Talk:Wikiversity/Cold fusion/Theory/Ron Maimon Theory

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*Discussion moved from Talk:Cold fusion/Theory, to be continued here. --Abd (discusscontribs) 15:36, 26 September 2013 (UTC)

I put up Ron Maimon's theory. I know it well, because I am Ron Maimon. This theory actually works, unlike the other crap here.Likebox2 (discusscontribs) 01:45, 5 April 2013 (UTC)

Ron, theories don't ever "actually work," except to predict experimental results. Creating theories to "explain" experimental results is called "ad hoc" theorization, and it is fraught with hazards, and especially that the theoretician very successfully convinces himself. You are completely welcome, Ron, to develop your theory or to explain it on the subpage created. If you feel that the theory is unfairly presented, you are welcome to work to make the presentation fairer. I'm not likely to be thrilled, however, by prominence given to a personal unpublished theory that has not been noticed by others. Such are *welcome* on Wikiversity, but not in such a way as they can create an undue impression of notability and acceptability. I did read over your page, and know a fair amount of experimental evidence that, it seems to me, contradicts the theory. However, I'm not about to enter that discussion at this time. I may later. (But you can always ask.) Right now, I'm working with the major published theoreticians in the field (most of them) to explore theoretical and practical consensus, and that is my priority.
Again, you are welcome to participate. This is an open resource, and I'm dedicated to what it says on my user page.
One more comment. My stand, frequently expressed in communication with cold fusion scientists, is that cold fusion is a mystery. In a sense, all the theories could be called "crap." However, we are still at the brainstorming stage because, in spite of there being, now, 24 years of published research on cold fusion, more than 1500 papers published in peer-reviewed journals, and about 3000 conference papers top of that, there remain fundamental unanswered research issues, because most of the research focused, not on developing the grist for theories, but on attempting to "prove" that cold fusion was "nuclear" or not. Most of this was wasted, beating a dead horse, irrelevant. The "cold fusion" that was rejected was, from the beginning, not even claimed by Pons and Fleischmann as the substance of what they had found. So researchers went after a straw man, in effect. And that's true for "both sides."
You'll see, as the resource is developed with a focus that I did not have four years ago, when I began editing it. Then, I was more interested in Wikiversity as a project than in cold fusion. I just happened to know something about cold fusion, the literature and claims. --Abd (discusscontribs) 00:17, 13 September 2013 (UTC)
Dude, I predicted tons of effects, including the Auger deuterons, and the precise transmutation spectrum. It's not ad hoc, it is correct, and you just don't know how to evaluate it. You are welcome to read it, and check it, but it's fine as it is. Cold fusion is a mystery TO YOU, I explained it completely. (The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 21:09, 16 September 2013 (UTC).)
Thanks. Yes, it's a mystery to me, and this problem has engaged many scientists, including Nobel Prize winners, for 24 years and counting. You may have explained it completely, but not to me. To whom have you explained it? To yourself? If you really do have the correct theory for cold fusion, and you successfully communicate it, you will deserve a Nobel Prize. Why not publish it, in a peer-reviewed journal? There are something on the order of thirty theories of cold fusion. Which one should I study first, and why?
Have you presented your theory to people competent to understand it? Has anyone experimentally verified your theory? Note that after-the-fact theory that explains already existing results is "ad hoc" theory. It's low impact as confirmation, unless you can get very quantitative about predictions.
Small suggestion. Log in and sign your edits to Talk pages. It's a courtesy to other participants. --Abd (discusscontribs) 01:57, 26 September 2013 (UTC)

General comment on cold fusion theory

Cold fusion is a mystery. There is, in my opinion, no theory that satisfactorily explains how it works. We do know, as a reasonable conclusion, that it's real and that it probably involves the conversion of deuterium to helium -- we know that from many experiments from many groups that confirm the correlation of heat and helium -- but this tells us very little about mechanism, effectively nothing, because any process that starts from deuterium and ends with helium must generate the same amount of energy (if there are no leakages, i.e, escaping neutrinos, etc.).

The mystery was immediately obvious, because even though Pons and Fleischmann reported neutrons, the claimed levels were far too low for the reaction to be ordinary deuterium fusion. So they actually claimed something else. They might as well have put their *real* claim in tiny, unreadable print, because nearly everyone focused on those neutrons, which, of course, were artifact. Cold fusion, very possibly, produces no neutrons.

Again, many assumptions were made, early on, that were unwarranted, in hindsight. One is still commonly maintained, that there is only a single mechanism, a single effect, that supposedly will explain every result found in the entire field of Low Energy Nuclear Reactions. Given the variety of these effects, the possibility of that this is so may be remote.

It's based on some sort of general principle, the conservation of miracles. I.e, instead of two miracles, let's assume there is only one. That would require us to lump together, if we took it seriously, all evidence for, say, water memory, with evidence for UFOs, with evidence for telepathy, and evidence for everything else and my missing socks.

Really, they are all the result of Gremlins. Shall I explain my Gremlin theory? No? Why not? No other theory explains all these mysteries!

When someone with a general knowledge of science and especially nuclear physics looks at cold fusion theories, it is totally understandable that they would simply say, "Nonsense!" But the problem is that there are some experimental facts that existing understanding doesn't explain. Were those just isolated findings, sure, easily, they might be some unexplained artifact. But they aren't. They are confirmed reports, and, contrary to what Randy from Boise thinks, there are, and have been since no later than 1991, reproducible experiments that were later been reproduced.

Until the experimental evidence is grasped, few will bother really looking carefully at the theories.

This page has not been prepped, so to speak. It will be part of a resource structure designed to educate and communicate on the topic, and specifically to scientists, though I have found great interest in cold fusion from some students. Others prefer to display how much they think they know by attacking it without knowledge, by assuming that they know more about physics than tenured professors and world-class experts. They could never get these comments published in a peer-reviewed journal, except as crank letters the journal publishes to allow the original authors to skewer them.

And, yes, that's what's been happening in the journals since about 2005. The pseudoskeptics have basically been shut out, and the most notable of them has complained about it. There is still skeptical comment published, but it is now entirely within the field. That is, this or that specific aspect of an article is critiqued. Or Kowalski claimed that charged-particle tracks reported by SPAWAR did not appear to resemble alpha particle tracks. (And, in hindsight, he's probably correct. But something else is happening.)

These students are welcome to participate here, as are any skeptics interested in developing these pages as educational resources. In the past, we actually saw some real scientific progress because of a skeptic raising possible artifact here, that seemed plausible enough to take to experts. However, I'm, here, on this Talk page, revealing my perspective, having spent the last four years intensely researching this topic, and debating it in the presence of those experts, who are not shy to correct me. --Abd (discusscontribs) 02:15, 13 September 2013 (UTC)

You are being ridiculous! I explained the whole thing correctly. It's a chain reaction of deuterons fusion near a nucleus, replinishing inner shell excitations that then accelerate the deuterons. This predicts everything, including a host of effects not yet observed, it is a complete explanation, and if you read it and didn't see that, no offense, but you're kinda incompetent. (The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 21:13, 16 September 2013 (UTC).)
Let's assume I didn't read your theory. Why should I? Who are you? Above, I see some word salad, poor grammar, mispelled words, but, hey, sometimes physicists don't pay attention to pesky details. I don't see that you have any awareness of the actual experimental evidence about cold fusion, but, again, I could easily be wrong. Show me that I'm missing it.
"Incompetent." Incompetent for what? Incompetent to peer-review a paper on nuclear physics? Yup. That's me. I let experts do that. I'm a writer, with a basic background in science, a habit of talking with the top cold fusion researchers in the world, every day, and a willingness to make mistakes, they are how I learn. --Abd (discusscontribs) 02:02, 26 September 2013 (UTC)
Ok, I see you kept the theory on a separate page. Thanks. That's good enough. I'll tell you, there is no doubt this mechanism is correct, the theory explains the effects in detail, and predicts a whole ton of other effects too. You should understand the Auger process and the Bethe ionization mechanism in detail to understand everything.
The way the deuterons get close is because they are at 20 KeV, they aren't low energy. This aspect is confirmed in Mosier-Boss plastic detectors (but this is not really a prediction, I used this to make the theory). The deuterons fuse right by a nucleus (they have a particular wavefunction bump their because of their energy), and transfer the energy of the temporary resonance electrostatically to the nucleus (this is a new process in a sense, because fusion has never been experimentally done with enough density of other nuclei to allow electromagnetic transfer of energy in any non-negligible rate). This is why so few neutrons, and a lot of fast protons and fast nuclear fragments.
The fast nuclear fragments have a peculiar spectrum which is determined by electromagnetic nuclear responses are 20MeV. This gives a bias for integer-alpha fragments, and this explains the exact transmutation spectrum observed. It's a slam dunk, the theory works. Please read it and get on board. It's not hard to understand. (The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 21:46, 16 September 2013 (UTC).)
  • This comment displays a series of misunderstandings of cold fusion. I can understand what I need to understand about physics, but I don't go there unless I see an independent competent physicist who acknowledges the matter. It's work, and for what? Ron, get some peer review. Get your theory published. It will then get more prominence here, naturally.
  • The Mosier-Boss detectors are inadequate to confirm significant levels of 20 keV deuterons. I have theorized that the "hamburger" they show is from relatively copious alphas below 20 keV, but that is not their own conclusion, it's simply my idea because helium is the product from the FP Heat Effect reaction, it is generated on or very near the surface, and I expect that the helium would have some birth energy.
  • Transmutations other than to helium are very rare in FPHE cold fusion. Tritium is the largest product found, and it is a million times down from helium.
  • If your theory is that good, you should have no trouble publishing it. You could certainly present a paper on it at the next ICCF, if the ideas are at all reasonable. You could submit a paper to JCMNS. Meanwhile, you are free to elaborate on the theory here. I recommend, though, that you engage with the entire cold fusion resource. If you do so, you can potentially learn much more about the field. I'm connected with the scientists and have, when necessary, taken questions to that community, and there has been serious detailed response. For example, Dieter Britz -- the skeptical electrochemist who has maintained the most thorough bibliography of *mainstream journal* papers on cold fusion -- studied the issue of bubble noise and its effect on input power measurement error, based on a question raised here. Scientists have responded with unpublished details, things they had not mentioned. For example, "misting" from open cells would produce a deposit around the exit opening of the salt used to render the D2O more conductive (such as LiCl or LiOD). Observed? No. These cells have had a long exit tube that would trap water droplets. High frequency components in input power (perhaps caused by bubble noise) would be observable with oscilloscopes. Were oscilloscopes used? Yes, routinely.
  • There are no significant nuclear fragments at 20 MeV from cold fusion. SPAWAR found neutrons at about 14 MeV, but the levels are minute, barely detectable (10x background, accumulated over three weeks or more). This is so low that it is likely that this is a *distinct effect.* I.e., the conditions of cold fusion could be such that more than one unexpected nuclear reaction occurs. Jones may have been right, and only wrong when he thought that Pons and Fleischmann were wrong. Jones has come to think that the FPHE is real, that's very recent. He still thinks it is not "nuclear" in origin. I think he'll come around. (Which will be a major event: Jones wrote the only peer-reviewed serious attempt at a critique of Miles' helium work).
  • Please log in and sign your contributions. Good luck. --Abd (discusscontribs) 13:15, 10 October 2013 (UTC)

Searching for Ron Maimon theory

First of all, I'm really glad that I looked, because I was led to this LessWrong article. It was fascinating to see Eleizer Yudkowsky's comment on cold fusion. Yudkowsky repeats, as if it were fact, the trope that cold fusion could not be "reproduced." I know many of the characters who show up in that discussion. There is positive mention of Ron Maimon theory there.

