In my training, they talk about three realities: personal reality, social reality, and the ultimate test of reality. Very simple:
In personal reality, I draw conclusions from my own experience. I saw a bear in our back yard, so I say, “there are bears — at least one — in our neighborhood.” That’s personal reality. (And yes, I did see one, years ago.)
In social reality, people agree. Others may have seen bears. Someone still might say, “they could all be mistaken,” but this becomes less and less likely, the more people who agree. (There is a general consensus in our neighborhood, in fact, that bears sometimes show up.)
In the ultimate test, the bear tears your head off.
Now, for the kicker. There is a bear in my back yard right now! Proof: Meet Percy, named by my children.
I didn’t say what kind of bear! Percy is life-size, and from the road, could look for a moment like the animal. (The paint is fading a bit, Percy was slightly more realistic years ago, when I moved in. I used to live down the street, and that’s where I saw the actual animal.)
The concept of social-test reality came up in my just-finished study of an article by Peter Hagelstein, an editorial in Infinite Energy in 2013, “On Theory and Science Generally in Connection with the Fleischmann-Pons Experiment.”
I had looked at that essay because it was quoted by a LENR personality on a private mailing list in what occurred to me as attempt to prove I was wrong about something or other. I replied:
I love it when someone cites evidence making my points, as [redacted] did there. I had seen the Hagelstein essay, but I almost always read with increased care what people cite in commenting on my writing, and so I read it again. Wow! Peter says, clearly, a great deal that I’ve been saying, to derisive response from [redacted], and, sorry to say, [redacted]. The Hagelstein essay suffers to some extent from extended sarcasm, making it tricky to distinguish what he is seriously proposing or asserting, and what is sarcasm.
I intend to review the essay on the blog. There are some i’s to dot and t’s to cross, perhaps, at least according to my lights, but it’s really quite good. The sarcasm is also easily funny, if it weren’t also tragic. For sanity, I recommend sticking with “funny.”
One brief quote:
Whether it is right, or whether it is wrong, to destroy the career of a scientist who has applied the scientific method and obtained a result thought by others to be incorrect, is not a question of science. There are no scientific instruments capable of measuring whether what people do is right or wrong; we cannot construct a test within the scientific method capable of telling us whether what we do is right or wrong; hence we can agree that this question very much lies outside of science.
The review is long, being a back-and-forth on a long essay. It is as if Peter and I were able to sit down for an afternoon and chat. That’s never happened, so far, though I have had brief communications with Peter on various matters. I hope that we will be able to connect more deeply.
Meanwhile, out of writing this review I came across a video of a talk given by Peter, last November. This may be the best talk on Cold Fusion, ever. For those whose eyes glaze over when Peter starts in on theory, I recommend pretending to be a small child, and simply don’t care. Children are not reactive to what they don’t understand, that’s learned later. And that is why children learn so quickly. They absorb.
I’ve been doing this for a while with Peter, and . . . I’ve known the theory of how to learn like a child (since I was a teenager), and I created a career that way, but it still amazes me when it works. Give me a few more years and I might even be able to explain his theory. (And as with Takahashi, sometimes, short of that, I notice and am able to explain aspects that are not difficult to understand, or to ask useful questions.)
One thing is obvious to me: Storms doesn’t understand what Hagelstein proposes. Storms discounts vacancies as the Nuclear Active Environment, for a reason that always made sense to me: vacancies are normal structures, and NAE requires something special to happen, since ordinary palladium lattice is not nuclear-active.
But Peter is suggesting that the FP experimental environment is creating a special material, on the surface of the palladium, a material with superabundant vacancies. He is not talking about ordinary single-atom vacancies, but Fukai vacancies. He notices that codeposition might create such material, and that the ordinary FP approach also involves dissolved and redeposited palladium on the surface of the cathode. Nanoparticle approaches may create material with superabundant vacancies as well.
Peter is not a rigid theorist. He picks up and uses and discards ideas, continuing to churn and mull over the material and various ways of looking at it. However, I can see something developing in Peter, a familiarity, and with that, an increase in confidence, without losing his essential detachment.
We will be seeing more of this man, and, I predict, he will be seeing more of what Nature is revealing to us.
4 thoughts on “On levels of reality and bears in the neighborhood”
Abd – that Fukai vacancy Pd3VacH4 appears to be a major clue. If the H or D atoms are arranged in a tetrahedron, and are under extreme pressure as well so the bond lengths are short, then it seems that it’s possible a perturbation could get the nuclei close enough to fuse. The pressure is around 50bar – somewhat beyond what most people have tried, and the temperature is also a lot hotter than the normal F-P cell (!). To get the nuclei even closer, it would seem you’d also need to use a frequency at the resonance of the mode where all atoms of the D4 molecules are going outwards from the centre and inwards in synchrony. Whether that is phonon or photon may not be that important.
