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338) Quotes from our private list messages about theories

Ludwik Kowalski; 11/25/2007

Department of Mathematical Sciences
Montclair State University, Montclair, NJ, USA


Introduction
On 11/2/07, Steve Krivit, the editor of New Energy Times,

http://www.newenergytimes.com/contact/contact.htm

posted the following message on a private list for CMNS researchers:

Fellow researchers,
1. Anyone who knows of any CMNS/LENR theory that is in any way correct should submit such comment to New Energy Times by Dec. 1.
2. I do not care whether the commentary is fully or only partially supportive of the theory; anything positive will do.
3. Positive commentary can be only from nonauthors of the specific theory. No self-promotion!
4. On anyone's request to me within one week, I will seek comment from Richard Garwin about any CMNS/LENR theory and report back with his response in New Energy Times. You must attach the related papers so I can forward them to Garwin.

Interesting comments about theories were subsequently made by several researchers. This morning (11/24/07) I asked Dr. Edmund Storms, the author of a new book:

“The Science of Low Energy Nuclear Reactions:
A Comprehensive Compilation of Evidence and Explanations About Cold Fusion.”
(Published in 2007 by World Scientific Publishing Company)

to summarize what has been posted so far. His reply (see below) prompted me to compose, and post, this unit. It is a collage of quotes, shown with premissions. To preserve anonymity, contributors are idetifies as Researcher 1, Researcher 2, etc. (abbreviated as R1, R2, etc.). But first let me show the reply from Ed Storms (received this morning).

Reply to my message (11/24/07):
This is a good idea. However, it has two main problems. It takes time that I would rather spend finding out what is actually happening in Nature to which a theory can be applied. And, second, it is a sure way to lose friends in the CF community. Theoreticians take their ideas very personally and criticism, either implied or real, is not usually taken kindly. Criticizing theories that are either wrong or not useful gets us nowhere. The only useful activity is finding out from Nature what is actually happening, rather than making assumptions about the process. I made my previous comments only because a few people showed interest and because I object when theories are presented as real and useful when they are obviously wrong. I have no problem when people make efforts to understand the phenomenon with humility and an acknowledgment that their efforts are only a small and imperfect description of a plausible part of the process. Such an approach allows us to work together to achieve a sincere understanding, rather than an ego trip for a few people.

Selection from recent messages

R1 (11/2/07):
I think you need to focus your analysis on the assumptions, not on the math. The math is always correct as far as it goes. However, this fact means nothing if the assumptions on which the math is based are wrong. For example, Larsen-Widom assume that an electron can gain weight by accumulating energy from a low voltage field and that this stored energy allows the electron to combine with a proton to make a neutron. This assumption is in conflict with the behavior of the electron in every other situation, except the one to which they apply their model.

As another example, R2 makes the assumption that deuterons can form a cluster in the tetrahedral sites within the PdD lattice, thereby causing the ions to get close enough to fuse. Here again, no evidence is found in the large literature or suggested by R2 to support this assumption. In addition, the assumption requires the PdD lattice retain the small lattice space even though the cluster is present. All experience with this and similar materials show that this does not happen. The lattice expands as the sites are occupied.

With a little encouragement, I can note similar violations of general experience exhibited by other theories in the CF field. My question is, why don't the theoreticians note such problems and attempt to avoid them? Creating a theory that is obviously in conflict with general experience does not advance the field. Instead, we all are made to look like we accept any idea, no matter how ridiculous, as long as it "explains" CF. People doing experiments are required to justify every conclusion and demonstrate they have considered every trivial possibility. Why are theoretician exempt from this requirement?

R2 (11/2/07):

I do not understand why you referred my theory here. But, I want to point out that you are misunderstanding my model. For initiation of 4D/TSC (t=0) state (about 74 pm d-d distance), I have never assumed the steady state cluster existing in PdDx lattice, but I have been studying rather dissipative structure of dynamics (very fast transient clustering motion) with very small probability in the view of usual solid state physics. For example, deuteron density of PdDx is on the order of 1E+22 deuterons/cc. According to my latest results of Langevin equation analyses, one watt per cc 4D fusion rate with 1E+11 He-4 ash/cc/s can be generated by very small probability (1E-11) of the order of 1E+11 4D/TSC(t=0) per cc/s of PdD under D-phonon excitation.