This often happens. Pre-existing opinion: cold fusion is impossible, and nobody could confirm evidence for it. Then someone proposes a theory, using some kind of apparently plausible physics, showing that it's possible. This pushes some people over the edge, and they start to look at the *actual evidence*. And some of these people then go, OMG, this is real!

And that happens even if the theory is totally bogus. There must be over twenty theories that are like this. At least one was proposed by a Nobel Prize winner. And then others show up, with relatively little knowledge of physics, and claim that the reputable scientist was deluded.

And *few* actually look at the evidence, including some of the would-be theoreticians.

There is an often-unaddressed problem in these debates: what is "cold fusion."? In most of the early rejection cascade, "cold fusion" was defined as fusion -- ordinary fusion -- taking place at low temperatures, i..e, room temperature. As Huizenga pointed out, this would involve a "triple miracle." He was probably right. No cold fusion theory that is still seriously being considered involves ordinary d-d fusion. The theoretical argument of impossibility is then irrelevant. It is impossible to predict a fusion rate for an unknown reaction.

So why should we even consider an unknown reaction?

Because the evidence that one or more such reactions exist is clear, and because, for one of the reactions, the ash is known, and has been widely confirmed. In 1989-1990, the ash was not known, it was merely suspected by one of many theorists, Preparata. When Miles found the heat/helium correlation in 1991, Huizenga noticed, and call this an astonishing result, and said that, if confirmed, it would solve a major mystery of cold fusion, i.e., the nuclear product. But he then wrote that he expected it would not be confirmed, because "no gammas."

Huizenga showed, by that comment, that he was assuming that the reaction would be d+d -> He-4 + 24 MeV (gamma). If that is not the reaction, the argument fails, totally.

Ron Maimon, on the attached resource page, does not appear to address this basic issue. He predicts He-4, but his theory seems to focus on how there could be ordinary fusion, he's merely saying how the deuterons might have the necessary energy, as I read him so far. But those 24 MeV gammas are completely missing. Further, if there were 20 keV deuterons zipping around, occasionally fusing (they would, he's right about that), there would be plenty of neutrons. The neutrons are not observed, except at *extremely* low levels.

Ron Maimon theory is again mentioned at

I find these discussions on physics sites fascinating. The argument is theoretical, "how can we achieve cold fusion." The answers come entirely from a theoretical consideration of "cold fusion" as being d-d fusion or the like.

Ron Maimon commented there:

while this is informative, it is wrong to demand "peer review" in this case, as peer review is just censorship. The stuff you link to, the "surface polaritons", the NASA stuff, the Rossi crap, this is the worst stuff in the cold fusion field. There are hangers-on and frauds, the legitimate work is Pons/Fleischmann, McKubre, Arata, and others related to this experimental setup. It's Pd/d not Ni/H, and it's fusion with KeV energies, not some nonexistent crystal effect. – Ron Maimon Nov 4 '12 at 14:58

Ron is, from this, declaring his own theory as fact. We know that "cold fusion" is very likely fusion, because helium is being produced, apparently from deuterium, and with a heat/helium ratio consistent with that from any process that converts deuterium to helium. We also know much more. It is unlikely that the reaction involves "keV energies." More likely, the reactions take place in structures that are *very low* energy, as to the relative momenta of the reactants. This is "Condensed matter," not a plasma; keV energies are not found in condensed matter, per se.

This was an interesting response there:

@RonMaimon I saw the video and do not come to the conclusion that he knows it was right, he is just a senior bloviating . I lived through the period. Everybody was very excited for months. Solid state people did not give a dam for hot fusion, nor low energy nuclear physicists. Many people wanted a piece of the pie of excitement and were completely disappointed at not being able to reproduce the effect. You should read the link for the white paper of Shanahan below . He is measured in his criticism and wants the field open and does not exclude LENR succeeding in the end. – anna v Nov 7 '12 at 5:02

Shanahan is the last published, dedicated cold fusion skeptic. He shows up in the thread, with This may be worth a separate review. Shanahan's position has been demolished, formally, in a peer-reviewed publication.

I have elsewhere reviewed Shanahan's Letter to the Journal of Environmental Monitoring, which he references. In that Letter, Shanahan does address the direct evidence for cold fusion, the heat/helium results. He presents a very low correlation coefficient based on a chart from Storms (2007), which he digitized. Why he digitized it is mysterious, since the numerical data is on the next page of Storms, but be that as it may, someone who is not cautious, as apparently Shanahan was not cautious, may think, "Low correlation coefficient? So they aren't correlated, heat and helium!" However, the chart is a plot of anomalous power vs helium/energy. If heat and helium *are* well-correlated, as claimed, the correlation coefficient between these two variables would be low. If they were *perfectly correlated*, it would be zero. Shanahan actually showed that heat or helium were correlated, while imagining that he had done the reverse. Besides publishing this, I've shared it with Shanahan. His reply simply assumes that he was right, and that I am unable to believe the truth. He did not address the issue.

Those who responded to Shanahan did not mention his gaffe. I think that it did not occur to them that he could so badly goof. They simply affirmed the correlation, which is studied elsewhere in this cold fusion resource, as well as being covered in Storms' peer-reviewed review of the field in Naturwissenschafter, "Status of cold fusion (2010)."

Rom Maimon presents his theory there, with some background on the field.

His account there is "temporarily suspended to cool down. The suspension period ends on Aug 24 '14 at 17:32."

This is not surprising. In any case, our concern here is primarily with the theory. Ron Maimon appears to be knowledgeable as to physics; his skills in other areas are not so much our concern. He's welcome on Wikiversity.

On Stackexchange, he called attention to the situation with cold fusion, but complicated this by presenting his own theory, which has about as much chance of being successful as a stray cat in a furious firefight. The sites where he proposed his theory are dominated by students of physics, who will find and aggressively point out anything they think might be wrong, and who believe that they understand whatever thoroughly. I see that Maimon commented on the Feynman lectures:

Just for some reference, I was there, at Caltech, as a freshman and sophomore, in those lectures. From Feynman, I learned how to think and learn.

Here are some links where Ron showed up in friendlier fora:

As with another writer, I encourage Ron to formally present his theory in a paper written for submission to an appropriate journal. I know that's a challenge, but it is one that will be educational for him, in any case, and as I've written, in the event that he's actually explained cold fusion, there is that Nobel Prize waiting. It won't come from some blog posts and assertions here on Wikiversity, but we can perhaps help examine the theory. --Abd (discusscontribs) 17:27, 26 September 2013 (UTC)

Dude, I am NOT out to convince some dipshit academics, or you, or anyone else. I just wanted to UNDERSTAND WHAT IS GOING ON IN THE EXPERIMENTS. I did that, my theory is correct, I am satisfied that I understand it. Now I'm telling you what is going on, it's up to you to learn enough physics to understand it, if you don't, it's not my problem.
I am not a fan of peer review, I have been through it, it is a pain in the ass, and it doesn't help with accuracy and clarity. Sure the Nobel prize is money, but the internet makes plagiarism impossible, so nobody can steal the theory, my name is associated with it already. I can write more formal things about it, but it is not a challenge to do so, and I will not learn anything from doing so. I know how to write formal papers. I EXPECT THAT THE NOBEL PRIZE COME FROM BLOG POSTS AND ASSERTIONS HERE ON WIKIVERSITY, OR OTHER EQUIVALENT INTERNET SOURCES. That's how science will work in the future, and the future is here now. Peer reviewed sources have been monumentally defective in the whole cold fusion business, and they frankly don't deserve to have my theory published in them. They can go to hell.
The only thing you said which needs to be responded to (the rest is social nonsense) is that SPAWAR didn't detect 20 MeV fragments. This is just plain incorrect. In addition to the ~20 KeV copious charged particles (these are the auger deuterons), they also detected faster charged fragments with a continuous spectrum going up from a few MeVs to about 20 MeV. These are the outgoing fast-alphas from the 3-body fusion reaction.
The transmutation spectum is predicted from the 3-body reaction to be as follows: lots of alpha absorptions, so atomic number +1 and occasionally +2 on Pd, plus fragmentation of the spectator nucleus into full-shell fragments which look like -2,-4,-6,-8 atomic number change, plus +2,+4,+6,+8 atomic number changes from absorption of these fast fragments by other Pd's. These are Iwamura's peaks, done, it's solved.
The other theories of the phenomenon are not theories, they are just-so stories and nonsense. (discuss) 20:55, 22 October 2013 (UTC)
  • Quick summary: amateur physicist believes he understands cold fusion, that he's done what twenty years of expert attention failed to accomplish,and he claims he's right and everyone else is wrong, in a way that no scientist would claim. Real scientists are trained to doubt themselves and their own ideas, and to attempt to prove them wrong, not crow about how right they are.
  • SPAWAR has not reported "20 MeV fragments." Indeed, nobody has detected anything like that *at levels commensurate with heat.* SPAWAR has claimed results indicating 14 MeV *neutrons* -- not "fragments,* and the levels claimed are extremely low, they may have nothing to do with any heat-generating effect. They do not claim "copious" 20 keV charged particles, that is my interpretation as a possible explanation of what the Russian experts on CR-39 radiation detection call "hamburger," which can be prominently seen in some SPAWAR images of the detector side near the cathode, in wet CR-39 experiments. SPAWAR has never claimed that "hamburger" is from charged particle radiation, but Earthtech seems to have confused hamburger with "SPAWAR tracks," the tracks that SPAWAR claims result from CP radiation look very different. Earthtech concluded that this phenomenon was due to chemical etching of the CR-39 in the strong chemistry near the cathode, however, they did inadequate controlled experiment to come to any strong conclusion. One of the problems with the SPAWAR CR-39 work has been the lack of any independent measure of the strength of the reaction. See
  • If this IP is Ron Maimon, no wonder nobody has accepted his theory. It's obvious. The theory is worthless, at this point, other than being grist for someone to criticize (or affirm) if they wish. It is not rooted in the confirmed experimental evidence, at all.
  • One point: I do not "understand" Ron Maimon theory, because I make little effort to understand theories that are so isolated from the actual experimental results. If a need appears, I will ask a competent physicist to look at it. At this point, I wouldn't waste his time. The social measures here are screaming that nothing but confusion is likely to come from this. As soon as I see that Maimon predicts 20 MeV alphas, when they are absent from cold fusion experiments, I lose all interest. (See "Constraints on energetic particles in the Fleischmann–Pons experiment," Peter Hagelstein, Naturwissenschaften, 16 November, 2009. Google it, there may be a copy available.)
  • Naive students of cold fusion often mash all the results together without concern for level. The basic cold fusion experiment, the Fleischmann-Pons experiment, shows nothing but heat and helium as readily measurable results -- and the helium was hard to find initially. Any other results are either at very low levels, and none of them have been shown, so far, to be correlated with the heat effect, or they are very difficult to detect, such as charged particle radiation below 20 keV in a condensed matter environment. Such radiation above 20 keV, if present at significant levels, would be easy to detect.
  • If Ron Maimon wants to participate here, to explore cold fusion scientifically or historically, he will be welcome. He may even express his theory, as on the attached page or in his user space. Otherwise, I'm not interested at all. Dude. --Abd (discusscontribs) 22:01, 22 October 2013 (UTC)

Dude, it's Ron Maimon, and 20 MeV alphas have a penetration distance of less than a mm in matter they are charged. You don't see them except when you place the detector touching to the cathode. When Spawar put the detector touching the cathode, they saw 20KeV charged tracks up the wazoo, and continuous spectrum rarer charged particle tracks going from 4MeV to 20MeV. This is a fact, it is in one of Pamela Mosier Boss's reviews, I used this fact to do the theorizing, so it is not a prediction.

