislove. Rislove covers the patenting of inoperable inventions, recognizes the difficulties involved, but seems to think that nevertheless the USPTO should protect the public by not issuing patents to “pseudoscientific” inventions. However, the mission of the Patent Office is not to protect the public, but to benefit inventors. The problem is that the issuance of a patent can appear to support an inventor’s claim of legitimacy, in some cases. The problem is actually public ignorance and the ability of some inventors to deceive the public or investors as to the utility of their inventions, by the fact of a patent. Rislove seems to believe that that problem is insoluble, therefore the Patent Office should avoid harm to the public by taking greater care to reject inoperable inventions. But this will raise costs to inventors, and can also harm the public (he is aware that what is considered impossible might not actually be so. Perhaps an invention operates by an unknown principle, instead of what the inventor thinks. Patents are not scientific theories, and are not “pseudoscientific,” if described accurately.

The FDA is mentioned, but the mission of the FDA is to protect the public. At least in theory! There are other legal institutions that can protect the public from fraud and fakery. On the patent issue, every patent could be accompanied by a disclaimer that the patent does not guarantee operability or suitability for purpose. It could be made a form of fraud to claim that a patent shows these things.

When asked about the resemblance to cold fusion, the patent holder said that it used nuclear processes involving “new nuclear physics” unrelated to cold fusion.[178]

The quoted phrase is not found in source 178. Rislove does cite Voss so maybe the Wikipedia editor was confused. However, that would be a generic argument. “New nuclear physics” is not inherently incredible. “Cold fusion” conjures up a specific idea that is probably impossible under the relevant conditions. But there can always be new physics, including new nuclear physics. It’s merely unlikely, and until and unless the new physics is confirmed, the USPTO may have a basis for challenging it. But it is not clear to me that this right is actually useful for the purposes of patent law. Such rejections, as Rislove points out, are rare, but plenty of garbage is patented.

Melvin Miles was granted in 2004 a patent for a cold fusion device, and in 2007 he described his efforts to remove all instances of “cold fusion” from the patent description to avoid having it rejected outright.[180]

The source is an article, Cold fusion is back at the American Chemical Society It quotes Miles:

Miles is also careful to avoid using the words ‘cold fusion’. “There are code names you can use,” he says. In 2004 Miles and colleagues were granted a US patent for a palladium material doped with boron for use in low-energy nuclear reactions, but if the patent application contained the CF words it would never have been granted, Miles says. “We kind of disguised what we did.”

The Wikipedia link for the patent is dead. US6764561B1 Remarkably, though, the patent does cover the use of his material for generating energy. My emphasis:

The present invention generally relates to processes for the production of a high-strength alloy that may be used as a gas purification membrane, as an electrode for numerous applications including the generation of heat energy or other electrochemical processes, and more particularly to the preparation and use of two-phase palladium-boron alloys which have greater strength and hardness than other palladium metals or alloys and which thus can be advantageously utilized in a variety of applications including hydrogen purification membranes or electrodes.

And then in the Background, again my emphasis:

. . . the demand for energy increases each year while the world’s natural energy sources such as fossil fuels are finite and are being used up. Accordingly, the development of alternative energy sources is very important and a number of potential new energy sources are under study. Although there have been many attempts to develop a palladium compound which can be utilized in processes to generate heat, such as through the introduction of aqueous deuterium, none of these attempts have been successful or repeatable, and there is thus a distinct need to develop palladium alloys which can be utilized for the generation of heat as a potential energy source.

So he is claiming a possible use, but not standing the patent on “nuclear reactions,” even though he is obviously talking about what is known as “cold fusion.” He is centrally claiming an alloy with multiple uses. It is not “incredible” that an alloy can be made. The utility of such an alloy might be claimed, but this is where the burden of proof would be on the USPTO, to show that it is not useful.

At least one patent related to cold fusion has been granted by the European Patent Office.[181]

The Davis patent I have cited elsewhere, which is a US patent which clearly cited Fleischmann and Pons, also cites this patent, EP0568118, “Process for storing hydrogen, and apparatus for cold nuclear fusion and method for generating heat energy, using the process.” application 1990, granted to Canon in 1993.

There are other European patents, for sure, but Wikipedia can only cite what is in reliable secondary sources, and the source here was a 1994 article in New Scientist.

A patent only legally prevents others from using or benefiting from one’s invention. However, the general public perceives a patent as a stamp of approval, and a holder of three cold fusion patents said the patents were very valuable and had helped in getting investments.[178]

Yes. Patents are not stamps of approval. Period. You want approval, for safety, go to Underwriter’s Laboratories. For drugs, go to the Food and Drug Administration (in the U.S). For investment in cold fusion inventions, scream and run in the opposite direction unless you have experts with you. Even scientists have been fooled by “demonstrations.”

What is required for validation is verification by independent experts, in circumstances under the control of those experts. For an investor, the most important word in this is “independent.” Cold fusion is not impossible, we know that, because of controlled experiment, multiply confirmed. (But the word “fusion” could still be misleading.) As it stands, a lot of very smart people have worked for decades to create reliable devices and they have failed. So a reliable cold fusion device is quite unexpected. The US Patent Office, rightly or wrongly, wants to see proof of utility and enablement, and if you actually have such a device, proving it should not be all that difficult. Unless you want to keep secrets, or don’t actually have something reliable, then it could be impossible.

Swartz comment

This is a subpage of Swartz v. PATO.

Mitchell Swartz, on his Cold Fusion Times  web site, has put up a series of “queries” or challenges to the recent U.S. Federal Court of Appeals that confirmed the dismissal of his lawsuit against the U.S. Patent Office. This is what he has, prominently, a set of images, one being text-as-image. I often wonder if some do that to make it difficult to copy and critique. Be that as it may:

These are, at least in part, rhetorical questions, incorporating rhetorical assumptions. When I learned of the appeals court decision, I looked at it, and created pages to study it, the top-level page being Swartz v. PATO, which includes the docket for the appeal and for the Virginia Federal Court where Mitchell filed.

Dr. Swartz kindly provided some of the documents, and I have been downloading more with my PACER account. Many of the filings are very large and will be expensive to download, so unless I have help and support, as I did before with Rossi v. Darden, my efforts may be limited. This case brings up important issues, easily misunderstood (as Mitchell may have misunderstood many of the problems he faced). Mitchell presented, over the years, voluminous evidence on the reality of LENR; unfortunately for his patents, the USPTO was looking for something far more specific, and most of that evidence was irrelevant, and when one submits mountains of irrelevant evidence, the useful needle in the haystack may go unnoticed. That’s reality and the legal system. Skill in presentation and argument matter, and this is why dealing with an issue of major economic import, pro se (without an attorney), is a Bad Idea. I will cover this on other pages; here I am looking at the questions and incorporated claims in that image.

Believe it or not, courts do not “investigate” in matters like this. Rather, the U.S. has an adversarial system, where plaintiffs and defendants investigate and present evidence; the court applies rules of procedure and evidence and advises the finder of fact, a jury, where a jury is demanded (as Mitchell did in his Complaint), as to what evidence it may consider and what factual questions it is to answer; in a civil case, this will be a determination of what they jury infers from the preponderance of the evidence. The jury does not investigate, and the court does not investigate, and it can be like pulling teeth to get judges to read the mountains of evidence sometimes provided (sometimes a fact is procedurally relevant, and if judges misunderstand the facts, they might err on procedure). In this case, mountains of evidence were provided before it was actually time. The result of that is often, I suspect, to irritate the judges. In this case, on appeal, no new evidence would be allowed, but that didn’t stop Mitchell from submitting it and then complaining when it was not considered.

Mitchell has developed a “story” of USPTO intransigence, prejudice, and massively unfair treatment. He’s been to court many times over this, and appears to have lost every time, which, of course, he ascribes to a conspiracy to suppress cold fusion, and “poisonous tree” refers, I think, to the idea which showed up in USPTO rulings long ago, that “cold fusion” was “impossible.” That is, in itself, a major topic, but the current operation of this is that the USPTO continues to assess the current state of wide scientific opinion as not yet contradicting the old opinions that they originally relied upon. The Patent Board of Appeals, in 2013, was still citing very early comments, when there is evidence of higher probity from later reviews, ignored. Why is that later evidence ignored? Has the point been made effectively? That’s a complex question; what I see is that in his filings in this case, Mitchell failed to make it clearly, and, more to the point, the overall view of cold fusion is not the cause of rejection. Rather, that view causes, they consider, a reasonable person to suspect that the claim is inoperable, not of adequate utility. Once that suspicion is raised, they may, by law, demand proof of utility. It doesn’t matter if the original reason for suspicion was “wrong.” They will want to see specific evidence of utility for the specific invention that is the subject of the relevant patent. If, instead, they are provided with mountains of evidence on the general issue of the reality of cold fusion, they will — properly! — ignore it.

Is it a “poisonous tree”? Is it causing cold fusion-related patents to be unfairly rejected? Maybe, sometimes, but skillfully-prosecuted patents have been granted, sometimes by procedural tricks that bypassed the “tree.” Further, a patent is not rejected for that reason alone; rather that reason (the “poison”) raises suspicion and legally, the burden of proof of utility then falls on the inventor. It is possible to avoid this by not making a claim considered impossible. Nevertheless, if the claim is essential, all that the shift of burden does is to protect the public from patents where it is considered likely to be a waste of time to attempt to use the patent for the stated purpose, and how that purpose is stated in the patent is crucial.

Mitchell made nuclear fusion claims from the beginning and it appears he tried to retroactively define a patent (“‘258”) as not related to cold fusion, but merely being about a method of measuring loading. I think he was right, that is, it has other relevance, but being right is not enough, as the case shows. If one argues “right” without skill, and with a flurry of irrelevant evidence and arguments, sometimes the true baby gets tossed with the bathwater.

“Panel” in the image refers to the Court of Appeals three-judge panel, which issued all of its decisions in this case “Per Curiam,” which means unanimously.

Mitchell clearly, and long ago, took a heavily adversarial role with the USPTO, accusing them of misbehavior. As a political reality, it can happen that bureaucrats will still deal with you fairly, but the probability of this goes down. Mitchell’s attitude may be responsible for his failure to successfully prosecute his patents. ‘258 may well have been patentable, the USPTO’s argument there is weakest, but I can see in the record that Mitchell set this up by how he applied for the patent, claiming utility for initiating a nuclear reaction. Oops!

That was not technically correct! Until the general scientific community accepts that the FP Heat Effect is nuclear in nature, in such a way that the USPTO can get the shift through their reasonably-thick skull, that claim sill sink a patent. Or one had better be able to prove it with an actual practical device, independently tested, etc., and fully described in the patent, no secrets required.

I did not see this in Mitchell’s own evidence, the relevant documents that I have seen so far were provided by the USPTO, which seemed to be operating on full disclosure, providing the only copies I see in the record of the DIA and DTRA reports, as an example . (Mitchell, to some extent, contradicts what was written in the original ‘258 patent application. As that application would be crucial to some of the arguments, and there are other possible missing documents, I am suspecting that Mitchell failed to attach a number of documents to his original Complaint (and did not notice it and then blamed the Court for not considering them, echoing his earlier conflicts with the USPTO). So, to Mitchell’s continued rant:

To make sense of “187,” I needed to look it up. This is slang for “murder,” after Section 197 of the California Penal Code. Then “Quarie” only makes sense as a bizarrely misspelled “Query.” No. the USPTO and the DOE did not “kill” cold fusion. Cold fusion hasn’t been born yet, not fully, not as a patentable device that could claim, as Mitchell claimed, “nuclear fusion.” I could present evidence that the mainstream scientifically considers “excess heat” possible; and peer-reviewed reviews of the field that consider this a nuclear effect, but these do not establish *utility,* the critical legal question Mitchell has been butting his head against, he claims for 29 years. The first Swartz LENR patent I see in mentioned in the record was ‘937, filed June 27, 1989. Wow, that was fast!

There is a very long record here and it’s going to take me considerable time to come up to speed on it.

So, “Why are the peer-reviewed papers, the open demonstrations at MIT, and the successful courses not mentioned in the corrupt Decision?”

The Decision. Those items may be great interest to us if we are trying to assess the possibility of real LENR inventions, and thus judge the PATO prejudice against “cold fusion,” but they were not relevant to the Appeals court subject matter. There is, indeed, a political issue. PATO practice may be unfair, but the executive branch has discretion, and only a gross abuse of that discretion might be actionable. We are talking about, most of these patents, very old decisions, already litigated, in at least some cases. Hence we see “collateral estoppel” brought up. Mitchell does not show an understanding of the basic issue. What he calls the “poisonous tree,” I think is the old idea that cold fusion was broadly considered impossible, back in the day when cold fusion patents were first considered. I have found reference to the idea that the PATO rejects cold fusion patents out of hand. That has never been completely true, I’m finding.

Storms has, in his 2007 book, one of the only references in the many booksI have on LENR, on the subject of PATO practice: He tells a story from personal experience, p. 15, about working with ENECO.

“In addition, Paul Eveans, a lawyer, was hired to move various patent applications, including the one describing the Fleischmann and Pons work, through the Patent Office. Little did we realize that the Patent Office, in the person of Harvey Behrend (since retired), would refuse to issue patents on the subject — of course because he followed the wishes of his boss and various political appointees. Reams of deposition, detailed published evidence, and numerous official forms were sent to the Patent Office only to be rejected because the New York Times, in one article or another, said the claims were not real. Scientific evidence we presented had no effect. More than a million dollars was spent satisfying the legal requirements and demands of Mr. Behrend, to no avail Finally, the company ran out of money and the patent application was given back to the University of Utah where it was allowed to lapse. As a result one of the great discoveries of the 20th century was not accepted in the US even though patents in Japan and in other countries were granted. Many other people had similar experiences, resulting in the absence of intellectual property protection for inventors. This failure by the Patent Office not only resulted in an intellectual property mess requiring future correction; it also forced people to keep their best ideas secret.

This appears to be a naive account, from what I’m finding. The PATO would not “reject a patent” because of a New York Times story, not like that. Rather, the widespread opinion about cold fusion would cause reasonable skepticism as to the utility of an invention that claims “cold fusion.” In the presence of that, the Patent Office decided to require proof of utility. Not proof of scientific possibility, but proof of an actually useful invention; something that produces demonstrations and measurable effects, nuclear or otherwise, is not necessarily useful. What I’ve seen with the Swartz litigation is massive evidence presented that did not show utility, and examples would be published papers (that don’t show utility for the specific claimed inventions), public demonstrations (consider the Rossi demonstrations!), and the MIT cold fusion course.

ENECO did not have a practical device, but was attempting to patent the “discovery” of an effect, in a situation where there was no way of describing how to reliably create the effect, let alone to make it useful. Yes, many inventions are patented without that proof being required, but that was a shift in patent practice in the 19th century, as I recall being told (they used to require working models). Inventor representations are taken as if true, unless some reason arises to question them, and that has happened with many patents, as, for example, some cases covered by Robert Park in Voodoo Science.

Swartz was arguing against the obvious: there is reason to doubt any claims of useful LENR devices, until strong evidence appears otherwise. And “useful” is the controlling word here, for patent law. “Real” isn’t. ENECO may have wasted a million dollars on a wild-goose chase.

Swartz has pointed to patents issued relating to astrology, but he doesn’t understand that an invention relating to astrology need not claim that “astrology is real.” It can simply be a means of displaying data. The one patent I’ve seen in the pile litigated in this case, that might have been issued if not connected with “cold fusion,” was a device for measuring loading, and the original application may have claimed usefulness in “monitoring and accelerating electrochemically induced nuclear fusion reactions,” which claim was, then, rejected as not believable. All that rejection did was shift the burden of proof to Swartz, and my guess is that, had he focused on that specific patent and corrected the point, he might have succeeded, but he mixed it — and continued to mix it — with his other applications, and I’m not sure he ever remedied the defect. Basically, the original error was in assuming “nuclear fusion reactions,” when one might want to measure loading for other purposes, including investigating the possibility of unexpected reactions at high loading.

(That Swartz may have been looking so strongly at loading in June, 1989, is remarkable! No wonder he got the Preparata Award! — except I’ve never seen any sign that the invention was actually used by anyone. It may not have actually been practical, it may have required development that was not undertaken. McKubre used R/R0, to monitor loading, which merely requires an extra wire, could be easier, though less direct.)

Bottom line, the original patent was filed in 1989 and there are still no marketable products from it, and I don’t recall seeing any papers from Swartz that used the device. It was an idea, it is not clear that it was ever realized. Yes, normally, one may be able to patent ideas, but . . . not if they arouse skepticism, in which case, proof may be required. As to how Swartz might have corrected the application, I’m not a lawyer, I merely think it might have been possible. And it is also possible (and there exists some evidence for) that there was political pressure on the PATO.

Why was the Hearing Memorandum removed before the Decision?

The Memorandum was included in this mixed Motion. It was not “removed” because permission to submit it was denied, and that was explained  in the Order of denial. (link added)

. . . as a court of appeals, our review is generally limited by the record before the district court. See Fed. R. App. P. 10(a). This Court generally does not accept new evidence for consideration in the first instance. Moreover, Appellant has not shown that this new evidence is material to the issue at hand.

If Mitchell does not understand the explanations of the Court, I’d recommend he discuss them with an attorney. He could also ask me, though I’m not an attorney. He’s been invited to comment here, which would include making corrections and asking questions.

Mitchell had already submitted his original appeal and an oversize Reply brief responding, in theory, to the arguments of the appellees. The new evidence he supplied continued to be irrelevant to the issue of the appeal. If anything, it could be read as damaging his case. The Preparata Medal was awarded, not for his inventions, per se, but for his investigations of the “anomaly.” Anomaly means something unknown, not understood, and therefore properly subject to skepticism. The Declaration of David Nagel confirms PATO claims, actually, with only minor corrections:

13. The Patent Office writes:
Slide 14: “Reproducibility and control or experiments remains problematic. The mechanisms behind LENR are still not understood.”
Slide 42: “LENR do occur, but are not understood.”
[Nagel:] The statement about reproducibility and control applies to many LENR experiments and is factual. […]

14. The Patent Office writes:
Slide 37: “LENR must be reproducible, controllable and reliable before it is
commercialized ••• The wild card is when LENR will be understood, since understanding
it will make exploitation faster and better.”

[Nagel:] These statements are also factual. Products that are not reproducible, controllable and
reliable will not succeed on the market. When LENR will be understood in the normal
scientific manner, as cited above, is unknown, and can be called a “wild card”, a
personal choice of words by the author Nagel.

The PATO position is that the status quo has been and may still be that a claim of a useful LENR device may be questioned, and the burden of proof shifted to the inventor. Whether this is in the best interests of the US government or the public is a distinct question from the right of the PATO to follow this procedure. What seems clear to me is that the policy and practice has prevented many actually useless inventions from being patented. On the other hand, there is a loss of an ability to quickly patent new ideas. I really don’t know if there is more harm than good from the policy, but Mitchell appears to think that the practice has “killed” cold fusion. However, because an inventor could still demonstrate a useful device, the only patents that have been prevented are those where there was not actually a useful device, it seems. Patents have been issued, in fact, and still there are no useful devices, not even a “lab rat,”

As part of this investigation, I have found that there really is little coverage of the patent history with cold fusion, only a few anecdotes and widespread rumor that may or may not be misleading. So I’m considering doing a far more extensive study. Comments?

Who acted as judge, jury, and executioner of the new evidence?

The new evidence was not destroyed, it’s still in the record, it still stands the same as before the judges unanimously denied permission to add it to the briefs already admitted, a few days before the actual hearing on the appeal.

Who misplaced all eight copies of the Reply brief. Why?

When one has developed a conspiracy theory, any anomaly, any unexplained event, can then be imputed to the conspiracy.

There is a mention of “eight copies” of the Reply brief in DE 34. a motion to correct the order accepting his out-of-time and oversize reply brief, arguing with what was, at worst, a totally harmless error, but wrong. The court rejected the motion as moot, and informed him of the rules regarding length. The deadline for filing the reply brief was not mentioned by Mitchell, but was in the record of the filing of the Appellee brief. He was late by ten days.

9. In summary, examination indicates that the prose Appellant’s Reply Brief was on time, was apparently within the word limit based upon the word processor’s own count of the number of words, and was accompanied by all 8 copies that mysteriously disappeared thereafter based on information and belief.

Therefore, the Appellant respectfully requests correction of the Order, or if not a full explanation of the reason for the two statements, and the then evanescently-“missing” Reply Briefs which were fortunately thereafter located.

So, Mitchell thinks it’s appropriate to demand an explanation from a three-judge panel of a transient clerical mishap? No harm had been caused. They ignored this, as I’d expect, but I have some sense of how Mitchell appeared to them. They did explain the length issue but not the time issue, and it was totally moot, as they ruled. Note to self: when a judge accepts my allegedly out of time filing and my oversize filing, say, “Thank you, your honor.” Not “I wasn’t late and it isn’t oversize! You’re wrong! And why did your clerk disappear the copies for the other parties?”

Who removed the DTRA and DIA reports from the federal court in the Eastern District of VA in 2017? Why?

Probably nobody. What is likely is that Mitchell thought he was attaching them to his complaint, but failed to do so. The reports were, however, provided by PATO in their motion to dismiss. See the Docket, DE 18-6 and 18-7.

The appeals court ruling refers to the reports. I found this in the original case dismissal Order:

Plaintiff discusses both of these reports—one from the Defense Intelligence Agency (“DIA”) and one from the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (“DTRA”)—in his Complaint. See Compl. [Dkt. No. 1] 61-69. Although plaintiff appears to claim that he attached both reports to his Complaint, see id. 61 (“Exhibit 11 is from the DIA Report. . ..”); id ^ 65 (“A closeup ofthe DTRA report is shown in Exhibit 12.”), neither report was filed with the court. Defendant included copies of both reports with his Motion to Dismiss. See Def Mem. [Dkt. No. 18] Ex. 6; Ex. 7. Because both documents were extensively discussed in the Complaint, they have been incorporated by reference and may be properly considered in evaluating defendant’s Motion to Dismiss and plaintiffs objections to that motion.

Mitchell, one would think, would have noticed the documents missing and would have taken action to file them. (He filed a series of statements from individuals with the Complaint), as separate documents. Errors like that can be fixed. It is possible that the defendants, then, would have had extra time to reply, that’s all. In fact, since the documents were provided by the defendants, as described, this was completely moot. I don’t know yet if he mentioned the alleged “removal” in the appeal, because I don’t yet have those files.

Who lied to the appellate court THREE TIMES misleading about the inventions in question?

I suspect this is about an interpretation that Mitchell disagrees with, but that the courts both seem to have confirmed, including the Patent Board of Appeals, before. Is the interpretation misleading? Perhaps. That doesn’t make it a lie. Mitchell did allege perjury, which claim often fails to go well unless it can be proven as intentional deception. The only statements tendered by the Appellees would be in the Response Brief, and if a misleading comment was material, then the place for Appellant (Mitchell) to note this would be in his Reply Brief, which followed the Response. Did he? I do have a copy of the Reply Brief.

The reply brief begins with a quite verbose rant:

There are so many errors in the Appellee’s Brief, that only the most significant can be addressed here. Briefly, the Appellee’s Brief is a rehash of past mischaracterizations and past factually false statements and new disingenuous statements without a single admission or substantive correction or discussion of the new evidence.

I don’t yet have the Appellee’s brief, so here I’m looking for the THREE LIES. Mitchell’s response has section headers and text in Red (which might not be allowed, but which the court may have ignored)

1 The Appellee’s Brief Ignores the Issues of the Complaint, the Complaint’s Detailed New Evidence, and Defendant’s Systematic Wrongdoing Against the Orders of the PTAB

Ignoring something is not a lie.

2 The Appellee’s Brief Ignores That 35 U.S.C. § 145 Claims are Supported by New Evidence

Again, ignoring something is not a lie.

3 The Appellee’s Brief Ignores Complaint’s Detailed, Factual Averments

4 The Appellee’s Brief Ignores Precise Orders to Plaintiff from the Patent Trademark Appeal Board [PTAB]

5 The Appellee’s Brief Ignores Defendant has Systematically Failed to File and/or Address Submitted Documents

I’m still looking for lies. If he’s buried them in details, they must not be that important.

6 The Appellee’s Brief Ignores Defendant’s Systematic Mischaracterizations of the Inventions

6-1 The Appellee’s Brief Ignores the actual Inventions

6-2 The Appellee’s Brief is Factually Wrong about Each Invention

Okay, factually wrong, though what is discussed is interpretive and both courts seem to have pointed to contradictions in Mitchell’s arguments. I’m still looking for “lies.”

6-3 The Appellee’s Brief Ignores that These Inventions are Not “F+P”

6-4 The Appellee’s Brief Mischaracterizes and Ignores Other Uses for These Technologies

That may be true, but the substance here is that “other uses” became mixed up with claims of nuclear fusion, and Mitchell’s attempt to detach them from the FP Heat Effect and “cold fusion” claims simply was not accepted by the PATO nor by the Patent and Trademark Appeals Board, nor by the Federal Court nor by the Appeals Court, in multiple cases, and this was, in the end, moot, because the patents were not denied because of being “F+P” but because the inventor failed to prove utility. (Most evidence provided by Mitchell was directed toward showing possible scientific reality, which is a quite different issue.)

7 The Appellee’s Brief is Factually Wrong about Operability

The legal issue is not actually operability, but rather whether or not the inventor fulfilled a burden of proof created by reasonable doubt that the disclosures were “operable,” i.e., if instructions were followed, the claimed benefits of practical utility would be obtained. Mitchell, again and again, appears to not understand what the PATO is requiring, and, as well, what the courts are requiring.

I am not convinced that there is any invention extant that would meet the heightened scrutiny of the PATO. For various reasons and because of various situations, the PATO has granted some patents relating to cold fusion. To my knowledge, none have proven to be of actual utility, yet. Mitchell wrote:

26. The USPTO has absolutely NO foundation to support their mistaken opinion.

What Mitchell appears not to understand is two-fold:

The PATO doesn’t have to prove foundation, they merely need (probably) to have some basis for suspicion of lack of utility or inoperability.

The evidence provided by Mitchell actually shows clear basis for such suspicion. Mitchell is claiming that this is “wrong,” or “mistaken,” but suspicion doesn’t have to be correct to be reasonable.

(And behind all this is that an inventor, with a practical and operability invention of real utility, should be able to provide evidence of utility. Yes, it might be unfair, but that’s the cost of working in a field that is not fully accepted. Given that a practical device doing what Mitchell claims — in this brief — should be worth billions of dollars, it’s not too much burden.)

8.DTRA and DIA Reports Proves §145 Enablement of These Inventions and Failure of Defendant to Honor Exculpatory Evidence

I have not seen where these reports do that, and this would, in any case, not represent “lies,” which is what I’m looking for, here. The dismissal order and the appeals court affirmation of the dismissal do consider those reports and deny that they “prove enablement of these inventions.” “Exculpatory evidence” would refer to evidence contrary to the blanket assumption of suspicion of lack of utility or inoperability, and once suspicion is raised, that becomes moot.

