Spelling is the hobgoblin of small minds:
Spelling is the hobgoblin of small minds:
There is at least one physicist arguing that LENR research is is unethical because (1) LENR does not exist, and (2) if it is possible, it would be far too dangerous to allow.
This came to my attention because of an article in IEEE Spectrum, Scientists in the U.S. and Japan Get Serious About Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions
I wrote a critique of that article, here.
Energy is important to humanity, to our survival. We are already using dangerous technologies, and the deadly endeavor is science itself, because knowledge is power, and if power is unrestrained, it is used to deadly effect. That problem is a human social problem, not specifically a scientific one, but one principle is clear to me, ignorance is not the solution. Trusting and maintaining the status quo is not the solution (nor is blowing it up, smashing it). Behind these critiques is ignorance. The idea that LENR is dangerous (more than the possibility of an experiment melting down, or a chemical explosion which already killed Andrew Riley, or researchers being poisoned by nickel nanopowder, which is dangerous stuff) is rooted in ignorance of what LENR is. Because it is “nuclear,” it is immediately associated with the fast reactions of fission, which can maintain high power density even when the material becomes a plasma.
LENR is more generally a part of the field of CMNS, Condensed Matter Nuclear Science. This is about nuclear phenomena in condensed matter, i.e., matter below plasma temperature, matter with bound electrons, not the raw nuclei of a hot plasma. I have seen no evidence of LENR under plasma conditions, not depending on the patterned structures of the solid state. That sets up an intrinsic limit to LENR power generation.
We do not have a solid understanding of the mechanisms of LENR. It was called “cold fusion,” popularly, but that immediately brings up an association with the known fusion reaction possible with the material used in the original work, d-d fusion. Until we know what is actually happening in the Fleischmann-Pons experiment (contrary to fundamentally ignorant claims, the anomalous heat reported by them has been widely confirmed, this is not actually controversial any more among those familiar with the research), we cannot rule anything out entirely, but it is very, very unlikely that the FP Heat Effect is caused by d-d fusion, and this was obvious from the beginning, including to F&P.
It is d-d fusion which is so ridiculously impossible. So, then, are all “low energy nuclear reactions” impossible? Any sophisticated physicist would not fall for that sucker-bait question, but, in fact, many have and many still do. Here is a nice paradox: it is impossible to prove that an unknown reaction is impossible. So what does the impossibility claim boil down to?
“I have seen no evidence ….” and then, if the pseudoskeptic rants on, all asserted evidence is dismissed as wrong, deceptive, irrelevant, or worse (i.e, the data reported in peer-reviewed papers was fraudulent, deliberately faked, etc.)
There is a great deal of evidence, and when it is reviewed with any care, the possibility of LENR has always remained on the table. I could (and often do) make stronger claims than that. For example, I assert that the FP Heat Effect is caused by the conversion of deuterium to helium, and the evidence for that is strong enough to secure a conviction in a criminal trial, far beyond that necessary for a civil decision, though my lawyer friends always point out that we can never be sure until it happens. The common, run-of-the-mill pseudoskeptics never bother to actually look at all the evidence, merely whatever they select as confirming what they believe.
“Pseudoskepticism’ is belief disguised as skepticism, hence “pseudo.” Genuine skeptics will not forget to be skeptical of their own ideas. They will be precise in distinguishing between fact (which is fundamental to science) and interpretation (which is not reality, but an attempt at a map of reality).
This immediate affair has created many examples to look at. I will continue below, and comment on posts here is always welcome, and I keep it open indefinitely. A genuine study may take years to mature, consensus may take years to form. “Pages” do not yet have automatic open comment, editors here must explicitly enable it, and sometimes forget. Ask for opening of comment through a comment on any page that has it enabled. An editor will clean it up and, I assume, enable the comments. (That is, provide a link to the original page, and we can also move comments).
This conversation is important, the future of humanity is at stake. Continue reading “Ignorance is bliss”
or How “fusion” created confusion.
