Talk:Cold fusion/Archive 9

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Possible Mod to Intro

"CMNS researchers say that they have been shunned by the scientific establishment. They publish papers in scientific journals specializing in related fields, but none have published in major scientific journals such as Nature or Science after the initial controversy."


Critique Part 1: Sentence one and sentence two are somewhat in conflict with one another. Sentence one is also broad, non-specific, and not sufficiently referenced to make such a sweeping comment. Certainly (Jed) I am aware of several instances of these cases; Miles, Oriani, Miley and others. But my point is that to make such a broad, all-encompassing generalization may not be the most accurate representation.


Suggested replacement for sentence one: "CMNS researchers have had great difficulty in convincing others in the science community to take a serious interest in their work."


Critique Part 2: Sentence two, again, as mentioned earlier: So what about Nature and Science? Who elected them King and Queen? Is this truly a NPOV to decide that N&S are of any greater or particular significance that specialized journals? I can argue against this: A specialized journal might have a better ability to discern a specialized claim than N or S. The only significance of publishing in N or S is that it may reflect a higher level of consensus in the general scientific population. And as I think we've already agreed, "consensus" is not part of the scientific method.


Suggested replacement for sentence two: "Many of the published papers have gone unrecognzied by the broader scientific community as they have been published in specialized journals, for example in the fields of physics, fusion energy and materials science."


References: http://newenergytimes.com/Reports/PublishedPapers.htm http://newenergytimes.com/news/2006/NET16.htm#pubs

STemplar 17:34, 19 May 2006 (UTC)

Consensus isn't part of the scientific method... but this is not a location for original research in any case, so I don't understand why that would be an objection to its inclusion here. The consensus against is a characteristic of the phenomenon, and is an appropriate topic to describe in an encyclopedia article about the topic. It belongs here, where scientific argumentation would not. --Noren 03:32, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
I would be cautious about the changed wording. For one thing Nature published the original papers on the subject so their subsequent denouncement is fairly notable. They and Science have some of the biggest readership of all science journals so I feel that they are good examples of the majority scientific opinion on cold fusion. Jefffire 09:02, 20 May 2006 (UTC)
Sentence 1 is talking about "scientific establishment", not "scientific community": this is not in contradiction with the second statement (on the contrary). So sentence 1 is not a "all-encompassing generalization", and I believe it is sufficiently supported by N&S and statements quoted further in the article (see "suppression of research"). About N & S, I keep hearing the disbelievers saying that the scientific consensus against cold fusion is a consequence of pathological science, and not a condition for it, but I'm still very concerned that the line between these 2 views is very thin (see cold fusion controversy where the consensus is used to imply that cold fusion is pathological science). Pcarbonn 20:52, 20 May 2006 (UTC)


Noren - Hi. I'm having trouble understanding your point. I *think* if I understand you, you are not agreeing to my suggested mod because the topic of "consensus against" is a relevant topic, and that this is, in your view, the point of the two sentences in question and its valid reason for remaining as is. Is this correct?

I am trying very hard to imagine that you are serious here, so I shall attempt a civil response. I never claimed that "consensus against" was 'the point' of the two sentences, but that it was a valid point made therein and should not be deleted without cause. To try to make this as clear as possible: the edit you propose, as I understand, does two things: it would A: remove the existing sentence and B: add a different sentence. My post argues against A but does not address B. Your argument to justify A, as I understood it, was that as a reference to the scientific consensus against cold fusion was not part of the scientific method, it should not be included in this encyclopedia article. This is the claim I disagree with- I disagree with your justification for A. --Noren 21:53, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

Jefffire: - So if I understand your feelings, the paper "Searches for Low-Temperature Nuclear Fusion of Deuterium in Palladium," Nature, 340, 525, (1989) by Lewis et al., which shows no evidence for the existence of excess energy is more "notable" than "Calorimetry of the Palladium - Deuterium - Heavy Water System," published a year later by Fleischmann, Pons et al. in the Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry, (287 (1990) 293, July 25, 1990) which does show evidence for excess energy. Is this correct? And your second point, if I understand you, is an emphasis on, and an attempt to display evidence of consensus.


