Return to the list of clickable items

209) Australian connection

Ludwik Kowalski (3/27/05)
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ, 07043

This is to another ICCF11 paper. I consider it to be an “Australian connection” because three out of five authors, including the first author, are from Australia. The title of the paper is “Low Energy Nuclear Reactions resulting as picometer interactions with similarity to K-shell electron capture;” the authors are H. Hora, G.H. Miley, X.Z. Li, J.C. Kelly, and F. Osman. George Miley is from Fusion Studies Laboratory at the University of Illinois, USA, and X. Li is from Tsinghua University, China. Miley is a recognized authority in both hot fusion and cold fusion; I read many of his papers. Let me begin by quoting an observation made in the Introduction; it resonates with what I wrote in unit #203”

“Since every cold-fusionist likes to get his own credit, nearly nobody is taking the work of colleagues serious or carefully reproduces the other’s work. It is really the responsibility and duty of funding agencies like DOE or others to financially attract most carefully selected teams to reproduce the one or the other serious result as the very first step. Only after this clarifying progress on experiments, one may talk about any theory or model.”

In writing about excess heat experiments I often wrote that nuclear origin of that heat must be demonstrated. Many researchers reported excess heat (generated at the rates of below and above one watt) but failed to demonstrate its nuclear origin. here is how this issue is addressed by Hora et. al:

“. . . The generation of heat was indeed in the focus of interest. Experiments were performed in gaseous atmosphere at different pressures and temperatures placing Pd wires in deuterium gas but observing also effects if not deuterium but light hydrogen is loaded into the palladium. Long time repeated experiments with Pd wires in hydrogen atmosphere showed . . .heat was . . . produced [at the rate of] 3.6 kW/cm3 heat or 13 keV per palladium atom. Such energy cannot be produced by chemical processes.”

In other words, the issue of the “non-chemical origin” can be ruled out when heat is generated at a sufficiently high rate, and during a sufficiently long time. In the described experiment heat was generated for 43 hours after the glowing discharge was terminated. But the 13 keV per reaction is still lower than a typical energy of several MeV known to be generated in many nuclear reactions. Addressing this issue the authors wrote:

Since any heat generating process will not be due to every average Pd atom but to specific ones only, reactions with the well known MeV can be concluded as expected from nuclear reactions If such nuclear reactions occur - even without emission of alphas, betas, neutrons or not resulting in radioactive reaction products - the MeV recoil of daughter nuclei should produce x-rays in the few keV range and the MeV daughter nuclei should appear as traces in CR39 foils. Both has been detected.”

I am not going to focus on essential ideas developed in this theoretical paper. The main point is that “hot fusion” was also very controversial when it was discovered in early 1930s. A conflict with an existing theory (this was before the tunneling effect was recognized) should not be a basis for rejection of highly reproducible experimental facts. Let me quote an interesting quotes from the Introduction.

The problem may be that the phenomena [of cold fusion] were brought forward to physics by non-physicists. In this situation it may be permitted to recapitulate what happened in similar cases before. When Becquerel discovered 1896 that the pitchblende from St. Joachimstal in Bohemia and other minerals containing uranium are emitting certain radiation blackening photographic plates, a wide range of people were speculating about this phenomenon. There were even papers explaining that some ghosts are involved. Ernest Rutherford after his undergraduate studies in New Zealand produced splendid results with his Ph.D. in Cambridge where he before 1900 contributed to Marconi’s detection of electromagnetic radiation by discovering very ingeniously the “radiomagnetic detectors”. After becoming a professor at the McGill University in Montreal, he discovered that pitchblende emitted helium as demonstrated spectroscopically and found that another emission were energetic electrons which were just recognized at this time. With this discovery of alpha- beta- and gamma-radiation he became the founder of nuclear physics but his faculty was going to dismiss him because he was working in a field related to ghosts. He was saved in last minute by the offer of a professorship in England.

The discovery of fission is a well known case of unexpected phenomenon. I do remember what O. Hahn and F. Strassmann wrote in their famous 1939 paper. It was something like this: “We know that our discovery makes no sense in terms of what is theoretically expected. But we are analytical chemists and we have no doubt that barium is produced when uranium is bombarded by neutrons.” L. Meitner was no longer in Germany when this paper was published. But it was she who were the first to say, in a paper published in England, that uranium might be splitting into two large fragments and that the process generates more than 100 MeV of energy per event. The term fission, that she introduced to name this mechanism, was already used by biologists to describe division of cells.

“The more skeptical are physicists when chemists or others are claiming anomalies in physics. Such a problem was between the chemist Otto Hahn and the radiation physicist Lise Meitner, a most prominent team e.g. with the discovery of the new element protactinium in 1918 where they – against the rules – did not receive the Nobel prize. Physicists expected the production of heavier nuclei when bombarding uranium with neutrons into which direction Meitner was looking when she left Berlin mid 1938 under unfavorable circumstances to Stockholm. Meitner meeting Hahn November 1938 still “objected to the most recent findings” of Hahn who then again with his world best techniques of chemical micro-analysis confirmed that elements of middle weight were produced, proving that the neutrons were splitting the uranium nucleus. These results were reproduced very quickly in comparably easy experiments and the enormous consequences are known.”

Possibilities of practical applications of fission, via a chain reaction, were recognized as soon as reality of the new process nuclear was confirmed. The authors of this ICCF11 paper claim that their experiments were 100% reproducible. Numerous references to their publications are shown.

Return to the list of clickable items