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106) Why is Ramsey silent today?

Ludwik Kowalski (September 2, 2003)
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ, 07043

Here is a fragment from a message received this morning from Kjeld Engvild. He is a scientist from Risoe National Laboratory in Denmark. Kjeld wrote: “. . . I have been following the CF discussions for many years now (mainly as a lurker) and I still don't know if (although I hope) the effect will turn out to be genuine. The field seems to have been stuck for some time, but the latest results from Mitsubishi may turn up something, although the results seem almost incredible, and certainly not explainable within the present theoretical framework. . . . “

Replying to the above, I wrote: “ . . . I was also very impressed by the results from Mitsubishi. I even wrote two items about this work on my cold fusion web site (#104 and #105). But like so many other cold fusion experiments, this one is far above what can be done by a typical physics teacher, even in a university. How come that so many highly qualified scientists (probably more that in the Manhattan project) could not offer a single "nuclear signature" experiment for people like me in 13 years? Even a 75%
reproducible demo would be convincing. . . “ Unless I have such demo I will remain neither a believer nor a denier of cold fusion. The only thing I am certain is that the field is ready for another formal evaluation.

Several speakers at the 10th International Conference on Cold Fusion, which I attended last week, also expressed the desire for a new evaluation. One of them, Michael Staker, said that several years ago Norman Ramsey, the Nobel prize laureate, expressed a similar wish (in a private conversation). This is very significant because Ramsey was one of those who signed the ERAB report. According to Eugene Mallowe, Ramsey was the author of that pair of report sentences: “However, there remain unresolved issues which may have interesting implications. The Panel is, therefore, sympathetic toward modest support for carefully focused and cooperative experiments within the present funding system.“ This was added to the report to persuade Ramsey not to resign from the panel headed by Huizenga. But what prevents Ramsey, who is a chemist, from publicly requesting a new evaluation of the cold fusion claims? His appeal, for example, in a letter to the editor of Physics Today, could not be ignored. I think that it would lead to a new national study of cold fusion.

Why am i optimistic that that the puzzle of cold fusion will eventually be solved? Because the “scientific process is self-corrective. This unique attribute sets science apart from most other activities. The scientific process may on some occasions move slowly, sometimes even along a circuitous path. The significant characteristic of the scientific method, however, is that in the end it can be relied upon to sort out the valid experimental results from background noise and error.” Who wrote this? John Huizenga, the author of the highly negative ERAB report.

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