PcCarbon: Hello. I'm a bit lost with the word difference between "establishment" "community," but nonetheless, when I read "shunned," I hear "rejected," which isn't completely true since they have been accepted in some journals. So perhaps my point about a contradiction is not defensible and you are correct that it is not a contradiction. But I still think the "shunned" concept is vague. As to your second point, I agree with you about the thin line as you noted. So if we are in agreement that there is a thought to be expressed here that is important relative to the controversy, shouldn't that move over to the "controversy" page?

STemplar 06:08, 21 May 2006 (UTC)

According to me, the scientific establishment is the elite of the scientific community. "Shun" is vague, but I find it hard to put this idea in a more clear way, and the word has been used by sources. The controversy article is an extension to the main cold fusion article: the main points in the controversy are listed here, while the secondary ones are listed in the controversy article. I have said several times that I'm not in favor of the N&S statement in the intro (because Wikipedia is the only source to make this point, among other reasons), but I met strong opposition from other editors: I'm now open to their suggestion. Pcarbonn 13:36, 21 May 2006 (UTC)


Is there anyone else who wishes to discuss this? Otherwise, I will proceed with some of the suggested changes.

STemplar 17:11, 24 May 2006 (UTC)

I don't feel these changes are an improvement. I think the earlier wording was more NPOV. Jefffire 22:53, 25 May 2006 (UTC)

I agree. --Noren 03:14, 26 May 2006 (UTC)


Jeffire. I proposed a change. I engaged in discussion. I waited several days for further response. After you had nothing further to say about my proposal, I implemented the change. Once I posted the change, you, without completing the prior discussion, or providing detailed support for your action, reverted my work based on your feelings and unsupported thoughts.
Is this the Wiki way?


Noren - Your vote is noted, however, it adds nothing of value to the discussion, particularly, since you also have failed to respond to my question in the above dialogue.


STemplar 18:05, 28 May 2006 (UTC)
STemplar, I'm afraid all 3 of us (Noren, Jefffire and me) prefer the current wording for the first sentence. The "great difficulty" you propose is as vague as "shunned". "Shunned" has been used by Physics today [1], while I do not remember seeing "great difficulty" in my extensive reading. Please provide a source if you have one.
Concerning N & S, I would prefer to leave them out because it makes it too easy to abusively use it as an argument, and because it has no source. Maybe we should put a NPOV tag on the article because of it, but I'm afraid that this would be detrimental to the article. So, I have given up trying to convince the other editors. Feel free to fight it off if you feel like it.Pcarbonn 20:21, 28 May 2006 (UTC)


Critique Part 1: (SHUN vs DIFFICULTY)

SHUN; Pronunciation: 'sh&n Function: transitive verb, : to avoid deliberately and especially habitually

DIFFICULTY; the quality or state of being difficult, dif·fi·cult 1 : hard to do, make, or carry out, 2 a : hard to deal with, manage, or overcome 3: avoiding edit wars on Wikipedia.

Sources for "difficulty": "Rebirth of Cold Fusion" by Krivit/Winocur, pg 128- 129, quoting actual case studies of attempts and rejections by Miles and Deninno. "Excess Heat" by Beaudette, pg 185, case of Oriani.

Does the Physics Today article back up their reference with any actual examples? The word "shun" must show evidence of "deliberate" avoidance. Can you prove that with any references?

I propose that "difficulty" is more accurate because a)some researchers have failed to get published; they have cited, um, difficulties. Yet other researchers have been published. The word "difficulty" encompasses both cases.

Thanks for your sources. So, we have conflicting sources, let's try to resolve the issue. I would say that the real question is: whose "fault" is it for the rejections? Is it because a) researchers failed to make their case, or because b) they were summarily rejected. "Great difficulty" refers to the first possibility, "shun" to the second. Is this a good way to put the issue? I would think that many researchers would choose the second option, Schwinger among others (see "suppression of cold fusion research"). Should the sentence be "Some researchers say they have been shunned" ("Some" added)? Pcarbonn 16:51, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

Critique Part 2: (NATURE and SCIENCE)

I'm really at a loss as to what to do here and would appreciate some feedback from some Wiki-ops.

On 19 May, I listed my original proposal.

On 20 May, Jefffire responded to my 19 May post

On 21 May, I responded to Jeffire's 20 May post

On 24 May, three days later, Jeffire had failed to respond to my 21 May post. I asked if there was further discussion.

On 25 May, seeing no further response or discussion by Jeffire, I made the modifications.