The theory accounts for level and results, it is just correct. I am not out to persuade you, because you don't know anything, and you haven't bothered to read the theory. It is not easy to detect charged particle emissions, they are invisible, because they are quickly stopped by matter. The occasional neutrons, on the other hand, zip right through, and these are detected in miniscule quantities.

I am not interested in doing any exploration. I figured it out, and I wrote about it a year ago, and so it's a done deal. The problem is solved as far as I am concerned. Whether you want to understand it or not is your problem. (discuss) 13:43, 10 November 2013 (UTC)

Response to Ron Maimon

Ron Maimon is demonstrating pseudoscience, that is, the use of scientific language and knowledge in a way that is contrary to the scientific method. Science is not a collection of explanations, it is a method and approach, which builds knowledge systematically and without attachment to any particular position. The discovery of cold fusion challenged existing understandings about what is possible for nuclear reactions. The difficulties in replicating the Fleischmann-Pons experiment led to widespread initial replication failure, and that became a widespread impression that it was not reproducible, which later results falsify.

The evidence does exist to show that some nuclear reaction is taking place, not merely some unknown heat anomaly (i.e., perhaps chemical in nature). That evidence is reviewed in normal scientific review papers, there is no current contrary position being published except as scattered commentary.

One of the great obstacles to the acceptance of cold fusion was the lack of a coherent theory, usable to predict results. Many theories were developed which purported to "explain" cold fusion, but the situation remains that no theory is adequate to predict reaction rates and the family of known results, quantitatively. The best theory at this time, with regard to qualitative results, is Storms theory, which does not yet actually explain the mechanism, it only describes it in very general terms. Storms' great complaint is that other theorists have not paid adequate attention to the known experimental results, and his theory stands out as being the most connected with those results.

And his theory is inadequate. My position is that, at this time, cold fusion remains a mystery.

Ron Maimon is claiming, here, to have solved that mystery, and he asserts that claim with great confidence, and cites experimental evidence in a manner that would not find agreement with those who actually performed those experiments. In particular, he cites Pamela Mosier-Boss, claiming that she found "20 keV alphas up the wazoo" and "continuous spectrum rarer charged particle tracks going from 4MeV to 20MeV." He attributes this to a "review" by Mosier-Boss, presumably of her own work. I have seen no such claim. She has a voluminous corpus of work; he cites no specific source.

Ironically, the only person I know who has claimed that SPAWAR results might be showing massive low-energy alpha radiation (<= 20 keV) is me. I do not present that as a fact, but as a speculation. There has been no confirmation of this. What we know is that wet CR-39 experiments have consistently shown what the Russians call "hamburger," immediately adjacent to the cathode, which might be the result of massive low-energy alphas, indeed, but which also might be due to chemical damage, as considered likely by Earthtech in their Galileo Project replication.

Dry CR-39 (i.e., protected from the active chemistry of the near-cathode electrolyte) has essentially shown only neutron evidence, at minute levels. My rough idea of this is that something like 10 triple-tracks, characteristic of the C-12 -> 3 He-4 breakup under neutron bombardment, are found on a CR-39 chip, accumulated over weeks of experiment. Background would be about one track. I participated in one attempt to confirm this work, and failed (for largely unknown reasons, there was a mysterious problem that badly damaged the LR-115 detectors), but did see what appears to be one triple-track.

Under some conditions, there may be far more common proton knock-on tracks, it could be as many as a thousand tracks per chip, but, again, these are accumulated over weeks of exposure. These detection rates indicate a reaction at a level that would produce no observable heat signal. Mosier-Boss estimated the neutron energy at about 14 MeV. This is not the FP Heat Effect, which is aneutronic.

Generally, the SPAWAR radiation results have not been correlated with heat or with helium. They do indicate the presence of some unexpected nuclear reaction, but this reaction may be quite different from the FPHE reaction.

The 20 keV figure does not come from Mosier-Boss, but from Peter Hagelstein's Naturwissenschaften paper, (P. Hagelstein, "Constraints on energetic particles in the Fleischmann-Pons experiment (2010)", Naturwiss., 97, 345-352) The abstract:

In recent Fleischmann-Pons experiments carried out by different groups, a thermal signal is seen indicative of excess energy production of a magnitude much greater than can be accounted for by chemistry. Correlated with the excess heat appears to be ⁴He, with the associated energy near 24 MeV per helium atom. In nuclear reactions, the energy produced is expressed through the kinetic energy of the products; hence, it would be natural to assume that some of the reaction energy ends up as kinetic energy of the ⁴He nucleus. Depending on the energy that the helium nucleus is born with, it will result in radiation (such as neutrons or x-rays) that can be seen outside of the cell. We have computed estimates of the expected neutron and x-ray emission as a function of helium energy and compared the results with upper limits taken from experiments. Experimental results with upper limits of neutron emission between 0.008 and 0.8 n/J are found to correspond to upper limits in alpha energy between 6.2 and 20.2 keV.

Hagelstein's paper must be understood to apply to the "main reaction," in the FP Heat Effect. There are apparently rare reactions that occur, that result in products that are much easier to detect at very low levels, including tritium and neutrons. However, the levels of tritium reported are a million times down from helium, and neutrons are a million times down from tritium.

Ron Maimon shows no self-doubt, and his work is not, therefore, scientific. "Explanation" is equivalent to hypothesis, and that is only the first step in science. He is apparently immune and impervious to criticism, and where the data is susceptible to multiple interpretations, he picks the interpretations that confirm his theory, proclaims these interpretations as "fact," and disregards or ignores the rest. He considers the matter closed, he's right, and everyone else is wrong.

And that's obvious. "Dude." --14:30, 12 November 2013 (UTC)

I am immune to self-doubt, because the theory works. I doubted it when it didn't work. Regarding the "immunity to criticism", there is nothing to be immune to, because you haven't given any. You don't even understand the mechanism. I know the main reaction is d+d -> alpha, but the occasional tritium and He3 plus proton/neutron are also clear, from the small amount of occasional ordinary hot-fusion collisions of the 20KeV deuterium. Everything is predicted, I am not spouting hot air. You need to read the theory and criticise the theory, not my attitude. My attitude is, "I am great!" because I freaking solved it! Whether you want to understand it is up to you, I really don't care.
This is Wikiversity, intended for the development of educational resources and "learning by doing." The methods of science are an important part of our project.
There are probably thousands of possible reactions under the conditions of highly loaded PdD, the issue is rate. We do not know that the "main reaction" is "d+d." Storms thinks so, but the theoretical objections remain strong. That is, if it is d+d, we'd expect copious tritium and neutrons, roughly equal quantities. From the level of heat, the neutron radiation would be fatal. Instead, tritium is a million times down from helium and neutrons a million times down from tritium.
I don't care if you think you solved it, I don't care if you actually solved it, because you have not tested your theory, you have not made the quantitative predictions, verifiable, that, when confirmed, would show that the theory "works." You think that a theory "works" if it makes you think you understand. That's very old thinking, it's pseudocientific. Science is not about "understanding." It's about prediction. The distinction is not well-taught in our ordinary schools, where "science" is presented as a body of knowledge. That's not the science I learned, from Feynman.
I've read your theory, but to fully understand it would take an effort that I'm not going to devote, and for the same reason that others don't put in that effort. Your attitude sucks. Unless you can generate some demonstration of the validity of your theory, it matters not that you set there, fat and happy in your certainty that you are right. With being right and twenty five cents, you can no longer get a ride on the subway. Your theory page is here, anyone can read it. Anyone can criticize it; someone will come along eventually with the necessary background.
I'm not saying that your theory is wrong. I'm saying that what you are doing isn't science, and you are explicit that it isn't. Self-doubt is crucial to science. Self-confident certainty is poisonous to science. It feeds ego and, as well, ultimately, isolation, not the collective consciousness that we could also call "science."
I do not have a personal goal of "understanding" cold fusion. I'm putting in my efforts to develop tighter experimental confirmation of the heat/helium ratio, by multiple research groups. That's a social project.
The consistency of that ratio in PdD experiments is crucial to breaking open research funding, because the correlation demonstrates that neither the heat nor the helium are artifact, but are actually being produced together. The ratio is currently estimated at 25 +/- 5 MeV/He-4, by Storms. It would be useful and a clearer confirmation of the general theory that the Fleischmann-Pons Heat Effect (not necessarily "cold fusion," which is not well-defined) is a result of the conversion of deuterium to helium, if we could nail the ratio down to an accuracy of better than 1 MeV.
What does your theory predict, under what conditions? How would your theory be tested? What experimental conditions and controls would you set up?
Research funding is necessary to develop cold fusion or LENR, whatever it is -- it doesn't really matter what it is, what matters is what sets it up, what goes in and what comes out, and how it can be controlled -- into practical applications. It's a very difficult problem. Pons and Fleischmann were lucky. Had conditions been only slightly different, they would have seen nothing. Again, can you explain the characteristic unreliability of cold fusion? Storms does that part quite well, actually. I don't see that you even care. You have come up with what seems to you as possible -- though to me, on the face, it seems utterly impossible -- and for you that's enough. Yet there are hundreds of such theories. *Which one is what is actually happening?"
My suggestion is that more than one reaction mechanism is possible, and more than one reaction is actually taking place. Storms disagrees, though he is aware that his disagreement is only his own working hypothesis. He thinks Occam's Razor applies. But he has not successfully explained all the results with one reaction mechanism, he only sets up a set of possibilities without rate predictions. His mechanism is, to me, preposterous.
Yet it is quite possible that the real mechanism will seem preposterous at first. Or not. We don't know until we know what the "real mechanism" is, and we don't know what the real mechanism is until we have solid experimental confirmation of predictions based on the mechanism, and not post-hoc "predictions." I.e., explaining existing results can be done by putting together ad hoc hypotheses with various assumptions that then create the observed rate. To be solid, new results are needed, not expected. Storms is working on that. I think you aren't, because you already know. You are a believer in your own infallibility.
I am not criticizing your theory itself, here, but your approach and your position about your theory. From your approach and position, I can predict -- using my own models of human behavior -- that you will remain isolated, unappreciated, essentially unknown, unless you "get your hands dirty" and actually demonstrate results, or somehow manage to convince someone else to invest a few million dollars in the necessary work. It could be a lot more money than that.
If you don't care about acceptance, that is your choice. You are free to sit and stew in your own juices of "certainty" (literally, certainty is a brain state, a chemical condition, combined with neural patterns) but, to me, it would be kind of hell. You are testing, with your life, your own ideas of what is worth thinking and doing. How is it working for you?
Welcome to Wikiversity, where you can be wrong without your writing being deleted. The same freedom, of course, also allows you to be right and unpopular, without being deleted. --Abd (discusscontribs) 14:28, 3 February 2014 (UTC)

Specific criticism of Ron Maimon Theory

Above, I explored the nature of cold fusion theory and some of what has been said about Ron Maimon theory. I am not an expert on quantum mechanics or nuclear physics, but I have been studying these since I was about twelve. That's almost sixty years, and I regularly engage in extensive discussion with the experts.

