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85) From Mizuno’s book.

Ludwik Kowalski (August 1, 2003)
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ, 07043

Mizuno’ s book “Nuclear Transmutation: The Reality of Cold Fusion” (Infinite Energy Press, Concord, New Hampshire, 1998) has already been referred to in my notes. It was translated and introduced by Jed Rothwell. I am going to summarize the book to capture what is worth remembering. Here is a general observation of this Japanese scientist. “The researcher must be sincerely interested and enthusiastic. Enthusiasm is what makes him willing to throw himself into work wholeheartedly. The key to good university research is to find the right topic and then concentrate on it. The university’s job is to ensure an environment in which scientists can concentrate on their work, and ultimately return the benefit of their research to society. “

I think that Tadahiko was lucky to be well positioned (in terms of his experience at the Nuclear Engineering Department at Hokkaido University) to focus on cold fusion research as soon as the discovery was announced in 1989. He was working on targets used to produce neutrons. These were metallic foils saturated with deuterium. My own experience with such foils was limited but I remember how they were used. They were bombarded with accelerated ions to sustain nuclear reactions producing neutrons. The number of neutrons was proportional to the magnitude of the ionic current and to the concentration of deuterium atoms in the foil. Mizuno became an expert in preparing such targets. Such targets were made via electrolysis of heavy water solutions; the cold fusion technique used by Fleischmann and Ponds.

In 1971 he observed “excess heat” and speculated on its nuclear origin. Mizuno writes: “I had been performing exactly the same kind of experiments for more than twenty years, but I had completely overlooked the reported phenomenon.” He is referring to what occurred in August 1978. The amount of water evaporated from an electrolytic cell in two weeks of continuos operation. was several times larger than what would be possible with the amount of electric energy received. In trying to explain what happened Mizuno was left with “only two possibilities: the electric current might has increased, rapidly electrolyzing all the liquid, or a large amount of [unexplained] heat caused the liquid to boil away. But at that time we could not imagine either of those scenarios, so we finally wrote off the incident as a mystery with no solution.“

Mizuno became one of those who have studied various aspects of cold fusion for many years after the announcement of Fleischmann and Pons. Together with Akimoto he observed 2.45 MeV neutrons “at a level 10 - 20 times greater than background” but the rate of emission was much less than one per minute. Together with Azumi he observed tritium; the rate of production of that product was several orders of magnitude higher that production of neutrons. This alone was a good indication that a nuclear process responsible for neutrons and tritium must be very different from taking place in thermonuclear collisions (in hot plasma). The rate of generation of heat, calculated from the rate of tritium production, was shown to be too small to be observable. This was a good indication that the unexplained excess heat was not coming from reactions producing tritium.

In reading Mizuno’s book one becomes aware that measuring excess heat was not the main priority; he and his colleagues were trying to demonstrate occurrence of nuclear processes in an electrolytic cell. But in one case the excess heat was extremely large; gallons of water evaporated in relatively short time would require more electric energy than was actually supplied to the cell. In 1994 Mizuno started using so-called “proton conductors.” These are ceramic materials placed into hydrogen gas heated up to 1000 C. The electric field applied to a ceramic cylinder (via metallic contacts at the opposite faces) makes the protons (ions of hydrogen) drift through the material. Generation of excess heat was observed but the most interesting was production of new elements (alchemy).

Such observations have already been reported by other scientists but Mizuno and Ohmori were probably the first to report on highly abnormal isotopic ratios. In 1996 similar reports were made, at a conference in Texas, by George Miley and John Bockris. Karabut’s findings, described in the item 13 on my web site, confirmed these early observations. A discovery of new chemicals at a very low level of concentration always brings the issue of possible contamination; a discovery of highly abnormal isotopic ratios, on the other hand, can not be explained without accepting a nuclear process of some kind. In my opinion, isotopic shifts are the strongest arguments to support claims of nuclear transmutations. Asked what should a panel of experts (appointed again to investigate cold fusion) do I would answer “start by focusing on researchers reporting abnormal isotopic compositions.” Competent mass spectrometrists should compare isotopic ratios from cathodes “before” and “after” the experiments.

