This website contains other cold fusion items.
Click to see the list of links

248) A proposed set of names

Ludwik Kowalski (8/11/05)
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ, 07043

As mentioned in another unit, I belong to the International Society of Condense Matter Nuclear Science (ISCMNS). That society has a restricted discussion list, called CMNS, for its members. Let me share a message I just posted. It was a reply to XX, a well known scientist. Sorry for not showing names, when quoting from that list. I will append interesting replies, if they materialize. Please revisit.

On Friday, Aug 12, 2005, XX wrote:

> . . . Over time, as results come in, one's views and interests
> change. At least mine do! I have a more open mind regarding
> various "cold fusion" claims than I did years ago. That does
> not mean that I accept or even fully understand all the claims.
> Does anyone? However, I do try to listen. For example, I'm
> amazed at the results showing transmutation in deuterated
> metals -- who would have suspected this back in 1989? . . .

1) Just imagine how different would the history be if R. Gajewski, working for the DOE, did not confuse cold fusion projects of Steven Jones, already supported by the DOE, with an excess heat proposal submitted to the DOE (in 1988?) by Fleischmann and Pons. Why did Gajewski select Jones to be a reviewer of the new proposal? The essence of the P&F proposal was excess heat unexplainable by chemical reactions. Why was such proposal not sent to chemists experienced in calorimetry? If it were sent to chemists then subsequent developments would not evolve into a highly undesirable controversy.

The naming of the P&F phenomenon "cold fusion" was one of the most tragic mistakes in the history of modern science. It created a situation in which the coulomb barrier, and the absence of expected neutrons, became convincing arguments against the new field of investigation. Naming things inappropriately is undesirable, especially in science. Suggestions to stop using the term "cold fusion" inappropriately have often been made.

2) I would very much like to have a non-confusing set of names, for what we are studying, at least on this list. My message is a step in that direction. Keep in mind that it is only a proposal. Perhaps we can discuss it, modify it, if necessary, and establish a set of acceptable names.

3) The name of the entire field should be CANA (chemically assisted nuclear anomalies). The field consist of three distinct sub fields: CF (cold fusion), CT (cold transmutation) and EE (excess energy). Additional sub fields can be identified, when needs develop. Yes, I know that the name CANR would also be appropriate. But it is less easy to pronounce than cana. And the word "anomalies" is probably better than the word "reactions," at this stage. The name CMNS would certainly be appropriate if it were easier to pronounce. I suspect that speakers of many languages would pronounce CANA in nearly the same way.

4) The cold fusion sub field, CF, consists of phenomena in which fusion of hydrogen nuclei, such as D and D, takes place at ordinary temperatures. In the case of D + D the dominant output channels are n + 3He and p + 3H, as in hot fusion. Output channels would be different for the T+ D, T + H, D + H, or H + H. Several phenomena studied by Jones belong to the sub field of CF.

5) The cold transmutation sub field, CT, consists of nuclear processes in which chemical elements, heavier than hydrogen, are synthesized or decomposed, at ordinary temperatures. Transmutations produced by common neutrons, or by accelerated charged particles, are not anomalies.

6) The excess energy sub field, EE, consists of nuclear processes in which unaccounted-for energy is generated. The term "unaccounted-for'" is used to exclude energy from exothermic chemical processes. Should we add that the EE sub field deals with the CF and CT phenomena only? I keep changing my mind about this.

Please comment. Please revisit this unit; I plan to append items.

Appended on 8/15/05:

1) On Sunday, Aug 14, 2005, YY wrote:

“. . . I was always convinced that calling anything ANOMALOUS is in some way contraproductive, even suicidal. . . “ Here is my reply:

If other people feel the same way then let us say that CANA stands for Chemically Assisted Nuclear Activities (not Nuclear Anomalies). But CANA is the least important part of my proposal. The CMNS name, for the entire field, is fine with me. (I preferred CANA because it is easier to pronounce.)

2) The important part of my proposal is to stop using "cold fusion" instead of CMNS. Cold fusion (CF) is only a subfield of CMNS. That is what should be recognized as troublesome. Other recognizable subfields are CT (cold transmutation) and EE (energy excess). Benefits of not referring to all CMNS phenomena as cold fusion have been recognized by many on this list, long before me.

3) OK, my attempts to initiate a discussion a discussion of the proposal failed. [YY was the only person who responded to several appeals, posted last week.] But I intuitively feel that many on this list agree that consistent terminology is desirable. Facing the unexplained resistance to discuss the "alphabet soup" of acronyms, I decided to start using new names consistently, at least for a while. Please do the same and we will see how it goes.

a) The name of the entire field is CMNS.
b) Subfield CF -- cold fusion of hydrogen nuclei -- at temperatures below 10,000 C.
c) Subfield EE -- excess energy (hopefully, not only heat).
d) Subfield CT -- cold transmutations -- excluding those due to common neutrons and accelerated particles.

4) In another thread YY wrote: "Terminology is only a part of a greater problem.” That is true. But why should this be an excuse for not fixing a small part of the big problem?