9. DIA Report Proves §145 Enablement of These Inventions

Apparently Mitchell believes it is enough that his research is mentioned, and does not cite actual evidence of operability or utility of the specific patents involved.

10.DTRA Report Proves §145 Enablement of These Inventions

Color me doubtful. I haven’t reviewed the specific reports cited, yet, but from general familiarity with similar reports, it is highly unlikely that they did what Mitchell is claiming, and the Courts both cited contrary evidence from those reports. I’m totally willing to revisit this, but … Mitchell is crying “lies” without showing actual lies, merely disagreements.

11.The Appellee’s Brief Ignores that Open Demos at MIT Proves §145 Enablement of These Inventions

It is difficult for me to understand how a demo such as those I have seen descriptions of could do this. A prototype product, independently tested, might do part of this, and an independent construction of a device using the patent information could also do this. Mere scientific reality is not enough for inventions claiming what Mitchell claimed in this Reply Brief.

I’m losing patience. So far, the most that Swartz has done is to claim error, and when he does so, he merely alleges it, he doesn’t seem to quote the alleged erroneous statement. His Reply brief does not appear to be correlated with the Appellee’s brief. But, again, I don’t yet have that brief.

In an appeal, a proper argument would be that the original court was wrong, not that the defendant was wrong. Mitchell doesn’t know what he’s doing; if he had a prayer of reversing the dismissal, he didn’t realize how to take advantage of the opportunity. He simply kept repeating a very old error, making the assumption of the impossibility of cold fusion the issue when that, in fact, isn’t conclusive, if the inventor can prove utility and operability, which are not the same as some level of acceptance of possibility and some general acceptance that there might be real effects. He’s fighting an old fight, that will soon be obsolete, once there are real devices on the market. If Mitchell had been able to show real devices actually being sold, it would have been all over. I see no sign that he attempted to do that, leading me to suspect that the PATO argument is, in his case, correct. His inventions are not yet at the stage of practicality.

He claims that the ‘258 invention was patented by someone else (at Nissan) without regard for his application. But he torpedoed that invention by claiming utility in “nuclear reactions,” which I’m pretty sure the Nissan patent did not claim! (I was correct. This is the patent. While there is a resemblance, this is a patent for a device to control fuel flow in a fuel cell. Device and method for controlling fuel cell system with vibration amplitude detection)

Reviewing the rest of the Reply brief, I find reference to claims that might have had some legs, if raised clearly and without distraction from all the claims of lying and misbehavior. The PATO issue has always been, as far as I can tell, procedural, and the existence of many claims, with voluminous evidence provided — possibly too much! — what might have been possible was lost. Procedurally, I think Mitchell may have exhausted his recourse, the possibility of a successful appeal to the Supreme Court being, I’d think,remote based on the record here. I do know that at least one attorney has reviewed Mitchell’s patent history and found that he failed to properly pursue the process. But I hope to eventually document all of it, because this is part of the history of cold fusion.  Back to Mitchell’s image:

Who lied to the federal appellate court misdescribing a method to measure loading to fabricate a “poisonous tree”?

Indeed, who? And where? Again, the only statement made to the appellate court by the PATO was the Response brief.  From Mitchell’s Reply brief:

There is nothing new in it.

Mitchell seems to think that is a problem. That is actually normal. Mitchell seems to believe that the Appeal would be like a trial de novo, and he attempted to submit new evidence. Briefs filed with an appeals court are intended to lay out, for the convenience of the Court, legal arguments and to call attention to what may be relevant within the trial record, not to introduce anything new. Mitchell had the opportunity to assert new evidence to the trial court. That court considered his evidence and arguments and rejected them as irrelevant, and, certainly, many of them were such. “The poisonous tree” claim of Mitchell’s is rhetoric aimed to create public outrage. It misses the basic point: the PATO may, as an executive decision, treat patent claims in some area as implausible, requiring evidence of utility and operability. The inventor then has recourse, and the legal issue would be, then, did Mitchell satisfy the burden of proof on the relevant issues, or did he instead attack the consideration of implausibility, which is not conclusive, but only procedural.

The multitude of problems within the Appellees Brief now includes impugning the pro se Plaintiff (now Appellant) and his several unique, novel and non-obvious inventions producing clean energy.

Once again, Mitchell, while denying that his inventions are “cold fusion” or “F-P” technology, still insists that they are “producing clean energy,” thus resting his possibly useful inventions (his loading measurement method looks like it could work to me) on a result that is still not accepted, and that is considered as questionable or not established by the very new evidence he alleges. This all seems to be about attempting to prove that he is a great scientist. He reacted strongly to the facts pointed out by the clerk and the Court in accepting his late and oversize Reply brief, as if they were “impugning” him, wasting the time of the court to argue that this was Wrong. But even if it was wrong, it was moot, because they accepted his brief, so “late” and “oversize” were harmless dicta. Unless one cannot tolerate any perceived insult, no matter how minor.

Other errors include factually false statements, repeated  mischaracterizations, systematic misdescriptions of past evidence and pleadings, and outright misdescription of the inventions submitted and the Evidence accompanying them, and a reliance on i) the proverbial “fruit” obtained from the poisonous tree — which was fabricated by the Defendant to cover up an entire clean energy field using systematic discrimination and an odious series of factually false statements. It is unfortunate that Atty. 
Michael Forman misrepresents factual information to this court. His false statements will be corrected in this Reply Brief. Most egregiously, as this Reply Brief and the record demonstrates, the Defendant’s said reprehensible actions were made during, and followed by systematic repeated attempts at exculpatory actions.

So, rejection of patents filed by Mitchell Swartz is characterized as an attempt to “cover up an entire clean energy field.” What clean energy field? Is LENR clean technology? It has the potential to become such, if developed, but this has not yet been successfully demonstrated, as to actually useful devices. Spinning a rotor on a Sterling engine is not adequately useful to overcome the skepticism, and this is well-known in the “field.” (And I am not aware of fully-independent validation of even that result. Observing a demo is not fully-independent validation. The demo was under the control of the inventor. The inventor’s scientific papers, mostly published only within the specialty JCMNS and as conference papers, are not adequate for that. There are many examples within the record I have seen, so far, of inadequate evidence presented. A vast pile of inadequate evidence might sway a jury, if skillfully presented, but obviously did not sway the PATO, nor the Patent Appeals court, nor Federal Court, nor the Appeals Court.

Who does it satisfy? I have not seen evidence yet that speaks to practical utility and operability of specific inventions. Mitchell cites the declaration of Larry Forsely:

“I have a patent issued in this field USPTO 8,419,919 that cites multiple patent applications by Dr. Swartz.”

That would be System and method for generating particles

This patent, granted in 2013,  does not claim generation of useful energy, but only particle radiation. This patent demonstrates that the PATO is not ipso facto rejecting patents because they are “in the field.” It cites many patents as possible prior related art, including the applications (date in bold shows date granted).

US20010019594A1 1991-09-17 2001-09-06 Swartz Mitchell R. / Method and apparatus to control loaded isotopic fuel within a material
US20020021777A1 1989-06-27 2002-02-21 Swartz Mitchell R. / Method and apparatus to monitor loading using vibration
A rejected application must still be cited, if I’m correct, if related, and citation does not claim actual utility of the cited invention. Reviewing the list of cited applications, what I find contradicts the common impression that has been created that the PATO denies LENR patents. It’s not just Forsley.
US6248221B1 1995-12-26 2001-06-19 Randolph R. Davis / Electrolysis apparatus and electrodes and electrode material therefor. Cites the Fleischmann et al patent! LENR.
US6379512B1 *1998-02-11 2002-04-30 Northwest Aluminum Technology / Combination for electrolytic reduction of alumina Not LENR related.
US6444337B1 2000-09-26 2002-09-03 Energetics, Inc. / Fuel cell with low cathodic polarization and high power density Not LENR related.
US6562243B2 *2001-04-05 2003-05-13 Jonathan Sherman / Synergistic combination of metal ions with an oxidizing agent and algaecide to reduce both required oxidizing agent and microbial sensitivity to fluctuations in oxidizing agent concentration, particularly for swimming pools Not LENR related.
US20030112916A1 2000-02-25 2003-06-19 Keeney Franklin W. / Cold nuclear fusion under non-equilibrium conditions LENR.
US20030213696A1 2001-05-30 2003-11-20 Energetics Technologies, L.L.C. / Pulsed electrolytic cell LENR, Superwave, abandoned.
US20050045482A1 2003-08-25 2005-03-03 Storms Edmund K. / Electrolytic heat source. LENR, abandoned.
US20050129160A1 2003-12-12 2005-06-16 Robert Indech Apparatus and method for facilitating nuclear fusion LENR.
US20050236376A1 2001-08-13 2005-10-27 Eccles Christopher R / Energy generation LENR
US20050276366A1 1995-05-12 2005-12-15 Electrochemical Innovations, Inc. [John Dash]Low temperature nuclear fusion LENR.
US20060088138A1 2004-04-07 2006-04-27 Andre Jouanneau / Method and apparatus for the generation and the utilization of plasma solid Maybe LENR (plasma). Refers to Fleischmann. Abandoned.
US20060153752A1 2002-10-11 2006-07-13 Yoshiaki Arata / Hydrogen condensate and method of generating heat therewith LENR.
US20070095823A1 2005-10-27 2007-05-03 Sedlmayr Steven R / Microwave nucleon-electron-bonding spin alignment and alteration of materials I was going to classify as not LENR, but … the inventor is chatty, this patent is a great example of how not to write an application, and he claimed utility for creating cold fusion. Hence, LENR.
US20070140400A1 2005-10-19 2007-06-21 Hodgson John A / Cold fusion apparatus LENR
US20070206715A1 2005-12-29 2007-09-06 Profusion Energy, Inc. [Godes, Brillouin] / Energy generation apparatus and method LENR.
US20070269688A1 2004-05-19 2007-11-22 Sri International / Liquid anode electrochemical cell Fuel cell, not LENR related.
US20070280398A1 2005-12-05 2007-12-06 Dardik Irving I / Modified electrodes for low energy nuclear reaction power generators LENR.
US20070286324A1 2002-05-182 007-12-13 Spindletop Corporation / Direct generation of electrical and electromagnetic energy from materials containing deuterium. LENR.
Summary: The granted patents for Forsley and Davis show that LENR patents are being approved. However, those patents did not claim practical energy production. Davis, in particular, claimed an improved electrolysis system for investigating possible nuclear effects. That is, its utility did not depend on the utility or reality of LENR. The other LENR patents did make such claims, often very explicitly.
The “poisonous tree” is the information cascade, that cold fusion was all a big mistake, pathological science, etc. And that therefore that “cold fusion” is impossible, that’s part of the cascade. This widespread idea then leads the PATO to suspect lack of utility and inoperability, so they require strong evidence, and reject weak and circumstantial evidence (such as Swartz winning the Preparata Medal, which has no bearing on the utility of his patents).
It has often been pointed out that theory is unnecessary in a patent application. The mention of fusion in the applications was a mistake, because it is still in substantial controversy whether or not the “anomalous heat effect” is fusion. So if the utility of a patent is to “create nuclear fusion,” and the method is similar to the FP methods or is connected with them, the suspicion is reasonable and they may then shift the burden of proof to the inventor.
That condition will last, I predict, until actual practical and substantially devices are constructed and available. They might be “toys,” demonstrating some effect.  Such demonstrations may have utility, but as to the energy future of humanity and Mitchell’s visions, that would not be good enough, and . . . even if it were, he hasn’t claimed that.
I disagree with an aspect of the conclusion of the Appeals Court, but it was dicta, not actually central. I have bolded it:
Finally, Swartz has not shown error in the district court’s dismissal of his challenge under the patent clause of the Constitution. His entitlement to a patent under that provision is framed and defined by Title 35 of the U.S. Code, which includes explicit requirements for utility and enablement. Because the Board and district court adequately showed that Swartz’s inventions lack utility and enablement, he is not entitled to patents on those inventions.
No, the Board did not show that the inventions lack utility and enablement. Rather, what was shown, as far as I’ve seen, was that Swartz failed to prove utility and enablement, as required, and the “new evidence” that was his basis for going to federal court did not adequately show specific utility and enablement for specific patents, but rather attacked or were relevant to the “general opinion” about cold fusion. Once the PATO has required special evidence, the only remedy for an inventor is to provide it, unless the inventor can prove some special exception, such as the corruption of an examiner.
In reality, reasonable doubt remains — within the field — as to the utility and enablement issues for Mitchell’s inventions. “Doubt” is not the same as “proof of non-existence.” Given the long history of Mitchell’s patents, and the lack of practical products, even as available prototypes, we must suspect that the original patent applications — beginning in 1989 — were not of useful inventions, but merely of possibly interesting ideas.
Who failed to log submitted Evidence and Declarations for 29 years? Why?
Indeed, who, what, where? This has been a long case, and Mitchell was dealing with a government bureaucracy. If, indeed, there were failures to log, these kinds of failures are common and do not evidence, by themselves, a pattern of discrimination. Indeed, it is unlikely that if the intention of the PATO were to wrongfully deny a patent, one would think they would exercise great care to avoid ordinary mistakes, because of the likelihood of a challenge. In his Complaint, Mitchell brings up failures to log and other alleged errors, without any showing that he was actually harmed. We can see similar behavior in the appeal, where alleged error in the Order that actually accepted his allegedly late and oversize Reply brief, is raised as if anything other than moot. The “missing eight copies” clearly, in his mind, constitute evidence of some kind of conspiracy to harm him and the entire field of clean energy.
In one case, Mitchell allegedly submitted evidence on a CD, which is not an allowed form of document submission. So those documents might indeed not have been logged or considered timely. But he could have remedied all this, there are procedures for correcting errors that don’t involve filing a federal lawsuit, and, in fact, a major ground for dismissal is that due process was not followed, and Mitchell provides an excuse that he did follow process in this or that case and it was allegedly ignored. At least that’s how I remember it.
Summary: The alleged corruption is not supported by the evidence in Swartz v PATO. There are two clear paths to LENR patents:
1. Do not claim energy production as a primary claim. Do not claim some theory of operation, particularly do not claim “fusion.” Notice that the Forsley patent claims to generate “particles,” which would be evidence of nuclear reactions, but not of practical levels for energy production (and the approach is electrolytic, unlikely to be useful for energy production.) The Davis patent does not claim fusion or nuclear process, but rather the use of the device for investigating possible reactions.
2. If a patent application must assert energy production or fusion, then be prepared to produce strong evidence of utility, not merely some experimental results. Reliability is essential. It is not possible at this time to patent LENR devices for energy production based only in an idea, not actually reduced to a practical device. That deviates from practice in many other fields, but is not illegal discrimination.
Update: Memicry
Pretending to be what one is not can be dangerous to your health. Dr. Swartz has used this meme on Cold fusion times:
Searching for the original, I came across many kangaroo court images, such as the following, which portrays what would likely have happened if Mitchell had survived the Motion to Dismiss and he actually went before a jury:
The full video is about racism and is a brilliantly produced music video:
Not very long ago, it could be a fatal mistake for someone of the “wrong race” to merely talk with someone of another “wrong race.” Dressing yourself up in a mustang and changing the appearance of your face doesn’t make you a mustang, if you are actually a zebra.
if you are a zebra, be proud! Faced with what can seem unfair — or may actually be unfair — doesn’t allow misrepresentation of reality, and Mitchell did this in his pleadings, and it was obvious to the court. He was not lying, but being quite careless of the truth, and he’s continuing it on his web site.
The simple reality for patents is that any patent that claims cold fusion or nuclear fusion from chemistry, for the production of energy, is going to be challenged as likely to be unworkable. To survive that challenge, the inventor must show more than is normally required for a patent, absent such a claim.
(This  is a general principle for anything deemed impossible — which really must be understood as “unlikely,” an “extraordinary claim,” requiring “extraordinary evidence.” This did not begin with cold fusion.)
It is still quite possible to patent cold fusion inventions, and patents have been issued, but there are obvious pitfalls to be avoided, and Swartz did not avoid them.
The error was common in many early patents, including some skillfully prosecuted, but Andrea Rossi, ironically, showed how to move beyond that (and his attorney may have learned from others who have also obtained patents).  His first patent claimed nuclear energy and mentioned “cold fusion,” but he filed a new patent that made no such claim, it only claimed heat, not making a quantitative claim, and not running into the old prejudice. The old patent is still caught in the machinery and I predict it will ultimately die. The new patent was approved, Rossi was very proud of that.
Now, Mitchell also filed new patents, but then claimed priority from his very old filings, which then caused the old claim (useful for creating nuclear fusion!) to be incorporated in the new, thus suspicion of non-utility and non-operability would continue to attach to them, and it did.
Mitchell, as well, made contradictory argument: he cited evidence for cold fusion as if this related to his invention, while at the same time attempting to deny he was claiming cold fusion. Very tricky. Not a job for someone acting pro se, unless that person were willing to learn from his own mistakes and those of others. The examples are out there, and he had been strongly instructed by previous Appeals Court decisions as to what not to do, but he did the same things anyway, deja vu all over again.
This case is definitely not to be presented as representing the community opinion about Mitchell and his patents and the dismissals. As Mitchell has been presenting it, it will mislead many and can cause harm in two ways: first, it can make the community look exactly like what the pseudoskeptics claim, a collection of die-hard conspiracy theorists, thus also discouraging, to some extent, examination of the scientific evidence for cold fusion (which the court considered irrelevant to its decision, and that appears correct to me as to law).
As with our common response to the DOE Reviews of 1989 and 2004, what were actually “not proven yet” reviews — much more so in 1989 than in 2004, where the result was more like “interesting, may be real, but more research is needed, massive program not yet justified” (which is my position and also that of DARPA and DIA in the reports Mitchell presented, apparently. By attacking those reviews, when they were overall reasonable — even though mistaken in some ways — we made ourselves look reactive and attached to belief. A more productive response might have been to thank the reviewers for their work and then hold the DOE’s feet to the fire for actually implementing the recommendations of both reviews. After all, more research was a total and real consensus in 2004. Don’t we agree with that?
Secondly, it also generates some level of doubt about Mitchell’s own scientific claims. If he can so badly misrepresent process fully shown in verifiable records, why would we trust his probity in presenting scientific evidence from his own research?
Nevertheless, there is quite good reason to suspect Mitchell has ideas and inventions of interest, and the same with experimental results. However, as with his inventions before the PATO and the court, he may exaggerate and cherry-pick evidence, his analysis may be suspect and self-serving. Not uncommon, and this is why we have peer reviewers and other analytical processes, and we need more of that, much more.
I am suggesting, in general, with all work in the field, that it be very carefully and thoroughly reviewed and critiqued, and where claims are of interest and import, that confirmation and ultimately fully-independent verification be pursued. We have too much primary evidence, already, and too little that is clearly and unmistakably confirmed. Such does exist, but can also still be improved as well as extended.
This is an issue with possible lost opportunity cost from delay of a trillion dollars per year. It’s worth finding out how to do it right.

Ruling on appeal

Subpage of Swartz v. PATO
Links to pages of ruling:

Links have been added, and comments in indented italics.

The ruling:  (our copy)

NOTE: This disposition is nonprecedential.
United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
Appeal from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia in No. 1:17-cv-00482-LMBTCB, Judge Leonie M. Brinkema.
Decided: July 17, 2018
MITCHELL R. SWARTZ, Weston, MA, pro se.
NATHAN K. KELLEY, Office of the Solicitor, United States Patent and Trademark Office, Alexandria, VA, for defendants-appellees. Also represented by MICHAEL S. FORMAN, BENJAMIN T. HICKMAN, THOMAS W. KRAUSE; [page 2] TRACY DOHERTY-MCCORMICK, KIMERE JANE KIMBALL, Office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, Alexandria, VA.

Before PROST, Chief Judge, NEWMAN and LINN, Circuit Judges.


This means by unanimous consent of the Judges.

Mitchell R. Swartz brought a complaint in the Eastern District of Virginia pursuant to 35 U.S.C. § 145, in which he challenged the decision of the U.S. Patent Trademark Office rejecting six of Swartz’s patent applications—U.S. Patent Application No. 12/932,058; No. 12/589,258; No. 13/544,381; No. 12/316,643; No. 09/748,691; and No. 09/750,765—as unpatentable under 35 U.S.C. §§ 101 and 112. Swartz also alleged various forms of misconduct by the patent office. The district court dismissed his complaint under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(1) and 12(b)(6) and Swartz now appeals. Swartz v. Matal, No. 1:17-cv-482 (E.D.Va. Aug. 22, 2017) (Brinkema, J.) (“District Court Op.”). Because the District Court did not err, we affirm.

12/932,058. Patent Board decision on appeal. 9/28/2016

Fed. R. Civ. P. 12 (b) . . . a party may assert the following defenses by motion:
(1) lack of subject-matter jurisdiction; . . .
(6) failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted; . . .

We begin with the ‘381 application. Section 145 creates a cause of action to challenge a “decision of the Patent Trial and Appeal Board.” At the time Swartz filed his complaint in district court, and throughout the pendency of this action before the district court’s decision, the Board had not yet issued its decision with respect to the ’381 application. Because there was no “decision” of the Board to challenge with respect to that application, the district court properly dismissed that portion of Swartz’s claim.
The district court also properly dismissed Swartz’s claims with respect to the ’058 and ’765 applications on the bases of collateral estoppel. In In re Swartz, 50 F. App’x 422, 424-25 (Fed. Cir. 2002) (“Swartz II”) (per [page 3] curiam), this court affirmed the rejection of Swartz’s U.S. Patent Application No. 08/406,457 for failure of utility and enablement. The at-issue ’058 application is a continuation of the ’457 application, and the representative claims in the two are “identical,” as represented by the Board and uncontested by Swartz.

Collateral estoppel – Wikipedia

Similarly, in In re Swartz, 232 F.3d 862, 864 (Fed. Cir. 2000) (“Swartz I”), this court held that the claims of Swartz’s U.S. Patent Application No. 07/760,970 were unpatentable for failure of utility and enablement. The at-issue ’765 application is a continuation of the ’970 application, and the representative claims in the two are nearly identical.

The core requirements for collateral estoppel are that: the issue in question is identical to an issue previously decided, the issue was actually litigated in the prior proceeding, the resolution of the issue was necessary to the prior judgment, and the party challenging the issue must have been given a full and fair opportunity to litigate the issue in the prior proceeding. Jet, Inc. v. Sewage Aeration Sys., 223 F.3d 1360, 1366 (Fed. Cir. 2000). Swartz argues that the district court wrongly applied estoppel here because he submitted new references not present in the previous appeals to show utility, and because the applications here no longer include explicit references to cold fusion.

Neither the new references nor the elimination of explicit reference to cold fusion avoids the application of collateral estoppel. Swartz has not shown that these differences “materially alter the question of invalidity.” See Ohio Willow Wood Co. v. Alps S., LLC, 735 F.3d 1333, 1342 (Fed. Cir. 2013). Substantially identical claims were [page 4] previously found to be invalid as lacking utility and not enabled. That holding is binding on Swartz.1

We turn next to the ’258, ’643, and ’691 applications. The PTO carries the initial burden of challenging the utility of an invention. In re Brana, 51 F.3d 1560, 1566 (Fed. Cir. 1995). However, the PTO carries that burden if the patent “suggest[s] an inherently unbelievable undertaking or involve[s] implausible scientific principles.” Id. As we have held, cold fusion suggests such an inherently unbelievable undertaking. Swartz I, 232 F.3d at 864. The burden therefore shifted to Swartz to show sufficient evidence to convince an ordinarily skilled artisan of the inventions’ utility. Id. at 864. The evidence and arguments Swartz presents do not satisfy this burden.

Swartz makes two inconsistent arguments: his inventions are not directed to cold fusion or LENR, and he presented new evidence to the district court proving the utility of LENR technology.

First, Swartz’s assertion that his inventions are not directed to cold fusion or LENR technology is baseless. The references Swartz relies on here are related to LENR technology. Moreover, the parent applications were expressly directed to cold fusion, as we previously held.

Second, the new evidence submitted by Swartz does not cure the lack of enablement or utility. The new evidence comprised reports by the Defense Intelligence Agency (“DIA”), Defense Threat Reduction Agency (“DTRA”), and other scientific articles.

1 That this case is proceeding under § 145 in the district court, instead of through a direct appeal from the
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“PTO”) is also inapposite—it is the identity of issues, inter alia, not the cause of action, that gives rise to collateral estoppel.

[page 5] The DIA report cited Swartz’s research to support the statement, “In May 2002, researchers at JET Thermal in Massachusetts reported excess heat and optimal operating points for LENR manifolds.” That same report indicates fundamental skepticism about the result of the research. It notes that scientists from various nations “are devoting significant resources to this work in the hope of finding a new clean energy source. Scientists worldwide have been reporting anomalous excess heat production, as well as evidence of nuclear particles and transmutation.” It also states, “If nuclear reactions in LENR experiments are real and controllable, DIA assesses that whoever produces the first commercialized LENR power source could revolutionize energy production and storage for the future.” The DIA report also states that “much skepticism remains” about LENR programs. The DTRA reference strikes a similar note. It explains that LENR reactions “are showing some remarkable progress . . . but experiments remain only thinly reproducible,” that they “suffer[] from a basic lack of understanding of the governing physics,” and that “it seems unlikely that deployable/useable devices could be expected within a five to ten year horizon.”

These references do little to overcome the presumption of no utility. At best, they demonstrate some positive experimental results attained by Swartz, tempered by much remaining skepticism and uncertainty about the utility of the discussed technology. With respect to the remaining declarations and articles, the district court correctly concluded, “nowhere, for example, does [Swartz] explain how an invention described in any of the relevant patent applications was used in the course of any of the referenced demonstrations or experiments.” District Court Op. at 11.

Swartz presents a number of additional arguments, none of which have merit. Swartz cites In re Oetiker, 977 F.2d 1443 (Fed. Cir. 1992) for the proposition that the [page 6] Board failed to make its prima facie case of invalidity. As discussed above, applications that suggest inherently unbelievable inventions satisfy the Board’s initial burden to show lack of utility, and we have previously held that Dr. Swartz’s LENR-related inventions here properly fall within that realm.

Swartz argues that the district court failed to apply the de novo review required under § 145. See Kappos v. Hyatt, 566 U.S. 431, 444 (2012). The district court explicitly applied a de novo standard of review, citing Hyatt. District Court Op. at 7.

Swartz argues that the PTO failed to “docket[]” and “sequestered” documents. Swartz does not explain what documents were not docketed or were hidden, or by whom, or their potential relevance to the utility and enablement determinations. Swartz also argues that the PTO “misdescribed” several of his patent applications as directed to cold fusion. According to Swartz, the ’058 application is properly directed to “a heat measurement system” and the ’765 application is properly directed to “a measurement of hydrogen loading into a metal.” Regardless of how the applications are described, however, the nearly identical claims presented in the ’058 and ’765 applications have already been determined in Swartz I and Swartz II to be within the realm of the inherently unbelievable and, therefore, unpatentable. As discussed above, collateral estoppel properly forecloses revisiting that issue here.