There are some obvious flaws in Ron Maimon theory, and Ron Maimon is not about to point them out; that alone demonstrates a problem with his approach. he only looks at evidence that, to him, seems to confirm the theory; it is this trait that takes him into the realm of pseudoscience.

The following experimental results would be predicted from Ron Maimon theory:

IP presumed to be Ron Mainmon responded interspersed. I am formatting this to create titled sections for each interchange, and copying my original signature to my comments, signing each IP ("Ron Maimon") comment as well. --Abd (discusscontribs) 13:46, 29 March 2014 (UTC)

Thanks Abd (see below)

I wanted to say thank you to Abd for the solid scientific stuff he pointed out in the comments (although I was dismissive, his arguments are correct, and supported by the lenr literature). There are serious inconsistencies between the generic predictions of a fast-charged-particle chain reaction and the classical observations of excess heat in the tranditional experiment.

I wanted to point out a generic comment on BEC of nuclei. This can enhance transitions in theory, but there is a serious problem when people in the cold-fusion field do calculations--- they assume a product-state for the actual atoms making up the BEC, where the actual state is entangled due to the internuclear repulsion, and when it is a low-energy BEC state, it has no more probability of fusion than a normal uncondensed state, other than negligible identical particle enhancement (the enhancement is trivial compared to the Coulomb suppression). This is why I dismissed all BEC theories out of hand, they don't work without fast nuclei.

It is possible that there is some sort of magic many-body phenomenon going on, but it can't be a low-energy BEC, this just doesn't work with any sort of standard physics. I insist that we know the fundamental physics of this system, regardless of the crazy phenomenology of these experiments, and that any effect observed in this system should be a consequence of ordinary events in an ordinary system.

But I accept that the claimed effects in traditional setup are not consistent with an incoherent d-d 3-body chain-reaction, simply because this requires 1/1000 tritium and neutrons as compared to He, and the claim is that this is 1/1000000, which is sufficient to rule out the mechanism for sure. But the mechanism is still interesting, because it is relatively solid physics compared to the speculation standard in this field, and perhaps in a different configuration, you can make a chain reaction.

But I admit that I am now mystified again by the experiments, I can't make heads or tails of the Hagelstein limit.


  • There would be copious neutrons and tritium from d-d fusion. From deuteron bombardment studies, hot d-d fusion behaves in palladium deuteride as it does in a plasma. There is a significant increase that has been observed in multibody fusion, over naive expectation (still at a very low rate) but no substantial change in the normal branching ratio. --Abd (discusscontribs) 21:03, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
[RM responds: Not "copious", but significant, about .1-1% of the total fusions will be standard hot-fusions. The standard hot-fusion rate is approximately 1 in 10,000, while to sustain a chain reaction, you need rates of cold-fusion of about 1 in 100. The standard branching ratio is out the windown when there is a third-body EM sink, like another nucleus, which is also necessary for the enhancement of rate] ‎ -- 03:18, 3 February 2014.
Here is the rule of thumb, it's rough, but good enough for a general assessment of theory: tritium is a million times down from helium, and neutrons are a million times down from tritium. Tritium has been measured in many cold fusion experiments. In my opinion, it's likely that tritium is being produced from a different mechanism than the helium; no clear correlation between heat and tritium has been published; so that "million times down" is very rough. Lack of this data is one of the frustrating lacunae in cold fusion research. Typically, when tritium was being measured, heat may not have been measured; early researchers assumed that there was a single reaction, so the same was also done with neutrons.
So for every 10^12 helium atoms produced, experimentally there is perhaps one neutron. That is roughly one neutron per second. This is a very low rate, low enough that for convincing demonstrations of neutron production, different techniques than were usual for neutron detection must be used. Cold fusion experiments were run deep in mines to reduce background, and these experiments have been inconclusive, there is evidence of neutron bursts. There is a paper on the upper limit for neutron production in cold fusion research, but it was seriously flawed by not correlating with heat. I.e, searches for neutrons were done, under conditions where it is not known if heat was being produced. It was assumed that an attempt to reproduce the original reported cold fusion conditions would then, at least a reasonable part of the time, generate neutrons. As it turned out, "reproducing cold fusion conditions" was very difficult, and these experiments often failed to show *anything*. Most early work did not look for helium, but once helium was known as the apparent primary product, then correlations were made, and it is those correlations that demonstrate that the effect isn't merely some elusive artifact.
Since, in experiments showing the excess heat, helium production is on the order of 10^12 per second, we would expect, from what Maimon wrote, 1,000 to 10,000 neutrons per second, which is far above background and would be easy to detect. Those neutrons are not observed. Neutron detection is claimed by SPAWAR in unconfirmed work, based on accumulating charged particle tracks on CR-39 over weeks of operation. (About three weeks). That is roughly consistent with 1 neutron per 10^12 helium, but ... those experiments did not measure heat, so it is unknown what the rate of helium production would be. The point is that the neutron levels reported, in the most conclusive work published on neutron formation from palladium deuteridde, are very, very low.
Ron Maimon theory is thus disconfirmed experimentally, as to the main reaction in cold fusion, at least as presented so far. This evidence would still allow the reaction proposed by Maimon to occur at a very low rate. --Abd (discusscontribs) 14:03, 29 March 2014 (UTC)

Charged particle radiation effects

  • The energy of d-d fusion to helium is 23.8 MeV. This energy must be dissipated in some way. Maimon writes "These charged particles zip through the metal at ~20MeV, making about 300 K-shell holes, and more lower-energy excitations too."
Charged particle radiation at those levels would produce readily observable effects, which are not observed. --Abd (discusscontribs) 21:03, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
[RM responds: They would produce the effect of accelerating more deuterons, producing some X-rays, and making tracks in particle detectors, all of which are observed. There are no other effects.]
"Tracks are observed." Yes, they are. However, the rates are very low. If the helium were being produced by the Ron Maimon mechanism, the rates would be far higher, i.e., the radiation would be "readily observable." This is a variation on what is below under #Hagelstein limit.
Ron Maimon theory is thus experimentally disconfirmed as to the main reaction in "cold fusion." --Abd (discusscontribs) 14:06, 29 March 2014 (UTC)
The tracks are observed in DIFFERENT experiments from the ones where excess heat is measured. The SPAWAR is co-deposition. I would be happy if someone gave a level of tracks in a standard cold-fusion excess heat experiment, but if there are none, I have no confidence of anything nuclear going on at all. The reason to think there are nuclear effects is from the SPAWAR measurements, and these are roughly consistent with the explanation I gave. In these experiments, there is no measurement of helium. You shouldn't conflate results of different experiments. (The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) )
That last comment is correct and important to understand. It's been done a lot both by skeptics and "believers."
In "standard cold fusion excess-heat experiments", there has been extensive use of standard radiation detection equipment. Little, if any, radiation has been found. CR-39 is an accumulating detector and can thus detect very low levels of radiation, if it is close to the source.
The SPAWAR experiments using CR-39 were not designed to look for excess heat. The cathodes were very small, 250 micron gold wire was best, deposited with a little palladium, and the CR-39 was directly adjacent to the cathode (except for one experiment where there was a 6 micron mylar window, which showed much lower levels of track detection, but still spatially associated with the cathode.
These experiments are called "codeposition," but that is probably an error. That is, they start with low-voltage plating, and deuterium will not be evolved with that voltage. The current is gradually increased, but the voltage is still probably not above the threshold for deuterium. When the solution clears -- it goes from a pretty purple color to clear -- the current is then increased more rapidly and deuterium evolution becomes quite visible. I'm not sure of the exact levels and conditions.
While it is always possible that someone will find something overlooked before, this is the experimental reality so far: cold fusion does not produce extensive charged particle radiation, neutrons, tritium, or other transmutations. That transmutations are seen confuses many, who don't realize that the levels of transmutation are so low. They are still significant, at least sometimes, but not compared to heat or helium. (And there are transmutation reports that are almost certainly due to contamination.)
What you are trying to explain with your theory is a phenomenon that is not known to exist. This is what is known: under some conditions in highly loaded palladium deuteride (loading greater than 90%), anomalous heat and helium are produced in a ratio of roughly 25 +/- 5 MeV/He-4. (That's Storms' figure, there is room to quibble with it a bit, but it's not far off from reality, if it's off.) The helium is produced at or near the surface of the palladium, roughly half of it escapes in outgas, in electrolytic experiments. The remainder is trapped near the surface, and McKubre (SRI) was apparently able to cause this to escape, through repeated loading and polarity reversal (which will dissolve the surface of the palladium), and that is where the likely-most-accurate measurement of heat/helium is from.
The reaction apparently does not take place with very pure, very smooth surface palladium. The cathode must be "conditioned," and the necessary conditions are evanescent. The same material will not work in one run, and work in the next. And then not work later. However, wherever heat and helium are measured, they are correlated. I.e., no heat, no helium. Heat, helium, proportionally to the heat.
Several years ago, Storms told me that he thought oxygen was involved. He hasn't mentioned that since. His latest theoretical explorations propose that the reaction takes place in surface cracks of a particular size. That's quite plausible. From loading and deloading, palladium cracks extensively. When the cracks get too large, the material deloads below the loading ratio know to be necessary. When there are no cracks, apparently, no reaction, either.
Understand the primitive nature of cold fusion theory. We don't know, yet, the exact reaction site, much less what actually happens there. Many theorists are still working on theories that involve a mechanism taking place in the bulk. That drives Storms crazy, since the evidence is quite strong for "surface reaction," or at least something close to the surface. Hagelstein is pursuing vacancies, but the problem with vacancies is that they are quite normal, they simply vary with temperature. There wouldn't be the famous cold fusion unreliability.
But nobody has identified, experimentally, the size of cracks necessary. It's not easy. The active cracks are probably nanocracks, below a nanometer in gap. I do know that SKINR is pursuing nanotechnology re cold fusion, with some funding, but funding is a general problem in the field.
Storms has found some evidence for collimated X-rays, unconfirmed.
Back to basics: known: deuterium -> helium. No radiation at significant levels. I.e, whatever radiation there is, there is very little compared to the number of helium nuclei produced. No neutrons. No high-energy gammas.
I love it. It means there is something we don't know. In what we don't know there is the future. (Actually, in my training, the most productive area is "what we don't know we don't know.") --Abd (discusscontribs) 01:49, 30 March 2014 (UTC)
You are simply repeating things Storms says. I was not motivated directly by the experiment, but by known theory--- I know a mechanism whereby charged particles can lead to fast-deuterons and fusion. I can't imagine that this phenomenon is not useful for SOMETHING, because here I understand what is going on. I also can't believe it is unrelated to these observations.
The He observations are all over the place, and I wasn't convinced they were completely reliable. I trusted the tritium measurements because you can't possibly screw that one up, the tritium is measured by it's decay signature. I was wary of any experiment that is unconfirmed by theory, and I still am, although I am not blind--- if people make claims, there is usually a reason.
The theory I was talking about is not necessarily bulk, it depends on how the chain-reaction starts. It needs a radioactive seed, and the natural place for this seed is from random radioelements accumulated on the cathode during the weeks of electrolysis. I suspected this was sufficient to confine the reaction to a few microns from the surface, and the requirement of high d-density is sufficient to look at impurities or nanocracks, since there you can perhaps have some concentration of high-energy (20 KeV) Auger d's.
Indeed, the details you give are inconsistent with the mechanism I gave, but the mechanism I gave is theoretically sound, and is useful for other reasons. So I will continue to insist that it is important to look at Auger acceleration in deuterated metals regardless of the mechanism of fusion.

