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167) A lot of noise about a speculation

Ludwik Kowalski (8/6/04)
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ, 07043

In browsing the Internet I found this document:

It is “An Open Letter to Mr. J. Wilson of Popular Mechanics” from Dr. Paulo Correa. Mr J. Wilson is a senior editor of Popular Mechanics, a journal in which a very short article on cold fusion was published recently (August 2004). Correa, accuses Wilson of turning a legitimate topic of general interest into a science fiction story about homemade hydrogen bombs.

Correa writes: “. . . What you have produced is pure sensationalistic hype - worthy of a second-rate rag. You mixed ill-digested facts with false allegations that you attributed to Dr. Mallove, in order to cook the eye-catching stew of mass-hysteria and paranoia that the cover so successfully conveys. You saw fit, in this age of rampant terrorism, to tell to your readers a scary bed-side tale - instead of doing your homework as a Science Editor. You preferred to concoct a science-fiction story of an imaginary horror, rather than educate your readers about the physics and potentialities of LENR. You knew it would sell like hot cakes, and so, overnight, 'cold fusion', which only yesterday was an affair of crackpots and was being suppressed for a falsely attributed 'lack of merit', became so meritorious and so dangerous as to deserve to become an affair of State, Army and Intelligence. . . . ”

Who is Dr. Correa? His name appears in Mallowe’s abstract (see unit #166 at my website). Here is how his work is described by Jeanne Manning in:

“A Canadian couple also say they have made a breakthrough in non-polluting power generation with an invention that delivers more power than it consumes by using pulsed cold plasmas. Dr. Paulo Correa and Alexandra Correa kept the process a secret until recently, when three US patents were issued.” In the same piece Manning observes: “Free energy, electricity from space, zero-point energy from the quantum fluctuations of the vacuum of space... Whatever the name of the previously-unknown source of energy that is seemingly tapped by an emerging energy technology, the proof for its existence is multiplying exponentially.” In another Internet reference Paulo Correa is described as “Partner and Director of Research at Labofex -- Experimental and Applied Plasma Physics of Concord, Ontario.” He is said to be an inventor of a highly desirable process. “Unlike the cold fusion process, which claims to output low grade heat, the Correa technology directly generates electricity at power voltage levels, without any utilization of cold or thermonuclear fusion principles. Another important feature of the apparatus is that it employs no radioactive compounds and generates no nuclear radiation or radioisotopes. The energy system is entirely pollution-free, self-contained and composed of readily recyclable materials.”

Intrigued by Correa’s “Open letter”, I went to the library and read the Popular Science article. It seems that Correa makes a lot of noise about nothing. The short article is a speculation that cold fusion can possibly be used to produce large amounts of tritium for hydrogen bombs. Correa dismisses this as a “scary bed-side tale.” In my opinion that speculation is not less realistic that a speculation about economically significant energy from cold fusion, as envisioned by Mallove. Most cold fusion researchers know that tritium is not the main byproduct of cold fusion. Sending a beam of deuterons (from an easy to construct electrostatic accelerator) into heavy water would probably generate much more tritium, in one or two days, than all cold fusion reactions so far.

But the fact that this radioactive isotope of hydrogen has been detected in many laboratories is significant; it indicates that a highly unusual nuclear process was occuring in some cells. This observation was made in the same year in which the discovery of cold fusion was announced. But it significance was often dismissed on the ground of possible contaminations. I hope that claims of generation of tritium and helium will be taken seriously by scientists appointed by DOE to reinvestigate cold fusion. Nobody knows what kind of practical applications, if any, will emerge after the reality of cold fusion is recognized.

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