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386) Integrity or hypocrisy?

Ludwik Kowalski

Montclair State University, New Jersey, USA
December 19, 2009

The web site of The Physics Today had a discussion thread on integrity:

On December 18, 2009 I submitted the following comment:

Fred Dylla wrote: "There are of course interesting physical phenomena with fractoemission in solids and within cavitating liquids but not as nuclear energy sources."

Yes, something seems to be going on but it is not understood. Furthermore, experimental results, even those reported by recognized experts, are often not reproducible. I think that attempts to verify claims made by experts should be encouraged.

In a recently published book, “The Science of Low Energy Nuclear Reactions,” Ed Storms summarizes cold fusion claims and provides references. The book is available at .

The so-called “cold-fusion episode” is unprecedented in many ways, especially from the point of view of sociology. It will become an important part of the history of science, no matter what.

Ludwik Kowalski
Professor Emeritus (Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics, 1963)

After being informed that my comment has been posted (by Paul Guinnessy
Manager, Physics Today web site) I checked that all four short paragraphs were posted, as above. But going to the web site later I discovered that two changes were made:

a) The third paragraph, referring to Storms’ book, has been removed.
b) The last line, below my signature, has also been removed.

Who decided to change the content of a message that had already been posted and why? I can only speculate about the motivation; probably someone did not want readers to know about Storms’ book. The name of the thread, by the way, is “Scientific Integrity.” The term “integrity,” according to Wikipedia, is in contrast to “hypocrisy.” Was the third paragraph removed for the sake of integrity or was it removed for the sake of hypocrisy?

Added on December 20, 2009

Another message on the ongoing thread about Integrity was prepared. But I was not able to submit it. I tried about ten times and each time the error message told me that the displayed words were not typed in properly. That is practically impossible; they were easy to recognize and I was very careful in typing them. It must have been something else. In any case, here is what I wanted to post:

Like many others, I was very excited when the discovery of the so-called “cold fusion” was announced in 1989. Then I was convinced that no sufficient evidence was presented for a claim that a nuclear phenomenon, like emission of nuclear particles or transmutation, can result from a chemical process, such as electrolysis. In 2002 I was surprised to discover that the cold fusion field is not dead. I started reading reports of recent investigations and attended several international conferences devoted to cold fusion. I am still waiting for at least one cold fusion protocol reliably producing a nuclear effect due to a chemical process.

But I also discovered that many cold fusion researchers validate their findings in the same way as mainstream scientists. They perform experiments, they discuss them, they speculate about theoretical models, etc. In other words, they are not voodoo scientists; they stick to scientific methodology of validation. Unfortunately, they are often treated as if they were voodoo scientists. That is very unhealthy. Starting this thread Frederick Dylla wrote “Science is by its very nature an exploratory, trial-and-error venture which is also—sooner or later in every case—a self-correcting exercise.” He referred to a Soviet agronomist Lysenko, whose false theory was finally rejected. Stalin supported the theory by silencing qualified opponents.

The cold fusion controversy would be resolved much faster if investigations in that area were treated like other projects of qualified scientists. Silencing the proponents is not helpful. My objective reports and comments, on what is going on in the cold fusion field, can be found at

The last item (#386, at the end of the long list of links) is devoted to this thread. In my opinion, Physics Today should occasionally inform its readers about new claims made in the cold fusion field. This would probably lead to useful results (clear yes or no answers about reproducibility). Scientific controversies, as we all believe, should be resolved by scientific, rather than administrative, means.

Storms’ book, available at , is the only recent systematic review of the controversial cold fusion field, as far as I know. Ed Storms is a retired LANL nuclear chemist. I strongly recommend his book to serious scientists. The new name for “cold fusion," by the way, is CMNS; it stands for Condense Matter Nuclear Science. Another often used name is LENR; it stands for Low Energy Nuclear Reactions.

Ludwik Kowalski
Professor Emeritus (Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics, 1963)

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