Hagelstein limit

Hagelstein has studied the limits on charged particle energy in cold fusion experiments, looking at what effects would be observed. There are no significant charged particles above 20 KeV. See P. Hagelstein, Constraints on energetic particles in the Fleischmann-Pons experiment (2010), Naturwiss., 97, 345-352, MIT author's final manuscript. --Abd (discusscontribs) 21:03, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
[RM responds: Hagelstein's paper is the only cogent criticism here, and if he did the calculations right, it means one of two things--- either the secondary emissions were incompetently measured, they should be there with the mechanism I am pushing, or else the main third-body transfer of energy is to an electron, which is extremely strange theoretically, it should be already known to bomb-makers if d-d fusion can occur with a third-body electron absorbing the momenutm, but it reduces the energy of the alpha born, since electrons run off with the great majority of the 24 MeV. I did not suspect that electrons could do this, because if this is so, bomb makers would know about it since at least the first H-bomb tests, and I would think they would publish this result openly, not keep it secret.] ‎ -- 03:18, 3 February 2014.
"Incompetent measurement" would assume widespread incompetence. While, indeed, a great deal of imprecise work has been done -- there are thousands of conference papers on cold fusion, and over a thousand published under peer review -- the absence of major charged particle radiation is a strong characteristic of what has been observed. Originally, that absence was considered a refutation that cold fusion was even occurring, it was believed that such radiation must be produced when fusion occurs. That may be correct, but the issue would be the radiation energy. The Hagelstein limit is 20 KeV. There could be radiation at energies below that, and it would be much more difficult to observe, it would be entirely converted to heat, and only observable under special conditions.
Yes, electron energy transfer is one mechanism that has been proposed. The problem is that high-energy electron radiation would produce the observable effects Hagelstein considers. It can be ruled out. However, in Takahashi theory, the bulk of the energy is radiated in a burst of low-energy photons (BOLEP). That is not "simultaneous emission," it would be generated by a rapid sequence of nuclear transitions, as the excited fused nucleus (perhaps Be-8) emits a series of photons at relatively low energies. If the fusing structure is still intact when the fused nucleus decays, as Be-8 would in fairly short order, there would be electrons available to carry much of the ground-state decay energy, and we are then close to the Hagelstein limit.
From this consideration, photons (they would be called "gammas" because they are nuclear in origin), at certain energies, are expected. They would be difficult, but not impossible to detect, under cold fusion experimental conditions. X-rays have been reported, and there is work under way to quantify this and correlate it with heat. Identifying specific photon energies would also help identify the actual reaction.
Transfer of energy to electrons is not impossible, but the issue is, once again, rate. --Abd (discusscontribs) 14:18, 29 March 2014 (UTC)
Fast electrons would not be readily observed, Hagelstein assumes that the k-shells emit x-rays, but a significant number produce Auger deuterons and Auger electrons. Fast electrons only produce x-rays, and you need to see this. SPAWAR sees x-rays, and if someone claims to see cold fusion heat production without x-rays, I would bet this person is simply seeing recombination heat and misinterpreting it as excess heat.
You can't make Be-8 from deuterons, and it doesn't behave the way Takahashi says. The Takahashi theory is a just-so story.


Fast neutrons and tritium are present only as very rare products. I.e., helium is known to be the main product of PdD LENR. Tritium is a million times down from helium, and neutrons are about a million times down from that. --Abd (discusscontribs) 21:03, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

[RM responds: If the theory I am saying works, the total tritium should be about 1/1000 the He, not 1/1000000. I am not sure the measurements are so quantitative]. ‎ -- 03:18, 3 February 2014.
Thus the actual measurements are roughly three orders of magnitude different from what Maimon expects. Such tritium would be trivial to detect. Tritium is already considered a confirmed effect of cold fusion, but there is a linguistic problem. "Cold fusion" is not necessarily a single reaction. In quite a number of experiments, where heat was measured and tritium was measured, the report was that heat and tritium were not correlated. Unfortunately, those reports did not state the actual tritium levels. It's a good thing my head is not close to a wall when I research work in this field, because I'd have bruises and the wall would have dents. They had the data, why didn't they just report it, instead of reporting conclusions?
I think I know the reason, it was political. At that time, the major effort was to prove that cold fusion was a real effect, and the only interest in tritium was as evidence for "nuclear." Saying that it was not correlated was setting it aside as such evidence. They thought they were being generous. Basic rule: reporting experimental results fully is far more important than reporting conclusions and interpretations.
Ron Maimon theory is, as to his tritium prediction, disconfirmed experimentally. Sure, we'd like better data, but the preponderance of the evidence is as I'm stating. Ron Maimon, in his theoretical explanations, has been showing that he is not familiar with the experimental evidence, he is simply thinking up some theoretical physics. So far, it's been pseudoscience, though, here, he is showing some consideration of the evidence, recognizing contradictions, and that's science. --Abd (discusscontribs) 14:26, 29 March 2014 (UTC)
Dude, you DON'T KNOW WHAT PSEUDOSCIENCE MEANS! The theory I gave works to produce fusion in an irradiated Pd-d system WITHOUT DOING ANYTHING ELSE! All you need to do is excite some k-shells, so irradiate it with a LINAC electron beam, and bam, fusion. This is a prediction I would bet my life on! It's obviously going to happen.
The rest of the theory is simply converting the process into a chain reaction, to understand the excess heat. This requires SOME new physics, namely three body fusion, and NOTHING ELSE. But it unambiguously predicts tritium production to be 1/1000 of the total He production, and this tritium I think is there. It possibly wasn't measured at this level because it didn't contaminate the heavy water, it just entered the electrode.
I didn't see an exclusion of the theory from the tritium data, and I still don't believe the data is good enough to exclude the theory based on tritium alone. The tritium should be about 1/1000 of the helium, and I stand firm on this. That's what happens when you have a chain reaction involving 20KeV deuterons.
But it is possible that the data excludes this theory completely, I agree! In this case, I would use my theory to explain the trace fusion products, tritium and so on, from trace radioactive contamination of the electrode during electrolysis, and dismiss the excess heat entirely as non-nuclear. The only reason I was persuaded there is anything nuclear is because of the trace tritium and other radioactive things, if they are produced in such teeny-tiny levels, it is consistent with no chain reaction, and just occasional bursts of fusion from an occasional radioactive decay.


  • If somehow the reaction conditions caused the helium branch to be vastly favored, there is still the problem that d+d -> helium produces only a single nuclear product, so conservation of momentum requires the emission of a gamma photon. These photons would be highly penetrating and, indeed, dangerous. They are not observed.
[RM responds: The whole point is that there is a third body to absorb the momentum electrostatically. I don't think it can be an electron, but if the momentum of He4 is so low from the Hagelstein limit, then this is the only possibility left.] ‎ -- 03:18, 3 February 2014.
This was one of the great puzzles in 1989-1990 and later. The known effect where a nuclear effect transfers momentum to other bodies is the w:Mossbauer effect, which I reproduced in my undergraduate physics lab at Cal Tech, so I'm sensitive to mention of the effect (and it becomes important in assessing the biological transmutation work of Vysotskii et al).
The Mossbauer effect is known to function under crystal conditions, involving very low momentum, compared to the momentum involved with cold fusion. Transfer to a single body ("third body") just postpones the reckoning, because of the Hagelstein limit. It must be transferred to many bodies. Takahashi's proposed BOLEP mechanism takes the energy to be transferred down to about 90 KeV, the fission energy released when Be-8 breaks up into two helium nuclei. If the energy is only transferred to the two nuclei, they would have about 45 KeV each. That's more than double the Hagelstein limit. But Takahashi's mechansim takes place within a "condensate," a special condition where all the constituent particles behave as if they have a single wave function, they are so intimate as to be indistinguishable, my primitive explanation. The would be, with 4 D multibody fusion under these conditions, 4 electrons. If these can carry the energy, we are down to about 22 KeV each, close enough to the Hagelstein limit to be possible.
Takahashi's theory has other problems. None of them seem insurmoutable to me, but Edmund Storms disagrees, and proposes his own preposterous theory. That's not a criticism, it's just the way it is. All the theories are preposterous in some way or other. The phenomenon itself is preposterous. Nobody expected it, not even Pons and Fleischmann. They were actually looking for hot fusion at elevated reaction rates due to the very unusual conditions in highly loaded PdD. They though they would be lucky to see a tiny but measurable increase. But then their early cell melted down, releasing more energy than they -- world-class chemists -- could explain with chemistry, and they waited five years before announcing, so crazy was this finding.
Ron Maimon is stating "only possibility left" for momentum transfer to electrons. He might be correct. However, back to his theory, it does not explain that transfer, and he's correctly pointed out that this is very unexpected. Thus we are back to the basic issue: his theory is not supported by the experimental evidence. --Abd (discusscontribs) 14:39, 29 March 2014 (UTC)
My theory is not a just-so story, it is based on real physics, it is stuff that happens in real life. The theory is that d's are accelerated by K-shell holes, through Auger transfer of energy (which happens), then these d's fuse and transfer the energy electrostatically to a third particle. The assumption I am making is that the two processes together make a chain reaction. This requires that the three body fusion is about 2 orders of magnitude larger than the usual fusion, which is not implausible if the third particle is a nucleus, and the rest is not controversial.
I DON'T KNOW what the third particle is, I assumed it was the Pd nucleus, because you could see that this can enhance the rate significantly, and this explains the transmutations correctly. But it predicts at least order 10^6 transmutations per joule of energy, more likely 10^8, perhaps this is excluded experimentally by somebody, but I am not sure it is excluded, because of the paucity of radiological data. Where I see people getting nuclear effects, they also get radioactive gunk.
I don't think the third body can be an electron at this point, because this three body process, if it existed, would be ubquitious! too easy to see in muon-catalyzed fusion, or in h-bombs, and would be known already. If it is in H-bombs, it might be known and classified, although why you would classify this important thing (if it is real), I don't know. So I just assumed the third body is the Pd nucleus. But I obviously considered that it could be electrons, I just rejected this idea, and I still do.
The main point of the theory is that charged particles produce k-shell holes through Bethe ionization as they fly through a lattice, and these k-shell holes then accelerated deutrons so that they can do fusion. These processes together can make a chain reaction, but will produce a relatively high level of secondary radiation. This radiation just has to be there, I do not accept that there is a reaction and no secondary radiation, and it is not consistent with the SPAWAR data anyway. I think it was just a premature extrapolation by Hagelstein, but I need to review the experimental papers he is using, and check his calculations before saying he is wrong. He might be right, in which case, I think it is most parsimoneous to assume that there is nothing nuclear going on at all, aside from a small amount of tritium producing fusion induced by K-shell acceleration induced from natural radioactivity.

