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182) With my own eyes...

Ludwik Kowalski (October 13, 2004)
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ, 07043

Yesterday was a highly exciting day for me. I discovered a lot of tracks of charged particles on CR-39 detectors applied to a cathode provided by Dennis Letts. How can I describe that “day of glory”? One way is to show relevant e-mail messages, some old and some recent. Let me begin by mentioning that item #169 was based on work by Dennis Cravens and Dennis Letts. My detailed results and pictures will be presented in unit #183.

8/21/2004 (from L.K. -->Dennis Letts)
Dear Dennis and Dennis: I read your “Appeal to Researchers” and I would like to be involved. I am Ludwik Kowalski, a physics teacher at Montclair State University in New Jersey. I am interested in cold fusion. . . . What I would like to do, as soon as possible (preferably before traveling to ICCF11), would be to examine your Pd with CR-39 detectors. I have everything needed. Your ICCF10 paper gives no evidence that the excess heat has nuclear origin; observing tracks due to alpha particles and protons (above natural background) would provide the needed evidence. P.S. I have a Ph.D. in nuclear physics (1964) and I have worked with many different detectors of nuclear particles. But this was long ago. Experience with CR-39 is very recent.

8/27/2004 (from Dennis Letts --> L.K.)
Ludwik, We have just started a new series of tests; our first cathode in this series, #613,  produced a large amount of apparent excess power during the loading phase at low current:  .05 amps, 3.3 volts. Dennis and I will send you this cathode and any subsequent cathodes that appear to produce excess power for analysis.
We do require that the cathodes be returned after analysis; further, we do not plan to release any experimental details until after all of the experiments are completed, projected to be by December 31st, 2004. Of course, you are free to release/publish your findings whenever you wish. We assume that you will give us a copy of your findings when they are complete. Please send your mailing address if this arrangement is acceptable. Dennis Letts, Dennis Cravens

8/27/2004 (from L.K. -->Dennis Letts)
Hi Dennis and Dennis: I will be very happy to examine your cathode. I will place the CR-39 on top of it for about two weeks. Then I will send the sample back to you. I will release nothing without your OK. . . .

8/27/2004 (from D.L. --> L.K.)
[You wrote . . . ] This series of experiments is closed at the request of those with whom we are collaborating. [You wrote . . .] We are not developing anything new at the moment--only  demonstrating what we have already published and the community is welcome to all of that information. [You wrote . . .] Unfortunately we are in "demo" mode now and will be in this mode until December 31st, 2004.  My phone number in Austin, Texas is ...... [You wrote . . .] I will send cathode #613 Monday; cathode #615 will begin testing Saturday evening. If it makes excess power I will send it as soon as it comes out of the cell.

8/28/2004 (from L.K. --> D.L.)
I will be ready for your samples #613. And good luck with the sample #615. As I said, you will be informed about all that I do on your cathodes. Thanks for sending them. At what average rate was the excess heat generated in the sample #613, and for how long?

8/28/2004 (from D.L. --> L.K.)
Ludwik, I had hoped that I made our policy clear on my first e-mail:  No experimental details will be released until the series of experiments is complete, projected to be December 31st, 2004. This is NOT our normal policy but our current situation requires that we work in this way. The only fact you will know before December 31st, 2004 is that the cathode made apparent excess power. If this arrangement is satisfactory for your purposes, please confirm in your next e-mail.
8/28/2004 (from L.K. --> D.L.)
Dennis: Yes, this arrangement is satisfactory. I know that you have the information and that it will become available later. I will assume that your policy has something to do with the patent aspects of the project. If I see a lot of tracks due to charged particles (well above the background) then we will address the issue of when and how to share this component of YOUR work with others. I am doing a trivial thing while you discovered something innovating and challenging. Thanks again for the offer. . . .

8/28/2004 (from D.L. --> L.K.)
The policy of "no information until we're done" has nothing to do with patent issues--all of our information has already been made public. It has ONLY to do with not wanting to release incomplete information to the community. This series of tests will be a confirmation/demonstration of the laser effect or a repudiation of the laser effect. We want to make sure ALL of the results are known before we go public with the data. 

8/28/2004 (from L.K. --> D.L.)
1) That is a very good policy; Fleischmann and Pons paid a heavy price for not following it. 2) As you know, I have a web site on which I summarize what I learn and think about cold fusion. I am reading your ICCF10 paper and I want to have an item based on. The first draft is about 50% finished. The attached file (in the MS Word format) shows what I wrote so far. I will send you the finished draft later, and will ask for corrections, if necessary. I will stop writing (and will not post my essay) if you have an objection. Let me know.