The similarity of claims, including claims in this appeal, with that 2000 appeals court decision (Swartz I) is remarkable. It is as if Swartz learned nothing.

On this appeal, Mr. Swartz complains that the Board “ignored” evidence that he submitted and disregarded his arguments, and he invites this Court to examine voluminous record material that he urges supports his position on the issue of utility.   Such conclusory allegations in an appeal brief are quite insufficient to establish that the Board’s decision on the issue of utility is not supported by substantial evidence or to establish that the Board’s ultimate conclusion of a lack of enablement is incorrect as a matter of law.

Finally, Mr. Swartz’s attempt to show that his claims are directed to a process other than cold fusion must fail.   In his written description and throughout prosecution of his application, Mr. Swartz continually represented his invention as relating to cold fusion.

Swartz argues that the PTO has issued patents in the field, citing Dr. Swartz’s applications. Each patent is evaluated on its own terms, however, and the citation to Dr. Swartz’s applications does not demonstrate their utility.

Swartz next argues that the district court erred in dismissing his various Constitutional claims for discrimination, violation of due process, violation of his right to an impartial tribunal under 28 U.S.C. § 144, and violation of [page 7] the patents clause of the Constitution. Swartz specifically relies on 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents, 403 U.S. 388 (1971) to support these violations. Swartz does not explain why the district court erred in its conclusions that 42 U.S.C. § 1983 only applies to actions taken under color of law by “any State or Territory,” not the federal government, and that a Bivens action cannot be brought against a federal employee in his official capacity. Swartz also has not proffered anything but a bare assertion of prejudice by the district court. Finally, Swartz has not shown error in the district court’s dismissal of his challenge under the patent clause of the Constitution. His entitlement to a patent under that provision is framed and defined by Title 35 of the U.S. Code, which includes explicit requirements for utility and enablement. Because the Board and district court adequately showed that Swartz’s inventions lack utility and enablement, he is not entitled to patents on those inventions.

We have considered Swartz’s other arguments, including his allegations of intentional torts, fraudulent statements, and criminal misconduct, and find them lacking in any merit.



No costs.

This is incorrect, but the error is moot as to the decision: “Because the Board and district court adequately showed that Swartz’s inventions lack utility and enablement, he is not entitled to patents on those inventions.”

In fact, such a showing would be nearly impossible.

What was shown, plausibly, is that Swartz had not provided adequate evidence to overcome the burden of proof placed on him because of generic doubt about “cold fusion.” While this could be seen as a failure to prosecute the patent adequately, it may also be substantive, i.e., at least with some or most of what Swartz claimed, there is inadequate practical substance to the devices. What the PATO requires is specific proof of the specific claims, not generic proof of “LENR” or the qualifications of the inventor, or proof that government agencies are taking LENR seriously, etc., but proof of practical utility for the claims made, which have often been to create “nuclear fusion.” To obtain LENR patents with energy claims, a mere claim or experimental result is not enough.

Swartz v. PATO

Case filed as Swartz v Lee et al, PacerMonitor.

Appeal known as Swartz v. PATO, PacerMonitor.

(I have linked to PacerMonitor, but everything significant for free on PacerMonitor — only the docket — should be here, PacerMonitor is a fee-based site. (And PACER does not continue to display filings beyond a certain time. I use PACER itself.))

The formatting here is still poor — WordPress bugs (editor display is very different from actual view) — but it’s been improved, I hope. For the original case, Swartz v Lee et al, the docket is as PDF at 1.17-cv-00482-LMB-TCB

Appeals court opinions are available here.  This is the ruling on Swartz’s appeal.

links to case sections on this page:

Swartz comment (“corruption” conspiracy claims from Cold Fusion Times). Study of these claims.
Swartz comment 2 continues with a new claim from CFT.

Text of ruling on appeal and review with supporting documents. (In progress)

General Docket
United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit
Court of Appeals Docket #: 18-1122 Docketed: 10/31/2017
Termed: 07/17/2018
Nature of Suit: 830 Patent Infringement (US Defendant)
Swartz v. PATO
Appeal From: United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia
Fee Status: fee paid
Case Type Information:
     1) Civil US
Originating Court Information:
     District: 0422-1 : 1:17-cv-00482-LMB-TCB
     Trial Judge: Leonie M. Brinkema, United States District Judge
     Date Filed: 04/21/2017
     Date NOA Filed:      Date Rec’d COA:
     10/24/2017      10/26/2017
Prior Cases:
Current Cases:


Plaintiff – Appellant
Mitchell R. Swartz, –
Direct: 781-237-3625
[NTC Pro Se] 16 Pembroke Road
Weston, MA 02493
Defendant – Appellee
Thomas W. Krause, Esq., Deputy Solicitor
[LD NTC Government] United States Patent and Trademark Office
Office of the Solicitor
PO Box 1450
Mail Stop 8
Alexandria, VA 22313Tracy Doherty-McCormick, U.S. Attorney
[COR Government] Office of the United States Attorney
2100 Jamieson Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22314Michael S. Forman, Associate Solicitor
[COR NTC Government] United States Patent and Trademark Office
Office of the Solicitor
PO Box 1450
Mail Stop 8
Alexandria, VA 22313Benjamin T. Hickman, Associate Solicitor
[COR NTC Government] United States Patent and Trademark Office
Office of the Solicitor
PO Box 1450
Mail Stop 8
Alexandria, VA 22313Kimere Jane Kimball, Assistant U.S. Attorney
[COR NTC Government] Office of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia
2100 Jamieson Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22314
JOSEPH MATAL, Performing the Functions & Duties of Director of the US Patent & Trademark Ofc
Terminated: 02/08/2018
Defendant – Appellee
ANDREI IANCU, Director, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Defendant – Appellee
Thomas W. Krause, Esq., Deputy Solicitor
[LD NTC Government] (see above)Tracy Doherty-McCormick, U.S. Attorney
[COR Government] (see above)Michael S. Forman, Associate Solicitor
[COR NTC Government] (see above)Benjamin T. Hickman, Associate Solicitor
[COR NTC Government] (see above)Kimere Jane Kimball, Assistant U.S. Attorney
[COR NTC Government] (see above)

Plaintiff – Appellant



Defendants – Appellees

Links with ECF numbers are to PACER. Where I have documents locally, they are linked in the third column. For example, see  Swartz v PATO ECF 38, and Swartz v Lee et al, the second docket list below, ECF 36.

10/31/2017  1  3 pg

4.94 MB

Appeal docketed. Received: 10/26/2017. [471937] Entry of Appearance due 11/14/2017. Appellant/Petitioner’s Informal brief is due 11/21/2017. [FMS] [Entered: 10/31/2017 01:40 PM]
11/13/2017  2  2 pg,

165.3 KB

Entry of appearance for Thomas W. Krause as of counsel for Appellee Joseph Matal. Service: 11/13/2017 by US mail, email. [474720] [Thomas Krause] [Entered: 11/13/2017 11:38 AM]
11/13/2017  3  2 pg,

169.99 KB

Entry of appearance for Nathan K. Kelley as principal counsel for Appellee Joseph Matal. Service: 11/13/2017 by US mail, email. [474729] [Nathan Kelley] [Entered: 11/13/2017 12:04 PM]
11/14/2017  4 2 pg,

82.1 KB

Entry of appearance for Michael S. Forman as of counsel for Appellee Joseph Matal. Service: 11/14/2017 by US mail, email. [475193] [Michael Forman] [Entered: 11/14/2017 10:02 AM]
11/14/2017  5  2 pg

82.25 KB

Entry of appearance for Benjamin T. Hickman as of counsel for Appellee Joseph Matal. Service: 11/14/2017 by US mail, email. [475202] [Benjamin Hickman] [Entered: 11/14/2017 10:09 AM]
11/14/2017  6  1 pg

59.51 KB

Entry of appearance for Kimere J. Kimball as of counsel for Appellees Joseph Matal and PATO. Service: 11/14/2017 by US mail, email. [475275] [Kimere Kimball] [Entered: 11/14/2017 11:50 AM]
11/15/2017  7  2 pg

81.94 KB

Entry of appearance for Michael S. Forman as of counsel for Appellees Joseph Matal and PATO. Service: 11/15/2017 by US mail, email. [475643] [Michael Forman] [Entered: 11/15/2017 09:57 AM]
11/15/2017  8   2 pg

82.27 KB

Entry of appearance for Benjamin T. Hickman as of counsel for Appellees Joseph Matal and PATO. Service: 11/15/2017 by US mail, email. [475645] [Benjamin Hickman] [Entered: 11/15/2017 09:59 AM]
11/15/2017  9  2 pg

165.2 KB

Entry of appearance for Thomas W. Krause as of counsel for Appellees Joseph Matal and PATO. Service: 11/15/2017 by US mail, email. [475651] [Thomas Krause] [Entered: 11/15/2017 10:31 AM]
11/15/2017  10  2 pg

169.92 KB

Entry of appearance for Nathan K. Kelley as principal counsel for Appellees Joseph Matal and PATO. Service: 11/15/2017 by US mail, email. [475814] [Nathan Kelley] [Entered: 11/15/2017 01:55 PM]
12/29/2017  12 Open Restricted Document 0 pg, 0 KB TENDERED from Appellant Mitchell R. Swartz. Title: OPENING BRIEF. [486996] This brief has been rejected. See Doc No. [14] [FMS] [Entered: 01/03/2018 12:08 PM]
12/29/2017  13 Open Restricted Document 0 pg, 0 KB TENDERED from Appellant Mitchell R. Swartz. Title: JOINT APPENDIX. [487571] The appendix has been rejected. See Doc No. [15] [FMS] [Entered: 01/05/2018 11:26 AM]
01/02/2018  11  1 pg

160.49 KB

Entry of appearance for Mitchell R. Swartz as pro se for Appellant Mitchell R. Swartz. Service: 01/02/2018 by clerk. [486791] [FMS] [Entered: 01/02/2018 04:56 PM]
01/05/2018  14  2 pg

25.13 KB

NOTICE OF REJECTION: The opening brief of appellant Mitchell R. Swartz [12], is not in compliance with the rules of this court and is therefore rejected for filing. Brief due 01/19/2018. Appellees Joseph Matal, Performing the Functions & Duties of Director of the US Patent & Trademark Ofc and United States Patent and Trademark Office brief is due 02/14/2018. Service as of this date by Clerk of Court. [487574] [FMS] [Entered: 01/05/2018 11:42 AM]
01/05/2018  15 2 pg

24.27 KB

NOTICE OF REJECTION: The appendix of appellant Mitchell R. Swartz [13], is not in compliance with the rules of this court and is therefore rejected for filing. Appendix is due 01/19/2018. Service as of this date by Clerk of Court. [487591] [FMS] [Entered: 01/05/2018 12:27 PM]
01/18/2018  16  1 pg

165.59 KB

Entry of appearance for Mitchell Swartz as pro se for Appellant Mitchell R. Swartz. Service: 01/24/2018 by clerk. [492314] [FMS] [Entered: 01/24/2018 12:26 PM]
01/18/2018  17  82 pg

17.09 MB

TENDERED from Appellant Mitchell R. Swartz. Title: CORRECTED OPENING BRIEF. [492346] [FMS] [Entered: 01/24/2018 02:01 PM]
01/18/2018  18  267 pg

28.66 MB

TENDERED from Appellant Mitchell R. Swartz. Title: CORRECTED JOINT APPENDIX. [492347] [FMS] [Entered: 01/24/2018 02:04 PM]
01/18/2018  19  2 pg

386.06 KB

Letter from Appellant Mitchell R. Swartz regarding corrected brief and appendix. Service: 01/24/2018 by clerk. [492349] [FMS] [Entered: 01/24/2018 02:06 PM]
01/18/2018  20  82 pg

17.09 MB

CORRECTED BRIEF FILED for Appellant Mitchell R. Swartz [17]. Number of Pages: 47. Service: 01/24/2018 by clerk. [492354] [FMS] [Entered: 01/24/2018 02:10 PM]


01/18/2018  21 
267 pg, 28.66 MB
CORRECTED APPENDIX FILED for Mitchell R. Swartz [18]. Number of Pages: 267. Service: 01/24/2018 by clerk. [492365] [FMS] [Entered: 01/24/2018 02:17 PM]

Appendix-1122-DeclationsS1 [sic] [from Dr. Swartz] (30 pages,  11.5 MB] (This document is not on PACER)

18-1122-21 267 pages, 29.6 MB

02/08/2018  22 Official caption revised reflect Andrei Iancu as Director of the US Patent & Trademark Office. The official caption is reflected on the electronic docket under the listing of the parties and counsel. Service as of this date by Clerk of Court. [496418] [FMS] [Entered: 02/08/2018 03:17 PM]
02/14/2018  23  49 pg

248.6 KB

TENDERED from Appellees Iancu and PATO. Title: RESPONSE BRIEF. Service: 02/14/2018 by US mail, email. [497561] [Michael Forman] [Entered: 02/14/2018 10:30 AM]
02/14/2018  24 553 pg

80.13 MB

TENDERED from Appellees Iancu and PATO. Title: SUPPLEMENTAL BRIEF/APPENDIX. Service: 02/14/2018 by US mail, email. [497572] [Michael Forman] [Entered: 02/14/2018 10:47 AM]
02/14/2018  25  49 pg

251.81 KB

BRIEF FILED for Appellees Iancu and PATO [23]. Number of Pages: 38. Service: 02/14/2018 by email. The paper copies of the brief should be received by the court on or before 02/23/2018. Appellant Mitchell R. Swartz reply brief is due 03/05/2018. [497987] [FMS] [Entered: 02/15/2018 10:39 AM]
02/14/2018  26  553 pg

80.25 MB

APPENDIX FILED (SUPPLEMENTAL) for Iancu and PATO [24]. Number of Pages: 553. Service: 02/14/2018 by email. The paper copies of the brief should be received by the court on or before 02/23/2018. [497988] [FMS] [Entered: 02/15/2018 10:47 AM]
02/15/2018  27 6 paper copies of the Opening Response Brief [25] received from Appellees Iancu and PATO. [498409] [JCP] [Entered: 02/16/2018 09:07 AM]
02/15/2018  28 6 paper copies of the Supplemental Appendix [26] received from Appellees Iancu and PATO. [498424] [JCP] [Entered: 02/16/2018 09:32 AM]
03/19/2018  29  71 pg

12.35 MB

Document construed as MOTION of Appellant Mitchell R. Swartz for leave to file an oversized reply brief out of time. Any response is due within 10 days of service [Consent: not addressed]. Service: 03/15/2018 by US mail. [510467] [MJL] [Entered: 04/04/2018 08:59 AM]

18-1122_ReplyBrief_AppellateCourtF15 [kindly provided by Dr. Swartz] (65 pages, 2.4 MB)

03/19/2018  31  71 pg

12.87 MB

TENDERED from Appellant Mitchell R. Swartz. Title: REPLY BRIEF. [514127] –[Edited 04/19/2018 by CAB to correct date tendered] [JBR] [Entered: 04/17/2018 01:41 PM]
04/17/2018  30  2 pg

66.3 KB

ORDER filed. The motion [29] is granted, the reply brief is accepted for filing. (Per Curiam). Service: 04/17/2018 by clerk. [514107] [NEL] [Entered: 04/17/2018 12:31 PM]


04/17/2018  32  71 pg, 12.87 MB REPLY BRIEF FILED for Appellant Mitchell R. Swartz [31]. Number of Pages: 63. Service: 03/15/2018 by US mail. [514131] [JBR] [Entered: 04/17/2018 01:45 PM]

(see DE 29?)

05/21/2018  33 NOTICE OF CALENDARING. Panel: 1807J. Case scheduled Jul 13, 2018 10:00 a.m. at the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit (Howard T. Markey National Courts Building, 717 Madison Place, NW Washington, DC 20439), Courtroom 402. Argument is not required and this case will be submitted to the panel on the date indicated. Please review the Notice of Submission without Oral Argument. [523285] [JAB] [Entered: 05/21/2018 02:44 PM]
07/09/2018  34  11 pg

1.64 MB

MOTION of Appellant Mitchell R. Swartz to correct court order [Consent: not addressed]. Service: 07/09/2018 by clerk. [534556] [SMJ] [Entered: 07/09/2018 04:28 PM]


07/09/2018  35  19 pg

3.29 MB

MOTION of Appellant Mitchell R. Swartz to reschedule argument (entitled ‘Motion For an Enlargement of Time and/or For Leave to Enter Memorandum’) [Consent: not addressed]. Service: 07/09/2018 by clerk. [534568] [SMJ] [Entered: 07/09/2018 04:33 PM]


07/10/2018  36  3 pg

78.21 KB

ORDER filed denying [35] construed motion to reschedule argument filed by Mitchell R. Swartz; dismissing-as-moot [34] motion to correct/supplement filed by Appellant Mitchell R. Swartz. By: (Per Curiam). Service as of this date by the Clerk of Court. [534853] [SMJ] [Entered: 07/10/2018 01:25 PM]


07/13/2018  37 Submitted ON THE BRIEFS. Panel: Judge: Prost , Judge: Newman , Judge: Linn [JAB] [Entered: 07/13/2018 11:04 AM]
07/17/2018  38  10 pg

252.39 KB

OPINION and JUDGMENT filed. The judgment or decision is: Affirmed. (Nonprecedential Per Curiam Opinion). (For the Court: Prost, Chief Judge; Newman, Circuit Judge and Linn, Circuit Judge). [536334] [SMJ] [Entered: 07/17/2018 09:13 AM]


07/19/2018  39  2 pg

252.5 KB

Notice of Withdrawal of Director’s Counsel – Nathan K. Kelley. Service: 07/19/2018 by clerk. [536940] [18-1167, 18-1171, 18-1285, 18-1286, 18-1289, 18-1595, 18-1609, 18-1633, 18-1651, 18-1659, 18-1710, 18-1711, 18-1712, 18-1714, 18-1730, 18-1772, 18-1773, 18-1828, 18-1847, 18-1876, 18-1883, 18-1901, 18-1998, 18-2017, 18-2048, 18-2049, 17-1765, 17-1825, 17-2292, 17-2294, 17-2392, 17-2465, 17-2543, 17-2047, 17-2620, 18-1071, 18-1172, 18-1173, 18-1557, 18-1593, 18-1795, 18-1895, 18-2000, 17-2122, 17-2124, 17-2239, 17-2241, 18-1013, 18-1047, 18-1048, 18-1070, 18-1242, 18-1353, 18-1849, 18-1958, 18-1992, 18-1994, 18-1995, 18-2043, 17-2364, 17-2579, 17-2580, 17-2593, 17-2594, 18-1067, 18-1069, 18-1077, 18-1163, 18-1166, 18-1253, 18-1311, 18-1368, 18-1385, 18-1426, 18-1944, 18-1968, 18-2031, 18-2032, 18-2069, 18-2106, 17-2503, 17-2624, 18-1000, 18-1060, 18-1065, 18-1066, 18-1416, 18-1461, 18-2090, 15-1242, 15-1944, 15-1945, 15-1946, 16-1794, 16-2222, 16-2470, 16-2548, 16-2640, 16-2669, 16-2736, 17-1159, 17-1265, 17-1266, 17-1268, 17-1362, 17-1425, 17-1486, 17-1578, 17-1582, 17-1629, 17-1666, 17-1722, 17-1827, 17-1849, 17-1870, 17-1953, 17-1954, 17-1955, 17-1957, 17-1962, 17-1963, 17-2037, 17-2038, 17-2069, 17-2208, 17-2232, 17-2244, 17-2255, 17-2263, 17-2361, 17-2424, 17-2426, 17-2447, 17-2524, 18-1085, 18-1088, 18-1122] [TAR] [Entered: 07/19/2018 10:11 AM]

Swartz v Lee

U.S. District Court
Eastern District of Virginia – (Alexandria)

Swartz v. Lee et al
Assigned to: District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema
Referred to: Magistrate Judge Theresa Carroll Buchanan

Case in other court:  US Federal Circuit, 18-01122

Cause: 35:145 Patent Non-Infringement- Patent Applicant is Dissatisfied with PTO Decision

Date Filed: 04/21/2017
Date Terminated: 08/22/2017
Jury Demand: Plaintiff
Nature of Suit: 830 Patent
Jurisdiction: U.S. Government Defendant
Mitchell R. Swartz represented by Mitchell R. Swartz
16 Pembroke Road
Weston, MA 02493
Michelle Lee
Acting Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office
TERMINATED: 08/17/2017
represented by Kimere Jane Kimball 
US Attorney’s Office (Alexandria-NA)
2100 Jamieson Avenue
Alexandria, VA 22314
United States Patent and Trademark Office represented by Kimere Jane Kimball 
(See above for address)
Joseph Matal
Performing the Functions and Duties of the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual and Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Officce
represented by Kimere Jane Kimball 
(See above for address)
Date Filed # Docket Text
04/21/2017 1 COMPLAINT against Michelle Lee, United States Patent and Trademark Office ( Filing fee $ 400, receipt number XXXXX.), filed by Mitchell R. Swartz. (Attachments: # 1 Letter, # 2 Civil Cover Sheet)(dest, ) (Entered: 04/24/2017)

VA-17-CV482_Compl0419F6 (122 pages, 11.5 MB) [kindly provided by Mitchell Swartz]

04/21/2017 2 NOTICE of Appearance pro se by Mitchell R. Swartz (dest, ) (Entered: 04/24/2017)
04/21/2017 3 Declaration of Robert Smith by Mitchell R. Swartz. (dest, ) (Entered: 04/24/2017)
04/21/2017 4 Declaration of Dr. Frank Gordon by Mitchell R. Swartz. (dest, ) (Entered: 04/24/2017)
04/21/2017 5 Declaration of Dr. Brian Ahern by Mitchell R. Swartz. (dest, ) (Entered: 04/24/2017)
04/21/2017 6 Declaration of Dr. Jean-Paul Biberian by Mitchell R. Swartz. (dest, ) (Entered: 04/24/2017)
04/21/2017 7 Declaration of Gayle Verner by Mitchell R. Swartz. (dest, ) (Entered: 04/24/2017)
04/21/2017 8 Filing fee: $400, receipt number 14683065584 (dest, ) (Entered: 04/24/2017)
05/02/2017 9 Letter to the Court providing service addresses for defendants by Mitchell R. Swartz. (dest, ) (Entered: 05/03/2017)
05/03/2017 10 Summons Issued to be served via SPS mailed to Plaintiff as to Michelle Lee, United States Patent and Trademark Office, U.S. Attorney and U.S. Attorney General (dest, ) (Entered: 05/03/2017)
05/17/2017 11 SUMMONS Returned Executed as to U.S. Attorney; served on 5/17/2017, answer due 7/17/2017. (dest, ) (Entered: 05/17/2017)
05/17/2017 12 SUMMONS Returned Executed as to U.S. Attorney General; served on 5/17/2017. (dest, ) (Entered: 05/17/2017)
05/17/2017 13 SUMMONS Returned Executed as to Michelle Lee; served on 5/17/2017 (dest, ) (Entered: 05/17/2017)
05/17/2017 14 SUMMONS Returned Executed as to U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; served on 5/17/2017. (dest, ) (Entered: 05/17/2017)
07/17/2017 15 MOTION to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim with Roseboro,. by Michelle Lee, United States Patent and Trademark Office. (Kimball, Kimere) (Entered: 07/17/2017)
07/17/2017 16 MOTION to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction with Roseboro,. by Michelle Lee, United States Patent and Trademark Office. (Kimball, Kimere) (Entered: 07/17/2017)
07/17/2017 17 Roseboro Notice as to Motion to Dismiss (Dkt Nos. 15, 16) by Michelle Lee, United States Patent and Trademark Office (Kimball, Kimere) (Entered: 07/17/2017)
07/17/2017 18 Memorandum in Support re 16 MOTION to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction with Roseboro,., 15 MOTION to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim with Roseboro,. filed by Michelle Lee, United States Patent and Trademark Office. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit Ex. 1 (‘691 Board Decision), # 2 Exhibit Ex. 2 (‘258 Board Decision), # 3 Exhibit Ex. 3 (‘058 Board Decision), # 4 Exhibit Ex. 4 (‘765 Board Decision), # 5 Exhibit Ex. 5 (‘643 Board Decision, # 6 Exhibit Ex. 6 (DIA Report), # 7 Exhibit Ex. 7 (DTRA Report), # 8 Exhibit Ex. 8 (‘457 Specification), # 9 Exhibit Ex. 9 (‘970 Specification), # 10 Exhibit Ex. 10 (‘058 Specification), # 11 Exhibit Ex. 11 (‘765 Specification), # 12 Exhibit Ex. 12 (Damelin Decl.), # 13 Exhibit Ex. 13 (Bartlett Decl.), # 14 Exhibit Ex. 14 (Unpublished Cases))(Kimball, Kimere) (Entered: 07/17/2017)

1-17-cv-00482-18-2 ‘258 Board Decision

07/17/2017 19 Notice of Hearing Date set for 9/15/17 re 16 MOTION to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction with Roseboro,., 15 MOTION to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim with Roseboro,. (Kimball, Kimere) (Entered: 07/17/2017)
07/18/2017 Set Deadlines as to 16 MOTION to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction with Roseboro,., 15 MOTION to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim with Roseboro,.. Motion Hearing set for 9/15/2017 at 10:00 AM in Alexandria Courtroom 600 before District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema. (clar, ) (Entered: 07/18/2017)
08/08/2017 20 MOTION for Leave to File Plaintiff’s Opposition to Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss by Mitchell R. Swartz. (Attachments: # 1 Letter)(dest, ) (Entered: 08/08/2017)
08/08/2017 21 MOTION to Strike Defendant’s Motion by Mitchell R. Swartz. (Attachments: # 1 Letter)(dest, ) (Entered: 08/08/2017)
08/08/2017 22 MOTION for Reciprocity Re: Roseboro by Mitchell R. Swartz. (dest, ) (Attachment(s): # 1 Letter) (dest, ). (Entered: 08/08/2017)
08/08/2017 23 Declaration of Dr. Mitchell Swartz by Mitchell R. Swartz. (Attachments: # 1 Letter)(dest, ) (Entered: 08/08/2017)
08/08/2017 24 MOTION to Appoint Counsel by Mitchell R. Swartz. (Attachments: # 1 Letter)(dest, ) (Entered: 08/08/2017)
08/08/2017 25 Memorandum in Opposition to Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss filed by Mitchell R. Swartz. (Attachments: # 1 Exhibit 1, # 2 Exhibit 2, # 3 Exhibit 3, # 4 Exhibit 4, # 5 Exhibit 5, # 6 Exhibit 6, # 7 Exhibit 7, # 8 Exhibit 8, # 9 Exhibit 9, # 10 Exhibit 10, # 11Exhibit 11, # 12 Exhibit 12, # 13 Exhibit 13, # 14 Exhibit 14, # 15 Exhibit 15, # 16 Exhibit 16, # 17 Exhibit 17, # 18 Exhibit 18, # 19 Exhibit 19, # 20 Exhibit 20, # 21 Exhibit 21, # 22 Exhibit 22, # 23 Exhibit 23, # 24 Exhibit 24, # 25 Exhibit 25, # 26 Exhibit 26, # 27 Exhibit 27, # 28 Exhibit 28, # 29 Exhibit 29, # 30 Exhibit 30, # 31 Exhibit 31, # 32 Exhibit 32, # 33 Exhibit 33, # 34 Exhibit 34, # 35 Exhibit 35, # 36 Exhibit 36, # 37 Exhibit 37, # 38 Exhibit 38, # 39 Exhibit 39, # 40 Exhibit 40, # 41 Exhibit 41, # 42Exhibit 42, # 43 Exhibit 43, # 44 Exhibit 44, # 45 Exhibit 45, # 46 Exhibit 46, # 47 Exhibit 47, # 48 Exhibit 48, # 49 Exhibit 49, # 50 Exhibit 50, # 51 Exhibit 51, # 52 Exhibit 52, # 53 Exhibit 53, # 54 Exhibit 54, # 55 Exhibit 55 part 1, # 56 Exhibit 55 part 2, # 57 Exhibit 56, # 58 Exhibit 57, # 59 Exhibit 58, # 60 Attachment- Supreme Court of the United States case booklet)(dest, ) Modified on 8/8/2017 (dest, ). (Entered: 08/08/2017)