Only 4D/TSC dynamic condensation motion under the double Platonic symmetries condensing to a very small charge neutral entity (about 20 fm d-d distance at the last moment of condensation, which is small enough and can thus exist in inter-lattice space transiently; one condensation process happens within 1.4 fs in my calculation!) can realize the super-screening of Coulomb repulsion among deuterons to get to strong interaction range (about 5 fm d-d distance) with significantly large barrier penetration probability (time-dependent) to produce 2 He-4 out-going particles without visible hard radiations (when observed from outside of cells), compared with the cases of D2 molecule, D3(+) molecule and D6(2-) molecule clusters which have converged states (ground states = steady states) with 74-80-40 pm d-d distances (thus difficult to be steadily existing in PdDx lattice inter-space without expanding lattice constants). This very small order of probability (1E-11) of dynamic motion has never been treated in orthodox solid state physics of metal-hydride lattice, or surface or interface of complex condensed matter systems. The dissipative structure looks of key. We need of course further elaboration of my model.

Dear CMNS group people; For detail, please see my papers to ICCF13, Catania07 and ACS Proceedings (LENR Source Book) to be published (some preprints with ppt slides will be uploaded soon on the iscmns-web site) together with my older papers (as recently published in Vol.1 of Electronic Journal of CMNS on http://www.iscmns.org/CMNS/publications.htm ).

Apart from a debate on my own model, I hope, Steve and you and others will extend fair scientific discussions on all the proposed (or published) theoretical models. Quantification of theories with right mathematics isessential to all modeling processes, as well as proper physical insights. Self-consistency in each modeling should be self-satisfied. I remember, Peter Gluck and Steve Krivit made once a survey on available theories and reported the result on New-Energy-Times web site. Widom and Larsen are new comers after the survey. I hope they will appear in our CMNS meetings as ICCF14 to make presentations and open discussions.

In my view, there are possibly a lot of models (due to freedom of our imagination) and we need a natural selection process to get to a final resolution someday (not now) through free discussions and random competition, to be referred to the progress of experimental results. I only prefer the truth of science.

R1,
after responding to specific points in the above message (11/2/07):
. . . I see that we agree with the approach that needs to be applied to theory. My comments are offered to stimulate discussion and give an opportunity to address the obvious issues. I look forward to a productive debate.

R3 (11/3/07):
The controversy over theory suggests that a major deficiency in this field is a good review of all models. Without some theoretical framework, how are experimentalists supposed to refine their work? But with so many conjectures which attempt to "explain" no more than a tiny fraction of experimental observations, how is any experimentalist able to take "theory" seriously.

I commend Steve Krivit for seeking facts, but it is inevitable that response to any survey will be biased opinion. The Widom-Larsen "theory" has something to commend it, but like most theories it totally fails to explain Iwamura's observations where atomic mass apparently increases by 8 or 12. This is possibly R2’s objection. In my opinion the only theory which begins to explain Iwamura's results is John Fisher's poly-neutron theory. This does not mean that I believe in such a theory. Poly-neutrons may well not exist. But the underlying multiple nucleon transfer mechanism may well be correct.

In competition with John Fisher is Akito Takahashi and his tetrahedral condensation reactions. Apart from Ed Storms' comments, there are 2 other preoblems here. Firstly, such reactions are excessively energetic and would give rise to significant lethal radiation. Secondly, they are very unselective. Anything goes. 4 deuterons will react with every known natural isotope and the results would be obvious! In contrast the poly-neutron theory is gentle and therefore very selective. In particular, it predicts that 141Pr is the inert end product from 133Cs. Any volunteers to write a review of CMNS theories? ;)

R4 (11/13/07):
My response violates [Krivit’s] condition 3 for the following reason: To a first approximation every theorist believes that all theories (except his own) are wrong, and he doesn’t bother to read other theories carefully if at all. It is difficult to get him to comment objectively. As an alternative I suggest that each willing theorist provide a list of clear-cut implications of his own theory, including:

A. Predictions of previously unknown and subsequently verified phenomena, and
B. Additional implications that confirm previously known phenomena.

To break the ice I list here some of the implications of polyneutron theory. They can be found in more detail in the paper “Outline of Polyneutron Theory” that I presented at the ISCMNS workshop in Catania, now available on line at

http://www.iscmns.org/catania07/program.htm

A. Predictions of previously unknown and subsequently verified phenomena include:

1. Energetic particles in an electrolyte (verified by Oriani).

2. Energetic particles in the vapor over an electrolyte (verified by Oriani; a shower of 150,000 alpha particles with energies about 2 MeV).