To which the immediate reply was:

“. . . I said that :’Terminology is only a part of a greater problem.’ Because as long as we do not understand the processes, their relationships, the situation, the correlations - how do we know that the terminology has a sound basis? If you don't know that your coming child is a girl or a boy- what name can you give her/him? OK, in the US you have such gender-neutral names as Leslie- but we here have to chose- Ludwika or Ludwik, Petra or Peter.”

To which I responded:

But people do refer to CF (cold fusion) as if it included the EE (excess energy) and the CT (cold transmutations). This contributed, and continues to contribute, to undesirable consequences. What harm can possibly result from our consistent use of the proposed set of names? Let us try it, at least on this list. Yes, I know that most people on this list are never confused by inappropriate use of names. That is why they do not want to waste time, I assume, on discussing the suggestion. But context dependent terms are highly undesirable, especially when we talk with others.

YY wrote:
“OK, I think this distinction is OK. Let's use it.”
This turned out to be an empty promis. Less then 24 hours later, in an interesting reflection about history of the CMNS field, YY reffered to this entire field as cold fusion. He was mostly writing about EE (Patterson and Case cells, Toyota projects in France, etc.), but the term EE was not used. It is not easy to stop using terminology to which one is attached.

RR wrote:
*This* is a question of linguistics and language history, which I studied for many semesters 30 years ago. The answers are: this issue does not matter; we have no control over words; we should stop worrying about this; and words often do not mean what they sound like, or what they originally meant. The study of weather is called "meteorology" because people used to think that meteors had something to do with weather. "JPL" stands for Jet Propulsion Laboratory even though that laboratory has always concentrated on rocket propulsion. It was named "Jet" because when it was established rocket propulsion was somewhat disreputable, being associated with science fiction comic books. Whatever name sticks to cold fusion will stick, and no one anywhere has any say about it. Even if cold fusion turns out to be something other than fusion, if it turns out to be several different phenomena, if the name is firmly entrenched it will not change. We still talk about "dialing" a telephone number even though most people have never seen a dial, and I expect we will still refer to movies as films long after the film is replaced with digital bits recorded on hard disks.

One other linguistic note. Euphemisms never work for long. People who are embarrassed or offended by words invent euphemisms, but the stigma quickly follows and attaches to the new euphemism, so they have to invent another and another. Along the same lines, some people have suggested that we coin a new term for cold fusion because the present term -- "cold fusion" -- is associated with so much controversy. We need a fresh start. Alas, even if we could somehow get everyone to call it "LENR" instead, the controversy would follow immediately.

Referring to another message ZZ wrote:
Bill, the concept of chemistry being involved is based on the observation that a solid lattice appears to be a common feature for producing the anomalous nuclear effects associated with CANR. This environment, because it has a high concentration of electrons and a periodic nature, allows a variety of mechanisms to operate that are not present in a plasma. These features are the basis for conventional chemistry, hence allow one to observe that the nuclear reactions are assisted by chemistry. The designation CANR focuses attention on the environment while LENR focuses attention on the mechanism. The choice of which is more accurate goes to the heart of understanding, and obviously has not yet been resolved.

As for the neutron emission observed by Mizuno, we do not yet know whether this is caused by a cold fusion environment. A CF environment seems unlikely because neutrons are normally not produced by cold fusion. It is possible that several different and independent processes are operating, one producing He4, and others producing neutrons and tritium. When evaluating theory, this possibility must be kept in mind.

QQ wrote:
Regarding the definition debate PP wrote some wise lines, and I'm sure he wouldn't veto me reproducing them here: "If we say that the term 'cold fusion' is bad, it will appear that we are attempting to push away the stigma. That we cannot do, it will have to dissolve on its own accord, as a result of the scientific truth and efforts to communicate. In terms of public relations, to divorce CMNS completely from the term CF is not appropriate and will look weak."

Ludwik Kowalski wrote:
Let me repeat it; calling the entire CMNS field cold fusion is bad. The term CF is not bad but it should be used to describe only some CMNS phenomena. Why was the term "divorce" introduced by Steven K? It was not a correct description of my proposal.

I think that referring to the entire CMNS field as CF is harmful, especially when one tries to convince scientifically educated people. Many of them associate the CF term with the coulomb barrier (Gamow factor etc.). What do they usually say when one tries to convince them that excess heat is real, in such or such experiment? The moment they hear the term CF they ask about the coulomb barrier. That is not good; I have much more confidence in reality of excess heat than in validity of existing speculations about its origin. Yes, coulomb barrier is a decisive aspect for cold fusion. But why should one think about it in discussing excess heat? It is too early to approach the excess heat subject from the theoretical side. Unfortunately, that is what often happened when I referred to excess heat as cold fusion. The discussion with scientifically educated people should focus on such things accuracy (systematic errors) and precision (random errors). And we should be open about the absence of understanding.

Confusing excess heat with cold fusion (of two hydrogen ions) was harmful in 1989 and is harmful today. How often do you hear the old argument that "if CF were real then P&F would receive deadly doses of radiation, due to neutrons." I hear this very often. We do need the term CF but it should NOT be used to describe the EE (excess energy) or CT (cold transmutation) phenomena. People will understand that what we know today is very different from what Fleischmann and Pons suspected in 1989. That what we should tell them to explain the need for the CMNS term.

This website contains other cold fusion items.
Click to see the list of links