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75) Do not mix science with fiction

Ludwik Kowalski (July 5, 2003)
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ, 07043

One thing that often discredits the cold fusion field is the premature rush toward speculations about its technological applications. Those who promote such speculations are supplying skeptics with arguments used against cold fusion. I know that some technological inventions were made long before the underlying science was understood. But in the area of cold fusion, at this stage, the emphasis should be on basic science, not on science fiction and on unverified commercial claims. I saw many very good articles in “Infinite Energy Magazine” of Eugene Mallowe, and in “Journal of New Energy” of Hal Fox, but some articles appear to be junk. The cold fusion field is controversial enough; what is the purpose of mixing its topics with even more controversial topics, such as Edison engine, Mills’ engine, hydrinos, or antigravity?

To illustrate premature technological speculations let me show extracts from the “Cold Fusion Goes Commercial” editorial. The entire piece (from the Infinite Energy Magazine, vol. 1, No 2. 1995) can be seen at the following Internet web site:

“As it stands now, ‘cold fusion’ and allied ‘new energy’ technologies, in which energy appears to materialize perhaps literally from the vacuum quantum fluctuations of space or from subtle mass conversion to energy - are possibly the greatest commercial opportunities of this century. . . . Now for an incredible commercial bombshell -a water-fuel device that did not originate from the mainline cold fusion field at all, but which is very definitely penetrating the marketplace already in eastern Europe. We have learned that in a former region of the Soviet Union, now the country of Moldova (known also as Moldavia), the VIZOR Corporation in Kishinev has already sold thousands of heating units to homes and industries! . . . . But what is most important is that hundreds upon hundreds of satisfied customers have ratified the technology in the marketplace! . . . “

Here is how this device was described, after being tested by a US research team from Texas. “A water-heating device developed in Kishinev, Moldavia by Dr. Yu. S. Potapov has been reported to produce a heat output up to 3 times greater than the energy required to drive it. A Russian physicist, Lev G. Sapogin, has offered a theory to explain this phenomena in his paper entitled, ‘On One of Energy Generation Mechanism in Unitary Quantum Theory’. We obtained a Potapov device and conducted a series of energy balance measurements on it. No evidence of over-unity performance was observed.” The entire test report is available at the following Internet web site:

A TV show can also be used to promote science fiction. Here is an illustration; it is one part of a transcript of the ABC's program “Good Morning America,” shown on June 11, 1997.

MG (voice over): During the last year, Patterson’s little beads have led to a huge surprise. Not only do they produce heat. It turns out, they also neutralize radioactivity.

JP: (Patterson) This is the cell system down here . . .

MG It sounds like such an amazing development, the company is attracting big name scientists, like Norm Olsen. He traveled all the way from Hanford, Washington, where the government stores billions of gallons of high level radioactive waste.

NO (Olsen): If this technology works out as advertised, it means we could significantly reduce the radioactivity of nuclear waste in the United States, and the world.

MG: But does it work as advertised? We decided to put it to the test.

JP: What I have in this cup is radioactive uranium in a water medium.

MG: And that’s what’s sending that Geiger going crazy, right?

JP: Yes.

MG: So the idea is that the radioactive material will then flow through your device, and actually remove the radioactivity?

JP: Yes.

MG: I don’t believe it. Go ahead and push the button. Let’s see if it works. (Laughs.)

MG: The experiment began at high noon, with the Geiger counter registering well over 300. But by speeding up the video, you can see that after a couple of hours, the radioactivity was cut down by more than half -- a reduction that would take billions of years to happen naturally.

NO: I am really encouraged by what I have just seen. Our plan now would be to take it back to Hanford Labs, test it out under controlled circumstances, and fully prove it. And go as far as we can go with it. . . . “

If I were in Norm Olsen’s position I would ask some questions. Is it not possible that the distribution of radioactivity withing the cell changes during the electrolysis thus reducing the count rate? Is it possible that the reduction of radioactivity is due to the fact that some of it is escaping from the cell? I would not take the cell to Hanford Labs before answering such questions for the existing setup. As far as I know, even now, six years later, no accepted evidence exists that radiactivity can be reduces by a process taking place in an electrolytic cell.

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