Triple miracle

Cold fusion theory must face what Huizenga called the "triple miracle." Huizenga, in Cold Fusion: The Scientific Fiasco of the Century (2nd ed., 1993, pp. 35-40), reviewed a cold fusion theory paper, Walling and Simons (Journal of Physical Chemistry, June 15, 1989 (93:4693-4697). He describes the theory as requiring three miracles:

  • Fusion rate far higher than theory predicts for conditions.
  • Branching ratio radically different from hot fusion ratio (and muon-catalyzed fusion, very cold, has the same branching ratio)
  • Gamma from helium branch suppressed, the energy ends up entirely as heat. --Abd (discusscontribs) 21:03, 4 March 2014 (UTC)
[RM responds: Yeah, Huizenga's miracles are obvious, the theory explains them: the different rate/branching-ratio is due to the third body absorbing the energy/momentum. Muon fusion should have the same third-process, He4 + 24MeV ejected muon, and it should be there, probably nobody looked for it. The gamma is not there because the process has a third-body absorbing the gamma while it is still virtual--- although the proper language is electrostatics] ‎ -- 03:18, 3 February 2014.
"Third body" was not a part of the theory as first stated. High-energy charged particle radiation, now being proposed, is not observed in cold fusion experiments. Maimon is becoming ad-hoc here, making up new explanations. Bottom line, as it was stated with supreme confidence -- which continues below -- the theory doesn't predict the actual experimental results, and it requires very observable phenomena to arise, under conditions where those phenomena were intensively sought. --Abd (discusscontribs) 14:43, 29 March 2014 (UTC)
Yes, the "third body" was always there, it was necessary from the beginning, otherwise the process would produce standard hot fusion. I still say it is probably the Pd nucleus, not an electron, so that there is a crapload of nuclear products which are produced when the experiment is successful. The "Hagelstein limit" says this is impossible, so I don't believe the Hagelstein limit at all yet, because I think he is mixing together bounds from competent and incompetent experiments together, although I am not sure, I need to do a review. If you use experiments which didn't detect excess heat, like Gai et al, you will get impossible low bounds. If you use experiments which detected heat due to chemical recombination, you will obviously see nothing nuclear in these, so that your bounds will be too tight. You need to be careful to look at the experiments which are undeniably nuclear, and check that there is a comprehensive attempt to detect x-rays and neutrons, and that the bounds are serious, and don't reflect bad detection methodologies. I don't believe in magic, if you have nuclear processes, you can see nuclear products.
In the undeniably nuclear experiments I have seen by Mizuno, by SPAWAR, even by Pons and Fleischmann (if you take their contested nuclear measurements at face value) the level of charged particle emission seems to be consistent with the theory that I gave, not 6 orders of magnitude lower than the excess heat, but 3 orders of magnitude lower than excess heat (and only 2 orders lower in x-ray). The claim for x-ray emission can be checked by surrounding the cathode with photographich film and looking at the total x-ray output, in the theory I give it has to be about 10% of the excess heat, so about 10% of the excess heat must come out as X-ray radiation, so significant and detectible. In the SPAWAR tests, the x-rays were detected (although they seem to be bunched up in spots). Not all the experiments look for x-rays at the moment of excess heat production, and if you look at moments when there is no excess heat, you can distort the measurements and say the x-rays aren't there.
Hagelstein doesn't take into account the new Auger process I am talking about, the transfer of energy to deuterons, so he overestimates the x-rays coming out, but still, there HAVE to be x-rays for the theory I give to work, it just MUST happen, and if it isn't being detected that's nonsense. The SPAWAR folks showed the fast charged particles in the CR-39, and you can't have charged particles and no x-rays. He mixes together a whole bunch of null results in his analysis, some of these null results can be explained, others not, and I need to review them one by one). I explained this in the article, I always had it in there, it is absolutely required to change the branching ratios from hot fusion. (The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) )
There is a lot of poor work that has been done, and anyone sane investigating this field deprecates that work. Experiments that did not detect excess heat may not have set up the cold fusion phenomenon at all. Much of the work has been "investigational," looking for possible anomalies, and that kind of work cannot establish much except the need for more investigation. Nobody competent in this field would be fooled by recombination. That's a claim that is often made by those who don't know the work, but are simply searching for a way out, an "explanation" to satisfy themselves that they don't have to think too hard. I've seen recombination claimed as an artifact when the experiment was a closed cell, with recombination forced. Many experimenters measured the outgas, so they know what was available for recombination and what was not.
You are correct about nuclear products. However, there are nuclear products that can be very difficult to detect. To give an example outside the center of this field, Storms is claiming that in NiH work, the main product is deuterium. The problem there is that deuterium is present at relatively high levels in natural hydrogen. It would be expensive to use highly deuterium-depleted water, and, to my knowledge, it hasn't been tried.
The center of the field is palladium deuteride, and, for that, the nuclear product has been identified with high confidence as helium. The mystery is the relative absence of other nuclear products, normally expected -- but not necessarily *required* -- from fusion. Without knowing the mechanism, we really can't tell what products should be expected. Helium could be produced by d-d fusion, but that has, as you know, a host of problems, essentially the triple miracle. If there is a form of d-d fusion that behaves differently from hot fusion, though, it remains a possibility.
Takahashi proposes 4D fusion, essentially double-deuterium molecular fusion, in a Bose-Einstein condensate, and several theorists are looking at such condensates as possibly producing unexpected effects (we think of condensates as only being possible at "low temperatures," but we forget about populations. At room temperature, there would be a certain population of molecular pairs that have low relative momentum; this is where a condensate might be transiently possible, and the theory -- Takahashi uses QED -- predicts 100% fusion within a femtosecond if the condensate forms). But what then? Nobody really knows, experimentally, and aside from cold fusion itself, what happens if Be-8 forms in this way, under conditions of very low momentum? We know what happens when He-4 is fused to Be-8, or when Li-6 and He-2 fuse under stellar conditions. We don't know the low-energy side of this.
You have misinterpreted the SPAWAR work.
This is what I see from those CR-39 detectors. I see a few high-energy tracks only, accumulated over weeks of cell operation. I see evidence for neutrons, both in triple-tracks (quite rare, maybe 10 per detector chip, with background of about 1), and in proton knock-on tracks (much more common). All of it indicates a very low neutron flux, and it's quite possible that all the high-energy tracks are proton knock-on. Kowalski certainly thought they were not alphas. But they may be alphas (I'm not talking about the triple tracks, those are alphas, from C-12 breakup, being hit by a neutron). The levels are quite low. Mosier-Boss herself thinks, last I noticed, that the neutrons are from rare D-T fusion reactions, and that ought to give you a clue as to how rare these tracks are.
What is also seen in many SPAWAR images is "hamburger." That's been interpreted by some as due to chemical damage, and that has not been ruled out. Indeed, there is some evidence for it, from Earthtech. However, there is another possibility that Earthtech did not consider:
It could be chemical damage caused by massive exposure to low-energy alphas, below 20 KeV, combined with the electrolytic environment. Cold fusion is a surface reaction (something your theory completely disregards; it's known from where helium is found). Such low-energy alphas would have very short penetration, it would only be seen very close to the reaction area, i.e., the active cathode surface. That is where hamburger is seen. I see this, then, as to the main reaction, as an indication that massive low-energy alphas might be being produced, in numbers far higher than are the higher-energy charged particles.
The Hagelstein limit is only about massive charged particle radiation. That is, there could not be massive quantities of radiation (i.e, numbers of particles compared to numbers of fusions, such that charged particles are produced a substantial fraction of the time). He's not ruling out charged particle radiation at much lower levels. I.e, he is not contradicting SPAWAR. SPAWAR has been detecting very low levels of high energy radiation. They think their neutrons are at about 14 MeV. That will produce a range of energies from knock-on protons.
As to Pons and Fleischmann and their "contested nuclear measurements," there were three kinds of such measurements by them, all unsatisfactory. The neutrons they reported were artifact. Nobody else found neutrons at those levels. But their report confused everyone, including them. That neutron report was one of the most damaging errors made in the field. They were not experts in neutron measurements, and their publication was rushed, that's the history of the field. Had more time been available, they would never have published that. And then they would never have published d+d speculations as they did. That was an attempt to explain the neutrons, but they already knew that the main reaction wasn't producing neutrons or tritium. That is why their central claim was not "fusion" but an "unknown nuclear reaction."
Then they reported tritium and helium. It appears that their evidence was weak; helium, in particular, is very hard to measure in the presence of ambient helium and a D2 signal that can mask helium in the mass spectrometry. Those claims were withdrawn, basically. There was a helium measurement that, again, confused everyone, including them.
An FP cathode was analyzed for helium. No significant helium was found. Bummer!
However, this is what was overlooked. Fleischmann believed, apparently, that the reaction they had found was a bulk reaction, taking place inside the cathode. It's easy to understand why. In any case, to avoid contamination from ambient helium, the outer 25 microns of those cathodes was removed before analyzing them.
We now know that the helium is only found within a few microns from the surface. So they didn't find helium because they didn't look where the helium is found.
However, later work did this:
Helium in the outgas was found to be strongly correlated with heat. Eventually, the full ratio was measured at very close to the deuterium fusion ratio, i.e., about 24 MeV/He-4. Complicated story, to tell it with full accuracy.
There is plenty of room for improvement of this work, but it's also extensively verified as being about right. In my view, this is the only evidence we have that strongly demonstrates that cold fusion is a nuclear reaction. There are piles of anecdotal evidence that "something nuclear" is taking place, but the big banana is whatever is producing heat. Is that nuclear? Helium says, "Yes." Helium is a nuclear product. There are possible artifacts, that have been asserted as possible, and they are inconsistent with the experimental evidence.
From Heat/helium, I'm convinced that cold fusion, the FP Heat Effect, is indeed a nuclear reaction, and probably some sort of reaction that converts deuterium to helium. That's a strong default until something better comes along!
Tritium was verified, many reports, but never correlated with heat, as far as I know. The levels are roughly a million times down from helium, but the experimental record sucks, as far as trying to get a ratio is concerned. What we see are reports from workers that "tritium was not commensurate with heat." They meant that if the heat was being produced by d-d fusion, there would have been a whole lot more tritium. Sloppy thinking abounded. Experiment first, theory later, was widely neglected, by both skeptics and "believers." What we need to know is how much tritium, you blockheads! Not your effing conclusions!
Ah, there I go! I get to meet these people in person, and its an honor, and I'm comparing my hindsight with their foresight, it's totally unfair. These people continued to work under very difficult conditions. They are heroes.
It's obvious that you are taking a closer look, and that's gratifying. That's part of my purpose here, to encourage that kind of reflection.
Occasionally, these discussions come up with questions that can be taken to the researchers, and they have answered the questions. In one case, a new analysis of the effect of "bubble noise" on input power measurements was done, by Dieter Britz, and he showed that this noise could not have created input power measurement error at any significant level. It was actually a nice try by a skeptic, one of the best proposed artifacts I've seen. But no cigar. Another idea of the same skeptic was misting. I.e, if mist is escaping from the cell instead of water vapor, there would be an overestimation of heat evolution. That one was already a known issue, and considered already. The researchers don't explicitly publish everything. Basically, with Pons and Fleischmann, who used open cells, the escape was a long and narrow vertical tube, and the flow rate was low; and no misting was observed and no accumulation of dissolved salts, as would have occurred with electrolyte escape. Totally killing this artifact was the sealed cell work, where there is no escaping gas and therefore no mist escape, this also whacks the unexpected recombination idea, for full recombination is assumed, and if there isn't full recombination, anomalous heat will be underestimated. --Abd (discusscontribs) 01:08, 30 March 2014 (UTC)