08/14/2017 26 MOTION for Extension of Time to File Response/Reply as to 16 MOTION to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction with Roseboro,., 15 MOTION to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim with Roseboro,. by Michelle Lee, United States Patent and Trademark Office. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Order)(Kimball, Kimere) (Entered: 08/14/2017)
08/14/2017 27 ORDER- it is hereby ORDERED that Defendant’s motion for an extension of time is GRANTED; and it is hereby ORDERED that Defendant shall file its reply memorandum on or before August 17, 2017. Signed by District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema on 8/14/2017. (dest, ) (copy mailed to pro se) (Entered: 08/14/2017)
08/17/2017 28 NOTICE by Michelle Lee, United States Patent and Trademark Office of Substitution of Defendant (Kimball, Kimere) (Entered: 08/17/2017)
08/17/2017 29 REPLY to Response to Motion re 16 MOTION to Dismiss for Lack of Jurisdiction with Roseboro,., 15 MOTION to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim with Roseboro,. filed by Michelle Lee, United States Patent and Trademark Office. (Attachments: # 1Exhibit Def. Ex. 15 (‘058 Final Rejection), # 2 Exhibit Def. Ex. 16 (‘643 Final Rejection))(Kimball, Kimere) (Entered: 08/17/2017)
08/17/2017 30 ORDER granting [Dkt. No. 20] Motion for Leave to File, and it is hereby ORDERED that plaintiff’s opposition brief is accepted for filing; and it is hereby ORDERED that plaintiff’s Motion to Strike [Dkt. No. 21] be and is DENIED; and it is hereby ORDERED that plaintiff’s Motion for Reciprocity [Dkt. No. 22] be and is DENIED. Signed by District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema on 8/17/2017. (see Order for further details) (dest, ) (copy sent as directed in the Order) (Entered: 08/17/2017)
08/22/2017 31 MEMORANDUM OPINION. Signed by District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema on 8/22/2017. (dest, )(copy mailed to plaintiff by chambers) (Entered: 08/22/2017)
08/22/2017 32 ORDER- For the reasons stated in the accompanying Memorandum Opinion, defendant’s Motion to Dismiss [Dkt. Nos. 15 and 16] is GRANTED, and it is hereby ORDERED that the Complaint be and is DISMISSED WITH PREJUDICE, except for Count 3, which is DISMISSED WITHOUT PREJUDICE. Signed by District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema on 8/22/2017. (see Order for further details) (dest, ) (copy mailed to plaintiff by chambers) (Entered: 08/22/2017)


08/22/2017 33 JUDGMENT- Pursuant to the order of this Court entered on August 22, 2017 and in accordance with Federal Rules of Civil Procedure 58, JUDGMENT is hereby entered in favor of Joseph Matal and United States Patent and Trademark Office and against Michael R. Swartz. Signed by Clerk on 8/22/2017. (dest, ) (Entered: 08/22/2017)
09/01/2017 34 MOTION for Reconsideration re 33 Judgment, 32 Order on Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim, Order on Motion to Dismiss/Lack of Jurisdiction, by Mitchell R. Swartz. (Attachments: # 1 Letter)(dest, ) (Entered: 09/07/2017)
09/01/2017 35 MOTION for Leave to File Memorandum in Support by Mitchell R. Swartz. (Attachments: # 1 Proposed Memorandum in Support, # 2 Exhibit 59, # 3 Exhibit 60, # 4 Exhibit 61, # 5 Exhibit 62, # 6 Exhibit 63 Part 1, # 7 Exhibit 63 Part 2, # 8 Exhibit 63 Part 3, # 9 Exhibit 64 Part 1, # 10 Exhibit Part 2, # 11 Exhibit Part 3, # 12 Exhibit 65)(dest, ) (Entered: 09/07/2017)
09/07/2017 36 ORDER- it is hereby ORDERED that plaintiff’s Motion for Leave to File a Memorandum in Support [Dkt. No. 35] be and is DENIED AS MOOT, and it is further ORDERED that plaintiffs Motion for Reconsideration [Dkt. No. 34] be and is DENIED. Signed by District Judge Leonie M. Brinkema on 9/7/2017. (see Order for further details) (dest, ) (copy mailed to Pro Se by chambers) (Entered: 09/07/2017)

MEMORANDUM OPINION granting motion to dismiss

10/24/2017 37 NOTICE OF APPEAL as to 33 Judgment, 31 Memorandum Opinion, 36 Order on Motion for Reconsideration, Order on Motion for Leave to File,, 30 Order on Motion for Leave to File, Order on Motion to Strike, Order on Motion for Miscellaneous Relief, 32 Order on Motion to Dismiss for Failure to State a Claim, Order on Motion to Dismiss/Lack of Jurisdiction, by Mitchell R. Swartz. Filing fee $ 505. (Attachments: # 1 Letter, # 2 Receipt)(dest, ) (Entered: 10/26/2017)
10/26/2017 Transmission of Notice of Appeal to US Federal Circuit re 37 Notice of Appeal, (dest, ) (Entered: 10/26/2017)
11/01/2017 38 USCA Case Number 18-1122 U.S. Federal Circuit for 37 Notice of Appeal, filed by Mitchell R. Swartz. (dest, ) (Entered: 11/01/2017)
07/17/2018 39 Opinion of USCA for the Federal Circuit decided 7/17/2018 re 37 Notice of Appeal- AFFIRMED(dest, ) (Entered: 07/17/2018)
07/17/2018 40 USCA for Federal Circuit JUDGMENT as to 37 Notice of Appeal, filed by Mitchell R. Swartz. (dest, ) Modified on 7/17/2018 to add document (dest, ). (Entered: 07/17/2018)


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07/20/2018 14:14:01


Fantasy rejects itself

I came across this review when linking to Undead Science on Amazon. It’s old, but there is no other review. I did buy that book, in 2009, from Amazon, used, but never reviewed it and now Amazon wants me to spend at least $50 in the last year to be able to review books….

But I can comment on the review, and I will. I first comment here.


August 7, 2011

Format: Hardcover|Verified Purchase

I picked up this book on the recommendation of a fellow scientist with good taste in work on the history of science. I’ll update this, should I get further through the book, but halfway through this book is greatly irritating.

The book is a pretty straightforward story by a sociologist of science, something Dr. Vidale is not (he is a professor of seismology). There are many myths, common tropes, about cold fusion, and, since Dr. Vidale likes Gary Taubes (as do I, by the way), perhaps he should learn about information cascades; Taubes has written much about them. He can google “Gary Taubes information cascade.”

An information cascade is a social phenomenon where something comes to be commonly believed without ever having been clearly proven. It happens with scientists as well as with anyone.

The beginning is largely an explanation of how science works theoretically.

It is not. Sociologists of science study how science actually works, not the theory.

The thesis seems to be that science traditionally is thought of as either alive or dead, depending on whether the issues investigated are uncertain or already decided.

Is that a “thesis” or an observation? It becomes very clear in this review that the author thinks “cold fusion” is dead. As with many such opinions, it’s quote likely he has no idea what he is talking about. What is “cold fusion”?

It was a popular name given to an anomalous heat effect, based on ideas of the source, but the scientists who discovered the effect, because they could not explain the heat with chemistry — and they were experts chemists, leaders in their field — called it an “unknown nuclear reaction.” They had not been looking for a source of energy. They were actually testing the Born-Oppenheimer approximation, and though that the approximation was probably good enough that they would find nothing. And then their experiment melted down.

A third category of “undead” is proposed, in which some scientists think the topic is alive and others think it is dead, and this category has a life of its own. Later, this theme evolves to argue the undead topic of cold fusion still alive, or was long after declared dead.

That is, more or less the basis for the book. The field is now known by the more neutral term of “Condensed Matter Nuclear Science,” sometimes “Low Energy Nuclear Reactions,” the heat effect is simply called the Anomalous Heat Effect by some. I still use “cold fusion” because the evidence has become overwhelming that the nuclear reaction, whatever it is, is producing helium from deuterium, which is fusion in effect if not in mechanism. The mechanism is still unknown. It is obviously not what was thought of as “fusion” when the AHE was discovered.

The beginning and the last chapter may be of interest to those who seek to categorize varieties in the study of the history of science, but such pigeonholing is of much less value to me than revealing case studies of work well done and poorly done.

That’s Gary Taubes’ professional theme. However, it also can be superficial. There is a fine study by Henry H. Bauer (2002). ‘Pathological Science’ is not Scientific Misconduct (nor is it pathological).

One argument I’m not buying so far is the claim that what killed cold fusion is the consensus among most scientists that it was nonsense, rather than the fact that cold fusion is nonsense.

If not “consensus among most scientists,” how then would it be determined that a field is outside the mainstream? And is “nonsense” a “fact”? Can you weigh it?

There is a large body of experimental evidence, and then there are conclusions drawn from the evidence, and ideas about the evidence and the conclusions. Where does observed fact become “nonsense”?

“Nonsense” is something we say when what is being stated makes no sense to us. It’s highly subjective.

Notice that the author appears to believe that “cold fusion” is “nonsense,” but shows no sign of knowing what this thing is, what exactly is reported and claimed.

No, the author seems to be believe “cold fusion is nonsense,” as a fact of nature, as a reality, not merely a personal reaction. 

More to the point, where and when was the decision made that “cold fusion is dead”? The U.S. Department of Energy held two reviews of the field. The first was in 1989, rushed, and concluded before replications began appearing. Another review was held in 2004. Did these reviews declare that cold fusion was dead?

No. In fact, both recommended further research. One does not recommend further research for a dead field. In 2004, that recommendation was unanimous for an 18-member panel of experts.

This is to me a case study in which many open-minded people looked at a claim and shredded it.

According to Dr. Vidale. Yes, there was very strong criticism, even “vituperation,” in the words of one skeptic. However, the field is very much alive, and publication in mainstream journals has continued (increasing after a nadir in about 2005). Research is being funded. Governmental interest never disappeared, but it is a very difficult field.

There is little difference here between the truth and the scientists consensus about the truth.

What consensus, I must ask? The closest we have to a formal consensus would be the 2004 review, and what it concluded is far from the position Mr. Vidale is asserting. He imagines his view is “mainstream,” but that is simply the effect of an information cascade. Yes, many scientists think as he thinks, still. In other words, scientists can be ignorant of what is happening outside their own fields. But it is not a “consensus,” and never was. It was merely a widespread and very strong opinion, but that opinion was rejecting an idea about the Heat Effect, not the effect itself.

To the extent, though, that they were rejecting experimental evidence, they were engaged in cargo cult science, or scientism, a belief system. Not the scientific method.

The sociological understructure in the book seems to impede rather than aid understanding.

It seems that way to Dr. Vidale because he’s clueless about the reality of cold fusion research.

Specifically, there seems an underlying assumption that claims of excess heat without by-products of fusion reactions are a plausible interpretation, whose investigations deserved funding, but were denied by the closed club of established scientists.

There was a claim of anomalous heat, yes. It was an error for Pons and Fleischmann to claim that it was a nuclear reaction, and to mention “fusion,” based on the evidence they had, which was only circumstantial.

The reaction is definitely not what comes to mind when that word is used.

But . . . a fusion product, helium, was eventually identified (Miles, 1991), correlated with heat, and that has been confirmed by over a dozen research groups, and confirmation and measurement of the ratio with increased precision is under way at Texas Tech, very well funded, as that deserves. Extant measurements of the heat/helium ratio are within experimental error of the deuterium fusion to helium theoretical value.

(That does not show that the reaction is “d-d fusion,” because any reaction that starts with deuterium and ends with helium, no matter how this is catalyzed, must show that ratio.)

That Dr. Vidale believes that no nuclear product was identified simply shows that he’s reacting to what amounts to gossip or rumor or information cascade. (Other products have been found, there is strong evidence for tritium, but the levels are very low and it is the helium that accounts for the heat).

The author repeatedly cites international experts calling such scenarios impossible or highly implausible to suggest that the experts are libeling cold fusion claims with the label pathological science. I side with the experts rather than the author.

It is obvious that there were experts who did that; this is undeniable. Simon does not suggest “libel.” And Vidale merely joins in the labelling, without being specific such that one could test his claims. He’s outside of science. He’s taking sides, which sociologists generally don’t do, nor, in fact, do careful scientists do it within their field. To claim that a scientist is practicing “pathological science” is a deep insult. That is not a scientific category. Langmuir coined the term, and gave characteristics, which only superficially match cold fusion, which long ago moved outside of that box.

Also, the claim is made that this case demonstrates that sociologists are better equipped to mediate disputes involving claims of pathological science than scientists, which is ludicrous.

It would be, if the book claimed that, but it doesn’t. More to the point, who mediates such disputes? What happens in the real world?

Clearly, in the cold fusion case, another decade after the publication of this book has not contradicted any of the condemnations from scientists of cold fusion.

The 2004 U.S. DoE review was after the publication of the book, and it contradicts the position Dr. Vidale is taking, very clearly. While that review erred in many ways (the review was far too superficial, hurried, and the process allowed misunderstandings to arise, some reviewers clearly misread the presented documents), they did not call cold fusion “nonsense.” Several reviewers probably thought that, but they all agreed with “more research.”

Essentially, if one wishes to critically assess the stages through which cold fusion ideas were discarded, it is helpful to understand the nuclear processes involved.

Actually, no. “Cold fusion” appears to be a nuclear physics topic, because of “fusion.” However, it is actually a set of results in chemistry. What an expert in normal nuclear processes knows will not help with cold fusion. It is, at this point, an “unknown nuclear reaction” (which was claimed in the original paper). (Or it is a set of such reactions.) Yes, if someone wants to propose a theory of mechanism, a knowledge of nuclear physics is necessary, and there are physicists, with such understanding, experts, doing just that. So far, no theory has been successful to the point of being widely accepted.

One should not argue, as the author indirectly does, for large federal investments in blue sky reinvention of physics unless one has an imposing reputation of knowing the limitations of existing physics.

Simon does not argue for that. I don’t argue for that. I suggest exactly what both U.S. DoE reviews suggested: modest funding for basic research under existing programs. That is a genuine scientific consensus! However, it is not necessary a “consensus of scientists,” that is, some majority showing in a poll, as distinct from genuine scientific process as functions with peer review and the like.

It appears that Dr. Vidale has an active imagination, and thinks that Simon is a “believer” and thinks that “believers” want massive federal funding, so he reads that into the book. No, the book is about a sociological phenomenon, it was Simon’s doctoral thesis originally, and sociologists of science will continue to study the cold fusion affair, for a very long time. Huizenga called it the “scientific fiasco of the twentieth century.” He was right. It was a perfect storm, in many ways, and there is much that can be learned from it.

Cold fusion is not a “reinvention of physics.” It tells us very little about nuclear physics. “Cold fusion,” as a name for an anomalous heat effect, does not contradict existing physics. It is possible that when the mechanism is elucidated, it will show some contradiction, but what is most likely is that all that has been contradicted was assumption about what’s possible in condensed matter, not actual physics.

There are theories being worked on that use standard quantum field theory, merely in certain unanticipated circumstances. Quick example: what will happen if two deuterium molecules are trapped in relationship at low relative momentum, such that the nuclei form the vertices of a tetrahedron? The analysis has been done by Akito Takahashi: they will collapse into a Bose -Einstein condensate within a femtosecond or so, and that will fuse by tunneling within another femotosecond or so, creating 8Be, which can fission into two 4He nuclei, without gamma radiation (as would be expected if two deuterons could somehow fuse to helium without immediately fissioning into the normal d-d fusion products).

That theory is incomplete, I won’t go into details, but it merely shows how there may be surprises lurking in places we never looked before.

I will amend my review if my attention span is long enough, but the collection of objectionable claims has risen too high to warrant spending another few hours finishing this book. Gary Taubes’ book on the same subject, Bad Science, was much more factual and enlightening.

Taubes’ Bad Science is an excellent book on the history of cold fusion, the very early days only. The story of the book is well known, he was in a hurry to finish it so he could be paid. As is common with his work, he spent far more time than made sense economically for him. He believed he understood the physics, and sometimes wrote from that perspective, but, in fact, nobody understands what Pons and Fleischmann found. They certainly didn’t.

Gradually, fact is being established, and how to create reliable experiments is being developed. It’s still difficult, but measuring the heat/helium ratio is a reliable and replicable experiment. It’s still not easy, but what is cool about it is that, per existing results, if one doesn’t see heat, one doesn’t see helium, period, and if one does see heat (which with a good protocol might be half the time), one sees proportionate helium.

So Dr. Vidale gave the book a poor review, two stars out of five, based on his rejection of what he imagined the book was saying.

There were some comments, that can be seen by following the Unreal arguments link.

postoak6 years ago
“Clearly, in the cold fusion case, another decade after the publication of this book has not contradicted any of the condemnations from scientists of cold fusion.” I think this statement is false. Although fusion may not be occurring, there is much, much evidence that some sort of nuclear event is taking place in these experiments. See
The video was presented by Frank Gordon, of SPAWAR. It is about nuclear effects, including heat.
JohnVidale  6 years ago In reply to an earlier post
More telling than the personal opinion of either of us is the fact that 3 MORE years have passed since the video you linked, and no public demonstration of energy from cold fusion has YET been presented.
How does Dr. Vidale know that? The video covers many demonstrations of LENR. What Dr. Vidale may be talking about is practical levels of energy, and he assumes that if such a demonstration existed, he’d have heard about it. There have been many demonstrations. Dr.  Vidale’s comments were from August 2011. Earlier that year, there was a major claim of commercial levels of power, kilowatts, with public “demonstrations.” Unfortunately, it was fraud, but my point here is that this was widely known, widely considered, and Dr. Vidale doesn’t seem to know about it at all.
(The state of the art is quite low-power, but visible levels of power have been demonstrated and confirmed.)
Dr. Vidale is all personal opinion and no facts. He simply ignored the video, which is quite good, being a presentation by the SPAWAR group (U.S. Navy Research Laboratory, San Diego) to a conference organized by Dr. Robert Duncan, who was Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Missouri, and then countered the comment with simple ignorance (that there has been no public demonstration). 
Taser_This 2 years ago (Edited)
The commenters note is an excellent example of the sociological phenomenon related to the field of Cold Fusion, that shall be studied along with the physical phenomenon, once a change of perception of the field occurs. We shall eventually, and possibly soon, see a resolution of the clash of claims of pathological science vs. pathological disbelief. If history is any indicator related to denial in the face of incontrovertible evidence (in this case the observation of excess heat, regardless of the process of origin since we know it is beyond chemical energies) we shall be hearing a lot more about this topic.

Agreed, Dr. Vidale has demonstrated what an information cascade looks like. He’s totally confident that he is standing for the mainstream opinion. Yet “mainstream opinion” is not a judgment of experts, except, of course, in part.

Dr. Vidale is not an expert in this field, and he is not actually aware of expert reviews of “cold fusion.” Perhaps he might consider reading this peer-reviewed review of the field, published the year before he wrote, in Naturwissenschaften, which was, at the time, a venerable multidisciplinary journal,  and it had tough peer review. Edmund Storms, Status of cold fusion (2010). (preprint).

There are many, many reviews of cold fusion in mainstream journals, published in the last  15 years. The extreme skepticism, which Vidale thinks is mainstream, has disappeared in the journals. What is undead here is extreme skepticism on this topic, which hasn’t noticed it died.

So, is cold fusion Undead, or is it simply Alive and never died?

After writing this, I found that Dr. John Vidale was a double major as an undergraduate, in physics and geology, has a PhD from Cal Tech (1986), and his major focus appears to be seismology.

He might be amused by this story from the late Nate Hoffman, who wrote a book for the American Nuclear Society, supported by the Electric Power Research Institute, A Dialogue on Chemically Induced Nuclear Effects: A Guide for the Perplexed About Cold Fusion (1995). Among other things, it accurately reviews Taubes and Huizenga. The book is written as a dialogue between a Young Scientist (YS), who represents common thinking, particularly among physicists, and Old Metallurgist (OM), which would be Hoffman himself, who is commonly considered a skeptic by promoters of cold fusion. Actually, to me, he looks normally skeptical, skepticism being essential to science.

YS: I guess the real question has to be this: Is the heat real?

OM: The simple facts are as follows. Scientists experienced in the area of calorimetric measurements are performing these experiments. Long periods occur with no heat production, then, occasionally, periods suddenly occur with apparent heat production. These scientists become irate when so-called experts call them charlatans. The occasions when apparent heat occurs seem to be highly sensitive to the surface conditions of the palladium and are not reproducible at will.

YS: Any phenomenon that is not reproducible at will is most likely not real.

OM: People in the San Fernando Valley, Japanese, Columbians, et al, will be glad to hear that earthquakes are not real.

YS: Ouch. I deserved that. My comment was stupid.

OM: A large number of of people who should know better have parroted that inane statement. There are, however, many artifacts that can indicate a false period of heat production. The question of whether heat is being produced is still open, though any such heat is not from deuterium atoms fusing with deuterium atoms to produce equal amounts of 3He + neutron and triton + proton. If the heat is real, it must be from a different nuclear reaction or some totally unknown non-nuclear source of reactions with energies far above the electron-volt levels of chemical reactions.

As with Taubes, Hoffman may have been under some pressure to complete the book. Miles, in 1991, was the first to report, in a conference paper, that helium was being produced, correlated with helium, and this was noticed by Huizenga in the second edition of his book (1993). Hoffman covers some of Miles’ work, and some helium measurements, but does not report the crucial correlation, though this was published in Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry in 1993.

I cover heat/helium, as a quantitatively reproducible and widely-confirmed experiment, in my 2015 paper, published in a special section on Low Energy Nuclear Reactions in Current Science..

Of special note in that section would be McKubre, Cold fusion: comments on the state of scientific proof.

McKubre is an electrochemist who, when he saw the Pons and Fleischmann announcement, already was familiar with the palladium-deuterium system, working at SRI International, and immediately recognized that the effect reported must be in relatively unexplored territory, with very high loading ratio. This was not widely understood, and replication efforts that failed to reach a loading threshold, somewhere around 90% atom (D/Pd), reported no results (neither anomalous heat, nor any other nuclear effects). At that time, it was commonly considered that 70% loading was a maximum.

SRI and McKubre were retained by the Electric Power Research Institute, for obvious reasons, to investigate cold fusion, and until retiring recently, he spent his entire career after that, mostly on LENR research.

One of the characteristics of the rejection cascade was cross-disciplinary disrespect. In his review, Dr. Vidale shows no respect or understanding of sociology and “science studies,” and mistakes  his own opinions and those of his friends as “scientific consensus.”

What is scientific consensus? This is a question that sociologists and philosophers of science study. As well, most physicists knew little to nothing about electrochemistry, and there are many stories of Stupid Mistakes, such as reversing the cathode and anode (because of a differing convention) and failing to maintain very high cleanliness of experiments. One electrochemist, visiting such a lab, asked, “And then did you pee in the cell?” The most basic mistake was failing to run the experiment long enough to develop the conditions that create the effect. McKubre covers that in the paper cited.

(An electrolytic cathode will collect cations from the electrolyte, and cathodes may become loaded with fuzzy junk. I fully sympathize with physicists with a distaste for the horrible mess of an electrolytic cathode. For very good reasons, they prefer the simple environment of a plasma, which they can analyze using two-body quantum mechanics.

I sat in Feynman’s lectures at Cal Tech, 1961-63, and, besides his anecdotes that I heard directly from him when he visited Page House, I remember one statement about physics: “We don’t have the math to calculate the solid state, it is far too complex.” Yet too many physicists believed that the approximations they used were reality. No, they were useful approximations, that usually worked. So did Ptolemaic astronomy.)

Dr. Vidale is welcome to comment here and to correct errors, as may anyone.


Update, December 19, 2018

Apparently I sent Vidale an email notifying him of this post, I normally do that as a courtesy with reviews.  I could not find the email, which is a bit puzzling. It was likely very brief with a link, as he stated. I recall no response, but this showed up, a screenshot posted by a troll on Encyclopedia Dramatica (a satire site):

As before, no response is required. The troll who posted that image is also the troll who, with his brother, created and maintained the RationalWiki article, and Vidale’s comment is being used as a proof that I’m a troll. Circular.

Of course, Vidale did, in fact,  respond, just not in situ and not where it would be likely to be seen by me. Some people have a weird idea of what “no response” means.

I could not find the post, my guess is that it was taken down. Vidale followed and believed the claims of twin brothers who are the most disruptive trolls I have ever seen, though, to be sure, the internet is vast and I haven’t seen everything!


This is a subpage of Widom-Larsen theory

New Energy Times has pages covering reactions to Widom-Larsen theory. As listings in his “In the News Media” section of the WLtheory master page:

November 10, 2005, Krivit introduced W-L theory. Larsen is described in this as “mysterious.”

March 10, 2006, Krivit published Widom-Larsen Low Energy Nuclear Reaction Theory, Part 3 (The 2005 story was about “Newcomers,” and had a Part 1 and Part 2, and only Part 2 was about W-L theory)

March 16, 2007 “Widom Larsen Theory Debate” mentions critical comments by Peter Hagelstein, “choice words” from Scott Chubb, covers the correspondence between a reported prediction by Widom and Larsen re data from George Miley (which is the most striking evidence for the theory I have seen, but I really want to look at how that prediction was made, since this is post-h0c, apparently), presents a critique by Akito Takahashi with little comment, the comment from Scott Chubb mentioned above, an Anonymous reaction from a Navy particle physicist, and a commentary from Robert Deck.