We now have strong evidence that the Fleischmann-Pons Heat Effect, sometimes known as the Anomalous Heat Effect, is nuclear in nature and accomplishes the transmutation of deuterium into helium, as the main reaction generating heat, but this evidence was not available in the early days of the field. Skeptics and “believers” conspired (albeit not realizing what they were doing) to call what was actually observed — or claimed, and the two were heavily confused — by Pons and Fleischmann, “cold fusion.” Even when a little careful thought would have exposed the distinction.\
What Pons and Fleischmann observed, in experiments with extreme loading of palladium with deuterium, was anomalous heat, with an apparent energy density or net energy production higher than they could explain with chemistry. They also saw weak signals associated with fusion, specifically, they believed they had seen evidence of neutrons, they detected tritium, and also helium. They did not have quantitative correlations, and the quantities found of tritum and neutrons and the ratio of heat to tritium and neutrons, and tritium to neutrons, was far different from that expected if they had succeeded in creating normal fusion.
So what they had found, if it was nuclear in nature, was not “d-d fusion,” almost certainly, which is very well known, and which is believed to necessarily produce those products.
I just came across some remarkable language from 1990 that shows the issue. This is in a report to ICCF-1, by Iyangar and Srinivasan, from BARC, the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, Bombay, India. These were nuclear experts, and there was, for a time, a massive effort to investigate cold fusion.
Wait, to investigate “cold fusion”? What’s that? Getting little details like exactly what one is investigating and why can be, ah, let’s call it useful.
From the abstract, and, remember, I have the benefit of an intervening three decades of history, a huge dollop of hindsight. What I’m seeing here as a misunderstanding that fostered confusion and conflict was something that many, many thought, it was language in common use. From the abstract:
A wide variety of experiments have been carried out by twelve independent teams employing both electrolytic and gas phase loading of deuterium in Pd and Ti metals to investigate the phenomenon of cold fusion first reported by Fleischmann and Pons in March 1989. The experiments were primarily devoted to the study of the emission of nuclear particles such as neutrons and tritium with a view to verify the“nuclear origin”of cold fusion.
Did Fleischmann and Pons report “cold fusion”? It was quite unfortunate that they mentioned the classical fusion reactions in their first paper, because it was totally obvious that what they were seeing, whatever it was, was not those reactions. The evidence that a nuclear reaction was happening was circumstantial, not enough to overcome strong expectation that such reactions would be impossible in the conditions of their experiments
That is, there was heat that they could not explain. If the heat were regular and predictable and reproducible, that could have been enough. But it wasn’t. The heat effect was elusive. “I can’t explain these results with chemistry” is not evidence with which one could convince a physicist. One would first need to convince the physicist that the evidence is clear and not artifact, because if one has telegraphed that you think this is something the physicist will think is impossible, they will examine all the evidence with a jaundiced eye. It’s just human nature.
So “cold fusion” started off with a handicap. It really didn’t help that the neutron evidence that Pons and Fleischmann adduced was artifact. What we know now is that very few neutrons, if any, are generated with their experiment.
(We need to realize that many difference kinds of experiments get lumped together as “cold fusion,” but different experiments may actually show different results, different reactions might be happening under conditions that are sometimes not adequately controlled. By conceptualizing the object of study as “cold fusion,” an assumption is created of a single phenomenon, and then when results differ, the reality of the alleged phenomenon comes into question.l)
What was reasonably being investigated was the possibility of nuclear phenomena in certain metals loaded with deuterium. The first issue to investigate was, for most groups, heat. But groups with a particular interest in nuclear physics often investigated neutrons, and when it was found that many replication attempts produced very few neutrons, this strengthened skepticism. There was also a common assumption that if nuclear reactions were happening, there must be neutrons. That is simply false, but the absence of neutrons from what was being assumed to be deuterium-deuterium fusion, that’s actually a very dificult puzzle.
