Friday, April 24, 2009

APS Did Not Endorse Scientist In CBS's "60 Minutes"

If you were skeptical of the cold fusion claim that was shown on "60 Minutes", this incident will remove any shred of credibility left in the story.

It appears that the claim made in 60 Minutes that the American Physical Society (APS) provided an "independent" scientist to verify the cold fusion claim is wrong. The APS promptly issued a press statement denying such a thing.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On April 19, CBS aired a “60 Minutes” segment on “cold fusion,” a process that proponents claim could solve the world’s energy problems. The script stated that “... [‘60 Minutes’] asked the American Physical Society, the top physics organization in America, to recommend an independent scientist. They gave us Rob Duncan, vice chancellor of research at the University of Missouri and an expert in measuring energy.” That statement is false.

None of the American Physical Society’s (APS) authorized spokespersons, including the president, president-elect, executive officer, director of public affairs, head of media relations and press secretary, provided CBS with the names of any experts. APS has learned that “60 Minutes” did receive a long list of names - that included Rob Duncan’s - from University of Minnesota Professor Allen Goldman, who states unequivocally that he never claimed to be acting in the name of APS.

APS does not, as an organization, endorse particular experiments or their results. That can only be done through publication in peer-reviewed journals, and by independent replication by other researchers. The APS does not endorse the cold fusion experiments featured in the April 19 “60 Minutes” news program. Any suggestion by the CBS journalists to the contrary is misleading and false.

The American Physical Society is the leading professional organization of physicists, representing over 46,000 physicists in academia and industry in the United States and internationally. APS has offices in College Park, MD (Headquarters), Ridge, NY, and Washington, D.C.

Not only that, probably after this press release by the APS, CBS not only removed the video of that segment of 60 Minutes, but also purportedly altered the transcript of the show, as reported in the April 24, 2009 column of Bob Park's "What's New".

There's something that smell in CBS's medialand, and it isn't the smell of cold fusion evaporating. You would think that these media people would have learned already from the previous cold fusion debacle and WAIT until such claims have been verified to be valid. But noooooooooo....... For ratings' sake, they'd do a junk piece like this AND also make false claims as well.

.. and people wonder why I don't watch network TV anymore...



Lewis Larsen said...

The scientific mystery of what is really happening in low energy nuclear reactions (LENRs) does in fact have an answer - and it isn't "cold" fusion.

In our view, 'excess heat' generated and measured in experiments with LENRs, as well as Helium-4 production (not covered by 60 Minutes) and nuclear transmutation products (also not covered), are NOT the result of Coulomb barrier-penetrating fusion processes: hot, "cold," warm, or otherwise.

We have developed and published a comprehensive theory of LENRs based on well-established electroweak theory within the context of the Standard Model and collective effects that posits weak interaction neutron production and subsequent ultra low momentum neutron-catalyzed nuclear reactions, not any form of fusion, as the dominant physical processes underlying experimentally observed LENR phenomena in condensed matter.

There is no 'new physics' in our theoretical work and in our opinion, LENRs most assuredly do not involve any "cold fusion."

Our theory can explain all of the reliable, well-characterized, anomalous LENR-related experimental data that has been reported over the past 20 years, including 'excess heat', He-4 production, transmutations, and energetic charged particles.

Furthermore, we can explain Prof. John Huizenga's so-called "three miracles": to wit,(1) overcoming the Coulomb barrier (there isn't one for neutrons, being uncharged);(2) absence of large fluxes of energetic neutrons; and (3) absence of lethal emissions of 'hard' gamma radiation.

If successfully commercialized, weak-interaction LENRs could eventually prove to be a vastly cleaner, 'greener,' less expensive power generation technology than strong-interaction fission or fusion. In our 2006 European Physical Journal C - Particles and Fields paper (see below), we provide an example of an LENR-based lithium fuel cycle that generates about as much energy as fusion reactions (incl. Helium-4 as a major byproduct), but without production of dangerous energetic neutrons or deadly gamma radiation.

According to our theoretical work, weak-interaction LENRs appear to be better than fusion. That is potentially revolutionary. However, LENRs also gore many long-standing sacred cows and threaten a myriad of vested scientific and commercial interests.

