Fusion Message Board

In this space, visitors are invited to post any comments, questions, or skeptical observations about Philo T. Farnsworth's contributions to the field of Nuclear Fusion research.

Subject: Neutron measurement data
Date: Oct 27, 1:23 pm
Poster: Richard Hull

On Oct 27, 1:23 pm, Richard Hull wrote:

The title says it all.

Thanks for the memories Jim Lux!

Jim has posted this URL before but under this heading it might be a better indicator to list scanners.

For the collected and collated results of neutron counting info be found on this list go to Jim's site below.


This is not absolutely everything on this list related to this topic, but it is most of the core material needed to understand the crux of the issues surrounding neutron counting.

So many Newbies rehash the same questions that it is sometimes hard to answer all of the same questions and can get depressing. Likewise, one hates to just glibbly say "the answer to this has already been posted on this list". (even though I and others have done it) This forces the poor newbie to tediously search the list where topic titles are often not specific enough to go to the answer to his or her question. So we wind up often rehashing old material or leaving the newbie with a feeling of, if not being blown off, at least with a dismisal that they need to work their butts off to grub the answer out of the multitude of past posts.

*********personal observations**************

Finally, in regard to neutron counting as an art or rather a black art, I have a copy of the old NOVA TV program (PBS) "Confusion in a Jar". This is the report Nova did on the Cold Fusion flap of the late 80's.

It is a great piece although slanted slightly towards the skeptics. Another balanced report is needed, I think.

Anyway, there is a segment where a Harwell Physicist is being interviewed regarding his effort there at duplication of the Pons-Fleischman experiment. He voices in very eloquent terms the totally unappreciated aspect of neutron measurement. He, himself admits that he had always thought that one just went down to the store room, checked out a neutron counter, and took data. Many, many physicists, including nuclear physicists have never, themselves, personally, ever made a single neutron measurement. Many, also, have little appreciation for the difficulties involved. What had happened here was that a few lone wolf scientists smelling confirmation or refutation recognition, coupled with the relative and supposed ease of the experiment, for the first time jumped in feet first and found themselves in way over their heads.

A lot of good and bad work was done during the 89-91 time frame on cold fusion.

Absolute neutron measurements are the most difficult to obtain even by experienced neutron metrologists. Throw in working with a virtually no existant flux, but instead a pitiable isotropic neutron emission, and you have a purely statistical situation playing around in a mass of greater or lesser amounts of noise. To speak of real data in this situation carries with it a caveat bounded by technique on the one side and marginal standard deviations on the other.

Our fusor efforts are a bit better at producing neutrons than cold fusion but with amateur hands in the pudding, we might appear to learned, experienced, outsiders as not really competent to report neutron numbers. This is why I really stress this issue.

BF3 counters will go off at the drop of a hat. They are prepared to count anything in the room other than neutrons. RF noise, especially from pulsed electronics or burping power supplies is always good for racking up a gang of extra "phantom neutrons" on the counter. God only knows how many times I have cursed the system and had to hit the reset button on the counter and reset the experiment timer on a neutron run due to this. Controls and counter controls should be in place.
Nothing, and I mean nothing, beats hands on experience. Reading books and reseraching techiques used by the pros is good, but until you are dog paddling in the thick of it, you won't appreciate the effort and all the reading won't fix itself into you brain.

**********general data collection comments******

I have been cast amongst the new energy "freaks" (my word) for years as an amateur researcher and have seen some real bonehead data collection techniques as these folks constantly seem to shoot themselves in the foot and hands using data from pulsed electronics collected using Digital multimeters as proof of overunity operation of this or that wonderous process. They are like the Harwell physicist as they are off in la-la land having a dabble at metrology they don't understand.

However, unlike the Harwell dude who woke up and smelled his coffee, these folks rarely admit to their errors or even grasp the broad overview of what they have done, but, instead, complain that they are once again being repressed and their process suppressed by an entrenched establishment.

I have seen a lot of world saviors and their systems come and go over the years, any one of which, if truly of value, would have climbed to the top of the heap instantly if.........

1. it worked
2. it was econmically feasible
3. made any sense at all.

I still, personally, hold out a hope on cold fusion related phenomena (whether cold fusion or not), sonoluminesence, unusual and unappreciated water/hydrogen chemistries and physics to turn out to be the next ratchet in a new understanding of the phyiscal world, if not fully useful and developable technologies. (This is a personal belief and is not based on currently resolvable data, but more on a smell of the chase about to begin.)

Richard Hull