3. Energetic particles in the air outside an electrolysis cell (verified by Oriani).

4. Transmutation of 138Ba into 144Nd (confirmed in data of Iwamura et al.).

5. Transmutation of 137Ba into 136Xe (confirmed in data of Iwamura et al.).

6. Transmutation of 137Ba into 138Ba (confirmed in data of Iwamura et al.).

B. Implications that confirm previously known phenomena include:
1. Production of 4He.
2. Production of 3H.
3. Production of energetic protons.
4. Absence of neutrons.
5. Alpha particle showers.
6. Maximum energy production of about 21 MeV per 4He in deuterated Pd.
7. Transmutation of 133Cs into 141Pr.
8. Transmutation of 138Ba into 150Sm.
9. Role of electrolysis in sustaining nuclear reaction.
10. Role of calcium in sustaining nuclear reaction in deuterium diffusion experiments.
11. Absence of bremsstrahlung.
12. Energy of 2.1 MeV for alpha particles emitted in vapor over an electrolyte.

Although the theory is pretty good at determining which reactions are exothermic and which are endothermic, it is not so good at determining the relative rates of competing exothermic reactions. I expect that my current rate assumptions will require adjustment as additional experiments provide better guidance. Of course there is a possibility that theory and experiment will come into irreconcilable conflict, in which case the theory will have to be discarded.

R5 (11/13/07):
This point from R4 is hugely significant and has been stated explicitly and formalized by two of the most able theorists I have known.  Giuliano Preparata said at ICCF5 (from memory) "At any time there is only room for one correct theory.  I am right, the rest of you are wrong".  Julian Schwinger refused even to look at other theories lest they contaminate his thinking.  The problem I have as a non theorist is that I have neither the time nor tools to understand any of the theories well enough to know what aspects of them (if any) are right.  This job really does need to be done by theorists. Steve is trying to help us hurdle this barrier to progress.  We need a process or protocol.  Does anyone have any ideas? (PS I did not intend to dismiss R4's suggested protocol, but rather to encourage input on it.)

R1 ,
addressing R4 (11/13/07):
I think your suggested approach is excellent. You are right, the only person who accepts any theory is the originator. In addition to listing what the theory predicts, I think it is more important to list the assumptions on which the theory is based. I get the impression that many theoreticians do not understand all of the assumptions they actually make. In addition, unless the assumptions are rational and consistent with experience, the logic that follows has no meaning, no matter what it predicts. I suggest a debate about what is a proper assumption is more useful than a debate about the theory. Once people agree upon what is a good assumption, we can then discuss the best mathematical form or logic to apply to this assumption.

R2 (11/13/07):
In JCF communications (in Japanese), N. Yabuuchi pointed out: W. Heisenberg once proposed a hypothesis that electron exchange between proton and neutron made sticking force (nuclear strong interaction) of nucleus. Later we found this was wrong assumption. However his proposal helped H. Yukawa to imagine the idea of "hypothetical-meson" (charged pion in latest understanding) exchange between neutron and proton as nuclear sticking force. H. Yukawa got Nobel Prize with the pion exchange model. But later, we found the Yukawa model was not exact to be replaced with the QCD theory. Thus even "wrong assumptions" have made significant contributions to the progress of finding true laws of physics. We may learn form the history.

R6 (11/13/07):
referring to R5
The test of any theory is prediction. It is hard to determine what the best theory is until....... just wait until a theory makes a prediction and then try it. I look for theories that how to turn a knob or do something. If it cannot do that then all you can do is wait until the theorist "connects" to the real world. If someone can say try adding He-4 or put a magnetic field on or something I can do in the lab (that I can afford) I try it. The problem is that most theories are not there yet.

R7 (11/14/07):
I think that several of the theories we know in CMNS seem "good" from the point of view a experimentalist that is NOT deep expert in theories.* BTW, most of the theories are developed by real professional Scientist and it is hard to think that they make trivial errors. We can't decided about just looking to formula. But, what we really need, is a theory that is PREDICTIVE to some (or better several) experimental set-up. I am waiting for that.

R8
referring to the above message (11/14/07):
Like e.g. (random example ;-) the DIESECF hypothesis, which predicts that applying different current densities to the opposite sides of a Pd membrane cathode should enhance CF. The team I belong to will keep the group tuned when we will have confirmed or infirmed this, as I hope will the other teams trying the scheme (one of which has kindly informed me they were)...