The first order of business was to detect, measure, and correlate phenomena, not to interpret the results, but this was all pre-interpreted. They were investigating “cold fusion.” Not, say, “the Fleischman and Pons reports of anomalous heat.”
Ask a physicist, could there be deuterium fusion in palladium deuteride at room temperature, and he or she is likely to tell you, straight out, “No.” But ask this scientist if there could be a heat effect of unknown origin, and if they are worth their salt, they would tell you, well, we don’t know everything and sometimes it can take time to figure out what is happening.
Tbe report desperately needing confirmation was what Pons and Fleischmann had actually observed, once the confusion over their neutron reports was cleared up. “Cold fusion” was an interpretation, not an experimental fact, or certainly not yet.
Tritium was widely observed, it wasn’t just BARC. But was the tritium connected with the prime Fleischmann=Pons effect, the heat? And then things really got crazy when reports started to show up of a heat effect with light hydrogen. Again, the concept of a single phenomenon caused confusion. It is not that we know there is more than one reaction, we don’t know that yet. But it is quite possible, the “law of conservation of miracles” is not a law, and cold fusion is not a miracle. It’s something that doesn’t happen very often, and while I use the tern “cold fusion,” often, I would not use it academically without clear definition. At least I hope not!
By “cold fusion” i mean the FP Heat Effect and other possible affects commonly associated with it or believed or claimed to be related. I justify the use of the term because the known product from the FP Heat Effect is helium, which is, Ockham’s Razor with the evidence we have, coming from the conversion oi deuterium to helium. That is fusion in effect, which must be distinguished from “deuterium fusion,” i.e., two deuterium nuclei fusing. Why? That reaction is very well known and the products are well known, and there are reasons to consider that even if this happens somehow at low energy, the products will be the same.
(When a physicist claims that “cold fusion” is impossible, because of the Coulomb barrier making the fusion rate be so low as to be indetectable, they are being sloppy, because muon-catalyzed fusion takes place at extremely low temperatures. Muons act as catalysts, so the immediate question arises, could something else catalyze fusion. An inability to imagine it is, again, not evidence. The universe is vast and possibilities endless, we cannot know all of them, only what is common.)
In 22 different electrolytic experiments whose cathode surface areas ranged from 0.1 to 300 cm2 , large bursts of neutrons and/or tritium were measured. Some of these gave clear evidence that these two nuclear particles were being generated simultaneously. The neutron-to-tritium yield ratios in the majority of these experiments was in the range of 10-6 to 10-9.
“Large bursts” is suspicious. Large compared to what? I have not read the report in detail yet. (I will). But tritium is a minor effect associated with the FP Heat Effect. It may be the case that tritium is enhanced if there is substantial light hydrogen in the heavy water, but even a little light water tends to suppress the FP Heat Effect. Even if there is some single mechanism, it behaves differently when presented with different fuels. The norm with cold fusion experiments, though, is that high-energy radiation and radioactive products are found only at very low levels. The rule of thumb, I state as tritium being a million times down from helium, and neutrons a million times down from helium. Helium production, with deuterium fuel (helium is not reported with light hydrogen as fuel, and we don’t know the product of light hydrogen “cold fusion.”
Those ratios are strong evidence that “cold fusion” is not d-d fusion, because the operation of d-d fusion, how and why the nucleus normally fragments, is well understood. I.e, the fused nucleus, the product of that fusion, is highly energized, it’s hot. That is true even if the reaction is not hot fusion (and the kinetic energy involved with fusion from the velocity of impact is dwarfed by the energy of collapse, as the nucleons collapse under the influence of the strong force. (Very strong force!) There is so much energy that normally the nucleus breaks into two pieces and there are only two ways it can do that. It can eject a proton or it can eject a neutron, to carry away that energy and leave the nucleus in the ground state, cool. That’s the two branches, and it is mostly equal which nucleon ends up being odd man out. Hence the two common branches,
1H2 (deuterium)+ 1H2 -> 1H3 (Helium-3)+ 1H1 (light hydrogen, a proton) + energy
1H2 + 1H2 -> 2He3 (Helium-4) + 0N 1 (a neutron) + energy
And then the third branch is very rare. If the nucleus happens to be exactly balanced (I think, maybe balance is not an issue, just the odds), and manages to live intact long enough to generate a photon, the nucleons can stay together and almost all the energy is dumped into the photon, which is very high energy, 23.8 MeV. (The rest of the energy is in the recoil of the helium nucleus.) I think the branching ratio for that is one in 10^-7 reactions. One in ten million.