8/28/2004 (from D.L. --> L.K.)
. . . Neither Cravens nor I want to have any editorial control over your work--write and publish as you wish. We only ask you to use the usual care when attributing a quote to us. . . . Cravens and I say very little publicly outside of our contributed papers or slide presentations. Everything we currently know about laser stimulation is on the LENR-CANR web site in the form of our papers and slide presentations. . . . Please continue your work as you see fit.

9/1/2004 (from L.K. --> D.L.)
Hi Dennis: When should I expect to receive the sample (or samples)? Ludwik

9/1/2004 (from D.L. --> L.K.)
. . . I will send cathode #613 Monday; cathode #615 will begin testing Saturday evening. If it makes excess power I will send it as soon as it comes out of the cell. [You asked:] Did you find a lot of excess heat from the last cathode?” Yes, it appeared to do so.

9/2/2004 (from L.K. --> D.L.)
1) Thanks sharing good news about your work in progress. I am ready for the cathode. 2) The CR-39 detector is thick enough to stop the charged particles (such as 3 MeV protons observed by Jones or alpha particles). Therefore the side of CR-39 in contact with the cathode will be use to get the "signal + background" while the other side will be for the "background" only (from radon, etc.) I should have no trouble with the identification of the signal if one side has more than ten times more tracks than the other. We will see.

9/7/2004 (from L.K. --> D.L.)
The cathode just arrived. I at once sandwiched it between two pieces of CR-39. The third piece will later be exposed to an alpha source for 10 seconds. All three pieces will be etched at the same time. I would like to keep the exposure (of your cathode to CR-39) for several weeks; the longer the better. Is anybody waiting for this cathode? Let me know. Thanks for allowing me to participate.

9/8/2004 (from D.L. --> L.K.)
There are no other tests planned for the cathode, keep it as long as necessary. 

9/16/2004 (from L.K. --> D.L.)
The ICCF11 abstracts must be submitted before 9/30/04. I would like to make a short presentation based on my analysis of tracks from two foils: your Pd and Jones' TiDx foil that I processed in June. . . . My abstract is shown below. . . .

9/20/2004 (from D.L. --> L.K.)
That's fine with me--I'll be very surprised if there is any evidence of nuclear activity but all efforts are worthy and should be pursued. Good luck!

9/20/2004 (from L.K. --> D.L.)
Your second sample arrived and I just sandwiched it between two pieces of CR-39.

10/1/2004 (from L.K. --> D.L.)
Your third cathode arrived today (10/1/04) and has just been sandwiched between two CR-39 detectors. I will etch all detectors in about two weeks.

= = = = = = = And here are messages from yesterday and today = = = = = = =

10/12/2004 (from L.K. --> D.L.)
Last evening I opened all three CR-39 sandwiches (exposed to your three cathodes) and etched them.

Cathode A (sent to me on September 7) after 820 hours of exposure (your #613 ?)
Cathode B (sent to me on September 21) after 485 hours of exposure (your #616 ?)
Cathode C (sent to me on October 1) after 266 hours of exposure (your #615 ?)

The first quick inspection showed that:

1) Practically nothing from cathode C
2) Some tracks from cathode B (perhaps 10 or 20 times the background)
3) A huge number of tracks from cathode A (perhaps 1000 times the background)

I just placed fresh CR-39 detectors on cathodes A and B to see if they are still emitting charged particles. We will know in several weeks (after my return from the ICCF11 on November 10).

Here are some preliminary observations concerning cathode A:

Both sides were emitting particles but one side has about ten times more particles per unit area than the other. By looking at the cathode I see that one side still shows the trace of the wire that was supporting it. That side shows fewer tracks that the other side. The side that has more tracks shows clustering; I can identify at least two fields of very high track density. All tracks are quite different from those due to alphas from my Am-241 source; it may be that they are not due to alpha particles.

It is your experiment, Dennis, and you should decide what to do with this information. You wrote that you plan to release all findings at the end of the year. It would be difficult for me to keep quiet at the ICCF11; my talk is based on tracks I observed from a TiDx foil that Steven Jones sent me last spring. But I will keep quiet, if you prefer. I would very much prefer to rewrite my ICCF11 paper (with you as the first author) to include new results. Even your cathode B has many more tracks than Steven's TiDx foil. My intention was to talk about difficulties (and possible bias) in counting rare tracks. But how can I talk about this now? . . .