January 11, 2008 The Widom-Larsen Not-Fusion Theory has a detailed history of Krivit’s inquiry into W-L theory, with extensive discussions with critics. Krivit didn’t understand or recognize some of what was written to him. However, he was clearly trying to organize some coherent coverage.

Non-reviewed peer responses” has three commentaries

September 11, 2006 from Dave Rees, “particle physicist” with SPAWAR.

March 14, 2007, by Robert Deck of Toledo University.

February 23, 2007 by Hideo Kizima (source of initial Kozima quote is unclear)

Also cited:

May 27, 2005 Lino Daddi conference paper on Hydrogen Miniatoms. Daddi’s mention of W-L theory is of unclear relationship to the topic of the paper.

(Following up on a dead link on the W-l theory page, I found this article from the Chicago Tribune from April 16, 2007, showing how Lattice Energy was representing itself then. Larsen “predicts that within five years there will be power sources based on LENR technology.”) That page was taken down, but I found it on the internet archive.

Third-Party References:

David Nagel, email to Krivit, May 4, 2005, saying that he’s sending it to “some theoretical physicists for a scrub,” and Nagel slides  May 11, 2005 and Sept. 16, 2005. The first asks “challenges”  about W-L theory (some of the same questions I have raised). The second asks the same questions. Nagel is treating the theory as possibly having some promise, in spite of still having questions about it. This was the same year as original publication.

Lino Daddi is quoted, with no context (the link is to Krivit, NET)

Brian Josephson, the same.

George Miley is also quoted, more extensively, from Krivit.

David Rees (cited above also)

SPAWAR LENR Research Group – 2007: “We find that Widom and Larsen have done a thorough mathematical treatment that describes one mechanism to create…low-energy neutrons.”

erratum that credits Widom and Larsen for the generation of “low energy neutrons.”

Szpak et al (2007) were looking at the reverse of neutron decay and, given their context, “Further evidence of nuclear reactions in the Pd/D lattice: emission of charged particles, and after pointing to the 0.8 MeV required for this with a proton and “25 times” more with a deuteron, inexplicably proposed this:

The reaction e + D+ -> 2n is the source of low energy neutrons (Szpak, unpublished data), which are the product of the energetically weak reaction (with the heat of reaction on the electron volt level) and reactants for the highly energetic nuclear reaction n+ X -> Y.
At that point SPAWAR had evidence they were about to publish for fast neutrons. I’m not aware of any of their work that supports slow neutrons, but maybe Szpak had them in mind for transmutations.

Defense Threat Reduction Agency, 2007 . – 2007: “New theory by Widom[-Larsen] shows promise; collective surface effects, not fusion.”.

NET report is linked. The actual report. The comment was an impression from 2007, common then.

Richard Garwin (Physicist, designer of the first hydrogen bomb) – 2007: “…I didn’t say it was wrong

Comment presented out-of-context to mislead.

Dennis M. Bushnell,  (Chief Scientist, NASA Langley Research Center) – 2008: “Now, a Viable Theory” (page 37

see NASA subpage. All is not well between NASA and Larsen.

Johns Hopkins University – 2008, (pages 25 and 37) [page 25, pdf page 26, has this:] [About the Fleischmann-Pons affair] . . . Whatever else, this history may stand as one of the more acute examples of the toxic effect of hype on potential technology development. [. . . ]

and they then proceed to repeat some hype:

According to the Larsen-Widom analysis, the tabletop, LENR reactions involve what’s called the “weak nuclear force,” and require no new physics.22 Larsen anticipates that advances in nanotechnology will eventually permit the development of compact, battery-like LENR devices that could, for example, power a cell phone for five hundred hours.

Note 22 is the only relevant information on page 37, and it is only a citation of Krivit’s Widom-Larsen theory portal (but it was broken, it was to “.htm” which fails, it must now be “.shtml”. And this may explain many of the broken links on NET.)

This citation is simply an echo of Krivit’s hype.

Pat McDaniel (retired from Sandia N.L.): “Widom Larsen theory is considered by many [people] in the government bureaucracy to explain LENR.

J. M. Zawodny (Senior Scientist, NASA Langley Research Center) – 2009: “All theories are based on the Strong Nuclear force and are variants of Cold Fusion except for one new theory. Widom-Larsen Theory is the first theory to not require ‘new physics’.

DTRA-Sponsored Report – 2010, “Applications of Quantum Mechanics: Black Light Power and the Widom-Larsen Theory of LENR,” Toton, Edward and Ullrich, George

Randy Hekman (2012 Senatorial Candidate) – 2011: “This theory explains the data in ways that are totally consistent with accepted concepts of science.

CERN March 22, 2012 Colloquium

The link is to an NET page.

Marty K. Bradley and Christopher K. Droney – Boeing (May 2012) “The Widom-Larson theory appears to have the best current understanding.

In 2007, Krivit solicited comments from LENR researchers on a mailing list.

Russ George and the D2Fusion team

Laura Chao, 24. Nuclear researcher at D2Fusion, a Foster City company working on generating clean, renewable energy from solid-state fusion.

This page (October 1, 2006) was linked from the defunct D2Fusion web site.

Russ George has been popping up in LENR circles again, so I decided to check out the history (which I knew mostly as rumor from people he had formerly worked with, in circles where he had apparently become persona non grata), and I found the image above, which I put here as eye candy. Nice, eh? I hope her experience with cold fusion was not a total bust and that her life has been productive and worthwhile. I don’t see that she has been mentioned anywhere else on this topic. Great photo, though!

Some comments from the article on Chao:

75912  Posted 10.25.06

“Too bad Chao didn’t read the expose on D2Fusion in the May, 2006 New Energy Times. “

75913 Posted 12.19.06

“Too bad ‘75912’ was taken in by the New Energy Times attack on d2fusion.”

Laura later blogged about cold fusion (March, 2007) and about the fun she was having at work. And more.

And even more, an embarrassment of riches. “My professional life is not progressing as planned.”

She is a fantastic blogger. Her response to an actual question about cold fusion is priceless. And then:

Lies Lies Lies (September 1, 2007) (my emphasis added)

“Your CEO says that your lab is melting,” JB whispered into my ear.

For the purpose of the 7×7 Hot 20 Under 40 party, my company had printed me brand new business cards that read “Nuclear Physicist,” despite the fact that my official title was actually ‘science technician.’

In light of my situation, I decided to enlist support. Showing up with my friend JB, the CTO of Tesla Motors (who used to be a fusion researcher himself), would help me obtain the outrageous amount of publicity my company was expecting me to generate, and also satisfy the magazine, which had advertised me as the up and coming genius of the year. (Geez, no pressure.) My CEO, unfortunately, failed to inquire into JB’s past before lecturing him about our runaway success in cold fusion.

“Apparently, the fusion is so out of control,” JB said, barely able to hold back his laughter as he repeated my CEO’s claims, “that your laboratory instruments keep vaporizing. HAHAHAHAHAHA!”

I should have known right then that eventually (read: very soon) the company would no longer be a company.

The job has evaporated by December, 2007. (Laura Chao had a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.) I assume the CEO was George.

January 10, 2008, the link to her as a “D2F scientist” was still up. The site went “down for maintenance” February 10, and stayed that way, until it vanished after July 8, 2008. In 2012, Godaddy put the domain up for sale.  It’s now a strange spam-y site.

Laura Chao’s last blog post was in March, 2013. Brilliant, actually.

So … the New Energy Times “expose.”  Steve Krivit is a yellow journalist, it’s his shtick.  He’s also done a lot of work, and what he has written about Russ George appears to be well-supported.

So Russ George on LENR Forum. His own thread. 

Here is the very RAW geiger data one can see some excursions well above the long duration ‘background’ counts. Given the relative insensitivity of Geigers to gamma (or x-ray) photons the Androcles deuterated fuel mixture is doing something quite extraordinary as there is only a fraction of a gram of fuel mix, about the volume of 5-10 grains of rice.

What is immediately noticeable is that the “excursions” are occurring at 24-hour intervals. No evidence is presented connecting the counts with the fuel mix. The LF user who questions what had been done is banned on LF, by Alan Smith, who is sponsoring George’s current research. George reveals his thinking about Andrea Rossi:

seven_of_twenty wrote:


Is the above cryptic statement intended to mean that you still think Rossi has demonstrated LENR? If so, why on Earth would you think it, given all the evidence to the contrary over the past 7+ years?

No number of blowhard armchair trolls is worth one iota of real data, so what is your point. Rossi has shown plenty of interesting data that speaks to those skilled in the art.

The art of the con, indeed. It takes one to know one.

Russ George took research possibilities and turned them into personal promotion, he was more blatant in this than Rossi. Both managed, for a time, to impress, in some way or other, real scientists.

There are real investors looking for opportunities to support cold fusion, and they tested Rossi’s claims, and his devices, to the hilt, and found nothing but lies, damn lies, and no statistics.

One  LF user (Dewey Weaver) actually represents them (though not officially on that forum). These people have invested on the order of $70 million in LENR over the last few years, they literally put their money where their mouth is. They don’t talk much, in fact.

Russ George is a big talker, talking big, always sure of himself. And then there is Alan Smith.

Protecting the fringe allows the mainstream to breathe

Wikipedia is famously biased against fringe points of view or fringe science (and actually the bias can appear with any position considered “truth” by a majority or plurality faction). The pseudoskeptical faction there claims that there is no bias, but it’s quite clear that reliable sources exist, per Wikipedia definitions, that are excluded, and weaker sources “debunking” the fringe are allowed, plus if editors appears to be “fringe,” they are readily harassed and blocked or banned, whereas more egregious behavior, violating Wikipedia policies, is overlooked, if an editor is allied with the “skeptical” faction. Over time, the original Wikipedians, who actually supported Neutral Point of View policy, have substantially been marginalized and ignored, and the faction has become increasingly bold.

When I first confronted factional editing, before the Arbitration Committee in 2009, the faction was relatively weak. However, over the ensuing years, the debunkers organized, Guerrilla Skeptics on Wikipedia (GSoW) came into existence, and operates openly. People who come to Wikipedia to attempt to push toward neutrality (or toward “believer” positions) are sanctioned for treating Wikipedia as a battleground, but that is exactly what the skeptics have done, and the Guerrilla Skeptics (consider the name!) create a consistent push with a factional position.

There is increasing evidence of additional off-wiki coordination. It would actually be surprising if it did not exist, it can be difficult to detect. But we have an incident, now.

February 24, 2018 I was banned by the WikiMediaFoundation. There was no warning, and no explanation, and there is no appeal from a global ban. Why? To my knowledge, I did not violate the Terms of Service in any way. There was, however, at least one claim that I did, an allegation by a user that I had “harassed” him by email, the first of our emails was sent through the WMF servers, so if, in fact, that email was harassment, it would be a TOS violation, though a single violation, unless truly egregious, has never been known to result in a ban. I have published all the emails with that user here.

This much is known, however. One of those who claimed to have complained about me to the WMF posted a list of those complaining on the forum, Wikipedia Sucks. It is practically identical to the list I had inferred; it is, then, a convenient list of those who likely libelled me. However, I will be, ah, requesting the information from the WikiMedia Foundation.

Meanwhile, the purpose of this post is to consider the situation with fringe science and an encyclopedia project. First of all, what is fringe science?

The Wikipedia article, no surprise, is massively confused on this.


The term “fringe science” denotes unorthodox scientific theories and models. Persons who create fringe science may have employed the scientific method in their work, but their results are not accepted by the mainstream scientific community. Fringe science may be advocated by a scientist who has some recognition within the larger scientific community, but this is not always the case. Usually the evidence provided by fringe science is accepted only by a minority and is rejected by most experts.[citation needed]

Indeed, citation needed! Evidence is evidence, and is often confused with conclusions. Rejection of evidence is essentially a claim of fraud or reporting error, which is rare for professional scientists, because it can be career suicide. Rather, a scientist may discover an anomaly, au unexplained phenomenon, more precisely, unexplained results. Then a cause may be hypothesized. If this hypothesis is unexpected within existing scientific knowledge, yet the hypothesis is not yet confirmed independently, it may be “rejected” as premature or even wrong. If there are experts in the relevant field who accept it as possible and worthy of investigation, this then is “possible new science.” There may be experts who reject the new analysis, for various reasons, and we will look at a well-known example, “continental drift.”

There is no “journal of mainstream opinion,” but there are journals considered “mainstream.” The term “mainstream” is casually used by many authors without any clear definition. In my own work, I defined “mainstream journals” as journals acceptable as such by Dieter Britz, a skeptical electrochemist. As well, the issue of speciality arises. If there is an electrochemical anomaly discovered, heat the expert chemists cannot explain through chemistry, what is the relevant field of expertise. Often those who claim a field is “fringe” are referring to the opinions of those who are not expert in the directly relevant field, but whose expertise, perhaps, leads to conclusions that are, on the face, contradicted by evidence gathered with expertise other than in their field.

With “cold fusion,” named after a hypothesized source for anomalous heat,  in the Fleischmann-Pons Heat Effect,  (also found by many others), it was immediately assumed that the relevant field would be nuclear physics. It was also assumed that if “cold fusion” were real, it would overturn established physical theory. That was a blatant analytical error, because it assumed a specific model of the heat source, a specific mechanism, which was actually contradicted by the experimental evidence, most notably by the “dead graduate student effect.” If the FPHE were caused by the direct fusion of two deuterons to form helium, the third of Huizenga’s three “miracles,” if absent, would have generated fatal levels of gamma radiation. The second miracle was the reaction being guided in to the very rare helium branch, instead of there being fatal levels of neutron radiation, and the first would be the fusion itself. However, that first miracle would not contradict existing physics, because an unknown form of catalysis may exist, and one is already known, muon-catalyzed fusion.

Evidence is not provided by “fringe science.” It is provided by ordinary scientific study. In cargo cult science, ordinary thinking is worshipped as if conclusive, without the rigorous application of the scientific method. Real science is always open, no matter how well-established a theory. The existing theory may be incomplete. Ptolemaic astronomy provided a modal that was quite good at explaining the motions of planets. Ptolemaic astronomy passed into history when a simpler model was found.

Galileo’s observations were rejected because they contradicted certain beliefs.  The observations were evidence, and “contradiction” is an interpretation, not evidence in itself. (It is not uncommon for  apparently contradictory evidence to be later understood as indicating an underlying reality. But with Galileo, his very observations were rejected — I think, it would be interesting to study this in detail — and if he were lying, it would be a serious moral offense, actually heresy.

The boundary between fringe science and pseudoscience is disputed. The connotation of “fringe science” is that the enterprise is rational but is unlikely to produce good results for a variety of reasons, including incomplete or contradictory evidence.[7]

The “boundary question” is an aspect of the sociology of science. “Unlikely to produce good results,” first of all, creates a bias, where results are classified as “good” or “poor” or “wrong,” all of which moves away from evidence to opinion and interpretation. “Contradictory evidence,” then, suggests anomalies. “Contradiction” does not exist in nature. With cold fusion, an example is the neutron radiation issue. Theory would predict, for two-deuteron fusion, massive neutron radiation. So that Pons and Fleischmann reported neutron radiation, but at levels far, far below what would be expected for d-d fusion generating the reported heat, first of all, contradicted the d-d fusion theory, on theoretical grounds. They were quite aware of this, hence what they actually proposed in their first paper was not “d-d fusion” but an “unknown nuclear reaction.” That was largely ignored, so much noise was being made about “fusion,” it was practically a Perfect Storm.

Further, any substantial neutron radiation would be remarkable as a result from an electrochemical experiment. As came out rather rapidly, Pons and Fleischmann had erred. Later work that established an upper limit for neutron radiation was itself defective (the FP heat effect was very difficult to set up, and it was not enough to create an alleged “FP cell” and look for neutrons, because many such cells produce no measurable heat), but it is clear from later work that neutron generation, if it exists at all, is at extremely low levels, basically irrelevant to the main effect.

Such neutron findings were considered “negative” by Britz. In fact, all experimental findings contribute to knowledge; it became a well-established characteristic of the FP Heat Effect that it does not generate significant high-energy radiation, nor has the heat ever been correlated (across multiple experiments and by multiple independent groups) with any other nuclear product except helium. 

The term may be considered pejorative. For example, Lyell D. Henry Jr. wrote that, “fringe science [is] a term also suggesting kookiness.”[8] This characterization is perhaps inspired by the eccentric behavior of many researchers of the kind known colloquially (and with considerable historical precedent) as mad scientists.[9]

The term does suggest that. The looseness of the definition allows inclusion of many different findings and claims, which do include isolated and idiosyncratic ideas of so-called “mad scientists.” This is all pop science, complicated by the fact that some scientists age and suffer from forms of dementia. However, some highly successful scientists also move into a disregard of popular opinion, which can create an impression of “kookiness,” which is, after all, popular judgment and not objective. They may be willing to consider ideas rejected for social reasons by others.

Although most fringe science is rejected, the scientific community has come to accept some portions of it.[10] One example of such is plate tectonics, an idea which had its origin in the fringe science of continental drift and was rejected for decades.[11]

There are lost and crucial details. Rejected by whom, and when? The present tense is used, and this is common with the anti-fringe faction on Wikipedia. If something was rejected by some or by many, that condition is assumed to continee and is reported in the present tense, as as it were a continuing fact, when an author cannot do more than express an opinion about the future.  Now, plate tectonics is mentioned. “Continental drift” is called “fringe science,” even after it became widely accepted.

Wegener’s proposal of continental drift is a fascinating example. The Wikipedia article does not mention “fringe science.” The Wikipedia article is quite good, it seems to me. One particular snippet is of high interest:

David Attenborough, who attended university in the second half of the 1940s, recounted an incident illustrating its lack of acceptance then: “I once asked one of my lecturers why he was not talking to us about continental drift and I was told, sneeringly, that if I could prove there was a force that could move continents, then he might think about it. The idea was moonshine, I was informed.”[47]

As late as 1953 – just five years before Carey[48] introduced the theory of plate tectonics – the theory of continental drift was rejected by the physicist Scheidegger on the following grounds.[49]

That rejection was essentially pseudoskepticism and pseudoscientific. There was observation (experimental evidence) suggesting drift. The lack of explanatory theory is not evidence of anything other than possible ignorance. “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.”

The fact is that the continental drift hypothesis, as an explanation for the map appearance and fossil record, was not generally accepted. What shifted opinion was the appearance of a plausible theory. Worthy of note was how strongly the opinion of “impossible” was, such that “proof” was demanded. This is a sign of a fixed mind, not open to new ideas. The history of science is a long story of developing methods to overcome prejudice like that. This is a struggle between established belief and actual fact. Experimental evidence is fact. Such and such was observed, such and such was measured. These are truth, the best we have. It can turn out that recorded data was a result of artifact, and some records are incorrect, but that is relatively rare. Scientists are trained to record data accurately and to report it neutrally. Sometimes they fail, they are human. But science has the potential to grow beyond present limitations because of this habit.

Anomalies, observations that are not understood within existing scientific models, are indications that existing models are incomplete. Rejecting new data or analyses because they don’t fit existing models is circular. Rather, a far better understanding of this is that the evidence for a new idea has not risen to a level of detail, including controlled tests, to overcome standing ideas. Science, as a whole, properly remains agnostic. Proof is for math, not the rest of science. This does not require acceptance of new ideas until one is convinced by the preponderance of evidence. Pseudoskeptics often demand “proof.” “Extraordinary claims” require extraordinary evidence.” Yes, but what does that actually mean? What if there is “ordinary evidence?” What is the definition of an “extraordinary claim,” such that ordinary evidence is to be disregarded?

It’s subjective. It means nothing other than “surprising to me” — or to “us,” often defined to exclude anyone with a contrary opinion. For Wikipedia, peer-reviewed secondary source in a clearly mainstream journal is rejected because the author is allegedly a “believer.” That is editorial opinion, clearly not neutral. Back to the fringe science article:

The confusion between science and pseudoscience, between honest scientific error and genuine scientific discovery, is not new, and it is a permanent feature of the scientific landscape …. Acceptance of new science can come slowly.[12]

This was presented by formatting as a quotation, but was not attributed in the text. This should be “According to Michael W. Friedlander.” in his book on the topic, At the Fringes of Science (1005). He is very clear: there is no clear demarcation between “science” and “fringe science.”

Friedlander does cover cold fusion, to some degree. He hedges his comments. On page 1, “… after months of independent, costly, and exhaustive checks by hundreds of scientist around the world, the excitement over cold fusion cooled off, and the claim is probably destined to take its place alongside monopoles, N-rays, polywater, and other fly-by-night “discoveries” that flash across our scientific skies to end up as part of our folklore.”

He hedged with “probably.” On what evidence was he basing that assessment?  Cold fusion was not actually his primary investigation. On pp. 27-34, he reports the early days of the cold fusion fiasco, (with some errors), and doesn’t report on what came later. He doesn’t mention the later confirmations of the heat effect, nor the discovery of a nuclear product, published in 1993 in a mainstream journal (though announced in 1991, Huizenga covered it in 1993). He does not distinguish between the”fusion theory” and the actual report of anomalous heat by experts in heat measurement, not to mention the later discovery of a correlated nuclear product. He closes that section with:

To summarize briefly, the cold fusion “discovery” will surely be remembered as a striking example of how science should not be done. Taubes has compared “many of the proponents of cold fusion” to Blaise Pascal, the seventeenth century scientist who “renounced a life of science for one of faith>” [Bad Science (1993), 92] The whole episode certainly illustrates the practical difficulty in implementing an innocuous-sounding “replication” and points to the need for full and open disclosure if there are to be meaningful tests and checks. It has also exposed some unfortunate professional sensitivities, jealousies, and resentments. At least to date, the exercise appears to be devoid of redeeming scientific value — but perhaps something may yet turn up as the few holdouts tenaciously pursue a theory as evasive as the Cheshire cat.

I agree with much of this, excepting his ignorance of results in the field, and his idea that what was to be pursued was a “theory.” No, what was needed was clear confirmation of the heat anomaly, then confirmation of the direct evidence that it was nuclear in nature (correlated helium!), and then far more intensive study of the effect itself, its conditions and other correlates and only then would a viable theory become likely.

Cold fusion was the “Scientific Fiasco of the Century” (Huizenga, 1992) It looks like Friendlander did not look at the second edition of Huizenga’s book, where he pointed to the amazing discovery of correlated helium. There was a problem in cold fusion research, that there were many “confirmations” of the heat effect, but they were not exact replications, mostly. Much of the rush to confirm — or disconfirm — was premature and focused on what was not present: “expected” nuclear products, i.e., neutrons. Tritium was confirmed but at very low levels and not correlated with heat (often the tritium studies were of cells where heat was not measured).

Nobody sane would argue that fringe claims should be “believed” without evidence, and where each individual draws the line on what level of evidence is necessary is a personal choice. It is offensive, however, when those who support a fringe claim are attacked and belittled and sometimes hounded. If fringe claims are to be rejected ipso facto, i.e., because they are considered fringe, the possibility of growth in scientific understanding is suppressed. This will be true even if most fringe claims ultimately disappear. Ordinary evidence showing some anomaly is just that, showing an anomaly. By definition, an anomaly indicates something is not understood.

With cold fusion, evidence for a heat anomaly accumulated, and because the conditions required to create the anomaly were very poorly understood, a “negative confirmation” was largely meaningless, indicating only that whatever approach was used did not generate the claimed effect, and it could have been understood that the claimed effect was not “fusion,” but anomalous heat. If the millions of dollars per month that the U.S. DoE was spending frantically in 1989 to test the claim had been understood that way, and if time had been allowed for confirmation to appear, it might not have been wasted.

As it is, Bayesian analysis of the major “negative confirmations” shows that with what became known later, those experiments could be strongly predicted to fail, they simply did not set up the conditions that became known as necessary. This was the result of a rush to judgment, pressure was put on the DoE to come up with quick answers, perhaps because the billion-dollar-per-year hot fusion effort was being, it was thought, threatened, with heavy political implications. Think of a billion dollars per year no longer being available for salaries for, say, plasma physicists.

However, though they were widely thought to have “rejected” cold fusion, the reality is that both U.S. DoE reviews were aware of the existence of evidence supporting the heat effect and its nuclear nature, and recommended further research to resolve open questions; in 2004, the 18-member panel was evenly divided on the heat question, with half considering the evidence to be conclusive and half not. Then on the issue of a nuclear origin, a third considered the evidence for a nuclear effect to be “conclusive or somewhat conclusive.”

The heat question has nothing to do with nuclear theory, but it is clear that some panel members rejected the heat evidence because of theory. The most recent major scientific work on cold fusion terms itself as a study of the Anomalous Heat Effect, and they are working on improving precision of heat and helium measurements.

If one does not accept the heat results, there would be no reason to accept nuclear evidence! So it is clear from the 2004 DoE review that cold fusion was, by then, moving into the mainstream, even though there was still rampant skepticism.

The rejection of cold fusion became an entrenched idea, an information cascade that, as is normal for such cascades, perpetuates itself, as scientists and others assume that was “everyone thinks” must be true.

In mainstream journals, publication of papers, and more significantly, reviews that accept the reality of the effect began increasing around 2005. There are no negative reviews that were more than a passing mention. What is missing is reviews in certain major journals that essentially promised to not publish on the topic, over a quarter-century ago.

One of the difficulties is that the basic research that shows, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the effect is real and nuclear in nature was all done more than a decade ago. It is old news, even though it was not widely reported. Hence my proposal, beginning quite a few years ago, was for replication of that work with increased precision, which is a classic measure of “pathological science.” Will the correlation decline or disappear with increased precision?

This is exactly the work that a genuine skeptic would want to see.

I have often written that genuine skepticism is essential to science. As well, those who will give new ideas or reported anomalies enough credence to support testing are also essential. Some of them will be accused of being “believers” or “proponents,” or even “diehards.”

The mainstream needs the fringes to be alive, in order to breathe and grow.

Diehard believers have hope, especially if they also trust reality. Diehard skeptics are simply dying.

(More accurately, “diehard skeptic” is an oxymoron. Such a person is a pseudoskeptic, a negative believer.)

Straw houses and straw men

People who live in grass houses shouldn’t stow thrones.

I think I read that story in Astounding Science Fiction when I was in high school.

The occasion for this post is a thread started by the old standard, Mary Yugo, who created a LENR Forum thread entirely based on a possible overstatement by Jed Rothwell, I’m not entirely certain yet.

Is there evidence for LENR power generation of 100W for days without input power?

He starts with:

Jed Rothwell has repeatedly asserted that there is significant and credible evidence for an LENR device which sustains a 100W output for days without any input power.

I’ve been seeing this go back and forth for days. Mary says “you said,” and Jed says “something else.” Often there is no link to the prior discussion, a particular LF peeve of mine, users who don’t use the quote facility when responding, so tracking conversations back can be tedious.