A lot can be achieved by resonance that would otherwise need the application of brute force with a large expenditure of energy. To hit a resonance, we can either use as sharp a transition as we can and rely on the presence of a range of available frequencies at a small proportion of the input power, or we can use a much smaller signal of the right frequency and let the resonance build up over time – as the resonance builds the restoring forces may be become non-linear and thus the resonant frequency may change as well. It’s thus possible that a ‘chirp’ may be needed where the frequency changes at the right rate to match the current resonant frequency at the excursions from equilibrium positions at that point in time. It seems more likely that that will need a drop in frequency.
For a certain size of sample, the phonon frequency will be quantised and thus the chances of having a set of phonons at the required frequencies may be fairly small. May be better to use a photon source that is tunable.
This may be building too much into a single clue, and too simplistic as well. However, H4 molecules are known to exist in normal Hydrogen, and the in-out oscillation is a valid mode for the atoms in that molecule. For me, there’s always been the feeling that the reason was geometrical in nature, with the necessary geometry only achieved in specific conditions. There are slight differences in the reactivity of ortho and para Hydrogen, and a further condition might be that the H4 molecule could need all-ortho or all-para, so the spins line up in attractive mode rather than repulsive and are equal rather than varying for each nucleus – non-equal restoring forces would make the resonance low and broad rather than high and sharp. The need for a lot of things to be right would certainly make the right conditions difficult to achieve.
As I understand QM it is impossible to explain LENR by two deuterons getting near, even by tunnel (assuming many independent pairs are candidate to fuse). If it happened, the immediately the D2 would fuse, as t+p or 3He+n or 4He, with 24Mev.
Only possibility is that the two deuterons are not independently near…
This is for me the key point od Edmund Storms…
slow fusion assume something prevent the collapse of something with D D to something with He4. It happens like seduction.
I’m surprised some theoreticians still propose theories with “and this allows 2 nucleus to be nearer” (screening…)
TSC is interesting in that Pr Tahakashi proposes 4D can fuse without 24MeV quanta, but just… just what… I don’t understand so I cannot judge.
Pr Hagelstein proposal to couple many phonons with nucleus is interesting, but it can only happen with many coherent nuclei.
For Luca Gamberale there is a need to develop CQED, coherent QED.
Maybe there are experimental correlations between some metallurgical defects and LENR… Cracks, Vacancies, Twin cristal?
Maybe the key is in a mix of all those theories… TSC, vacancies, coherent chain of H in NAE…
Very few are thinking that cold fusion is as simple as two-deuteron fusion. Storms, for example, wrote about “deuterons fusing to form helium” but he’s really thinking about a whole linear structure fusing. However, Storms theory, his “slow fusion” — that was my name for it, by the way — requires persistent below-ground nuclear isomers, which, especially with a raw proton, makes no sense at all. Storms does not seem to understand how fusion energy is generated. Yes, you can calculate it from the mass defect, but in fact, that is not what generates the energy. Rather, when energy is released, that necessarily lowers the mass. Energy is released when an unfused state collapses under the strong force, which heats the nucleus, basic physics. Very strong force, acting over a distance! That creates an excited nucleus, which then either fissions (most of the time with d-d fusion) or emits a gamma ray (very rare). The end with the gamma would be a reduced mass nucleus in the ground state.
Until that collapse occurs, there is no fusion energy to release. No, we know that helium is being produced, and it’s almost certainly from deuterium. Peter is looking at unexpected effects, within standard physics. Widom-Larsen did the same thing, only radically outside of what could be quantitatively possible, and with then various hand-wavings to explain away the lack of activation gammas, very shabby.
I have no confidence that I understand Hagelstein’s model for how fusion occurs, but what I found was that his explanation of what led Storms to nanocrack theory, and to denigrate the vacancy ideas, made sense. As with Storms, there must be some special environment that isn’t there with ordinary PdD. My impression is that Peter is talking about collective effects, a kind of shared fusion. It is not isolated two-deuteron fusion, which is very, very unlikely.
(Storms has the deuterons oscillate in pairs, radiating energy and getting closer. he then has the fusion finally occur when there is almost no energy left to dissipate. But there is no phenomenon of radiation from approaching deuterium nuclei, must less protium nuclei. And if they approach closer than normal separation, fusion by tunneling would occur, the trap would snap shut. Storms is very good with the chemistry, and lousy with the physics. Peter predicted THz resonances that were confirmed by Letts. He’s now starting to work experimentally with generating phonons in that frequency range.
Trick is finding another way to dump that energy. Storms and Takahashi: BOLEPs. Hagelstein: sharing the energy among many nuclei, radiating a little with each sharing. Watching Peter explore the ideas was delicious. He’s aware that it’s a long shot. But I think he is onto something with THz phonons
I think we are a long way from any successful LENR theory, and that most effort should be focused on exploring the parameter space, and especially on developing a lab rat. It doesn’t have to be whiz-bang lotsa energy. Just something reasonably reliable, at least statistically. Half the experiments generating significant excess heat would be fine! Then one can start to test theories.