Lewis Larsen
Chicago, IL

"Ultra Low Momentum Neutron Catalyzed Nuclear Reactions on Metallic Hydride Surfaces", Eur. Phys. J. C 46, 107 (2006 - arXiv in May 2005)

newideas99 said...

I felt the 60 minutes story could have provided more details. I tracked down the company they mentioned Energetics Technologies. They say that both Enea and SRI labs have replicated their results. If you go to their research page you can find that information.

ZapperZ said...

If all we can find about the "reproduced" results is at their webpage, then something is not kosher.

Only when it is published in peer-reviewed journals should one put any kind of validity to such reproducibility.


Lew said...

An excellent point about peer-reviewed publications of experimental data, zapperz.

In that regard, you and newideas99 may be interested in examining an interesting series of papers involving a debate about observations of large fluxes of excess heat in a nickel-hydrogen gas-phase LENR system. The go-around about this controversial experimental work began at the University of Sienna in Italy back in 1994 and effectively continues to the present. Most of the back-and-forth debate played-out in Il Neuvo Cimento, which at the time was a mostly respectable, peer-reviewed journal published by the Italian Physical Society (albeit certainly not a 'first tier' international scientific publication like Nature, Science, or Physical Review Letters).

The entire saga of these interesting nickel/light hydrogen, gas-phase excess heat experiments was reviewed last year in a rather long news story researched, written, and published by a Mr. Steven Krivit in his more-or-less monthly e-zine, New Energy Times (NET) - Issue #24, July 10, 2008 at the following:


Krivit's story tells an interesting tale, includes recent interviews with scientists, color photos of laboratory apparatus at the Sienna lab as it is today, and is covered in two sections:

#12. "Deuterium and Palladium not Required"

#13. "Piantelli-Focardi Publication and Replication path"

The NET story is fully referenced; however, in my view selected key papers are as follows:

Focardi S., Habel R., and Piantelli F., "Anomalous Heat Production in Ni-H Systems," Il Nuovo Cimento, Vol. 107A, p. 163-167, (1994)

Cerron-Zeballos, E., Crotty, I., Hatzifotiadou, D., Lamas Valverde, J., Williams, M.C.S., and Zibichi, A., "Investigation of Anomalous Heat Production in Ni-H Systems," Il Nuovo Cimento, Vol. 109A, p. 1645-1654, (1996)

Mengoli, G., Bernardini, M., Manducchi, C., and Zannoni, G., "Anomalous Heat Effects Correlated With Electrochemical Hydriding of Nickel," Il Nuovo Cimento, Vol. 20 D, p. 331-352, (1998)

Campari, E., Focardi, S., Gabbani, V., Montalbano, V., Piantelli, F., and Veronesi, S., "Overview of H-Ni Systems: Old Experiments and New Setup," 5th Asti Workshop on Anomalies in Hydrogen- / Deuterium-Loaded Metals, Asti, Italy, (2004)

Interestingly, the hardcore "cold fusion" heavy water/palladium Pons-Fleischmann electrolytic cell researchers have totally ignored this Italian work and never cite it, mainly because a nickel/light hydrogen experimental system conflicts with cold fusioneers' D-D fusion paradigm. If their hypothesis of D-D fusion were correct (it isn't, in my opinion) and palladium metal is somehow a critical material (which it isn't; any good hydride-forming metal should suffice if nanoscale fabrication and device operation are done correctly), it should be impossible for large amounts of heat to be generated in a nickel/light hydrogen LENR experiment. Clearly, the "cold fusion" crowd doesn't like the Sienna experiments because if correct, they 'falsify' the "cold" D-D fusion hypothesis a la Karl Popper.

Not surpisingly, mainstream physicists have also ignored the Sienna work. We do not concur with that view.

For whatever it's worth, given what we at Lattice now know about nanoscale nanoparticle surface-related fabrication issues in such systems (which is nonpublic proprietary information, unfortunately), in my opinion none of the researchers involved in repeating the initial experiments (including Focardi et al.) understood the underlying physics and crucial fabrication issues well enough to be able to readily reproduce the seemingly spectacular experimental excess heat results.

All that having been said, you might enjoy reading Krivit's NET story, examining relevant published papers about the controversy, and then judging for yourselves.

Lewis Larsen
Chicago, IL