So that becomes another miracle that exercised Huizenga. If somehow the fusion happens (spectacularly unlikely!), and somehow it manages to produce helium (very unlikely), there must be a gamma ray, a very energetic one. This would be, at the heat levels reported, very dangerous. It’s not observed. That’s strong evidence that d+d fusion is no happening.
Something else is happening. In that context and with that understanding, and given the mishegas about “cold fusion” it was important to be investigating phenomena, not explanations. Tritium was actually contradictory to the FP Heat Effect, in general. It was lumped together with it because if tritium was being produced, “something nuclear” was happening. But what is the evidence that the heat was nuclear. Maybe if we look carefully, we will see nuclear reactions happening at low levels in unexpected places.
A unique feature of the BARC electrolysis results is that the first bursts of neutrons and tritium occurred (in 8 out of 11 cells) on the very first day of commencement of electrolysis, when hardly a few amp-hrs of charge had been passed.
This is evidence that the effects they are seeing are not the FP Heat Effect! It doesn’t happen that early, in FP type electrolysis experiments. There are rapid effects reported with codeposition, a different approach.
But the occasion for this post was the linguistic anomaly here. I’ll repeat it:
The experiments were primarily devoted to the study of the emission of nuclear particles such as neutrons and tritium with a view to verify the“nuclear origin”of cold fusion.
“Fusion” is a nuclear reaction. So they are looking to verify the nuclear origin of a nuclear reaction. It’s a tautology. As to looking for nuclear particles associated with what was called “cold fusion,” the FP Heat Effect, they are missing, mostly. What BARC found was at very low levels. Helium was suspected early on, but (because of no gammas) was not given a great deal of credence, and there was an additional reason to doubt helium evidence: helium is present in the atmosphere at levels normally greater than those expected if the FP Heat Effect were producing helium. So in many experiments (not all), leakage can be a possible artifact. It took careful work (beginning with Miles as to what I know so far) to actually show that helium is the main product of the FP Heat Effect.
That has been done, and confirmed many times. Tritium, however, is interesting, scientifically, and there is much work still to be done with tritium, and in particular, investigating tritium correlations with other products and conditions.
In response to an ugly situation on Wikiversity, which will be covered elsewhere on this blog, I have created a wiki, CFC, for the use of the cold fusion community and others, to read, create, edit, and critique studies and articles relating to cold fusion, and to coordinate activities. The cold fusion resource on Wikiversity, now exported to Wikiversity/Cold fusion on CFC, is no longer accessible on Wikiversity, having been deleted in a way that makes it difficult for any reader to discover what happened and where the pages may be found. Continue reading “Cold fusion wiki created”
On LENR Forum, there is a thread on Shanahan’s critique of cold fusion experiments, and this post appeared by THHuxleynew:
I’ll give his last comment first:
PS – I don’t make these arguments often here, since I feel they are perhaps known by those interested in them, and strongly disliked by others. So I will not continue this argument unless new facts are added to make it worthwhile.
In fact, THH addresses an issue that I have never before seen raised. It is of limited impact, but it proposes a possible artifact that could afflict some experiments, that should probably be explicitly ruled out (or confirmed!)
Jed was arguing something familiar, common, and … incorrect, and THH nails that.