R4
addressing R1 (11/14/07):
I think your suggested approach is excellent. You are right, the only person who accepts any theory is the originator. In addition to listing what the theory predicts, I think it is more important to list the assumptions on which the theory is based. I get the impression that many theoreticians do not understand all of the assumptions they actually make. In addition, unless the assumptions are rational and consistent with experience, the logic that follows has no meaning, no matter what it predicts. I suggest a debate about what is a proper assumption is more useful than a debate about the theory. Once people agree upon what is a good assumption, we can then discuss the best mathematical form or logic to apply to this assumption.

R1 addressing R4 (11/14/07):
I agree with everything you wrote. However, I think a distinction needs to be made when the word "prediction" is used. Actually, most of the time what is called a prediction is actually a statement about which of the observations the theory has been made to fit. We all know that a theoretician works hard to make the theory consistent with what is known. The result is not a prediction, but simply a version of curve fitting. A true prediction involves a behavior that is not known in advance and was not used by the theoretician to create the theory. It must be a true extrapolation of the model.

Regardless how well the theory seems to fit the observations, if the assumption on which the theory is based predicts behaviors in other fields of science that have never been observed or violates well established understanding, such assumptions need to be viewed with caution. It is simply too easy to apply various versions of math or logic to "prove" anything. The judgment of truth is always based on the reasonableness of the assumptions, and how well the theory fits ALL the observations, not just a few that happen to fit.

I have no problem with the process of exploring all ideas no matter how novel. However, everyone needs to be very humble and acknowledge that the proposed ideas probably are very far from the truth and are presented only to encourage discussion and to suggest experiments.

R1
quoting what R2 wrote about Yukawa, (11/14/07):
Yes, occasionally this happens. However, I suggest the much more common result of bad assumptions are distraction, waste of time, and a lot of papers that have no meaning. The point I'm making is that the initial assumptions should be examined much more carefully than is the math and logic, i.e. that part of the paper that takes up over 90% of the space and the part that is used to demonstrate that the theory has any value. In short, I think emphasis is being applied to the wrong part of the theory in most cases.

R2 (11/14/07):
Without trials of new modeling with mathematical quantification, one can not have such good occasions as Heisenberg, Yukawa and so on have experienced. Of course there are also proposed "theories" with misunderstanding or neglecting of well established scientific facts, or often with occult ideas. Rationalism and criticism may screen these, push the progress of theorization, and are therefore important. Experimental results being accumulated may also make cross checking of theoretical predictability. If one wants to determine which theories are based on "good assumptions" or "bad assumptions", who can do it without arrogance is however the problem.It seems for me that the natural selection by free competition may get to the resolution someday after good "effective collaboration" of people for seeking truth. Anyway I hope to see hot debate on theorization of CMNS.

R9 addressing R1 (11/15/07):
In my humble opinion, what you say makes a lot of sense. I fully support the approach you propose.

My own comment (posted on 11/25/07):
On 11/13/07 R2 wrote “. . . Later we found this was a wrong assumption. However his proposal helped H. Yukawa . . . ” That was a good reminder that theories have their own ways to evolve. The evolutionary flowchart in

http://csam.montclair.edu/~kowalski/cf/336cat.html (see Figure 1)

has two separate boxes for theories. One box is refers to “inspiration” and another refers to “explanations.” Sometimes theories are developed to extrapolate from known experimental facts (explaining and predicting) and sometimes logical predictions are made on the basis of ad hock assumptions, such as existence of neutrinos. I am thining about W. Pauli who postulated existence of neutrinos in early 1930. His prediction was confirmed about ten years later. That was a well known example of an experiment inspired by an ad hock assumption. The competitive ad hock assumption of N. Bohr (non-conservation of energy at subatomic level) was abandoned. Bending of light by gravitational fields was also discovered (during a solar eclipse) after it was predicted on the basis of an ad hock theory, by A. Einstein.

Note however, that the box called “inspiration” does not have to be limited to theories. Experimental discoveries often lead to other discoveries. Marie and Pierre Curie would not start searching for radium before radioactivity was discovered by Becquerel. If I were a historian of science I would probably be able to provide illustrations in which successful experimentalists were motivated by intuition, or other factors. I hope this thread will continue.

P.S. A Sarcastic piece at http://www.tcm.phy.cam.ac.uk/~bdj10/articles/PF_fire.html, and the recent discussion of theories, made R9 compose the following satire:

R9 (11/26/07):
Recently, Pierre and Marie Curie have reported observations of a metal permanently warmer than its surroundings. Our panel has concluded that this observation is not possible, and recommend no further research in this area. It is well established that heat cannot of itself pass from a colder to a hotter body. This basic tenet of thermodynamics have been proven again and again, and has permitted major technical advances such as the steam engine. We conclude that the metal of Pierre and Marie Curie cannot draw his heat from its surroundings. If it could, it would be possible to create a perpetual motion, an idea that is widely rejected by mainstream scientists. We therefore conclude that spending money and energy on this topic would be ill-conceived.