Mizuno writes: “I immediately wrote up my results in a paper which I submitted to a number of journals. The submissions I sent overseas came back before long with referee comments turning them down. The reasons were: 1)Nuclear changes caused by chemical reactions cannot be accepted; 2) There is no theoretical explanation in the paper; 3) The writing and grammar were poor. I rewrote the paper and sent it again, but it was again rejected. In response to journals that had said there was no theoretical explanation, I wrote a theory, adding the proviso that it was strictly deductive (derived from data). They responded by rejecting the paper because the theory was too strange. In short, the policy was that no paper about cold fusion would be accepted under any circumstances, as I well understood.” The paper was eventually accepted in Japan, after it was revised to satisfy comments made by the referees.

Much later Mizuno makes this interesting observation: “ . . .it is not necessarily the case heat production means a [nuclear] reaction, an no heat means no reaction. There may be endothermic reactions that absorb heat instead of producing it. This is an important clue to understand the reaction mechanism. In many experiments until now, samples that did not produce heat were put aside and not analyzed. I believe important data may well have been overlooked when these samples were ignored.” A panel of appointed experts (se above) should collect as many old samples as possible and measure isotopic ratios of all elements. A confirmation of abnormality could mean only one of two things; 1) Samples were deliberately fabricated to deceive; 2) Some nuclear processes were indeed taking place during cold fusion experiments. Recognition of chemically activated nuclear processes would mark the beginning of a new phase of investigation. In that phase cold fusion research would be treated like any other scientific field; it would no longer be labeled as pathological science.

Near the end of the book the author describes the 1996 theory of an Italian physicist E. Conte. Mizuno writes: “Up to now many theories to explain the mechanism of cold fusion have been proposed, but they have been inadequate. First came the ordinary D-D reaction hypothesis, then cracking (fractofusion), muon catalyzed, multibody, and neutron catalyzed fusion hypothesis. With each of them it was difficult to thoroughly explain all aspects of the phenomenon. Each of these hypotheses addressed a different aspect of the problem in an ad hoc fashion. Compared to the others up until now, Conte’s theory is both simpler and more powerful because, by introducing a simple extension of the conventional quantum mechanical wave function, the theory accounts for all observed effects directly from the first principle. . . .”

The theory is based on the assumption that, under right conditions, atomic electrons are able to get enough energy “to tunnel into the nucleus” and “combine with protons to form neutrons.” The observed transmutations result from nuclear reactions induced by escaping neutrons. It is not clear to me what the word “tunneling” means in the context of electrons; the conventional wisdom is that an excess of energy leads to excitations or to ionization of atoms. As far as I know, a generally accepted theory of transmutations remains to be developed. On the other hand I am familiar with the K shell capture mentioned by Mizuno. It is “a form of radioactive decay in which one proton from inside the nucleus captures one electron from an orbit of the same atom to form a neutron.” This process competes with the so-called “beta plus” decay; as a student I had a lot of difficulties with the theory of beta decay. The entire cold fusion field is still at the embryonic stage. Will it ever reach a stage at which at least one nuclear transmutation is 100% reproducible? (By this I mean a stage at which a competent scientist is able to demonstrate the effect in any well equipped lab.)

Appendix 1 and 2 contain two publications of Mizuno et al. In the second publication the authors report unusual isotopic composition among many transmutation products found on the cathode of their electrochemical cell. They write: “The anomalous isotopic distribution of these elements shows they do not come from contamination. For example, natural copper is 70% 63Cu and 30% 65Cu. But the copper found in the cathode was 100% of 63Cu, with no detectable levels of 65Cu. Natural isotopic distribution varies by less than 0.001% for copper.” Either their data were fabricated to deceive or they are real. What else can it be? My own experience in working with a mass spectrometer tells me that such instruments cannot possibly be responsible for “an honest error” of confusing 30% with 0%. In the book Mizuno tells us that samples were examined in several laboratories specializing in mass spectrometry.

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