Ahlfors typically provides teasers on LENR Forum. Here’s one, four images. I have not yet found the originals for other than the first, but, looking for the fourth led me to this:
Malcolm Fowler. McFarland Instrumentation Services, Inc.
Thomas Claytor. High Mesa Technology
12th International Workshop on Anomalies in Hydrogen
Loaded Metals, 5-9 June 2017
Why is this such good news? That’s twofold. First, the only truly conclusive and very direct evidence that the FP Heat Effect is nuclear in nature is the heat/helium correlation. That work was first done and reported in 1991 by Miles, using order-of-magnitude helium measurements. The work was later confirmed with increased precision, but not the precision that is reported here, if I’m correct. They were working with 50 cc. samples, and if a decent sampling protocol can be developed and an analytical service is provided, this could drastically accelerate PdD cold fusion research.
The other news from the document:
We would like to acknowledge the continued support and encouragement for this work by:
Industrial Heat, LLC [address]
Mr. Thomas Francis Darden II, J.D., Manager, President, and Director
Mr. J.T. Vaughn, Vice President
Mr. Dewey Weaver
This is the support Industrial Heat has provided from the $50 million Woodford investment, obviously. This work is not being published for commercial purpose, this is for scientific progress, and the possible commercial value is very long-term.
Dewey Weaver is famous here as the inspiration for the Cold Fusion Community Official Watch-Weasel.
Now, I need to go out, but I intend to look for the other documents.
The source source of the first image: Claytor (1998).
As to the remainder, my guess it is from “Summary of Tritium Evolution from Various Deuterided Metals,” Thomas N. Claytor, Malcolm M. Fowler, Edmund K. Storms, Rick Cantwell, which is listed in Egely’s review of the June 2017 Asti Conference.
That is a very interesting list of authors! But I have not been able to find the paper yet. From Ahlfors’ quotation of the acknowledgements, this was also work supported by Industrial Heat, and from what little I’ve seen of it (from the Egely report and Ahlfors’ hint) this could also be of high interest. Congratulations to Industrial Heat for supporting productive research.
Tritium with IH:
Tritium without IH:
He4 with IH:
None of these are the paper I found mentioned in Infinite Energy. It is apparently the slide presentation for the talk (because I find it not easy to understand.) It’s hosted on the ISCMNS site. I had looked to see if I could find files in that directory, but the directory contents would not display without a filename. Those slides for it are shown by Ahlfors as hosted on lenr-canr.org, but it is not yet shown in the index. It is shown in the full listing of hosted files on lenr-canr.org.
In that directory I found a pdf with Claytor, Fowler, Cantwell and others as co-authors, also not yet in the lenr-canr.org library index. It does not have a date, but was given at a 2012 conference.
Cold fusion debates often assert that there is this or that scientific consensus. What would this mean?
1 a : general agreement : unanimity • the consensus of their opinion, based on reports … from the border — John Hersey
b : the judgment arrived at by most of those concerned the consensus was to go ahead
2 : group solidarity in sentiment and belief
So what, then, is scientific consensus? Because consensus is about opinion or judgment, there must be someone with opinions or judgments. Who?
Well, “scientists,” of course! Just any scientist? Continue reading “What is scientific consensus?”
Transcript at Storms 2017 video transcript.
Comments welcome. My commentary will be added.
This is an excellent video explaining Storms’ theory. Ruby, at the beginning, treats cold fusion as a known thing (i.e., will provide energy for a very long time, etc.) — but that’s her job, political. Cold Fusion Now is an advocacy organization.
Our purpose here, to empower the community of interest in cold fusion, can dovetail with that, but we include — and invite — skeptical points of view.
As to cold fusion theory, there is little agreement in the field. Criticism of theory by other theoreticians and those capable of understanding the theories is rare, for historical reasons. We intend to move beyond that limitation, self-imposed as a defensive reaction to the rejection cascade. It’s time.
