Cold fusion theories and the return of the nutty professor

There seem to have been a busy fall for cold fusion supporters. At least three new theories to explain LENR/Cold fusion have emerged, one from France and two from Sweden.

That is excellent, I think it is time for the cold fusion crowd to finally explain the phenomena they seem to think are actually happening.

An Air Bus employee, Jean-Francois Geneste, announced earlier this year, that he will have ‘major theoretical breakthrough’ in cold fusion in October [1]. He has now made his theory public and it is available here [2].

Well, I did read part of it. Sorry to say, but if this is his breakthrough, then with supporters like him, cold fusion does not need debunkers like me.

In Sweden, we have Carl-Oscar Gullström, who earlier published a paper about his cold fusion theory [3], that was praised by Dottore Rossi himself, has now published an other one [4].

I haven’t had time to read Gullströms new paper, but the first one was quite simple practice of WBK approximation and I don’t think it has any credibility in explaining the hypothesized LENR phenomena. I have to admit though, that my physics has long ago rusted, so I could always be wrong.

An other Swedish paper, by Rickard Lundin and Hans Lidgren, claims to explain LENR by Ponderomotive Forces [5]. The “breakhtrough” has been covered by Mats Lewan in his blog:

Untitled

Well, ponderomotive forces are nothing new and they should be well understood. Again, maybe I am wrong, but it looks like to me that this paper, which seems to be using classical electromagnetic theory only, is taking a shortcut to explaining a phenomenon, that is very controversial and cannot be reliably replicated.

Of course you are allowed to study anything, great things have been found by accident before. But what worries me, is that Lundin and Lidgren do explicitly mention the sleight of hand performed by Andrea Rossi in Lugano.

Sweden seems to have an abundance of cold fusion scientists (*). And it looks strange to me how they seem to think it is somehow necessary to device a theory; just to explain physically an Italian investment fraud.


[1] J.F. Geneste’s announcement on E-Nut World
http://www.e-catworld.com/2015/08/14/airbus-scientist-announces-theoretical-breakthrough-in-cold-fusion-to-be-revealed-in-october/

[2] J. F Geneste: LENR from experiment to theory

[3] Carl-Oscar Gullström: Low radiation fusion through bound neutron tunneling
http://www.scribd.com/doc/244393652/Low-radiation-fusion-through-bound-neutron-tunneling

[4] Carl-Oscar Gullström: Gamma Free Nuclear Transition Through De-exitation of Spin 0 Strong Force Exited States
http://www.scribd.com/doc/284527542/Gamma-Free-Nuclear-Transition-Through-De-excitation-of-Spin-0-Strong-Force-Excited-States

[5] Rickard Lundin and Hans Lidgren: Nuclear Spallation and Neutron Capture Induced by Ponderomotive Wave Forcing
IRF-Scientific-report-305

[6] Ponderomotive Force in Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ponderomotive_force

(*)
I was going to write “Nutty professors”, but didn’t dare to.

16 thoughts on “Cold fusion theories and the return of the nutty professor

  1. Same game over and over again – a brand “totally new” theory made of pieces of old ones to try to find a way to explain a fiction as if it might ever be possible.
    Can you make a 20 centimeter jump? Yes? So, it might be you may be able to jump on Moon if wind is enough strong to give you the correct push – you know, somewhere in the universe such a wind might exists, so why should it be impossible? And of course, such conditions do happen every day (and every second of the day) in Rossi house – why not? You cannot say it does not only because it does not happen everywhere else

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  3. The thing I found most absurd about this paper, is that it has been greeted with enthusiasm as the ultimate explanation to the phenomena.

    What most people don’t realize is this same hypothesis, of common (n,gamma) reactions kills all hopes of “clean” energy, since the release of more than 30 times the amount of neutrons in the environment respect to a common Fission reactor, with catastrophic impact of radiation safety in the case of appreciable power.