Naturally, your input is essential. You do not have to reveal everything in the ICCF11 paper; just provide some minimum and refer to pending publications. While awaiting your reply I will select some pictures of what I saw today under the microscope. I will send them to you as an attached file. Let me know what you think. You can call me, if you prefer.

10/12/2004 (from L.K. --> D.L.)

1) file 00... Magnification 40. The distance between small divisions is 0.01 mm
2) file 14... alpha particles from Am-241 (magnification 40)
3) file 15... alpha particles from Am-241 (magnification 200)
4) file 27... cluster of tracks from the cathode A (magnification 40)
5) file 29... outside the cluster (same side of the same cathode (magnification 40)
6) file 32... same tracks under magnification 200

It looks like your particles are much more penetrating than alphas of several MeV. They are able to traverse my detector. But I must take another look to be sure; the microscope is at school and I am at home now.

10/12/2004 (from D.L. --> L.K.)
Ludwik, Dennis Cravens and I are pleased to hear about your positive result and encourage you to report your result at ICCF11 in any manner you choose. We decline your kind invitation to be co-authors because this is your work and it should remain independent of us.  A minor acknowledgment for Letts, Cravens and Earthtech International would be more than sufficient.
We will provide experimental details concerning the 3 cathodes you have analyzed in order for you to write a meaningful paper.  Let me know what you want to know by e-mail and I will respond promptly. I received the photos and they are really interesting, even with my limited knowledge of the CR-39 technique. The cluster was especially interesting--can you tell me on what part of the cathode the cluster was located? The cluster might correspond to where the laser beam spent most of its time. I know where that was but you don't--so this would be a good test. Your paper should be very well received and we wish you good luck.

10/13/2004 (from L.K. --> D.L.)
Dear Dennis: 1) Thanks; the audience at ICCF11 will have no doubt that I am only a self-appointed technician wishing to contribute to your ongoing project. I asked Jean Paul (the conference chairman) to modify my very short abstract. Details will be needed when I start writing the paper, after the conference. During the conference I will focus on pictures and will say that information about cathode #113 will be published by you in the near future.

2) I will be very busy learning as much as I can from the CR-39 tracks. If I knew I had something like this to do I would not schedule my departure to Paris on October 20. I will let you know what I need. Would you be accessible, either by e-mail or by phone during the weekend? That could help me a lot.

3) The most obvious question has to do with differences between the three cathodes. What made your sample 613 different from samples 615 and 616? If possible, please send me a piece of Pd (from the same stock) that has not been used as a cathode. It is essential to show that Pd is not contaminated with something radioactive. The same goes for chemicals you used to make the electrolyte. I would like to cover these materials with CR-39 for several weeks and then look for the tracks. Showing that numbers of tracks due to contamination are negligible, in comparison with those from your cathode 113, would satisfy honest skeptics.

4) In the future I would like to replace the CR-39 with a Si detector of charged particles (similar to that used by Steven Jones but not as sophisticated). Unlike CR-39, it would let us distinguish protons from alpha particles, and to learn about the emission time-dependence. Are we observing something that decreases exponentially or something that has a more complicated curve (first growth then decay)?) We can address this issue later. The biggest task for you would be to produce several highly radioactive cathodes in a row. I hope that generation of excess heat in correlation with emission of nuclear particles will one day be as reproducible as as exposing CR-39 to a radioactive source and observing the tracks.

10/13/2004 (from D.L. --> L.K.)
Ludwik, On August 1st 2004, cell #613 had a boil-off during loading at .1 amps. The cell was in its 5th day of loading and was well loaded with Deuterium. I checked the cell at 8 pm on July 31st; Scott Little checked the cell the following day, Sunday, August 1st and made the attached entry into the Earthtech online logbook. The cell was NOT instrumented during this event so we can't rule out that the power supply malfunctioned BUT the power supply is of good quality and has been under test since then and has not failed.
Your findings, of course, support the idea that perhaps the boil-off was real and not due to the power supply. It should be noted that the cell top and surroundings were NOT coated with Lithium precipitate after the boil-off, which suggests that the water vaporized very rapidly. The body of the cell got hot enough to melt an epoxy that was holding an external magnet to an aluminum support. This is shown in the first photo, magnet support lying to the left of the cell. Dennis Letts 

10/13/2004 (from D.L. --> L.K.)
1) OK--I'll provide what you need. 2) Yes, my home and personal lab phone is : . . .. Call anytime, day or night. 3) Cathode #613, #615 and #616 were all made from the same stock following our 17 step protocol exactly. The electrolyte was prepared in the same way and from the same materials. The cells were loaded and run in the same way. I will send an unused cathode and Lithium from the same stock today. I don't have any unused D2O from the runs. It should be noted that a few drops of Cravens #1 sauce was added to #613 but NOT to #615 and #616. I will send some #1 sauce for CR-39 analysis.