Fusion rate

Ron Maimon theory purports to explain the first miracle, though it doesn't. The palladium deuteride system was very well explored, and the use of palladium deuteride as a bombardment target was common. Bombardment does not normally produce any observable fusion effects beyond those expected from hot fusion reactions. Ron Maimon proposes "When these deuterons are concentrated enough in a region, their wavefunction piles up right next to the Pd nuclei, and there, they fuse, and they transfer the energy of the fusion reaction electrostatically to the Pd nucleus." --Abd (discusscontribs) 21:03, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

[RM responds: Pd bombardment would never see a fast alpha, they look for fusion products to determine the rates, which is neutrons. The stuff I said is because the third-body is the nucleus. If the third body is an electron, this is obviously unnecessary. But I am very doubtful that electrons can absorb nuclear stuff well, it requires a calculation. But it is forced if Hagelstein's stuff is right.] ‎ -- 03:18, 3 February 2014.
Takahashi looked for evidence for three-body reactions in PdD, and found it, I think the elevation was about 10^23 above naive three-body rate expectation. That evidence was for hot fusion, it was indeed studied by looking for the expected products.
While it is possible to quibble with the exact value of the Hagelstein limit, the vast gap between that limit (20 KeV) and what most naive cold fusion theories require (>> 1 MeV) is effectively conclusive. Any theory that does not explain the effective absence -- at necessary levels -- of high-energy charged particle radiation, is clearly incomplete and inconclusive, and cannot reasonably claim to "explain cold fusion." Takahashi makes the attempt using multibody fusion, fast nuclear transitions in a halo state producing a BOLEP, leaving about 90 KeV to be distributed among a small number of ultimate products, so maybe. Storms also suggests a BOLEP, produced through a hypothesized process of what I've called "slow fusion." I think it's preposterous, Storms obviously does not agree, but Storms theory is interesting for entirely different reasons. He pays close attention to the actual experimental results, which he knows better than anyone else on the planet. My suggestion to him is to stay out of the theoretical physics arena, and stick with what he really knows, and the rest of his theory, aside from the actual proposed fusion mechanism, is excellent, because it is focused on what's known and arose from that, better than has been done by anyone else. Takahashi has begun to address the issues Storms raised, but Takahashi is well aware that there is little direct experimental confirmation of his theory. These are real scientists, published and recognized professionals, and not so afflicted by hubris as are some of the amateurs we see, who often parlay a little graduate-level physics into an assumption of world dominance. --Abd (discusscontribs) 14:57, 29 March 2014 (UTC)
I DISAGREE with the Hagelstein limit, there HAVE to be MeV charged particles for sure, there is no way to get rid of them! The idea that there can be any sort of "BOLEP" or anything like that is total nonsense, you can't have multiparticle reactions like that, that's not how nuclei work, they don't have a brain. I pay attention to the experiments, I think they are WRONG to say there is no radiation, they just don't measure it most of the time, and these failures to measure are parlayed into overconfident assertions regarding new physics by Hagelstein.
I don't give a crap about world dominance, and I don't care about being right, I WANT TO UNDERSTAND THE PHENOMENON. I understand the Auger transfer process fully, and I can see immediately that it can give infinitesimal tritium and neutron signatures EVEN WITHOUT A CHAIN REACTION (but at teeny tiny rates) just by amplifying occasional environmental radioactivity into a little bit of hot-fusion through the Auger transfer. If there are no fast charged particles in the system, then NOTHING is going on, it's all fraud and delusion.

Effect of K-shell hole

Yet the wave function is merely the probability of finding a deuteron at a location. As the nucleus repels the deuteron, the probability of finding a deuteron declines with proximity to the nucleus. The presence of the nucleus does not shield the deuteron positive charges from each other.. The absence of the K-shell electron would also increase the mutual repulsion of deuterons, not decrease it. --Abd (discusscontribs) 21:03, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

[RM responds: No, the K-shell electron is still there in the Pd nucleus when two d's fuse near it. This process is absolutely required to explain the transmutations, so even if it is not the main story, it must happen at least a little bit, because otherwise the transmutations are impossible.] ‎ -- 03:18, 3 February 2014.
There or gone, make up your mind. If it is "near the Pd nucleus," it's part of the electron cloud. It seems that Maimon is thinking of some variation on Meulenberg theory; Andrew works with DDL (Direct Dirac Layer) electrons, in very close orbits, so that they can catalyze fusion. Notice the desire to "explain the transmutations." The other transmutations are a million times down from helium, and it's only transmutation to tritium that is that high. Transmutation, other than to helium, is not a prominent feature of cold fusion. It's part of the noise generated by the effort to prove that the effect is "nuclear." Quite the same with tritium and neutrons. These are markers of some nuclear reaction, but it's entirely possible that under conditions where cold fusion can occur, other reactions may also occur. So I cannot rule out Maimon's proposed reaction based on the experimental evidence, as to some minor effect, rarely occuring, compared to the Main Show of the conversion of deuterium to helium. (in the FPHE).
What I can rule out is Ron Maimon theory as an explanation of that Main Show. --Abd (discusscontribs) 15:05, 29 March 2014 (UTC)
If it's not the mechanism I said, then I have a hard time believing that there is any main show. It's like pulling teeth to find a process that can form a nuclear chain reaction in condensed matter systems. The Auger acceleration of deuterons works without any doubt, it's just normal Auger physics, it will produce fast deuterons in deuterated Pd from k-shell holes. But there's more than one atom in the lattice! The accelerating atom is not the same atom that the d's fuse next to (if they fuse next to an atom). The atom that a fusion occurs next to is going to be unionized (not that it matters much).
I am also perfectly content to say that the transmutations are produced from extremely rare fusion events which are not part of a chain reaction, that the chain reaction just doesn't occur! In this case, all the trace radiological stuff in the cold-fusion experiment is due to beta-emitters getting electroplated to the experiment as time goes on, then decaying, and the beta-electrons producing a chain of K-shell holes, and the K-shell holes Auger accelerating deuterons, which then do a small amount of regular hot fusion, and an occasional transmutation or two, so that you get trace radioactivity in the experiment WITHOUT any nuclear chain reaction.
What I have a hard time accepting is that there are nuclear reactions without any fast charged particles at all. It requires something extremely implausible, namely that the electron is the third body in a nuclear reaction! I need to sit down and calculate, but you can JUST SEE that an electron is not a good third body for nuclear reactions, it has a small charge, and a tiny mass, and why the heck doesn't just the nucleus eject out a proton? With a heavy nucleus, you can understand that the third-body process might be favored, but for an electron, it doesn't make common-sense, and I am not out to make up just-so stories. I want to understand the physics, not fantasy. But I'll have to check whether electron third-body is possible, although an h-bomb designer would be able to say immediately.
I also have to check more implausible stuff, like d-Li reactions (there is always Lithium at the Pd surface from the LiOH added to the experiments), but in any case, there must always be 20 KeV particles and MeV charged particles after the reaction completes. If these are reliably absent, then it is most parsimonious to look for alternate explanations of the trace radiological contamination from a mechanism like what I said, which will produce trace radiological contamination for sure, and ignore this nuclear process as having nothing to do with the excess heat.

Momemntum transfer timing

Ron Maimon, in the sentence quoted above, also attempts to explain the absence of gammas: "They transfer the energy of the fusion reaction electrostatically to the Pd nucleus." Sounds plausible, except when one understands that electrostatic transfer of energy involves. I.e., if a charge particle moves, it can move another charged particle in its vicinity. When two deuterons fuse, let's assume that they had, before collision, zero net momentum. They form an excited helium nucleus, with zero net momentum. That nucleus is highly unstable, so unstable that most descriptions don't allow it any lifetime at all. But Ron Maimon theory requires that the nucleus stay intact (or else we have neutrons and tritium -- as well as protons and He-3). What happens to the excitation energy? --Abd (discusscontribs) 21:03, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

[RM responds: The lifetime of the excited He-4 is enough for light to travel order 100fermis, they aren't THAT unstable, the lifetime is known experimentally. The 100fms is the distance at which you expect electrostatic transfer, it is also the distance of closest approach of 20KeV d-s to a nucleus, so it is possible for 2d's to transfer the energy-momentum electrostatically to nucleus] ‎ -- 03:18, 3 February 2014.

Helium dominance

What happens in hot fusion, in the rare case that helium is not formed -- Ron Maimon makes no attempt to explain the unexpected dominance of the helium branch -- is that the nucleus emits a gamma ray. The momentum of the gamma and the momentum of the alpha cancel each other. Only the alpha can affect the palladium nucleus electrostatically, because only it is charged. The large bulk of the energy ends up in the gamma, because the effective mass of the gamma is so small. I'm not doing the math, here, but notice that Ron Maimon did not do it, either.

There is no way for the fused helium nucleus to transfer the bulk of the energy to the palladium. --Abd (discusscontribs) 21:03, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

[RM responds: "no way", blah blah blah, it obviously can do it and will do it if it is within 100 fm of the nucleus. That's what electrostatic matrix elements do.] ‎ -- 03:18, 3 February 2014.