The key concept, where Storms is, I think, on the right track, is that there is some special environment, something that contains the active material. His concept of “slow fusion,” though, is crazy. It does not seem to be aware of where fusion energy comes from and how it is generated. The concept of “mass conversion” is defective. Rather there is mass-energy equivalence, and if a system emits energy, it loses mass. The energy does not come from a “mass conversion” process. Mass conversion is a result, not a process. So Storms has fusion energy be emitted, but without any process. Fusion energy is created when the components of a fused nucleus collapse under the strong force. Strong force acting over a distance generates kinetic energy, so the collapsed nucleus is excited, hot, not in the ground state. It’s hot enough that normally it will fragment, and once in a while the vibrations are balanced enough that instead a photon has time to be generated, leaving helium if this is d-d fusion.
With each emission of energy from an approach, a reduced mass isomer must be created, by conservation of mass-energy. These isomers would persist, there being no mechanism that I can imagine that would restore the full mass once the energy has been emitted. Yet there is no evidence for such and it would contradict what is known about nuclei and how their mass exists. It gets really crazy when the fusing material is hydrogen, i.e., a bare proton. How can there be a nuclear isomer with a single proton?
It requires that very-well-known physics be completely off. Such a concept does not “explain.” It confuses, and only satisfies those who like piles of words making them think “there is an explanation.” It does that even if he is right, until and unless there is strong evidence making standard physics wrong. Standard physics does not make cold fusion impossible, because “cold fusion” is not defined, and how can one calculate a fusion rate for an unknown reaction?
I also think that Takahashi and Kim (and, it turns out, others) or on a productive track in thinking that condensates are involved. In this case, consider that a superabundant vacancy sets up conditions that allow a condensate to form. This is not about the nuclei being “close.” Rather, it is about them having very low relative momentum, if I’m correct. BECs probably form commonly, i.e., at some rate, in many material conditions, but normally form and un-form rapidly, leaving no trace. Storms rejects condensates because he thinks they require very low “temperature,” but temperature is a bulk concept and does not describe the individual relative states. I have often pointed out to him that, conceptually, “ice” exists in steam. Only transiently, though, as two water molecules bind, very rarely more, because of low relative momentum, which will happen with a certain frequency. The rate is very low and it would be difficult to detect them, though not necessarily impossible if one looks with sensitive enough methods. It would be easier to detect them in the liquid form because it would be more common.
But then what happens? We don’t know what happens if a condensate fuses. It may behave differently than we expect.
Any theory, at this point, is a stretch. In plasma physics, traditional fusion can be studied far more easily because the environment is transparent. The math is much easier because interactions are mostly two-body.
At this point, we don’t really need “explanations,” but we need clues, and to follow up on the clues to see what can be seen.
Fukai vacancies, once formed, may be stable. That is, calling them “vacancies” is a bit misleading (and definitely misleads Storms). They are a crystal form, a phase. I don’t see what forces would eliminate them once formed, like diamonds, a carbon phase, formed under high pressure that forces the most-compact phase to form. They would slowly decay from normal vacancy formation, and as the hydrogen is lost, but not rapidly, so they would re-activate, perhaps, when loading is repeated.
Further, Fukai phases may form with codeposition, at low pressures, and there is a level of codeposition in the Fleischmann-Pons experiment. They would exist on the surface. Collective effects seem far more likely to me to form in such a phase (because, in the case described, there are four hydrogen atoms in a symmetric arrangement — than in a “hydroton,” a linear hydrogen molecule, forming in a crack, which has all kinds of problems that Ed glosses over. Ed imagines a resonance, but it must act over a much longer distance, under conditions that will vary along the crack, and what happens at the ends? So from a general-theoretical understanding, I’d look to structures like PdVacH4 or the like.
Fukai phases as the NAE seem very promising. Ed’s arguments against ordinary vacancies being part of the explanation were cogent, but he has not adapted to the newer idea, which does address the objections he raised to ordinary vacancies being the NAE.
Meanwhile, there is plenty to investigate. Takahashi seems to be seeing consistent anomalous heat with plated nanoparticles with specific alloy ratios, which would create, effectively, at certain ratios with particles of a certain size, vacancy traps at the surface of the particles. Neat. The overall strategy that I support is looking for repeatable experiments.
Heat/helium is a repeatable experiment, actually a whole class of experiments that produce the same result, which increases the reliability of conclusions. It is not a requirement that all conditions produce the same results. Tritium is formed, on occasion. In what occasions? What is correlated with it? There is actually prior work on this, more than I thought. I’ve been archiving and making more accessible all the early work. So I’m looking at about everything. We need more people who will look at everything, at least to become aware that it exists. I, personally, need help. But I am not observing the presence of many students. I need to follow up on leads I have. Meanwhile, I’m doing what I can with what I have, and will do more.
Life. It’s amazing where it takes us.