Results from runs: #613 -- During loading at .10 amps, 3.3 volts cell #613 had a boil-off event. The cell was NOT instrumented at the time but was loading quietly in a controlled temperature enclosure at about 15C.  Cathode was reloaded with Deuterium and tested. No excess power was observed after the boil-off during loading. The details of this boil-off have been sent in a separate e-mail. #615 - Loaded normally without a boil-off and showed no signs of excess power. #616 - 10 hours into loading at 3.3 volts, .05 amps, #616 had a boil-off and was partially instrumented. The boil-off caused the cell parameters to go out of range for the existing instrumentation BUT it appears that the power supply did fail the second time. However, this time there was evidence of Lithium precipitate on and around the cell. This IS consistent with a slower boil-off condition possibly caused by the power supply. #616 did produce up to about 250 mW of excess power with an isoperibolic measurement but no excess power by flow measurement.
**an explanation:  We are using two calorimeters. One is called the Avanti, which is just a temperature controlled enclosure and is ONLY an isoperibolic system. The second system is called MOAC and is a high-precision dual method calorimter (flow and isoperibolic). We usually load in the Avanti and test briefly with the laser. We then put the cell in MOAC for detailed testing. Both boil-offs occurred in the Avanti system.
4) OK, we will do our best [to perform reproducible experiments] .... Dennis

10/13/2004 (from L.K.. --> D.L.)
You wrote: "Cathode 613, 615 and 616 were all made from the same stock following our 17 step protocol exactly. The electrolyte was prepared in the same way and from the same materials. The cells were loaded and run in the same way. . . . " That is a very strong argument. Therefore, do not send anything but the #1 sauce. How can an honest scientist refuse to rule out a possibility of contamination of the cathode or the electrolyte after reading the above? One cathode produced practically no tracks. The possibility that my CR-39 pieces was contaminated can also be ruled out; all tiny pieces I used were cut from the same 1" by 1" radon detection chip. More later.

10/13/2004 (from D.L. --> L.K.)
Ludwik, I shipped the remainder of the #1 sauce in the original bottle; there are a few milliters left, hopefully enough for your analysis. It will arrive Friday by UPS. . . .

10/13/2004 (from L.K.. --> D.L.)
Was this sauce dissolved in the electrolyte or was it used as an electrolyte? If it was dissolved in water (together with other chemicals) then what was the concentration of the sauce? Does it mix well with water?

10/13/2004 (from D.L. --> L.K.)
I added about 1/4 of a small pipette to the cell on the last day of the experiment; the cell contained 100 mL of .7M LIOD. I estimate that I added at most about 1/2 mL to the cell. The elements in the sauce are written on the bottle containing the last of the sauce. The sauce was provided by Cravens; if you have detailed questions about the sauce e-mail him directly. The sauce mixed very well and very quickly--one would think that both sides of the cathode were plated about equally. A pair of external permanent magnets were around the cell during the entire experiment--I don't know if or how that would affect the plating process. 

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

There will be more messages but I must stop somewhere. I know that Cravens and Lotts were at the 10th International Conference on Cold Fusion. But I do not remember talking with them privately. Trying to find out who they are I found what they wrote about themselves. At his home page: Cravens wrote: “I am a ‘semi-retired’ college Prof ( Physics, Chemistry, Biology and Math -- Yes all 4) who is now teaching a few online college classes for ENMU [Eastern New Mexico University] and SCU [Santa Clara University, California]. But my real ‘love’ is to work on things that might make the world a better place.”

I suppose that Letts, who is probably in his fifties, is also a teacher of physics and chemistry. In one of his e-mail messages he wrote: “I have performed the CF experiment thousands of times and have observed the excess power/heat effect many times; HOWEVER I am not convinced that the effects were real. I have spent 7 years improving my calorimetric skills and perhaps soon I will be able to discern fact from artifact--but until then I won't be ready to ‘move on.’ "

I also found this: “Letts and Cravens have been trying to present a credible cold fusion experiment at EarthTech for 8 years. ICCF10 demo experiment #602 finally convinced EarthTech to build a special dual-method calorimeter to test the laser effect to a higher standard than has been used previously. Letts and Cravens will work closely with EarthTech over the next several months to perform a series of experiments in a high performance calorimeter called MOAC (mother of all calorimeters). If the laser effect appears in MOAC, then cold fusion credibility will be enhanced.”

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