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: Cold Fusion??!!
Date: Aug 05, 10:00 am
Poster: Richard Hull

On Aug 05, 10:00 am, Richard Hull wrote:

A number of folks on this list have contacted me privately and asked my opinion on cold fusion.

This is a hot button issue with a lot of people out there. Mainly, it is a big issue only with the protagonists and antagonists at the extremes of the issue. Few topics have created such polarization at each end of the spectrum.

In general, the hard core old school scientists and standard bearers for the status quo tend to poo-poo the idea of cold fusion and dismiss it out of hand.

The pie in the sky dreamers who think that anything is possible from mother goose to channeling to ghostly ecktoplasmic emminations, proclaim cold fusion is here now and is being actively supressed by a government conspiracy.

Both sides are kind of "out of it" and completely out of touch, though the entrenched group of rabid, scientific, dogmatists have a lot of prestige and the weight of public opinion on their side.

The burden of proof is with the adherents of cold fusion. Unfortunately, the voiciferous, and often foaming mouthed conspiracy crowd which are often not even scientists make the whole matter muddy and mask what I feel is a genuine under-tow of good work done by first rate people like Bockris of Texas A&M, the Chubbs of NRL, and many other lesser known, but solid scientific researchers who are discovering there is something going on that we just don't understand about nuclear physics. They are uncovering what might best be termed a form of cold nuclear chemistry. This is a gray zone where the best researchers are still fumbling around in the dark, much like Becquerel, Soddy, Rutherford, the Curies, Thompson, and Crookes near the end of the 1800's.

They are finding amazing things going on, but the experiments are not clean, clear cut, or well defined, although they are currently being refined. The seeming simplicity of the original Pons-Fleischman announcement of March 1989 was always an allusion...Even Pons and Fleischman noted that you could not just slap a cell together and get fusion.

Today we are seeing low energy nuclear transformations which involve no high speed particles and no resultant radiation. Lots of disturbing and yet tantalizing results are being brought forth daily by frontline investigators who have risked ostracism for delving into the "black art" of cold fusion.

My stance is one of complete open mindedness regarding the matter. (show me...I will listen) I do feel that we are at the precipitous edge of major discoveries. What they are and how they will impact us are, as yet, unknowable.

I subscribe to a fairly nice and interesting scientific layman's publication called "Infinite Energy". It is a little right of center on the issue, but a good scientifically adroit reader can pick through the articles and let the chaff fall to the side. It is amazing that some of the best work in the field on "cold fusion" is reported first right here!

I personally feel that cold fusion is probably a mis-nomer or at least too "hot" a word which often gets a knee jerk response from press and public.

Amazingly, the prestigious APS - American Physical Society, banned CF papers for years. A couple of years back they opened their conferences up to poster displays on the matter, but no speakers. Wisely, as evidence mounted and respected scientists weighed in with experiment and second thoughts, the society has allowed papers to actually be presented on the subject, although most wise scientists avoid the use of the words CF in their paper titles.

Another light towards the future.....DOE has just awarded what might be considered its first fully funded CF contract to our old buddy Dr. George Miley of Univ. of Illinois, Urbana, Champaign to study the feasibility and develop methods of LENT reactions to reduce nuclear waste to harmless isotopes. LENT - Low Energy Nucelar Transformations. It seems Miley likes the warm mixture of both hot and cold fusion.

Some of you might not believe this, but the world renowned O.M. Bockris (Texas A&M), Miley and the Chubbs of NRL have delivered papers resulting from experiments which show this to actually be taking place!! The hardliners are hoppin' hot over this one!!

Finally a little conspiracy does exist, but only from the hard liners and not the US government. A recent conference on new energy sources was to be held at the State department in DC in April. A number of top level scientists approached their political cronies and got the thing cancelled. Not to be discouraged, the State department representative who got the conference together in the first place, approached DOE and got the conference scheduled to be sponsored by them and held there. Once again, one major science advisor within the political mainstream, forced DOE to retract its offer of sponsorship. Finally, the conference was held at a Bethesda, MD hotel. A few of these rabid science hardliners actually showed up at the conference to effectively boo and hiss the thing and talk to the press about how even their best efforts couldn't prevent this travesty.

Yes, one or two of the speakers were a bit shy of a full outer shell of electrons, but many of the speakers were first rate with viable data.

I think something is real here! What?, I don't know. I will say I liked the idea of CF since 89, but slowly got more cautious, until the recent LENT ractions and helium levels became highly reproducable in the last 2-3 years. The problem here is that a lot of real low life "hangers-on" are sullying the waters and a good scientifc head is needed to cull out the "propeller heads" and "me-to" loosers.

So.........That is that. No, I am not planning to switch to CF. I want high speed neutrons for experiment and they appear to only be available with classic hot fusion.

My good friend, Tom Ligon, notes that cold fusion might make a good pocket hand warmer for winter hunters, but large scale high power operations seem distant, if possible at all. Still, We decided to keep an open mind.

One thing, A lot of the main liners will be rememebered and quoted for there negativism if the CF thing works out. Just like the oft quoted famous Simon Newcomb astronomer of the late 1800's
"Heavier than air craft will never fly under their own power." or E. Rutherford on nuclear energy...
"When own talks about taking energy from the atom to do useful work, one might as well be talking moonshine!".

Believe only half of what you see and none of what you hear.

Richard Hull