Other theories

There are other theories extant which address, at least roughly, all three miracles. However, no theory is yet well enough developed to be considered anything more than a possibility, and every theory proposes some unexpected effect. In my view, one of the strongest is Takahashi's TSC theory. How does it handle the triple miracle? Let's consider the simplest form of TSC theory, which proposes that four deuterons collapse into a condensate (similar to a Bose-Einstein Condensate) that then fuses to Be-8, which then fissions into two alphas. --Abd (discusscontribs) 21:03, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

[RM responds: The other theories are total made up crap, they aren't worth wiping your ass with them.] -- 03:18, 3 February 2014.
[RM addendum: Now that I read and understand Hagelstein, thanks Abd for pointing out his motivations, I see that his theory is NOT made up crap at all, it is a reasonable general model for coherent energy transfer between modes, and he doesn't specify the modes. He is right that it is the only thing that can possibly work, given the constraints on energetic particles, but it requires appropriate modes and appropriate magic. I will try to see if I can identify the modes for his theory, and get the rate-constant for his resonant transfer, but his theory (although extremely general) is really better than mine. I retract the statement above about Hagelstein, I was totally wrong about his theory, from initial misunderstanding (I thought he was using phonons to squash nuclei together, but this is not quite the main idea, the main idea is resonant coupling between two modes of completely separate energy scales). But the criticism above still applies to all the other theories in the field]
Ron Maimon is playing a juvenile game, and he doesn't care about accuracy, only about being a "smart mouth." My theorist friends might not like it, but, in a variation on an old joke, "They are so useful for that!" It's obvious: they are published on paper.
Ron Maimon's theory is not published on paper, and is thus truly the theory that you can't "[wipe] your ass with," because it only exists in his head and in the insubstantial space of the internet.
Come to think of it, that might make it useful to him for that purpose. All he has to do is remove his head from that place. In the process, the place will be wiped.
If Ron Maimon wishes to push his theory in a place where that kind of conversation is the norm, he can go to w:Rationalwiki, where snark and pseudoskepticism reign. And they even have a cold fusion article, which is, in some ways, better than the wikipedia one, last I looked. I doubt I will respond to any more assertions like this, and, indeed, I might remove them as incivility coming from an IP editor, and radically unjustified and unnecessary. --Abd (discusscontribs) 15:43, 29 March 2014 (UTC)
The "other theories" involve fantastical science. They might as well just say "it happens because it happens". I explained what's wrong with them in other places, but there is no need, they are obvious fantasy. The Auger acceleration process happens, and WILL lead to a small amount of fusion. You can predict that an irradiated Pd-d system will show a small amount of standard hot fusion, on the order of 1 event per 10,000 ionization events, when irradiated with a LINAC. So that you can shine an electron beam on a loaded Pd-d system and observe fusion, or any other charged particle.
The remainder of the theory is simply using this to make a chain reaction. The process of Auger acceleration HAS TO HAPPEN, it is not possible to avoid it, so if you have K-shell x-rays in a Pd-d system, you also have fusion at a low rate. The issue is that it isn't a chain reaction without a three-body effect, and the third body, if the Hagelstein limit is right, needs to be an electron, and I just can't believe such a simple process works, because electrons are light, and this process, if it occurs, would be obvious in nuclear explosives, and would already by known by bomb-makers. But it can be calculated in principle.
Just to make it clear: I wrote the above before I understood Hagelstein's theory. Hagelstein's theory is sufficiently general, and mathematically correct, that it is beyond reproach! The quibble is whether he correctly identified the precise modes which exchange energy, and whether this process which he discovered actually works in the detailed environment of the Pd/d. But I sold it short, because I imagined he was using phonons to squeeze D's together, and this I know doesn't work. That's not a good characterization of his theory, which is really a general resonant mode-coupling idea, which is perfectly legitimate, although hard to quantitatively analyze in the context of this system. The guy is kinda brilliant.

Criticism of Takahashi theory

  1. The fusion rate is 100%, from quantum field theory, if the physical condition (2 deuterium molecules in the TS configuration, with very low relative momentum) studied occurs. The rate of that condition is unknown. From the fusion rate, though, in these experiments, the condition rate must be quite low.
  2. As the reaction is not d-d, the absence of neutrons and tritium is unremarkable, it would be expected.
  3. The Be-8* breakup does not produce a gamma, but only helium.

There is, however, a problem: as described, we'd expect hot alphas, at 23.8 MeV each, which are not observed. Thus Takahashi is looking at possible halo states that could hold the Be-8 together, long enough for it to emit a Burst of Low-Energy Photons (BOLEP) that might have escaped detection (except perhaps for a few X-rays). The ground state decay would be something on the order of 45 KeV per alpha. Close to what is needed, so maybe, still a bit hot. --Abd (discusscontribs) 21:03, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

[RM responds: You can't emit photons more than 1 at a time, this contradicts basic QED] -- 03:18, 3 February 2014.
BOLEPs, as proposed by Takahashi (and Storms, though he doesn't use that term) do not involve more than one photon being emitted at a time, AFAIK. A counterexample of the claim that two photons cannot be emitted simultaneously, though, would be w:electron-proton annihilation.
There is a failure of the imagination here. Imagine a halo nucleus. Such a nucleus is not thoroughly and closely bound, and could emit two photons, simultaneously, possibly in opposite directions. I do not think that QED rules this out. But, remember, I'm not an expert, and there would certainly be a rate issue. What I can tell, with what I do know, is that Ron Maimon confidently makes impossibility claims that are not based on comprehensive knowledge, he's selecting what he knows to prove his point and make others -- everyone else! -- wrong. --Abd (discusscontribs) 15:25, 29 March 2014 (UTC)
I should have said "You can't emit more than one photon at a time unless there's a good reason", in EP annhilation there is a good reason for decay into 2 (or 3) photons, you can't decay into 1 photon because of energy-momentum, and you sometimes can't decay into 2, because of parity issues. I should have said it more precisely: each photon emission rate is suppressed by a factor of alpha, and this factor is small, so that photon events are always perturbative, and each order is much smaller than the last. So you emit as few photons as possible. The only way to emit a large number of photons is to have a big random mess of a state, but the emissions are not going to be low-energy photons when you are dealing with nuclei, the scales are off! You need to emit x-rays or gamma rays.
The states of nuclei are explored experimentally, you can't just go ahead and make up new nuclear states without also explaining why they can't be produced in collision experiments.


Bottom line, we have no cold fusion theory that is adequate to explain the experimental phenomena. We do know that the FP Heat Effect produces helium commensurate with the heat, at or reasonably close to the theoretical deuterium fusion value, but that is most of what we know. We know that the phenomenon is a surface effect (which would not be expected from Ron Maimon theory, and, in fact, from his theory, the fusion rate would decline near the surface). We know it does not produce significant neutrons or tritium or other transmutation products.

(Key word here: "significant." We also know that tritium is produced, other transmutations are widely reported, and there is some good evidence for a few neutrons. But the largest of these effects are a million times down from the production of helium. We do not know, as another example of what we don't know, if there is a single mechanism involved in what is called "cold fusion" or more than one. The various effects have not been correlated, quantitatively, except for heat and helium.) --Abd (discusscontribs) 21:03, 4 March 2014 (UTC)

[Sorry for interspersing comments, but you really don't know what you're talking about. The Hagelstein thing about upper-limits on secondary reactions was the only useful thing you gave, and I need to actually sit down and calculate if three-body fusion with electron as the third body is at all possible. If Hagelstein is right, this is absolutely required, but it would be impossible for H-bomb makers to have missed this reaction, it would radically increase the energy yeild of H-bombs, while simultaneously decreasing the neutron yeild. Perhaps this is known to H-bomb designers, but hidden from everyone else by secrecy. It requires a serious calculation, I assumed it was impossible. But if the e reaction can't happen, then the cold-fusion is just impossible. All the other theories except mine are mentally defective. Mine works.] ‎ -- 03:18, 3 February 2014.
Variation on old story: "You guys are all crazy. I am the only one here who has not said something stupid."
There is a gap between Ron Maimon and myself. I wrote above: "I am not an expert on quantum mechanics or nuclear physics, but I have been studying these since I was about twelve." I'm quite aware of what I don't know. However, I'm familiar with the field and the arguments and the experimental evidence. He is not. That he would so confidently propose a theory at total variance with the actual experimental results, unaware of those results and their implications, shows that he was up to armchair pseudoscience, not science. We have made some progress here, he is now recognizing that he has a problem. But he still claims that "Mine works" and he thinks that he can rule out all other mechanisms but his, based on ... based on ... his belief in his own comprehensive knowledge, the same as what misled all the pseudoskeptics back in 1989-1990. "If cold fusion is real, it must be d-d fusion, because nothing else is possible, and because we thoroughly understand d-d fusion, it can't be d-d fusion, and therefore the experimental results must be wrong, and this is so impossible that, please, do not waste precious research funding on finding out the experimental facts, we need that money for our fifty-year program of hot fusion engineering."
This is what Feynman, my main inspiration in science, called "cargo cult science." It was and is rampant. It isn't science at all, it's pseudoscience, that takes the results of real science and enshrines them as Truth, that loses the fundamental investigational process that is the real scientific method. --Abd (discusscontribs) 15:17, 29 March 2014 (UTC)
I READ ALL THE EXPERIMENTS! You are not criticizing based on the experiments, you are criticizing based on Hagelstein's THEORETICAL ANALYSIS of the experimental data, which says that there is very little secondary radiation produced. The levels of radiation produced in the SPAWAR and Mizuno experiments is non-negligible, you get a detectible concentration of radioelements and x-rays, and in the theory I am proposing, you get a nontrivial concentration of radioelements and x-rays. The statement that these are not there, and so that fast particles are excluded, this is based on a meta-analysis of experimental data, which possibly mixes together experiments which were nuclear with those which were not, you need to reproduce Hagelstein's calculation to be sure.
I read the ENTIRE experimental literature on the subject several years ago, and I did NOT see that fast charged particles were excluded, in fact, they were detected in the SPAWAR experiment very clearly, and the other experiments did not seem to me to have a good enough coverage of the x-rays and neutrons to give good bounds on secondary radiation. I believe that in those cases where there are nuclear effects, then there must be secondary x-rays and secondary neutrons. These are not high counts, because they are secondary, they are produced by collisions of the main fast particles with other particles in the system. These secondary emissions are not so easy to constrain, as they require good radiological detection around the cold fusion apparatus, and I don't believe that they can be excluded so well from the data I saw available.
Obviously Hagelstein disagrees with me, and for the time being I defer to his experience. I think that he must be mistaken. There are lots of bad experiments, especially when you are talking about null measurements, and it is easy to claim things are theoretically excluded when they are not. But I can't say this with any confidence, except inasmuch as I am confident that the theoretical thing I told you is pretty much the only way to get anything nuclear out of Pd-d.
I am skeptical of Hagelstein's claimed limit! This is the only serious thing you have brought up. But I need to seriously look at it, and see if it is indeed inconsistent that there are fast charged particles.
[Not skeptical anymore--- he's right.]

Modified the page

Hagelstein is completely right. I removed the claims that this theory matches the experimental data.

An explanation of what he is doing for eliminating fast alphas is in minute around 18 of this video: . It is explained in detail in the paper Abd linked. The result of this type of thinking is that you need a coherent version of the theory, along the line of Hagelstein theory, not an incoherent theory, as I proposed on the page. Apologies for taking so long to catch up with Hagelstein.

Whatever sin was involved in your error is eclipsed by your response to evidence. You may not realize how unusual that is.
Thanks for your work, Ron. --Abd (discusscontribs) 17:50, 4 April 2014 (UTC)
Come on, it's expected, that's how you do science. Thanks for pointing out the bound paper! I don't want to promote a bogus theory, I want to know exactly what's going on in these goddamn experiments in detail. But I am still full of hubris, and I PROMISE you that the next iteration of the theory will solve the problem completely. Unlike Hagelstein, my modes are coupled strongly to fusion, the fusion products are coupled back to these modes, and they are coupled strongly to phonons all, and any coherent theory of the Hagelstein type will definitely have to go through these modes I described, except coherently, as Hagelstein says, with all the Hagelstein magic, not incoherently. But this is MUCH harder to calculate, or estimate, even to convince yourself that something can happen, the only confidence I have is from the experiments that show it is happening.