Cold Fusion Keeps Coming Back

Sunday, May 06, 2007

I had the good fortune last Fall to have the opportunity to visit the US Navy's SPAWAR facility, located in the Ft. Rosecrans U.S. Military reservation near Pt. Loma in San Diego (see picture, or look around in 3D for yourself). The setting is stunning and the research being accomplished there is impressive.

Little did I know that right around the corner from where I sat another team was finding yet more evidence of the reality of cold fusion. The abstract is here.
In this report, we present additional evidence, namely, the emission of highly energetic charged particles emitted from the Pd/D electrode when this system is placed in either an external electrostatic or magnetostatic field. The density of tracks registered by a CR-39 detector was found to be of a magnitude that provides undisputable evidence of their nuclear origin. The experiments were reproducible. A model based upon electron capture is proposed to explain the reaction products observed in the Pd/D-D2O system.

To me, this remains a fascinating chapter in the history of epistemology, one we are fortunate enough to watch close-up during our own lifetimes. I laid out my personal version of the story here about a year ago. How do we know what we think we know?—remains to me one of the most fascinating of all questions, one which bears directly on our political beliefs. Were there weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? Is Bush Cheney's puppet? Is he dumb as all getout or is he an evil genius? It is largely in the answers to these questions upon which one's political beliefs turn. Before we can decide what to do, we have to first decide what reality is, and there is vast difference of opinion on the subject.

The cold fusion story shows that we can't even easily come to an agreement on the nature of physical reality, even when no one's ox should be gored, it shouldn't particularly become a political battle. And yet it did, physicists vs. chemists, big-science vs. little-science, East Coast Ivy leagues vs. Western State Universities. The NY Times vs. the rest of the country. And we still don't know what the truth is. Personally, I am strongly of the opinion that there is something real here, that it is an undiscovered and completely surprising nuclear effect which doesn't fit at all into the prevailing wisdom, and that it will be fascinating to watch the social process by which the current dogma ("Cold Fusion was a hoax") turns into the new dogma ("Cold fusion is a hitherto undiscovered part of reality"), should I live so long.


Seneca the Younger said...

Damn, you beat me to it.

MeaninglessHotAir said...

Seneca, I'm leaving all the articles on Global Warming stupidities to you. :-)

Buddy Larsen said...

Love the way you framed the topic, MHA. My Physics are poor, but I do appreciate the problem of grandfather's ax (if dad replaced the handle, and a generation later I replaced the head, is it still grandfather's ax?).

M. Simon said...

Actually I beat you by over two years:

Cold Fusion Is Back.

A more promising fusion idea:

Is the Bussard Machine Fusion

There are a number of articles. Scroll down.

Or start with these:

Easy Low Cost No Radiation Fusion
Bussard Fusion Reactor

dan said...

Buddy, I must say I do prefer your "dad, grandfather, axe" presentation of the problem--much easier to remember, as the "ship of Theseus" workup had been all Greek to me:

"The ship wherein Theseus and the youth of Athens returned [from Crete] had thirty oars, and was preserved by the Athenians down even to the time of Demetrius Phalereus, for they took away the old planks as they decayed, putting in new and stronger timber in their place, insomuch that this ship became a standing example among the philosophers, for the logical question of things that grow; one side holding that the ship remained the same, and the other contending that it was not the same." -Plutarch

Guess I'm not much of a philisopher since I can't decide which side to join. Thanks for the post MeaninglessColdAir.

Seneca the Younger said...

Beat me to *this* one, M. Simon. I think we've had some cold fusion articles before.

The Bussard stuff is pretty cool, isn't it? It's on my list of what I'd fund if I won a lottery.

Buddy Larsen said...

"MeaninglessColdAir" --LOL

Steven Krivit said...

Hello MeaninglessHotAir,

I enjoyed your thoughtful post. Apparently, there is quite a bit of evidence to suggest that there really is "something" there, though it may not be fusion.

Bennett Daviss' article in New Scientist on May 3 is a follow-up piece to the in-depth article on the SPAWAR San Diego research by Steven Krivit and Daviss published in New Energy Times in November.

Apparently, New Scientist chose to neglect the term "low energy nuclear reactions," which those of us observing, and working in the field have now adopted.

The term "cold fusion" was never chosen by Fleischmann and Pons; it was wished on them by the press. It was and is a poor descriptor for the phenomenon. The concept of fusion remains highly speculative, a variety of phenomena are clearly not fusion, and then there is the Widom-Larsen not-fusion theory. (

Related New Energy Times stories:
Report on the 2006 Naval Science and Technology Partnership Conference (Sept. 10, 2006) (
Extraordinary Evidence (Nov. 10, 2006) (
Extraordinary Courage: Report on Some LENR Presentations at the 2007 American Physical Society Meeting (March 16, 2007) (
Charged Particles for Dummies: A Conversation With Lawrence P.G. Forsley (May 10, 2007) (

Steven Krivit
Editor, New Energy Times