    Than is full of other problems, but less apparent to the non-experts (such as the fact that ponderomotive force is a property of plasma, not of ordinary matter, so the thing should be heated up at several thousands of K to be ionized…etc…)

    Best regards

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    • ” it has been greeted with enthusiasm as the ultimate explanation”

      A dream for dreamers – and anything that could keep up the dream is welcome, even if absurd and clearly opposite of what kept them asleep till the day before

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    • Thanks Andrea, for pointing out the problems in L&L theory. I am a non-expert, just trying to see if I can spot a falsehood based on what I think I know.

      I also hope to learn something in the process.

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    • @Andrea: you say “ponderomotive force is a property of plasma, not of ordinary matter, so the thing should be heated up at several thousands of K to be ionized”. Plasma TV displays seem to work quite happily without setting the house on fire, so is this really a problem? In any case all you need is a mechanism for ionizing atoms and you can have a plasma at any temperature (check out the Wikipedia article on the subject).

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  4. I’m looking for evidence against LENR.

    A few weeks ago I heard about LENR, poked around a
    little and found some positive comments on Edmund Storms
    and ordered one of his books, “The Explanation of Low-Energy Nuclear
    Reaction: An Examination of the Relationship Between
    Observation and Explanation,” from Amazon.

    I read it last week and found it pretty interesting. From the title
    of the book one would guess it would offer a theory of the phenomenon,
    and it does. But it’s kind of an incomplete theory and is really more a list
    of the properties a valid theory would have to have to explain the
    data that people have been reporting.

    The greater part of the book is a list of many experiments and the
    data reported and a critical commentary on many of the theories that
    have proposed to explain LENR (there are apparently more than
    a hundred theories at this point).

    For instance, Dr. Storms makes a similar comment as Andrea above
    about another explanation that also required the generation of neutrons,
    because then one has a major problem since the data simply isn’t showing
    these neutrons.

    Now I’m not competent to evaluate these theories, I’m not a theoretical physicist,
    and my understanding of Quantum Mechanics is inadequate.

    But it does seem backwards to me, anti-scientific even, to argue that lack of
    an adequate theory for something is evidence against that phenomena occurring.

    The appropriate point to attack this idea at this point is to establish that LENR
    is not happening. Now in the general sense proving that something is not
    happening is often impractical.

    But in this instance the people doing LENR research are getting very specific about
    the circumstances in which this occurs. The recipes are getting precise.

    What I’m looking for are people that claim to have followed those recipes and are
    not observing the phenomena.

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      • I wonder if that is really true. I suspect there are situations where one can prove that something that someone claims is happening is not.

        But regardless I did not ask for proof. I’m not asking anyone to prove that LENR never occurs.

        What I’m hoping to get is evidence.

        It would seem natural to me, given these very specific claims, that a skeptical person who happened to already have the appropriate equipment and background, would try to replicate these claims, not perhaps with any expectation that anything significant would occur, but rather expecting that nothing would happen.

        And I would expect such a person, having gone to all the trouble of doing this, would then publicize that they did do such and that nothing unusual was observed.

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        • There is to say, moreover, that what is impossible to find outside fusionists lab is claimed to happen every hour of every day of every year since years by some of them. But I am with Tyy in this: they have to prove it, making it happen in non fusionists lab when they are not in.
          People paid by them to test are not the right ones to make us accept anything. Not to speak of fusionists friends.

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  5. Pingback: About fooling ourselves – and getting fooled | The Pathoskeptic

  6. I found this site at random and saw some interesting comments… It is a fact that I am interested in LENR. I found that the criticism of Geneste is not justified. In my opinion, the only thing he did was to say that hot fusionists who claim that cold fusion is not and will not be possible are wrong. This being a breakthrough or not, I do not know. However, in a world where more and more things seem to be forbidden, even thoughts, even in physics, it is refreshing to see someone trying to show that openmindedness is a must.

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    • Oh, yes: openmindedness is a must.

      Unlukily, more often we can have only gullibility, instead.
      And it seems as if there is plenty of the latter in the whole cold fusion story

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