Yes, a 100 watt power release for days from LENR without input power would be remarkable. Has this ever happened? I don’t have any example in mind, setting aside the claims of Andrea Rossi, which are, to say the least, unconfirmed, hence not answers to Mary’s question. Continue reading “Straw houses and straw men”

Morrison Fleischmann debate

This is a study of the debate between Douglas Morrison and Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann. This debate first took place on the internet, but was then published. It was also covered with copies of drafts from both sides, shown on

Phase 1 of the study
Participation is strongly invited.
Britz summaries of the papers

Phase 1 of the study

In this phase, the goal is to thoroughly understand, as far as possible, the expression and intentions of the authors. In the first phase, whether an author is “right” or “wrong” is irrelevant, and if something appears incorrect, a default operating assumption is that the expression was defective or incomplete or has not been understood. In later analysis, this restriction may be removed, and possible error considered.

The original paper being critiqued was M. Fleischmann, S. Pons, “Calorimetry of the Pd-D2O system: from simplicity via complications to simplicity,” Physics Letters A, 176 (1993) 118-129. I have a scan of the original published paper (and Steve Krivit hosts a copy), but I have used here use the more-available version, first presented as a conference paper at ICCF-3 in 1992. There is a later version, presented at ICCF-4 in 1993.

Morrison, D. R. O. (1994). “Comments on claims of excess enthalpy by Fleischmann and Pons using simple cells made to boil.” Phys. Lett. A, 185:498–502. I have a scan, but, again, will use the copy.

The original authors then replied with Fleischmann, M.; Pons, S. (1994). “Reply to the critique by Morrison entitled ‘Comments on claims of excess enthalpy by FLeischmann and Pons using simple cells made to boil'”. Phys. Lett. A, 187:276–280. Again, I have a scan of the as-published reply, but will use what is included in the copy for convenience.

If there are any significant differences in the versions, I assume they will be found and noted. Meanwhile, this is an opportunity to see what critiques were levelled by Morrison in 1994, and how Pons and Flesichmann replied. Many of the same issues continue to be raised.

Subpages here.

Original paper.

Morrison critique.

Original authors respond.

Review Committee (new members welcome. This is consensus process and, even after the Committee issues reports, additional good-faith review will remain open here, hopefully, or elsewhere.)


To participate in this study, comment on the Review Committee page, using a real email address (which will remain confidential) and then begin reviewing the Original paper. (The email address will be used in negotiating consensus, later. Participants will be consulted about process.) Again, the goal at his point is to become familiar with the original paper, what is actually in it (and what is not in it).

Comment here constitutes permission for CFC administration to email you directly (your email address remains private information, not used except for administrative purposes.)

Fleischmann papers are famous for being difficult to understand. Having now edited the complete paper, I’m not ready to claim I understand it all, but it is not as difficult as I’d have expected. The math takes becoming familiar with the symbols, but it is not particularly complex.

Subpages are being created for each section in the article.

If anyone has difficulty understanding something, comment on the relevant subpage and we can look at it. Specify the page number. (I have placed page anchors as well as section anchors in the Original, and equation and figure anchors as well, so you can link directly. There are surely errors in this editing, so corrections are highly welcome.)

Take notes, and you may share them as a comment on that subpage. Please keep a focus in each comment, if possible, on a single section in the paper. I may then reorganize these in subpages that study each section. Comments on the paper itself, at this point, are not for debate or argument, but only for seeking understanding.

(If a subpage has not yet been created for a section, show the subsection title in questions or comment, and these will be moved to the relevant subpage. At this point, please do not “debate.” The goal is understanding, and understanding arises from the comprehension of multiple points of view.)

Overall comment on this process is appropriate on this page.

As Phase 1 completes on the Original, we will move to the Morrison critique, and then, in turn, to the Pons and Fleischmann reply, again with the goal being understanding of the positions and ideas expressed.

In Phase 2 we will begin to evaluate all this, to see if we can find consensus on significance, for example.

Source for Morrison, and related discussions in sci.physics.fusion

Comments on Fleischmann and Pons paper.

— (should be the same as the copy on, or maybe the later copy (see below) is what we have.

Response to comments on my cold fusion status report.

— Morrison comment in 2000 on another Morrison paper, status of cold fusion, correcting errors and replying. This contains many historical references. Much discussion ensued. Morrison appears to be convinced that excess heat measurements are all error, from unexpected recombination, and he also clearly considers failure to find neutrons to be negative against fusion, i.e., he is assuming that if there is fusion, it is standard d-d fusion (which few are claiming any more, and which was effectively ruled out by Fleischmann from the beginning — far too few neutrons, and the neutron report they made was error. Basically, no neutrons is a characteristic of FP cold fusion. This was long after Miles and after Miles was recognized by Huizenga as such a remarkable finding. The discussion shows the general toxicity and hostility. (Not so Morrison himself, who is polite.)

You asked where is the “Overwhelming evidence” against cold fusion? For 
this see the paper “Review of Cold Fusion” which I presented at the ICCF-3 
conference in Nagoya – strangely enough it seems not to have been published 
in the proceedings despite being an invited paper – will send a copy if   

“Strangely enough,” indeed.

The 2000 paper is on New Energy Times. 

Krivit has collected many issues of the Morrison newsletters on cold fusion.

This is a Morrison review of the Nagoya conference (ICCF-3). Back to sci.physics.fusion:

Fleischmann’s original response to Morrison’s lies

— Post in 2000 by Jed Rothwell and discussion.

Morrison’s Comments Criticized

— Post by Swartz in 1993 (cosigned by Mallove) with Fleischmann reply to Morrison’s critique. Attacks the intentions of Morrison, but this was the original posting of the Fleischmann reply.

I am sure there is more there of interest. We can see how toxic, largely ad-hominem, polarized debate led to little useful conclusions, merely the hardened positions that continue to be expressed.

Hagelstein on the inclusion of skeptics at ICCF 10.

9. Absence of skeptics

Researchers in cold fusion have not had very good luck interacting with skeptics over the years. This has been true of the ICCF conference series. Douglas Morrison attended many of the ICCF conferences before he passed away. While he did provide some input as a skeptic, many found his questions and comments to be uninteresting (the answers usually had been discussed previously, or else concerned points that seemed more political than scientific). It is not clear how many in the field saw the reviews of the conferences that he distributed widely. For example, at ICCF3 the SRI team discussed observations of excess heat from electrochemical cells in a flow calorimeter, where the associated experimental errors were quite small and well-studied. The results were very impressive, and answered basic questions about the magnitude of the effect, signal to noise, dynamics, reproducibility, and dependence on loading and current density. Morrison’s discussion in his review left out nearly all technical details of the presentation, but did broadcast his nearly universal view that the results were not convincing. What the physics community learned of research in the cold fusion field in general came through Morrison’s filter.

Skeptics have often said that negative papers are not allowed at the conference. At ICCF10, some effort was made to encourage skeptics to attend. Gene Mallove posted more than 100 conference posters around MIT several months prior to the conference (some of which remain posted two years later), in the hope that people from MIT would come to the conference and see what was happening. No MIT students or faculty attended, outside of those presenting at the conference. The cold fusion demonstrations presented at MIT were likewise ignored by the MIT community.

To encourage skeptics to attend, invitations were issued to Robert Park, Peter Zimmermann, Frank Close, Steve Koonin, John Holzrichter, and others. All declined, or else did not respond. In the case of Peter Zimmermann, financial issues initially prevented his acceptance, following which full support (travel, lodging, and registration) was offered. Unfortunately his schedule then did not permit his participation. Henceforth, let it be known that it was the policy at ICCF10 to actively encourage the participation of skeptics, and that many such skeptics chose not to participate.

My analysis: the damage had been done. The efforts to include skeptics were too little, too late. The comment that Hagelstein makes about Morrison’s participation is diagnostic: instead of harnessing Morrison’s critique, it is essentially dismissed. Whatever issues Morrison kept bringing up, ordinary skeptics would have the same issues. Peter’s comment is “in-universe,” not seeing the overall context. Skeptics with strongly-developed rejection views would, in general, not consider attending the conference a worthwhile investment of time. That could be remedied, easily. My super-sekrit plan: if conditions are ripe, to invite Gary Taubes to ICCF-21. Shhh! Don’t tell anyone!

(The time is not quite yet ripe, but might be before ICCF-21.)

Short of that, how about an ICCF panel to address skeptical issues and to suggest possible experimental testing of anything not already adequately tested? (And who decides what is adequate? Skeptics, of course! Who else? And for this we need some skeptics! This kind of process takes facilitation, it doesn’t happen by itself, when polarization has set in.)

(This is not a suggestion that experimentalists must anticipate or address every possible criticism. When they can do so, it’s valuable, and the scientific method suggests seeking to prove one’s own conclusions wrong, but that is about interpretation, and  science is also exploration, and in exploration, one reports what one sees and does not necessarily nail down every possible detail.)

Britz on the papers:

author = {M. Fleischmann and S. Pons},
title = {Calorimetry of the Pd-D2O system: from simplicity via complications to simplicity},
journal = {Phys. Lett. A},
volume = {176},
year = {1993},
pages = {118–129},
keywords = {Experimental, electrolysis, Pd, calorimetry, res+},
submitted = {12/1992},
published = {05/1993},
annote = {Without providing much experimental detail, this paper focusses on a series of cells that were brought to the boil and in fact boiled to dryness at the end, in a short time (600 s). The analysis of the calorimetric data is once again described briefly, and the determination of radiative heat transfer coefficient demonstrated to be reliable by its evolution with time. This complicated model yields a fairly steady excess heat, at a Pd cathode of 0.4 cm diameter and 1.25 cm length, of about 20 W/cm$^3$ or around 60\% input power (not stated), in an electrolyte of 0.6 M LiSO4 at pH 10. When the cells boil, the boiling off rate yields a simply calculated excess heat of up to 3.7 kW/cm$^3$. The current flow was allowed to continue after the cell boiled dry, and the electrode continued to give off heat for hours afterwards.}

author = {D.~R.~O. Morrison},
title = {Comments on claims of excess enthalpy by Fleischmann and Pons
using simple cells made to boil},
journal = {Phys. Lett. A},
volume = {185},
year = {1994},
pages = {498–502},
keywords = {Polemic},
submitted = {06/1993},
published = {02/1994},
annote = {This polemic, communicated by Vigier (an editor of the journal), as was the original paper under discussion (Fleischmann et al, ibid 176 (1993) 118), takes that paper experimental stage for stage and points out its weaknesses. Some of the salient points are that above 60C, the heat transfer
calibration is uncertain, that at boiling some electrolyte salt as well as unvapourised liquid must escape the cell and (upon D2O topping up) cell conductivity will decrease; current fluctuations are neglected and so is the Leydenfrost effect; recombination; and the cigarette lighter effect, i.e. rapid recombination of Pd-absorbed deuterium with oxygen.}

author = {M. Fleischmann and S. Pons},
title = {Reply to the critique by Morrison entitled
‘Comments on claims of excess enthalpy by FLeischmann
and Pons using simple cells made to boil’},
journal = {Phys. Lett. A},
volume = {187},
year = {1994},
pages = {276–280},
keywords = {Polemic},
submitted = {06/1993},
published = {04/1994},
annote = {Point-by-point rebuttal. F\&P did not use the complicated differential equation method as claimed by Morrison; the critique by Wilson et al does not apply to F\&P’s work; very little electrolyte leaves the cell in liquid form; current- and cell voltage fluctuations are absent or unimportant; the problem of the transition from nucleate to film boiling was addressed; recombination (cigarette lighter effect) is negligible.}

If it blew up, it must be LENR!

I’m writing this because I like the headline. It does bring up some more, ah, fundamental issues.

THHuxleynew wrote:

kirkshanahan wrote:

The results of doing this is to come up with an excess heat signal that is a) large and b) occurring when no current is flowing, meaning you essentially have an infinite instantaneous COP. The problem is that this comes out of applying the same calibration equation used for ‘normal’ operations. The steady state is so radically different in a ‘boiled-dry’ cell that everyone should know you can’t do that. But not the CFers…it shows excess heat…it must be real…and is certainly must be nuclear!

“The CFers.” Classic Shanahan. Classic ad-hominem, straw-man argument, one of the reasons he gets no traction with those who would need to understand and respect his arguments, if he has a real basis and actually cares about supporting science.

Below, I go into details. Continue reading “If it blew up, it must be LENR!”

No payoff = bad bet?

This is an obvious logical fallacy, yet the argument is surprisingly common from some who think of themselves as skeptics. They are, in fact, “pseudoskeptics,” because they are selectively skeptical, rejecting the ideas of others while swallowing their own whole.

We never have complete control over the circumstances of life. What works one time may not work another. Walking down the street can be a gamble; after all, we could get hit by a bus. Yet if we live as if we must avoid all danger, we die in a state of constriction and loss.

Ideally, we learn to assess risk and to make choices that recognize risk and consider possible returns. If the return is high, we may take higher risks. That’s all rational game theory.

So if I get hit by a bus, does that mean it was a mistake to walk down the street? Perhaps it was a mistake to be inadequately careful, but no amount of care can avoid all risk. The risk is small, so normal response to it is reasonable caution. Continue reading “No payoff = bad bet?”

Briefing on Low Energy Nuclear Reactions Research

Working draft, for comment, not approved.

This is to be an Infusion Institute consensus document, a study of the briefing prepared in 2016 by the NRL for Congress. Comments are fully welcome and invited and facts and all arguments will be incorporated, directly or by reference. Correction of errors is especially welcome. Discussion here may be refactored for organizational purposes.

Comments by the editor, within the copied body of the report, are in indented italics. Some of these may not be appropriate in a final report. I have not copied all material, some that I considered heavily irrelevant I have left out. The original document pages may be read with the page links given.

The ultimate purpose is to write a cogent and focused briefing that could be used.

16-F-1333_ DOC_02_LENR_Briefing was our source document, we have removed the Black Vault inserted page 1, so that our page numbers correspond to those in the document. This is what we are working with:

DOD report to Congress


I have categorized these pages based on relevance to the charge. Red is very low relevance, if any. Magenta is peripheral relevance, possibly worth a sentence in a cogent review, not a whole slide as was used.

1. Briefing on Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR) Research
2. House Committee on Armed Services Briefing Request
3. Preparation of this Briefing
4. Low-Energy Nuclear Reaction (LENR) executive summary
5. U.S. is Well Represented in LENR
6. Technology Readiness Level (TRL) assessment for Energy production
7. LENR proponents claim many potential military applications
8. Nuclear Physics and LENR
9. Physics of Nuclear Reactions
10. Types of Nuclear Reactions
11. Energy Production: Fission vs. Fusion
12. Challenge for Nuclear Fusion
13. Energy Required for Fusion
14. Quantum Mechanical Tunneling is Essential for Fusion
15. Muon-Catalyzed Fusion (MCF): Uncontroversial and Well Understood
16. MCF: Impractical for Energy Production
17. MCF: current research directions
18. Publications on MCF
19. Nations for MCF research
20. Electrolytic Cell: Early Experiments
21. Early Electrolysis Experiments Using Heavy Water Were Discredited
22. Lack Theoretical Foundation
23. SPAWAR Experiments Looked for Nuclear Products
24. Attempts to Address Reproducibility Yielded Erratic Results
25. Summary
26. Back up
27. Transmutation Involves the Electroweak Force and Is a Nuclear Reaction, But Not Fusion
28. In 2002 lwamura et al. Observed Transmutation and Excess Heat in a D2-Pd System
29. Ultra-Dense Deuterium: Origin in Rydberg Matter (RM)
30. Ultra-Dense Deuterium is Claimed to Have Remarkable Properties
31. Reanalysis of TOF Data Leads to Contradictory Results
32. Major caveat: Research on Ultra-dense Deuterium is Limited to One Small Group
33. Acoustic Cavitation Fusion
34. Acoustic Cavitation Fusion – Discredited Observations
35. Acoustic Cavitation Fusion Plausible

p. 1

Briefing on Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR) Research

A scientific survey of the international literature in response to the FY16 NOAA (report on HR4909, 4 May 2016)

Office of the ASD(R&E) I Research

p. 2

House Committee on Armed Services Briefing Request

The committee is aware of recent positive developments in developing low-energy nuclear reactions (LENR), which produce ultra-clean, low-cost renewable energy that have strong national security implications. For example, according to the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), if LENR works it will be a “disruptive technology that could revolutionize energy production and storage.” The committee is also aware of the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency’s (DARPA) findings that other countries including China and India are moving forward with LENR programs of their own and that Japan has actually created its own investment fund to promote such technology. DIA has also assessed that Japan and Italy are leaders in the field and that Russia, China, Israel, and India are now devoting significant resources to LENR development. To better understand the national security implications of these
developments, the committee directs the Secretary of Defense to provide a briefing on the military utility of recent U.S. industrial base LENR advancements to the House Committee on Armed Services by September 22, 2016. This briefing should examine the current state of research in the United States, how that compares to work being done internationally, and an assessment of the type of military applications where this technology could potentially be useful.

The authors do not appear to have knowledgeably addressed the charge. What are the “recent developments” that the Committee mentioned? There is no clue in the briefing. Almost certainly, this would refer to the work of Industrial Heat, LLC, with Andrea Rossi’s technology.

Industrial Heat, in 2015, raised $50 million for LENR research (not for Rossi, for whom they invested about $20 million from a close group of investors, starting in 2012).

In 2014, a basic LENR research initiative at Texas Tech was funded with a $6 million private donation plus another $6 million in Texas state matching funds.

What is the current state of research in the U.S. and around the world?

This report is confused about what LENR is, and only looks at a few shards in the pile, with many irrelevancies and shallow, unbalanced assessments.

My opinion is that LENR is not close to ready for military or commercial applications; the authors here are correct on that, but … the point is to become ready or to be ready. That will require clear vision based on knowledge. The field is complex and the request deserved expert attention, which it did not receive.

p. 3

Preparation of this Briefing

• The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) was tasked by OSD to conduct a comprehensive survey on the current state of research  on low-energy nuclear reaction (LENR) in the US, and an assessment
of the type of military appliications for this technology.

• A comprehensive collection and analysis of international literature on LENR since 2004 (the last Department of Energy review) was conducted.

p. 4

Low-Energy Nuclear Reaction (LENR) executive summary

• The United States is active in LENR research in universities, government labs, industry and private research
• The status of knowledge, evidence, and technology indicates that it is premature to increase investments in LENR research
• LENR research has been challenged by a lack of reproducibility of results, and many of the studies have not provided the necessary scientific and theoretical foundations
• Beyond the lack of reproducible positive results to date, scaling to meaningful energy production levels must still be addressed.
• If LENR research can successfully provide a reliable energy source, and the underlying science can be established, it could lead to a broad variety of military as well as commercial applications such as
a compact, efficient, room temperature, energy source.

p. 5

U.S. is Well Represented in LENR

[chart showing First Authors by Function and National Affiliation. Given below is the number of papers by nation]

USA [47] Japan [18] China [9] France [9] Russia [9] Italy [8] India [4] South Korea [2] UK [2] Ukraine [2] Australia [1] Finland [1] Germany [1] Malaysia [1] New Zealand [1] Switzerland [1]

That is 115 papers total. Standard for inclusion and period covered, not stated. This is far less useful than a proper study, which would state those things. It is possible that the period is since the 2004 DoE review. The conclusion (U.S. “well represented”) could be valid, but could also be invalid. One person or one small group might create that impression.


p. 6

Technology Readiness Level (TRL) assessment for Energy production

TRL 9 Production
TRL 8 Full scale development
TRL 6 Exploratory development
TRL2 Technology development
LENR research: [placed below TRL 1]

Most results have not been reproduced independently;
Lack scientific and theoretical foundations.

Waste of an entire page to make a short and confusing statement. “Most results.” Okay, there are lots of unconfirmed results, that is not controversial. However, some are confirmed to various degrees. There is no examination of the confirmed results in this study. This is all meaningless without a clear definition of “LENR.” Confirmed experimental results are a “scientific foundation” for a new and unexpected effect. Both U.S. DoE reviews recommended further research, which would not have been recommended if there were “no foundation” as claimed here. LENR is a mystery, and without basic research, is likely to remain so.

It seems clear that LENR would be in TRL Level 1. The collection of effects called “LENR” are controversial, and expert opinion has been divided, see the 2004 U.S. DoE review — and that was a flawed review, wherein blatant errors were made, leading to literal misreadings of the claims in the review document. Fundamental research has been poorly funded, generally, but is continuing. This review shows little or no awareness of that.


p. 7

LENR proponents claim many potential military applications

This betrays that the authors are considering this a political issue, with “proponents” and … what? “opponents”? In the following paragraph the authors claim what could be potential military applications. Are they “proponents”?

If LENR research can successfully provide a reliable energy source, and
the science can be established, the following could result:
• Abundant, clean energy
• Compact, portable power source
• Inert and nonhazardous
• Processing of radioactive waste

The key word here is “could.” Claims of the characteristics of LENR applications are premature. It seems likely from what we know about LENR that it might be nonhazardous, but as the mechanism is not understood, it might actually be hazardous, it is not yet possible to test the effect adequately to rule that out. This review ignores what is actually known about the effects.

“Processing of nuclear waste” possibilities have been reported but are generally unconfirmed. This report makes no distinction between what is confirmed and unconfirmed. Unconfirmed results, if plausible (i.e., based on properly-done measurements, on the face, etc., deserve confirmation effort, but probably not governmental-level efforts yet, unless the reported techniques appear easy and inexpensive to confirm

Mosier-Boss et al. Final Report 2016

[link added. That is a 131 page pdf. What, exactly, is being cited? This is probably considered representative of what “LENR Proponents” write, but this is circular: if a researcher works on LENR, and reports positive results (i.e., indicating a nuclear effect) they will be considered, ipso facto, a proponent.] 

Energy Density of Fuels

[chart showing mass of fuel for a city of one million people, as 250,000 tons of oil, 400,000 tons of coal, and 60 kg. of “fusion fuel.” That fuel is stated as deuterium and lithium. The fusion reaction considered is deuterium-tritium fusion, and the neutrons that generates (dangerous radiation) converts lithium to tritium. However, D-T fusion is not LENR, this is high-energy fusion. There may be various LENRs; the most-confirmed reaction converts deuterium to helium (totally harmless) with a higher energy yield, experimentally found and confirmed. This clumsiness shows that the report is more or less a quick cut-and-paste.]

[chart from] ]

p. 8

Nuclear Physics and LENR

• Physics of Nuclear Reactions
• Physical challenges for Nuclear Fusion
• Two LENR research areas:

– Muon-Catalyzed Fusion: Broadly accepted, based on well-understood physics

Yes, Muon-Catalyzed Fusion is well understood and accepted. But this is not what is referred to as LENR, even though it technically is “low-energy.” MCF is the same reaction as is found in high-energy fusion, but catalyzed by muons, so it happens at very low energies. It generates harmful radiation, but is not practical for reasons they cover. Adding all this MCF material, as they do below, simply confuses the report. Did they include MCF papers in their tally of “LENR” papers?

In the field, a more specific term is the Anomalous Heat Effect. MCF is not anomalous, it’s understood. The AHE is also called the “Fleischmann-Pons Heat Effect.” (FPHE). However, AHE is a little more general, because gas-loaded palladium is not the FPHE, though the reaction appears to be similar in some ways. The FPHE is an electrolytic effect.

– Electrolytic Cell : Has not been reproduced independently and has
not provided the necessary technical information to provide a
scientific foundation for scalable research.

This (has not been reproduced independently) is utter nonsense, basically repeating a widespread rumor that became established in 1989-1990. The various reported experiments and confirmations have provided a level of scientific foundation, as to the nature of the effect, but not yet as to detailed mechanism. The material conditions are difficult to control, particularly in the electrochemical experiments that are most widely confirmed (in spite of this difficulty), and until the reaction is well under control, scaling up is dangerous and is generally not done.

These authors clearly are not familiar with the literature. It is not that they disagree with it, but that they flat-out don’t know it, so they make statements unlike what someone knowledgeable would make. How is it that this report, for which $50,000 was budgeted, does not involve at least one author with serious knowledge of the field, or at least some review process, with discussion and critique and then a report of the status (including varieties of opinion.) Instead, the Briefing is unattributed opinion, hardly better than rumor.


p. 9

Physics of Nuclear Reactions

• Definition: a process in which two nuclei, or a nucleus of an atom and a subatomic particle (such ,as a proton, neutron, or high energy electron) from outside the atom, collide to produce one or more nuclides.

This is an example of a common kind of nuclear reaction, not the definition. Nuclear reactions may involve more than one nucleus, as a theoretical possibility. In plasma reactions, that would be very rare, but there is experimental evidence that, in the solid state, multibody reactions (more than two nuclei) actually occur. As well, this description does not include nuclear decay processes. This is a plasma physics approach, betraying the thinking of the authors. As well, there are nuclear reactions that don’t involve two nuclei.

If LENR, they think, therefore two-body reactions. This is very old thinking that denies a world of possibilities. Most “impossibility” arguments regarding LENR involve that assumption.

• A nuclear reaction must cause a transformation of at least one
nuclide to another.

That is better as one characteristic of “nuclear reactions.” It works if nuclear isomers are considered different nuclides. Better than saying “cause” would be “be.” However, nuclear isomers are normally considered the same nuclide at differing excitation levels. The delayed gamma decay of a neutron-activated nucleus is generally considered a nuclear reaction.

• In 1917, Ernest Rutherford demonstrated transmutation of
nitrogen into oxygen at the University of Manchester. This was
the first observation of an induced nuclear reaction, that is, a
reaction in which particles from one decay are used to transform
another atomic nucleus.
• The modern nuclear fission reaction was discovered in 1938 by
the German scientists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann.

This is irrelevant to the topic.


p. 10

Types of Nuclear Reactions

Nuclear decay
Alpha Decay of a Uranlum-233 nucleus

This is an example. Some examples do not involve a second nucleus as does the U-233 example.

Nuclear fission

Shown is a very complex neutron-induced fission reaction (actually unreadable in the pdf I have). What is the value of this exposition wrt LENR?

Nuclear fusion

Shown is D-T fusion, collision energy not shown, products 4He + 3.5 MeV and a neutron at 14.1 MeV. While there is a SPAWAR report of 14 MeV neutrons, the levels are so low that this could be a very rare branch or secondary reaction of a different main reaction. And this is unconfirmed.

This has very little or nothing to do with the main topic here, LENR. If LENR is real, it is, as Pons and Fleischmann claimed in 1989, an “unknown nuclear reaction.”


p. 11

Energy Production: Fission vs. Fusion

This page is a completely irrelevant collection of materials copied about hot fusion reactors and reactions, and fission reactors. I am not cleaning it up from the very messy OCR, it is more work than it’s worth.


p. 12

Challenge for Nuclear Fusion:

Squeeze two positive charges together (against the Coulomb repulsion)

This is the standard skeptical description, that LENR must accomplish this “squeezing.” LENR is a mystery, we don’t know how it works. The best evidence, most widely confirmed, strongly indicates that the reaction is converting deuterium to helium, but how this is done is unknown. “Squeezing two positive charges together” indeed seems unlikely, for the obvious reasons that they cover, but we don’t know that this is what is happening. They cover cluster fusion later, but don’t seem to realize that this possibility (shown mathematically to occur — that is, predicted to occur from standard physics — from an initial starting condition that might be possible, vide Takahashi) is contrary to what they are assuming here as foundational for “fusion.”