Steve Krivit (whose message started this thread):
As of Nov. 26, I have not received a single third-party comment about any CMNS theory besides W-L. The point of the inquiry was to find out if there were any other theories that were sufficiently developed to the point that a person besides the theory's author felt sufficiently confident to provide at least a minimal endorsement for it. The W-L theory caught my attention because Dave Nagel was, at least at one time, sufficiently confident to be enthusiastic about it, and he encouraged me to look at it.

R10 (11/27/07):
An interesting example of “a minimal endorsement” can be found in the issue 75, 2007 of Infinite Energy. I am thinking about the Rudesill’s interview of Storms. Both seem to endorse Mills’ theory of hydrinos. Another crazy particle? The following URL will download the file. http://www.infinite-energy.com/images/pdfs/stormsinterview.pdf

R11 (11/27/07):
I would second Storms' suggestion that the hydrino (a hydrogen atom with a sub-groundstate electron orbital) is a valid contender for LENRs. While there are problems with Mill's model(s), and I believe that he is looking in the wrong region (hot plasma instead of solid state) for hydrino production, if non-photonic (or phononic) transitions can be induced, then the "groundstate" energy is no longer sacrosanct. I am actually exploring (theoretically) the transitions into a non- 1/r potential to see if this can shift the ground-state.

R3 (11/27/07):
I'm probably just ignorant of Mills' research, but if mini-atoms and molecules existed we would expect all sorts of phenomena which we do not observe.

1) We might expect detectable gamma rays from p-d fusion at the incoherent rates calculated by Koonin in NATURE VOL 339 NO. 6227 p 690-691, 29 JUNE 1989. (I pointed this out in my 27 July 2005 posting to the CANA forum.)
2) We might expect that over the 5 billion years since the solar system formed that giant planets would convert their hydrogen to very dense mini-molecules. But all the
evidence suggests that the hydrogen / helium ratio remains 3:1 as it was at the big bang.
3) If mini-atoms are the product of exotic chemistry, how is it that they have not been isolated in large quantities in the lab?
4) How are Mills' ideas consistent with Iwamura's observations?

R12 (11/27/07):
Here I go sticking my experimental nose into theoretical business.....:)

As I understand it, it is relatively easy to show according to QM that the hydrogen ground state is the lowest possible energy state for a proton and an electron. If the electron is forced to exist closer to the proton, that reduction in the uncertainty of its location produces a corresponding increase in its energy. The resulting "Schroedinger pressure" counteracts the Coulomb attraction between the electron and the proton. The ground state is simply that condition in which these two forces are balanced.

This argument is supported by the fact that a neutron...essentially a collapsed hydrogen atom...has about 780 keV MORE energy than a ground-state hydrogen atom.

QM is, without question, the most successful physics theory ever derived. If it has any shortcomings, they are well hidden and very, very subtle. The argument above is not subtle. It is based upon the very foundation of QM. Countless experiments have shown this foundation to be unassailable.

Not to put too fine a point on it, the hydrino is therefore nonsense. R13, surely your understanding of QM tops that of most/all members of this forum. Would you please comment on the above?

My own contribution, (11/29/7) prompted by the sarcastic piece of R9:
The English translation of the famous 1903 paper (see attached file *) shows that the reported excess heat was generated at the rate of about 100 cal per hour. This translates into 116 mW. . . .
(* Source: G. Holton , General Editor, “The Discovery of Radioactivity and Transmutation” Dover Publicatons, INC. New York, 1964)

P.S. I wander how different the history of CF would be if Fleischmann and Pons, instead of claiming nuclear origin of excess heat, used the same ending as Curie and Laborde. Here is the ending of their 1903 paper again:

"The continuing development of such a quantity of heat cannot be explained by an ordinary chemical transformation. If we seek the origin of the production of heat in internal transformation, this transformation must be of a more profound nature. . . . This development of heat may still be explained by supposing that . . . [our setup] makes use of an external energy of unknown nature."

A possibility of nuclear energy would certainly be raised by some speculation-inclined people. But theoretical arguments against interpretation would be decoupled from the experimental claim. The only way to challenge reality of excess heat would be to perform careful experiments.

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