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165) Names and definitions

Ludwik Kowalski (7/31/04)
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ, 07043


In the introduction to his 2001 paper, already mentioned in unit #163, Edmund Storms commented on the name cold fusion. He wrote: “This process was first named ‘Cold Fusion’ by Steven Jones - an especially poor description.” The alternative descriptions: LENR (low energy nuclear reactions) and CANR (chemical assisted nuclear reactions), are subsequently introduced as a replacement. To this one may a recently introduced name CMNP (condensed matter nuclear phenomena). I tried using other names but decided to return to the old name, cold fusion. Most people at once know what i am referring to, especially when the adjective “nuclear” is added.

In meeting Storms last year I noticed that he was not using the LENR and CANR; he used the term cold fusion, like everybody else at the conference. But is this name really a poor description? When I visited Steven Jones last January I asked him if that name is appropriate. He thinks it is, at least for emission of neutrons and charged particles, described by him at 10th International Cold Fusion Conference (see my unit #113). I tend to agree with Steven; the name cold fusion is likely to be appropriate for rare events he is observing but is a poor generic name for the entire field. Yet, it is commonly used as a generic name.

I think that Fleischmann and Pons had no experimental basis for saying, in 1989, that excess heat they measured had nuclear origin. In that context I would agree that the name was “an especially poor description.” It generated a lot of unnecessary confusion and hostility. Today, however, the term cold fusion seems to an appropriate description of the process in which excess heat is generated. I am saying this because generation of heat has been shown to by production of 4He at the rate of one atom per 24 Mev of excess heat. The issue of name should not be confused with the issue of definition. Any descriptive name can be introduced to describe a new phenomenon, preferably not a name already used to describe something else. But the definition of the meaning behind the name is much less arbitrary. Some definitions, as described in unit #136, are more appropriate than others.

P.S.
According to “Word iQ” online encyclopedia, “the term cold fusion was coined by Dr. Paul Palmer of Brigham Young University in 1986 in an investigation of ‘geo-fusion’, or the possible existence of fusion in a planetary core. It was brought into popular consciousness by the controversy surrounding the Fleischmann-Pons experiment in March of 1989.” Details about prehistory of cold fusion are described by Steven Jones in unit #131. In reading that description one finds another old name, worth mentioning. It is “piezonuclear fusion.” This 1988 term refers to fusion in planetary cores, or, more generally, under extremely high pressures. By the way, is it reasonable to suspect that such fusion takes place in the sun, somewhere between its nuclear core and its surface? I am thinking about a gradual transition from hot fusion (in the core) to much less hot fusion near the surface.

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