Range of Strong Nuclear Force

Again, not cleaned up. This is all assuming that LENR is a two-body reaction the same as with plasma fusion. The physics of the solid state is far more complex. The core issue with LENR at this point is that there is very strong evidence for the reality of a nuclear effect, but it is not understood. There are conditions where it will relatively reliably occur (say, measurably, 50% of the time) but no theory (other than ad-hoc, operational theories that do not address mechanism) has been successfully tested to distinguish it from other theories, and all theories have defects, unexplained aspects, which will be covered below to some degree.


p. 13

Energy Required for Fusion

Again, this all is about standard hot fusion. It could be considered to rule out some LENR theories, but LENR is basically an experimental field, not a theoretical one. This exposition is all theory, reasons to consider that LENR violates existing theory, except that an unknown reaction cannot be considered to violate theory, because theory cannot analyze an unknown reaction to determine expected rate. A deep report on the state of LENR research would look at what is known and confirmed from experimental work. This report wanders and considers much that is irrelevant — and obvious. Yes. LENR wasn’t expected! Nobody argues that! Pons and Fleischmann expected to find nothing. But then found something. What did they find? Science advances through curiosity over discovered anomalies.

LENR is an incredibly complex field, overall. What I see here would be embarrassing in an undergraduate-level student paper on LENR. They obviously did not consult experts in the field, at all, or if they did, they ignored them. (But there is no sign of consulting experts in the emails released in the FOIA request).


p. 14

Quantum Mechanical Tunneling is Essential for Fusion

Yes, probably. But this is all theoretical, and the reaction they show is p-p -> d fusion, with a probability of 0.001 at a collision energy of 10 Kev, and 10-1921 at room temperature. Yes, that is the claim, based on what calculation? I have seen a nuclear physicist claim that the rate predictions from hot plasma break down at lower temperatures, the actual rate is substantially higher. That ridiculously low rate is naive and not experimentally-based, obviously. There would be no way to measure a rate that low, so this is a pseudoscientific claim.

How is this remotely relevant? They give the probability of winning the Powerball lottery as 3 x 10^-10. True, but because this is irrelevant, this is deceptive polemic. Why is NRL creating deceptive polemic? How were these authors chosen?

There is a calculation in a cluster fusion model of tunnelling rate, showing, from a very low energy initial condition, tunneling at 100% within a femtosecond. They dismiss this basically because the theory is incomplete, not realizing that a counterexample to what they think necessary has been shown. This is a product of radical unfamiliarity with the field. My point is not that cluster fusion theory is necessarily a reflection of the reality, but that fusion is far less impossible than they think. This is a scientific mystery, and solving scientific mysteries does not begin with believing them impossible. They are, obviously, unexpected!


p. 15

Muon-Catalyzed Fusion (MCF): Uncontroversial and Well Understood

Again, not relevant to the topic they were asked to research. This is something someone totally naive would do, not realizing that words (“LENR”) have meaning in context. This is interesting, though, because some naive analyses claim that nuclear fusion at low temperatures is “impossible”. In fact, they just gave it a rate of 10-1921 at room temperature! MCF is a counterexample. Bring that up and the pseudoskeptic will say, “but MCF isn’t practical.” Right. But wasn’t it just said that low temperature fusion was “impossible”?

They don’t realize the possible relevance. MCF is catalyzed by muons. Is some other form of catalysis possible? Theory might address specific ideas, but cannot address the general concept. It is impossible to prove a negative. Stated more positively, something that we haven’t thought of might be operating. How would we know? Well, we would see experimental results that we don’t understand. If we depend heavily on theory, as these authors are doing, we may reject those results as Probably Wrong, with no evidence other than our prior expectations.


p. 16

MCF: Impractical for Energy Production

Indeed. (Unless a way is found to handle the sticking problem, or another way to generate muons.) And this is not what is called LENR.


p. 17

MCF: current research directions

So they are spending much of the report covering what they were not asked to cover. MCF is not reported as LENR in the literature. Did they include MCF papers in that total above?


p. 18

Publications on MCF

All a complete waste.


p. 19

Nations for MCF research

Again, irrelevant.


p. 20

Electrolytic Cell: Early Experiments

• In 1989, Pons and Fleischmann claimed to have observed excess heat
from an experiment involving the electrolysis of heavy water using a
palladium electrode

This is correct. It’s the original finding. It was prematurely reported — they were not ready — and they used the word “nuclear” based on artifact in neutron measurements, and their methods and actual findings were incompletely reported, leading to:

• Numerous attempts failed to replicate these results

This is highly misleading, appalling in this report. First of all, “replicate” can be used imprecisely. Few even attempted to “replicate” the FP experiment, for various reasons. The more general word is “confirm.” There was early work that failed to confirm. These were not generally exact replications, they were approximate and were based, often, on inadequate information. (They actually are part of the data set that establishes the conditions of the FP Heat Effect.) Later, there were many confirmations. I’ve seen analyses that, overall, there are more “positive” reports than negative, but I’m not sure that I’ve seen a thoroughly neutral analysis of this. It’s difficult to define the terms. But “failed to replicate” implies an isolated, unconfirmed result, which is preposterous, given the history of the field.

• No nuclear products were observed along with the excess heat

Again, simply not true. Pons and Fleischmann reported neutrons (which was error, later acknowledged), tritium, and helium. Those are nuclear products. (Technically, so is energy.) Helium was confirmed by Miles in 1991 and over the years, not merely as present (which would be a relatively weak report because it could be leakage) but as quantitatively correlated with anomalous heat, at levels consistent with the deuterium fusion value of 24 MeV/4He. That is, some of the helium is trapped and not released in the outgas, where it is measured, so less helium is found than would be expected from that ratio. Some later work took steps to release that helium and found values fully consistent with 24 MeV/4He. Helium is a nuclear product.

The briefing was requested to be about recent research. Did they review, say, the Current Science special section on LENR, published in February, 2015? I see no sign that they are aware of what is going on. Did they look at the collaboration, announced at ICCF-19 (2015), between Texas Tech and ENEA, to confirm the heat/helium ratio (and, as well, to study exploding wires, a technique thought to possibly aid in assessing materials for LENR activity). This work was funded by a charitable donation of $6 million plus Texas state matching funds, another $6 million, and is under way.

It is quite likely that the Congressional request had the work of Andrea Rossi in mind. Rossi was funded by U.S. companies, first Ampenergo, then Industrial Heat, at least $20 million total. By the time of the briefing request, the lawsuit Rossi v. Darden had been filed, so they could have covered it. Instead, they show no awareness that it exists.

Below, the authors will refer to SPAWAR work. SPAWAR has found substantial evidence for 14 MeV neutrons from a co-deposition cell. This has not been correlated with heat, however, and is not confirmed. A careful study will distinguish what is poorly reported, well-reported but not confirmed, and confirmed. This wasn’t a careful study at all.

As well, there are many reports of tritium, in particular, but the levels are such that tritium is probably a secondary reaction or otherwise rare product. The main product appears to be helium. This is extensively confirmed. Controversy still remains. However, there is a current effort in a joint project between Texas Tech and ENEA, the Italian alternative energy agency, to redo this work with increased precision and more extensive effort to recover all the helium. 

• Measurement errors in calorimetry may have contributed to observation of excess heat.

Sure. In fact, that happens on occasion. However, Pons and Fleischmann were among the world’s top electrochemists, and measuring heat was a specialty. If their report was isolated, this might be passed off as something that might never be confirmed. But it was confirmed. There are skeptics, presented with extremely careful work by experts, who simply say, “they must be making some mistake.” There is one published skeptic remaining who claims that behind all the massive findings showing excess heat there is a different anomaly, something also not expected, but chemical in nature. This is an isolated opinion and has had difficulty finding publication lately. A thorough study would look at this, at serious reasons to think there might be “some mistake.” However, it gets very difficult to explain the heat/helium correlation with that hypothesis. This report is depending on a vague and unspecified error, in the face of massive contradiction by experts and strong evidence, confirmed by many labs. article/ O_O_O/cold_fusion_03

is a shallow pop science piece that misreports what Pons and Fleischmann actually did and how they thought. Using this for a serious report is appalling.

They did not expect to see substantial heat. They had decided to test a reasonable hypothesis, that the approximations used to estimate fusion probability were causing error in the rate estimate. That is, in fact, practically certain, the issue would be *how much* error. They expected that the fusion rate would still be below anything they could detect. Then their experiment melted down, releasing energy that they could not explain by chemistry. So they scaled down, for safety, and continued exploring the effect. Five years later, they were still not ready to announce, but legal considerations led to it. It was a mess. They were actually wrong about some aspects of what they had found. They made this or that mistake. But their basic finding, anomalous heat, has not been impeached (by other than that isolated skeptic mentioned above, who, though previously published, has been reduced to ranting on the internet. I even think that’s unfair. But that’s what is happening.)

• Also in 1989, S. Jones of Brigham Young University using similar electrolytic cells observed neutrons, but no excess heat.

It was his work that caused the premature announcement. However, the Jones was not an electrochemist and his cells did not approach the high loading conditions that Pons and Fleischmann attained. He would not be expected to find heat, from what is now known about the reaction. As to neutrons, his levels were very low; in general, neutron findings have never been correlated with heat, so if those findings are real, they are not related to the primary reaction. Again, this is actually irrelevant to the major charge of the Committee.


p. 21

Early Electrolysis Experiments Using Heavy Water Were Discredited

The page doesn’t support the headline.

• 2004 Review of LENR research by Hagelstein et al. claimed Helium production correlated with excess heat measurements

They did. However, the Panel, from the report, did not understand the data in a supplement provided for the Case gas-loading work (actually a different experiment from the FP Heat Effect) and read a clear correlation as an anti-correlation. This is easy to see in the 2004 Review report. So then they easily dismissed this as possibly leakage (a generic objection to helium results, even though in that work the helium levels rose above ambient. So then it’s claimed that maybe there was a helium source in the lab. However, the value of the ratio, then, becomes mysterious. Almost all work in this area shows a ratio that is within an order of magnitude, usually substantially closer, to the theoretical deuterium fusion value. 

• Review evaluated by Department of Energy in 2004, which recommended experiments to search for fusion events in thin deuterated foils , but not focused federally funded program for LENR.

The Report

… isn’t being fairly presented here. The actual recommendation:

The nearly unanimous opinion of the reviewers was that funding agencies should entertain individual, well-designed proposals for experiments that address specific scientific issues relevant to the question of whether or not there is anomalous energy production in Pd/D systems, or whether or not D-D fusion reactions occur at energies on the order of a few eV. These proposals should meet accepted scientific standards, and undergo the rigors of peer review. No reviewer recommended a focused federally funded program for low energy nuclear reactions.

I agree. Notice “nearly unanimous opinion.” What is a “focused federally funded program?” There were hopes in 1989 and again in 2004 that some kind of major program might be funded. My opinion is that this would be premature. What is needed is, indeed, focused proposals designed to address basic issues. The DoE has never funded this, beyond massively unfocused work in 1989 and maybe 1990. Throwing money at LENR is a Bad Idea. A lot can be wasted.

However, the idea that the question is “D-D fusion reactions” or not is misleading. The real issue is what the cause is of the FP Heat Effect and other reported phenomena. My opinion is that straight-out “D-D fusion” is unlikely. Something else is happening. The confirmed effect shows a helium ratio to heat that is the same as “D-D fusion,” but that is simply a reflection of the laws of thermodynamics. Whatever converts deuterium to helium must show that energy. What is known is that the energy shows up entirely as heat, without high-energy radiation, which is very unexpected. Something mysterious is happening.

In general, the DoE reviewers did not understand what they were seeing, so their specific recommendations might be off. It reflects what those not familiar with the field might think, after a quite brief one-day review, with little interaction. Actual funding decisions would be worked out between researchers and funding agencies. 

But the DoE review was better than this NRL report. Both have a similar shortcoming: they don’t actually establish or recommend any specific actions to improve the situation, to actually answer those basis scientific questions.

• Sufficient deuterium loading required for excessive heat, suggested as reason for early negative results [McKubre Proceedings of ICCF 2009]

This is weakly presented. It’s more than “suggested.” They do show a chart from the 2004 DoE review paper showing a substantial series of experiments, with many results at high loading, and few, declining to zero at loading of 80%. None of those early “negative results” had 80% loading. At the time, they did not know it was necessary — this had not been announced — and there is more: the Fleischmann-Pons work took many weeks of loading to begin showing the effect, and none of those early experiments waited long enough.

Is loading the issue? There are now some reasons to think that high loading is merely one of a number of conditions necessary to see the Heat Effect. High loading by itself isn’t enough. The critical factor, besides high loading at onset, is specific material conditions, and this is all well-known, and was even understood by the 2004 DoE review. The material shifts with time and repeated loading and deloading. Pons and Fleischmann believed that the effect was a bulk effect, happening inside the bulk. The helium evidence indicates otherwise. It’s a surface effect, from where the helium is found (released in the gas or in near-surface trapping). Instead of considering “conditions where the Heat Effect is found, this is often presented by some skeptics as some kind of an excuse, often with exaggeration of the unreliability.

• Even with large deuterium loading, negative results still observed [McKubre Proceedings of ICCF 2009]

That’s right. However, with some materials and high loading and other conditions that have been correlated with heat, a majority of experiments do show excess heat; the amount varies greatly. The heat/helium ratio cuts through this noise, and the variation in heat then becomes a control. If helium were leakage, it would be unlikely to vary with the heat (the “heat” in these experiments is small, it is not a large difference in temperature, and in some experiments the temperature is constant. It can be complicated.)

Reported Excess Heat vs Deuterium Loading Ratio
Hageistein et al. 2004 DOE Report

This was the chart I mentioned above. There are charts published elsewhere that show SRI and ENEA experiments with heat vs. loading ratio and some major early “negative replications” plotted on the same chart. Low loading equals no heat results, it’s that simple.


p. 22

Lack Theoretical Foundation

They show, again, a pop science presentation from a pop or high school level web site that misrepresents what Pons and Fleischmann thought they were doing.” As they have told the story (and who else would one get it from?), they were looking for possible deviations from the rate predictions of the Born-Oppenheimer approximation. This is actually expected, some deviation, however what they found was not expected. They expected that they would not be able to measure anything, that the error introduced by the approximation would be too small.

What they were looking for was actually irrelevant, in the end. However, this idea that they were scientifically clueless is common. As has happened many times in science, they found something unexpected by looking where nobody had looked before (in palladium deuteride, at very high loading ratio).  Who predicted lots of neutrons? This was a prediction, not of Pons and Fleischmann, but of skeptics, who imagined that if they found something, it must be d-d fusion. They actually did not claim d-d fusion, if one reads their first paper, it was reported as an “unknown nuclear reaction,” precisely because levels of neutrons were very low (and, in fact, what they found was error, artifact, as to neutrons). This was truly a fiasco and one of the signs of “fiasco” is that what they did is still commonly misunderstood, because rumor, widely repeated, took the place of fact. This Briefing continues that.

They were also wrong about many things. They were not aware of how critical the material was, so, after announcing, they ran out of their first batch of palladium and ordered more. It didn’t work. This was totally embarrassing, but they then made a series of reactive errors. I won’t go into them all here, but this was a fiasco all around, assumptions made and actions taken on assumptions that led to more mess. The original meltdown in 1984: they didn’t photograph the damage and didn’t keep the material. They were afraid that the University Fire Department would shut them down. Fear leads to poor decisions. I would not expect a Briefing on cold fusion to cover all these historical details, but I would expect it to avoid those shallow “explanations.” 

Shown from the the page is :

Hypothesis/theory -> expected results -> actual results

Pons’ work

Lots of cold fusion is taking place in the palladium -> expect to see many neutrons released -> not many neutrons are released

This is not what happened. They did not start with that hypothesis. They started with an idea to explore. Exploratory research often does not proceed with the hypothesis/prediction/test process. They were looking where nobody had looked.

The mechanism of “cold fusion” is unknown: the prediction about neutrons would be valid for ordinary known hot fusion taking place, or even muon-catalyzed fusion, but not the Fleischmann-Pons Heat Effect. The known product is helium, neutrons are absent or almost entirely absent. This is a common error: to take the word for a thing and then assume that this, then, creates predictability. With cold fusion, observation comes first. There are basic theories in place, verified and confirmed, but not a theory of mechanism. For example, the report here looks at an idea from some theories that deuterium is being converted to helium. That results in a prediction of 23.8 MeV (energy) produced for each helium atom. That is a confirmed observation, but was unknown until 1991, though predicted before then.

What they actually found was a lot of heat, that they could not explain with chemistry, and they were prominent chemists. From the context, they asked the question if it was fusion. They then pointed out (in tgheir 1989 paper) that there were not nearly enough neutrons for the known fusion reaction — and there actually were none or very few. The pop sci story is told as if they did not realize this.

As far as I know, the first anomaly was a meltdown with a lot of heat. Not just a little. Not some calorimetry error. It’s been claimed that this was deuterium/oxygen recombination. That chemistry would not have been adequate to explain what they saw, at least probably not. Remember, they didn’t keep their materials, the experiment had been destroyed. Obviously, this was not going to get the world excited about “cold fusion.” But they kept working and they found effects, and when they eventually announced, it took time — these experiments took time! — but others found a heat effect as well, and other related effects.

It is all still controversial, but a proper briefing would explore the controversy and explain why people still are working in the field, what results have they seen that keep them going?

• Spin-Boson Oscillator Theory1

the energy released in deuterium- deuterium fusion goes into large numbers of low energy phonons that heats the system

• Hydroton Theory2

formation of nuclear active environments in nano cracks resulting from electrolysis or gas loading

As above with what was falsely alleged to be “Pons theory,” these two is placed in apposition to a supposedly opposite result. A minor point: not enough is presented of Hydroton Theory to make the prediction, what is shown is only the theory of Nuclear Active Environment, the site of the reaction. The helium prediction, then, does not address what is presented of the theory.

Predicts excess heat should be 23.8 MeV/ He atom, which is not observed in experiments.

They are baldly and ignorantly denying the most widely-confirmed result in cold fusion research. The prediction must be understood in this way, if the main reaction taking place in PdD experiments is the conversion of deuterium to helium, and if the heat and the helium are measured, and there is no significant energy leakage through radiation, and as the precision of the measurements increases, the ratio will approach that value, it must, by the laws of thermodynamics. In most experiments, helium in electroytic outgas has been measured, and it is thought that about 40% of the helium is retained in the palladium, which is consistent with most experimental observations. In two experiments (as to what has been reported, there is more work under way), steps were taken to release all the helium, and results moved to within experimental precision of the theoretical value.

1 Hagelstein and Chaudhary Proceedings ICCF-14 (2008)
2 Storms J. Condensed Matter Nucl. Sci. (2012)

• Cluster Fusion Theory – seeks to investigate multibody fusion for enhanced fusion rates.
Four deuterons arranged in a tetrahedral symmetric configuration yielding 4 He atoms.

is placed in apposition with:

No mechanism given to produce tetrahedral symmetric configuration

Takahashi J. Condensed Matter Nucl. Sci. (2011)

While mechanisms have been proposed, Takahashi is not concerned with that level of analysis, his work is the application of quantum field theory or quantum electrodynamics to the possibility of multibody fusion, and he has mathematically predicted fusion if the TSC conditions arise. He previously did experimental work that showed elevated rates of multibody fusion with ordinary hot fusion from deuteron bombardment of PdD targets, but Takahashi has not predicted TSC formation rate, so this is, again, off, merely a sign of an incomplete theory.

There is no accepted cold fusion theory of mechanism, though some have a level of support. Theoretical analysis of cold fusion is likely to require far more experimental data than exists. A basic report on cold fusion, at this time, will summarize the mechanism as a mystery and not belabor the theories, which are largely irrelevant to the foundation of cold fusion research, which is experimental observation, with only the most basic theories being involved. (One of these would be the “deuterium/helium conversion theory”, which is readily testable and which has been extensively confirmed.)


p. 23

SPAWAR Experiments Looked for Nuclear Products

• Research effort at SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific began shortly after Pons and Fleischmann announcement and ended in 2012
• Used a palladium-deuterium co­-deposition process to prepare the electrodes, seeking more reproducible results
• Experiments focused on finding the nuclear products from nuclear reactions occurring in electrolytic cells
• Used CR-39 solid state track detectors to look for tracks left by energetic particles

Mosier-Boss Final Report 2016

Triple tracks caused by breakup of 12C into 3 He due to collision with a fast neutron.

SPAWAR analysis ends at visual inspection, similarity to deuterium-tritium fusion
• Experiments were able to replicate CR-39 tracks, but noticed striking differences when compared to CR39 exposed to fast neutron sources

What “striking differences”? Experiments don’t notice something, people do. Who? The image compares tracks from LENR experiments with DT neutron tracks, i.e., fast neutrons. They certainly look similar to me. Triple tracks, in particular, are quite distinctive.

SPAWAR CR-39 neutron measurements leave many unanswered questions.

Indeed they do. This work is generally unconfirmed (though it ultimately deserves confirmation, and low-level neutrons from CF conditions have long been reported) and what is not mentioned is that the apparent fast neutrons are at very low levels. They probably have little or nothing to do with the main reaction. There is no balance in this briefing, no distinction made between isolated work and theories and the overall state of the field. For a briefing on this topic, isolated and unconfirmed reports would properly be given very little attention. To be sure, SPAWAR was a quasi-governmental effort. SRI was often funded by government agencies. There are experts on LENR working for various national labs. They were apparently not consulted in preparing this report. It’s appalling.

p. 24

Attempts to Address Reproducibility Yielded Erratic Results

McKubre Proceedings of ICCF (2009)

Stanford Research Institute (SRI) and Italian National agency for new technologies, energy and sustainable economic development (ENEA) experiments try to address reproducibility using identically prepared samples from the same lot.
• 50% of trials showed no excess heat, while others showed variability of 500%

The reviewers show no sign of understanding the issues. 50% success was positive. From very early on, it was realized that excess heat depended on material conditions, and that even the same sample could give different results at different times, depending on its history. The dependence on material lot, where clearly shown (statistically) is powerful evidence for the reality of the effect.

But any LENR research program must accept the reality of the effect as-it-is, not as someone might want it to be. To develop control over the reaction, to improve reliability so that the level of the effect becomes predictable, are obvious goals for research, not claimed to already exist.

• Observations of excessive heat were still erratic.

They just repeated themselves.

Summary of Electrolytic Cell reports from 1998-2004
Storms, Naturwissenschaften (2010)

Plot above was used by [Storms 201 O] to demonstrate successes of LENR experiments
Most striking feature is the large number of null results

That is “most striking” to someone who is looking at failure instead of at success. Storms was interested there in the long tail. By the way, some skeptics claim the “file drawer effect,” that only positive reports are published. Obviously, the “believer” Storms forget to exclude the negative reports.

There are researchers who claim increased reliability, sometimes 100%, but so far such work has not been confirmed. However, there is a replicable experiment, extensively confirmed, which defines reliability in a different way. Set up the FP Heat Effect and measure helium. Some of the work on this has seen over 50% of cells with excess heat, and the no-heat cells serve as controls (good ones, because they are generally identical to heat-producing cells — except for the heat. And except for the measured helium, which is well-correlated with heat.

Predictability and reproducibility are still outstanding issues with LENR

In some ways, yes. The helium results are predictable. The specific heat release in specific cells is not so predictable; however, statistically, correlations are known. That is, while heat may vary, it does correlate with, as an example, deuterium loading ratio. 

What this briefing fails to do is to notice the progress that has been made.


p. 25


• After almost 30 years, the same issues are still present with cold fusion or LENR claims

This is misleading. Issues have strongly shifted. Controversy remains, and some who claim that cold fusion is an illusion repeat the same claims. They are no longer publishable, the mainstream scientific literature, recently published, almost entirely assumes the reality of the effect. A “briefing,” I would think, would be an executive summary of a far deeper report that would establish the factual basis for what is in the briefing. There is no sign that these authors even did that deeper research.

• Interesting anomalous effects exist that are difficult to reproduce and control.

This is correct, but “difficult” is vague. The difficulty of reproduction and control has commonly been overstated, as if “easy” and “difficult” are clear and objective labels to apply. Plenty of science is “difficult to reproduce,” but can nevertheless by reproduced by those who follow basic replication protocols, and who have the same materials to work with. Substantial progress has been made with control.

• Lack of theoretical understanding for the underlying processes

In other words, it is an “anomaly.” But this is also misleading. There is theoretical understanding that is partial. The underlying mechanism, the actual “fusion” process — even the name is uncertain — has no widely-accepted theory, but various aspects are understood; for example, I can state with reasonable confidence that the FP Heat Effect is a surface reaction, not taking place deep within the palladium lattice. That can be tested, and has been tested and confirmed, from the helium evidence. (That is, by the way, quite good news if one is interested in eventual practical applications, because palladium is very expensive and usage for power generation would create high demand; if thin films can work as well as bulk, palladium LENR might be practical at far lower cost.)

• Lack of independent testing and substantiation

That’s a half-truth. There is a vast body of experimental work to “substantiate” the basic Pons and Fleischmann claim of anomalous heat. To distinguish this from the “file drawer effect,” substantial and fully-reported specific replications are needed. Those are rare, but are not “lacking.” Much SRI work was designed to replicate and confirm other reports.

•  U.S. is involved in LENR research at universities, government
labs, industry, and the private sector.

It is. This is not documented to present a coherent picture to Congress.

• It is premature to invest heavily in LENA research due to the status of knowledge, reproducible evidence, and technology currently available.

I agree, with a major caveat that shows what is completely missing from this report. Both U.S. DoE reviews generated a similar recommendation, but both also recommended modest support through existing programs. What is “modest support”? It was not stated, and the huge failure of those reviews was in not generating specific recommendations and a specific process for monitoring progress. Instead, in fact, the research recommendation was widely ignored in favor of opinion that these reports “rejected” cold fusion.

So, how much funding should be allocated, and through what programs? What process would make these decisions? There has never been, to my knowledge, a coherent plan.

I developed one, which was to encourage specific confirmations of specific results, already confirmed, to increase precision and confidence. That is the work under way in Texas to confirm the heat/helium ratio. This is guaranteed to produce useful information; and if it turns out that a widely-confirmed result is nevertheless some kind of artifact, they would find out. It has been, as they say, almost thirty years. Isn’t it time to find out, instead of relying on lack of “proof” — a moving target, apparently — as if that were evidence for something?


p. 26

Back up

• This slide is intentionally left blank.

