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356) The 20th Anniversary of CMNS is approaching

Ludwik Kowalski; 12/6/2008
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ, 07043

Robert Park, the author of the 2000 book, “Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud,” has a website named What’s New.”

On Friday 28, 2008, he posted a piece called “Cold Fusion: Or Is It The ‘Fleischmann-Pons Effect.’ “ He wrote:

“ It's been almost 20 years since the March 23, 1989 announcement that cold fusion had been discovered by two chemists at the University of Utah. By June, cold fusion was an object of ridicule. A small band of embattled defenders retreated to holding annual conferences of like-minded scientists to which skeptics were not welcome. The story now seems to be entering a new chapter. Believers have begun showing a willingness to confront skeptics, submitting papers to open meetings of major scientific societies. They no longer use the term ‘cold fusion,’ preferring the less contentious ‘low-energy nuclear reactions’ (LENR) to describe their field; LENR more accurately describes what, if anything, is going on. However, the use of LENR has been undone by referring to ‘excess heat’ as the Fleischmann-Pons effect. This only serves as a reminder of the outrageous conduct of the university administration and the incredibly sloppy research on which the claim was based.

This year, there is great excitement over the work of Yoshiaki Arata, a respected professor at Osaka University. In May Arata demonstrated the production of excess heat to an audience of 80, but there have been many such claims over the years and until it is replicated by someone outside the LENR community and a plausible explanation is advanced, it will change few minds.”

It is interesting that Robert Park, whose specialty is surface science, prefers to attack the field as a journalist rather than as a scientist. As far as I know, he was personally invited to attend at least two scientific conferences devoted to Cold Fusion, one in Boston and one in Washington D.C. Both locations are relatively close to where he lives (Maryland). Why didn’t he come to at least one conference? His background seems to be perfect to discuss various topics from the scientific point of view.

Why was the original name, Cold Fusion, replaced by other names, such as CMNS or LENR? Because it became clear, during the last decade, that nuclear reactions, if any, induced by chemical processes, are very different from what is often called hot fusion (thermonuclear fusion). This was far from being obvious twenty years ago.

Am I the only one who feels that the term “small band of embattled defenders” is insulting. I have nothing but admiration for those who continue a difficult fight for a clear yes-or-no answer about reality of CMNS claims. The term “group of researchers” or “group of scientists” would be much more appropriate. Why should recognized Ph.D. scientists, from several countries, be called a band? Why shouldn’t we admire those whose motivation is to contribute to the common good? Most of them work without any financial support. They do this in the climate of discrimination; their advances are usually ignored by the wider scientific community.

What follows is a slightly revised version of two flowcharts I showed at the last International Conference on Cold Fusion (ICCF14 in Washington D.C.). Using this diagram, I can say that CMNS scientists are still at the stage of protoscience (the lower left corner loop). The field hopes to be recognized as scientific but this is not easy. Progress is slow because individual researchers, or small groups of researchers, work in isolation. In my opinion, progress would be faster if their efforts were coordinated, if funding was available, and if there were no discrimination, as written in a recent OpEd. Click below to see it.

Two flowchart in one

click to see the OpEd

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