For cold fusion to move forward we must include and respect skepticism, just as most of us want to see the mainstream include and respect cold fusion as a legitimate research area.
At this point, I intend to put together a review of the video, which first requires a transcript. Anyone could make such a thing. If a reader would like to contribute, I’d ask that references be included to the video elapsed time (where a section begins) … though this could also be added later. Every contribution matters and takes us into the future.
I have done things like this myself, in the past, and I always learned a great deal by paying attention to detail like that, detail without judgment, just what was actually said. So I’m inviting someone else to benefit in this way. Let me know!
(I did make a transcript, then checked my email a day late and found Ruby Carat had sent me one….)
(There is a “partial” transcript here. I’ll be looking at that. If someone wants to check or complete it, that would be useful.)
Transcript moved to Storms 2017 video transcript.
Questions on that video may be asked as comments on that page.
There is a decent video by Jed Rothwell
Unfortunately it repeats some common tropes that can make an approach to understanding cold fusion more difficult (as they did from the beginning). Rather than take this apart, what would be a better introduction? I’m using a recent post by Jed Rothwell as a seed that may create one.
On LENR Forum, Jed Rothwell wrote:
So how do we establish that LENR has been replicated? We are surrounded by hyperskeptics, whom I have no real interest in appeasing because their standard, if it were applied to any other branch of science, would send us back to some kind of stone age.
I recommend you ignore the hyperskeptics. I engage with them here only to keep in practices, as an exercise in rhetorical target practice.
Great excuse! Someone is wrong on the internet! There goes countless hours. This is useful if one actually hones literary and rhetorical skills, but, too often, there is no genuine feedback, no objective standard or measure of success. What, indeed, is success? What I’ve gained from the engagement is familiarity with the issues. It enables me to speak cogently, off-the-cuff. We’ll see how effective that is!
We are not, however, “surrounded by hyperskeptics.” Where does Kev live that he thinks this way? Planet Rossi? If someone new is not skeptical about cold fusion, they don’t understand the problem.
I recommend you concentrate instead on trying to persuade open minded people who are sincerely interested in the subject. There are apparently a large number of such people. Although the numbers seem to be dropping off. See:
I’ve been writing for years about this. A goal of “persuading” people can be disempowering. How about “inspiring” them? Short of that, “informing” them. Of what? Our opinions? Continue reading “Cold fusion: Manual for the Compleat Idiot”
How about both?
The 2016 NRL briefing on LENR, written per Congressional request. There are some interesting possibilities here, if we proceed carefully and effectively.
I sent these first reactions to the private CMNS list: Continue reading “Warmed over bullshit or fertilizer?”
On LENR Forum, Alainco posted an abstract and link to a new Storms article on LENR. Kirk Shanahan promptly reviewed it. This post will study the Shanahan review. It is possible that we will review the article itself more intensely. But first, a little on the journal itself. Continue reading “Reviewing Shanahan reviewing Storms”
Well, a little color. As covered in It was an itsy-bitsy teenie weenie yellow polka dot error, Kirk Shanahan digitised a chart from page 87 of Storms, The Science of Low Energy Nuclear Reaction, even though the data was on the next page in Table 7. Ah, well, you do what you need to do.
So, today, I loaded the data in to a spreadsheet, and here it is, ODS, and if you need another format, ask. The first plot shows all the data, and looks like the Storms plot, but with a little extra and without the 23.8 MeV/He line; that is equivalent to about 2.6 x 10^11 He atoms/watt-sec.
This comment by Simon Derricutt is worth review in detail. So, below, my comments are in indented italics.
In reply to Abd ulRahman Lomax.
Abd – I suspect the Journal of Scientific Consensus exists as Wikipedia. Generally, Wikipedia is pretty good at stating what is generally-agreed, and where there’s disagreement there will be a lot of editing going on as the factions try to get their view to be the one that’s visible.
Ah, favorite topic! We then cover many issues. Continue reading “Conversations: Simon Derricutt”