The biggest problem with LENR: minds intentionally left blank.


p. 27

Transmutation Involves the Electroweak Force and Is a Nuclear Reaction, But Not Fusion

Ah, Steve Krivit must love this! This is Widom-Larsen Theory propaganda, repeated, depending on, first, an untested and apparently preposterous theory — widely rejected within the field — and, then, a constricted definition of “fusion.” The conversion of deuterium to helium is widely confirmed, and W-L theory then comes up with an ad hoc “explanation” of this through a series of neutron captures and beta or alpha (helium) decays that then roughly explain the heat/helium ratio. Very roughly, outside the error bars, but … not far outside. In other words, there is a fusion fuel (deuterium converted to dineutrons) and a fusion product (helium). But, hey, it’s not fusion!!!

This is a semantic trick to allow W-L theory to be accepted as a “not fusion” theory. Do they take notice of the substantial published criticism of W-L theory? Of the lack of any experimental confirmation?

• Transmutation changes an atom from one element to another, which is accomplished by altering the number of protons

What distinguishes elements is the number of positive charges in the nucleus, which is equivalent to the “number of protons,” though this is a simplistic model. This entire discussion is off the legitimate point of the review.

Free Neutron Decay
n → p+ + e + v(electron neutrino)

Not shown: the energy release, 782 KeV. Wikipedia.

Beta Decay

14C6 → 14N7 + e + ve

It’s not explained here, but the beta decay shown is equivalent to a neutron in the nucleus decaying to a proton and an electron plus a neutrino, thus bumping the atomic number up while keeping the mass almost the same (the mass must decline a little to release the energy of the two forms of radiation). The energy: 156 KeV, for this particular decay, if I’m correct. Wikipedia on 14C. Wikipedia on beta decay.

Inverse Beta Decay/ Electron Capture

26Al13 + e → 26Mg12 + ve

This is not “inverse beta decay” [Wikipedia article] but electron capture [Wikipedia article]. Wikipedia on 26Al. The reaction energy is carried off by the electron neutrino, but the transmuted nucleus recoils, it is not low momentum.


• For isotopes unstable to these reactions, they spontaneously occur and release energy

Right. The rate may be low, however. This is more or less the definition of “unstable.”

• Widom and Larsen posit that localized condensed matter electric fields in metallic hydride surfaces can create “heavy” electrons (- 20 × e rest mass)

How large are such electric fields? How much energy is required to create these “heavy electrons,” and what does “heavy” mean here? What is the experimental evidence for such electrons? Setting that aside, a negatively charged heavy particle could catalyze fusion, an example is muon-catalyzed fusion.

• The “heavy” electrons are captured by the metal and the resulting neutron is ejected.

This is not what W-L theory claims. If it were so, however, the neutron created would have substantial momentum. What is claimed (for PdD experiments) is an interaction between deuterons and heavy electrons, not an interaction with the host metal.

This entire excursion into an unconfirmed and largely rejected theory does not belong in the kind of field overview requested. 

• These low momentum neutrons catalyze chains of nuclear reactions, e.g.
6Li3 + n → 7Li3
7Li3 + n → 8Li3
8Li3 → 8Be4 + e + ve [obvious error in description, corrected] 8Be4 → 4He2 + 4He2

Why one would start with 6LI is beyond me. 7LI is the more common isotope. W-L claim “ultra low momentum neutrons,” because these will have very high capture cross-sections, necessary to explain the general absence of slow neutrons, which are otherwise penetrating. ULM neutrons would be voracious fusors, likely fusing with the first nucleus that they encounter. 8Li has a half-life of under one second, beta-decaying to 8Be, which will then immediately (half life about 6 × 10-17 seconds) decay into the two helium nuclei as shown. However, the excitation energy of the 8Be would be about 48 MeV, which would normally be expected to show up in the kinetic energy of the alpha particles (24 MeV each). This massively energetic radiation does not occur in LENR experiments. (The “Hagelstein limit” is about 20 KeV, above that secondary effects would have been readily observed.)

Looking at the case of 6Li neutron capture, however, fast neutrons generate an immediate decay of the 7Li to helium and tritium. What about slow neutrons? I don’t know. 6Li has a nuclear mass of 6.0151223(5). A neutron has a mass of 1.008664 u, and 7Li has a nuclear mass of 7.0160040(5) u. The mass defect leads me to expect a nuclear excitation of 1.75 MeV. If this does not result in the normal fission to helium and tritium, it would lead to gamma emission; this is essentially neutron activation. (see the Wikipedia article).

The copious slow neutrons required by W-L theory would produce a host of effects that are generally not observed. (W-L proponents commonly assert transmutations that may have been reported, but omit that the reported levels are miniscule, and other expected transmutations are absent. Intermediate products would be expected to exist at higher levels than final products, normally, and that is not seen.) The absence of activation gamma radiation is explained away by another hand-wave: the heavy electron patches allegedly make a fantastically efficient gamma ray shield. Would they? Is there experimental evidence for this? Richard Garwin asked that question (because it would be easy to test the “gamma shield”) and Larsen’s answer was, ultimately, “proprietary.”

(… and what about edge effects? Wouldn’t some gammas escape? What about delayed gammas? How long do the “patches” last?)

This is not science, it is commercial promotion disguised as science. This is just as crazy as would be promoting Andrea Rossi’s results — secret, never independently confirmed — in this briefing. It would be worthy of a sentence, perhaps, simply noting the claim and what is known, which is mostly nothing. Unconfirmed.

Electric fields to create “heavy” electrons would require E ≈ 1011 V/m
(ICF lasers produce electric fields up to ≈ 1013 V/m).

Hey, only a hundredth of the ICF laser power is needed! For whom is this presentation intended? If you want to snow people, inundate them with irrelevant facts, and for bonus points, make each fact, by itself, verifiable. Then slip in a few “unfacts”  — or unwarranted conclusions. Few will notice unless they already understand the topic.


p. 28

In 2002 lwamura et al. Observed Transmutation and Excess Heat in a D2-Pd System.

• Deuterium gas is permeated through a multilayer substrate of palladium and
calcium oxide at 343 K for a week
• A thin film of cesium was added to the substrate, and lwamura et al. report that the cesium layer decreased commensurate with an increase in praseodymium, along with x-rays from 10 to 100 keV, and excess heat

I’m looking at the 2002 paper, and there is no claim of heat — there was no provision for measuring it — nor any claim of X-rays.

• lwamura et al. propose an electron capture theory to create a di-neutron D + e- → 2n0 + ve

The 2002 paper refers to an earlier paper (1998) for an “EINR model” as a “working hypothesis.” Sure enough, the 1998 paper is for different work, and that is where the heat and X-ray claims come from. This is common in sloppy cold fusion review: results from different experiments are amalgamated as if there is one very specific effect being studied. There is an available copy of the 1998 conference paper with the same title.

• The di-neutron can then create an element unstable to beta decay via neutron capture

AXZ  + 2n0 → A+2XZ → A+2XZ+1 + e

• Via a chain of four of these reactions cesium could be converted to praseodymium
• No reported observations of the other elements in the chain

Chained reactions involving two relatively rare events with no intermediate products are radically implausible (this is also a basic problem with the similar W-L theory).

• No rigorous development of this theory to check if these reactions are energetically favorable

It is common for shallow reviews to focus on theories, and often the theories are misrepresented. There is no “developed theory” here, and the 2002 transmutation results show, with various target elements, +8 amu, not +2 (hence the idea of a chain). This could indicate a possible involvement of a cluster-fusion intermediate, perhaps formed by the Bose-Einstein collapse of four deuterons (per Takahashi theory). A BEC, which includes the electrons, would be very small and charge-neutral, and might be able to easily fuse with nuclei. That would produce the observed transmutations in a single step, explaining why there are no intermediate products. Di-neutron fusion is way unlikely, di-neutrons are very weakly bound. My opinion. And my basic point here is that cold fusion theory is way premature, so why inflict it on Congress?

• NRL was unable to independently reproduce these results (2009)
• [Hioki et al. 2013] was able to reproduce these results of transmuted praseodymium after 250 hours of permeation treatments.

What is important, if anything, about the Iwamura work, is experimental evidence, not theory that they may have had in mind, and this work differs from the rest of the field enough that, absent clear confirmation (it is presently murky, NRL put serious effort into replication and failed, but then there is Hioki, so … maybe), the importance is not high; what is relatively urgent is the confirmation of basic results already supported, or basic results relatively easy to confirm. The field needs a solid foundation, and I’d assume Congress would want to know what is solid — or at least partially confirmed.

Hioki et al. measured 10-10 g/cm  of transmuted praseodymium after 250 hours of permeation treatments.

Is that a little or a lot? Were I a high school physics teacher reading a student’s paper, and this were included, I’d critique it for collecting random facts without explaining how and why they are significant. Absent much more information, that quantity is meaningless.


p. 29

Ultra-Dense Deuterium: Origin in Rydberg Matter (RM)

I have not undertaken the effort to gain a deeper understanding of Rydberg matter because almost all experimental work and theoretical analysis on it is from one person, Holmlid, and his work has not been confirmed. His claims and results don’t seem to match LENR results. There is some low level of theoretical consideration of Rydberg matter by some researchers, but much theoretical analysis without confirmed experimental foundation is a prescription for wasted time.

This flat-out doesn’t belong in the report, it is pure confusion here. (That is not a claim of error on the part of Holmlid, not at all. There is, however, no integration of his work with classic LENR work, so this is all highly speculative.)

• Rydberg atom – valence shell electrons are in highly excited state
• Cluster of Rydberg atoms can condense to form Rydberg matter
• In Rydberg matter, highly excited electrons become delocalized and act as a collective neutralizing
• Rydberg matter is sparse, largest observed cluster had 91 atoms
• Bond distance d is given by: d = 2.9 n2 awhere n is principal quantum number and a0 = 5.2 × 10-11 m is the Bohr radius

They expect a Congressperson to understand this? If this were important, it would be thoroughly explained, and if that made the report too long, it would be sourced so that a reader could readily find explanations. This briefing is incompetent.

Winterberg J. Fusion ENergy (2010)

The J Fusion Energy paper. There is an arXiv paper, late 2009. It is a purely theoretical paper, suggesting Bose-Einstein condensation of deuterium in “vortices,” and speculating that this might facilitate the “ignition” of “thermonuclear fusion.” Hot fusion, in other words. This is useless here. Physicists have been ruminating on cold fusion for almost thirty years, with no clear theory of mechanism having been successfully tested.

There is an image showing:

Rydberg Matter schematic electron distribution

The point is? That illustration is found in the Wikipedia article on Rydberg matter. As well, the following sentence is from that article:

• Rydberg matter has been formed from H, N, K, and Cs

The Wikipedia article is currently tagged for problems. It was apparently heavily edited by Holmlid, who did not understand Wikipedia editorial process (which is common for academics). This is all beside the point here. Why was this included? There was no charge to explore the state of research on Rydberg matter. It is not impossible that a connection will ultimately be shown, but this is one among thousands of possibilities. Why is it pointed out here?


p. 30

Ultra-Dense Deuterium is Claimed to Have Remarkable Properties

• Exotic form of Rydberg matter where nuclei act as the delocalized electrons
• Bond distance d = 2.3 × 10-12 m
• Density – 130,000 g/cm3 (compare to density of lead – 11.34 g/cm3)
• Room temperature super conductor*
• Superfluid*

•Predicted by theory [Berezhiani et al. 2010], not experimentally verified

• Nuclei of comets covered in RM
• Stable exospheres on Moon and Mercury explained by heavy RM
• RM is part of dark matter
• RM could explain Faraday rotation in intergalactic space

Remarkable claims, indeed. The world is full of remarkable claims. Which ones would belong in a report to Congress? 

[Badiei et al. Physica Scripta (2010)]

Is given as a source for a TOF experiment illustration. This is the paper.

Presented evidence for existence of ultra-dense deuterium is time-of­-flight mass spectrometry, claims do not match available evidence

That is a judgment, by whom? Based on what? However, this is clear: UDD is a claim being made by a very small group of people, as can easily be seen in the sources for that Wikipedia article, or by a Google Scholar search for those authors. Few papers have been written outside this very small group. To the extent I have looked at this, the papers, with time, go deeper and deeper, assuming that prior work is completely correct. Nothing has been, from my point of view, nailed.

Unless the charge were quite different, I’d not mention UDD at all in a briefing on LENR. At this point, with no UDD experimental evidence linking it to LENR evidence (heat and helium, no radiation), it’s confusing.


p. 31

Reanalysis of TOF Data Leads to Contradictory Results
[Hansen Int. J. Mass Spectroscopy 2016]

This is the Hansen paper. Received 18 November 2015, Accepted 20 January 2016, Available online 2 February 2016. This is an author preprint. This is the original paper critiqued. Received 10 June 2013, Revised 30 July 2013, Accepted 6 August 2013, Available online 16 August 2013.

*Holmlid’s comment on Hansen’s comment was rejected by the journal

Which means what? Hansen’s comment was quite brief and focused on a narrow aspect of the Holmlid paper. His response was longer.

Critique of Holmlid is rare, and as a result, he has built a huge collection of published papers over the years. That lack of critique does indicate a lack of interest, but it is not evidence for or against his work. That can happen for many reasons. Holmlid does not seem to be interested in engaging with critics, nor in building a community working on his line of research. His response indicates that there was no communication with him prior to the publication of the Hansen comment. That indicates a lack of professional courtesy.

None of this means that Hansen is right and his criticism of Holmlid seems thin to me. That is, Holmlid does answer the objection as to why the believed he was looking at deuterium, not protium. Could Holmlid be wrong? Of course. Anyone can make mistakes. But how likely is it?

None of this is particularly relevant to LENR, other than being fringe and possibly nuclear.

• Hansen reanalyzed TOF data using Holmlid data

Uh, the copy editor here says “Hansen reanalyzed Holmlid TOF data.”

• Laser ionizes RM, leading to Coulomb explosion
• Conservation of energy gives mv2 /2q = Ub + Ek/q

This is supposed to mean something? I’m sure it does, in context, but I’m not reading the paper to find the context, because this is all off point. If there is a relationship to LENR in the Holmlid work, they are not showing it and presenting a clear and cogent story, just snow.

• Holmlid assumes energy goes into rotational excitation, such that Ek = 630 eV
• Hansen analysis indicates data is more consistent with Hydrogen molecules being involved in Coulomb explosions, not Deuterium

Has that been definitively shown? According to whom? This work is not yet at the level where there would be serious overall review and balanced analysis. I’m not going to attempt it. It would be a major task, and it’s not important to my mission, supporting and encouraging LENR research, along the lines of what the DoE reviews actually recommended, but never implemented.

Hansen analysis casts doubts on validity of Holmlid interpretation

So could any criticism of any interpretation. I would expect a serious review to provide balance, and the basic problem here is the inclusion of the relatively unconfirmed work, with three pages, no less. They cover the objections in the third page, next. So why did they include this?


p. 32

Major caveat: Research on Ultra-dense Deuterium is Limited to One Small Group

• Work is published in mainstream, reputable journals
• ∼ 94% of the 84 articles were written by 4 authors in the same group headed by Leif Holmlid
• ∼ 88% of citations are self-citations
• No other group has reproduced the results
• No other experimental group has published a paper on ultra­ dense deuterium

Measurements has not be independently reproduced.

Apparently they ran out of funding and could not afford a copy editor.


p. 33

Acoustic Cavitation Fusion

This is another complete red herring. Often called bubble fusion, or sonofusion, this, if confirmed, would be hot fusion, not cold fusion.

• Cavitation is the process of boiling a liquid as a result of pressure reduction
• When the bubbles that form collapse, a shock wave can form capable of causing damage, e.g.
pitting on a propeller

[image] Damaged Boat Propeller

No DoD report on LENR would be complete without an image of a damaged boat propellor. They even thoughtfully provide a Wikipedia link, just in case a reader doesn’t know what a propellor is. To be sure, that damaged propellor image is still on that page, but that’s not reliable for sourcing, they should have sourced the Creative Commons page for the image, which would give licensing information.


• Sonoluminescence is the generation of light from cavitation due to sound waves
• Acoustic cavitation fusion seeks to use these shock waves to locally heat the liquid to produce a plasma and stimulate fusion reactions

In other words, fusion through creating a very hot plasma. Not cold fusion at all. However, the description isn’t accurate. The shock waves don’t heat “the liquid,” but the contents of the bubble as it collapses. The sonoluminescence article is more informative.  


p. 34

Acoustic Cavitation Fusion – Discredited Observations
[Taleyarkhan et al. 2002]

I am not cleaning up the OCR on this, it’s not worth it. But this:

• Taleyarkhan et al. claim to have observed neutrons coincident with sonoluminescence indicative of fusion
• Internal attempts at reproduction failed to produce detectable neutrons
• External efforts by Putterman at UCLA also failed to reproduce Taleyarkhan’s results
• [Naranjo 2006] demonstrates that neutron spectra reported by Taleyarkhan not consistent with D-D
fusion, but with 252Cf source.
• An “independent confirmation” [Xu and Butt 2005], which was later determined that Taleyarkhan was deeply involved and led to findings of falsification and research misconduct

Discredited observations notwithstanding, extreme conditions do exist in collapsing bubbles

The temperature in the collapsing bubbles is controversial and not easy to measure. Some studies claim 100,000° K or more. And they keep covering this:

p. 35

Acoustic Cavitation Fusion Plausible

So? There are many approaches to classical hot fusion. Why is this relevant? (I have not cleaned up the OCR text).

See also:

Popular Science, May 13, 2016 Congress Is Suddenly Interested in Cold Fusion


Unspecified “they” is always a figment of our imagination

T is for Them :: U is for Us

Joshg is one of the most coherent writers identifiable as Planet Rossi.

On LENR Forum, he wrote:

JedRothwell wrote:

I had high hopes that I.H. would fund research. I think they would have, but they have been derailed by the lawsuit. They fired the technical staff. They may be funding a few studies, but I doubt they will contribute significant amounts of money.

So that R&D center they opened up near Raleigh headed by Antonio La Gatta is just a figment of our imagination?

This is common on Planet Rossi: “they” is fuzzy and amorphous. Genuine questions:

  • Is there an “R&D center” opened “near Raleigh”?
  • If so, who opened it?
  • What does this have to do with Industrial Heat and their plans?

First of all, see this LENR Forum report, posted by Alain Coetmeur, in May, 2016. The company in question is HMRI R&D, Inc. The Registered Agent is Paul T. Winter, very likely this CPA. This is largely meaningless, CPAs often serve as registered agents with very little involvement in the actual business. The business office shown is 13000 Weston Parkway, Cary, NC 27513, which appears to be a 57,000 sq. foot office building, that was for sale and for lease in 2015. Other companies have the same address, so HMRI — or their accountant — may only have a small — or larger — office.

The creation filing, August 12, 2015, shows an “incorporator,” who is merely an attorney, Byron B. Kirkland with a Raleigh address, and then two initial Directors: Antonio La Gatta and John T. Vaughn, with the same address shown as is shown for the Registered Agent. These are the persons of interest.

Antonio La Gatta. La Gatta was working with R&D at TSEM, a sponsor of ICCF-19 in Padua in 2015. His sister is a manager of that company. She told the interviewer this, in May, 2015: “my brother Antonio will travel to the US to direct the new US operational units in Texas, in collaboration with MIT, Texas Tech University, Indusrial Heat [sic].”

This was a plan in May. While there may be a correct substance to it, it’s a confused rumor. “Collaboration” with MIT is meaningless. MIT is not involved with LENR. Peter Hagelstein, a professor of electrical engineering there, is. “Operational units” of what? TSEM? Perhaps HMRI is a “unit” of TSEM? As to Texas Tech, again, this would likely be a reference to the Duncan et al group there, which was announced at ICCF-19.

While a connection between Texas Tech and HMRI is certainly not impossible — they were looking for additional labs to work on the heat/helium project, beyond themselves and ENEA (Violante) in Italy — I have no information about such a connection. Industrial Heat is not connected to the Texas Tech project, which was independently funded.

However, Vaughn is an initial director. This is JT Vaughn, an officer of and investor in Industrial Heat — and a defendant in Rossi v. Darden. This news, however, does not establish that Industrial Heat “opened up a research center near Raleigh.” Cary is indeed close to Raleigh, about twelve miles. What is HMRI R&D up to?

There is some information in the Murray deposition, for which we have the full transcript. IH had a research operation, investigating various LENR approaches, and Murray reports on some of that. He testifies:

·1· · · · Q.· · Of all the systems you tested in Industrial
·2· ·Heat, were there any that you were able to validate and
·3· ·verify?
·4· · · · A.· · No.

This is thoroughly discouraging, for many. However, this, or most of this, may have been seeking to find a way for Plan A: rapid commercialization. Plan B was my name for retrenching, going back to the most basic science and nailing it. For Plan B, small results can still be very significant, even more so of the “small results” show correlations. Heat/helium is the quintessential Plan B project, because there are many supporting reports, and the vast bulk of the evidence confirms the correlation first reported by Miles in 1991. This has practically nothing to do with NiH research, which, if NiH effects are real and not artifact, would surely have some different ash. Murray goes on:

15· ·[…] And in many cases the heat that they were
16· ·producing, the excess heat, the anomalous heat was very
17· ·small.· They, they had amounts that were very small.
18· ·And so any small errors in their sensor systems or small
19· ·errors in their assumptions would mask that level.
20· · · · · · · So we went through and carefully analyzed
21· ·their data, and in a few cases we actually reproduced
22· ·their experiments.· We had two groups that in the
23· ·validation verification phase we came up with what I
24· ·would describe as nebulous results.· They weren’t
25· ·positive, but we certainly just couldn’t say here is a
·1· ·major problem that has to be overcome before we could
·2· ·legitimately verify and validate it.· And so in those
·3· ·cases we worked very closely with the inventors and
·4· ·organizations to help them do independent reproduction
·5· ·in our lab.
·6· · · · Q.· · Okay.· And those were successful
·7· ·reproductions?
·8· · · · A.· · No.· Ultimately, the reproductions, yeah, we
·9· ·didn’t find anything that had excess or anomalous heat.
15· · · · A.· · The first one was Dr. Mizuno in Japan.· That
16· ·was a plasma-based system.· And the second one, which
17· ·was very much at arms length, I did not have privy or
18· ·access to this one, was HMRI.· It was a, it was only a
19· ·partial investment into it.· And so I was kind of, me
20· ·and the rest of the engineering team were kept at arms
21· ·length.· We weren’t allowed to have access to all of
22· ·their data, so I just got summary reports and briefings
23· ·on some of the things they had done.
24· · · · Q.· · I thought you were able to reproduce their
25· ·experiments in your lab.
·1· · · · A.· · So, yeah.· No, we, what we did was, based on
·2· ·the limited knowledge we had of their system, we
·3· ·reproduced an electrolytic cell that to the best of our
·4· ·ability looked like what we had understood they were
·5· ·doing.· And we could not achieve the same results that
·6· ·they were giving us at this kind of arms length.

There is a little more description of the HMRI relationship:

25· […] Likewise with HMRI, the way the contract was
·1· ·structured, we were kind of at arms length, so we only
·2· ·got a little bit of information, and the information we
·3· ·were able to receive, we structured some experiments to
·4· ·understand it.· That was actually very late.· That was
·5· ·probably June of 2016.

There is more about HMRI, some misc findings, on Misc Mash. There is an indication that I could not confirm that an HMRI “proprietary process” was being “moved overseas.”

Back to Joshg’s claim, essentially that “IH” established HMRI “near Raleigh.” From what we have, HMRI is independent and the collaboration expected (from La Gatta’s sister) was arms-length, and limited. While there was likely some IH investment in HMRI, it was limited and it cannot be reasonably said that this Cary lab shows IH’s continued commitment to LENR research.

On Planet Rossi, though, extremely limited information is interpreted and extended and reports as fact, and then others repeat it and it becomes “well-known,” like the alleged $200 million investment by the Chinese, and then the question becomes “where did that money go,” rather than the question that would reasonably precede it, did it exist at all?

A brilliant example of all this arose on LENR Forum, it’s mentioned on the Misc Mash page.  March 2, 2016, David Nygren wrote:

Now we need to dig deeper! It is valued to over 1bn dollars?


This is not my field so please help. For you who are good at counting, do these tasks!
23M shares * $ 45 = weather over $ 1bn??

Here we have 20 companies listed (59 page / 8 Jun 2015)

Indeed, not his field. However, he does not show where the $45 came from. He links a listing of companies on a signature page for an authorization to issue Series A shares, i.e., ordinary shares, valued at $0.01 each, some for cash and some for other consideration. The total value to be alloted, I read as $11,098.78 plus $25.907.15, total $37,005.93. A tad short of $1 billion, eh?

Barty asked David what this meant. The blind leading the blind.

AlainCo provided some correct information (the $50 million investment by Woodford a few days later), but did not actually correct the Nygren error. AlainCo noted the use of different classes of shares that can allow company founders to retain control even when receiving a large investment. AlainCo’s other post on this, Mar 3, was much better but still confusing and inaccurate.

June 30, 2016, I came across the discussion, researched it, and corrected it, giving sources for everything. The Woodford investment has been incorrectly reported by news sources that apparently did not look at the original documents. Woodford invested exactly $50 million US. To be precise, Series A shares (not the original Series A, apparently, later called “ordinary shares”) were preferred shares, issued at $45.049996 per share, and two Woodford trusts bought 1,109,878 shares, which works out to $49,999,999.50. My guess is that they actually paid $50 million, so inquiring minds want to know where the extra fifty cents went.

sifferkoll immediately exploded:

are you playing stupid again Abd? I said $1bn valuation, which roughly means Woodford bought 5% of IH with $50M.

Later, I remembered the $1 billion error was sifferkoll’s, probably because of this post. My guess is that Siffer had written this on his blog — I’m not researching that now — and that Nygren had picked it up from there. Maybe. What Siffer is showing is a total lack of understanding as to how a company is valued, and what that means. Had Woodford purchased ordinary stock for $45 per share, this would have made some sense, though it would still not have created a billion dollars for Darden to somehow “disappear.” But Woodford did not do that.

My point here is that LENR Forum and those who write for it have no habit of correcting errors. We can see people coming up with false information years later, because they read it in a post, perhaps, in this case, a post by the Founder of LENR Forum. There is a reservoir of held ideas about IH and this case, based on what was stated back then based on assumptions from shallow research. “Toilet paper stock,” mentioned by Sifferkoll, is a common idea. “Shell corporations.” (But the only genuine shell corporation here is JM Products, Inc.)

Siffer wrote “Darden simply pocketed the money and made it dissappear [sic].” But what money? A billion dollars? In fact, Woodford invested $50 million and, while IH Holdings International doesn’t broadcast much detail, much of the money still exists, as cash or other holdings of IHHI (including some valuation for the Rossi License). Siffer has in mind a billion dollars that he made up, that never existed. And then there is the alleged $200 million from the Chinese, that apparently also never existed, or if it existed, it had little or nothing to do with Industrial Heat, it was Chinese money, invested in a Chinese project with very little connection with LENR, if any.