On 25 May, within hours, Jeffire reverted my modifications without completing the outstanding discussion with me and without providing any specific defense for his actions.

On 28 May, I brought to the attention of this group the apparent failure of Jeffire to, IMO play by the rules. I've seen no response from Jefffire or anyone else on this apparent breach of protocol.

On 28 May, Pcarbonn expressed support of my idea to remove the references to Nature and Science.


What shall I do? Repost my changes and see if Jeffire, or someone else reverts them without discussing and defending -- as I have done - at significant time and effort on my part?

I'm very much opposed to starting an aggressive edit war. I believe there are more sportsmanlike ways to play.


This situation is very frustrating. I'm trying to have an honest, fact-based discussion and the actions of some are appearing to be disrespectful of common courtesty and Wiki-etiquette.

It does not give me cause to respect some of these participants - or the Wiki way.


Advise requested please. STemplar 04:52, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

Indeed, I think Jefffire should respond. ~~—Preceding unsigned comment added by Pcarbonn (talkcontribs)
The actions did involve someone acting with poor wiki etiquette, but the person doing so was STemplar, not Jefffire. The above timeline neglects Pcarbonn and my negative responses to the proposed edits. It was good and proper for STemplar to bring this proposal to talk, but when the consensus was clearly against it was improper to make the edits over a consensus objection. The argument written most recently does not inherently win an argument, nor does a failure to respond within a particular timeframe signify that those who wrote objections now agree. If that were true, an editor could simply keep posting evasive or repetitive responses in talk until other editors simply tired of responding, and then declare victory. Wikipedia shouldn't work that way. --Noren 22:25, 31 May 2006 (UTC)

Just to address points about failure to respond swiftly on my part, I have been away in the wilderness for over a week with no internet access and only very limited access in the days before. Jefffire 16:05, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

Opening: Pyroelectric Fusion not CF?

Cold fusion is a nuclear fusion reaction that takes place at or near room temperature and normal pressure instead of the millions of degrees and thousands of pounds of force required for plasma fusion reactions. The popular press sometimes use the term "cold fusion" incorrectly, to describe plasma fusion that occurs in table-top apparatus such as pyroelectric fusion.

I'm curious about the opening quoted here. Pyroelectric fusion appears to fit the definition in the first sentence: it is fusion of the nuclei of atoms, it takes place near room temperature (hundreds or thousands of degrees, not millions), and at 'only' a few atmospheres pressure. I see only a few possibilities here:

  1. The first sentence is wrong, leaving out an important qualification for cold fusion.
  2. The second sentence is wrong; pyroelectric fusion is in fact cold fusion.
  3. I have misunderstood the definition given of cold fusion; one of the criteria I mentioned does not apply to pyroelectric fusion as I understand it.
  4. I don't understand pyroelectric fusion, and one of the clear criteria in the first sentence does not apply.

I would appreciate guidance here. I've read one of the papers (Brownridge's?), but I'm no physicist. CRGreathouse 07:03, 26 May 2006 (UTC)

Pyroelectric fusion uses the kinetic energy of deuterium atoms to pass the Coulomb barrier and fuse the atoms. This is the same principle as plasma fusion, where the kinetic energy of atoms comes from their high temperature. So you could say that the beam of deuterium atoms in pyroelectric fusion have a very high temperature and kinetic energy, and apply a high pressure on its target. See also the "Other kinds of fusion" discussion above. Pcarbonn 10:49, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
Though the energy of the deuterium ions generated by the crystal has not been directly measured, the authors used 100 keV (a temperature of about 109 K) as an estimate in their modeling.[2] While I'd be happier with a more direct measurement, this demonstrates that the researchers believe that they are generating deuterons with the energy for 'hot' fusion. (Or, as a now deleted section from this article once categorized it, "globally cold, locally hot fusion".) --Noren 16:59, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
OK, I understand. I think we need to rewrite the opening, then, to make that more clear. What about this:
The press sometimes use the term "cold fusion" to describe plasma fusion that occurs in table-top apparatus such as pyroelectric fusion, but strictly speaking this is not accurate. The fusing atoms themselves are under tremendous pressure and heat, making pyroelectric fusion, though globaly cold, locally hot and as such distinct from true cold fusion.
Would that properly cover the objections to pyroelectric fusion? CRGreathouse 17:49, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
While your rewrite is technically accurate, it is problably best to put its content in the pyroelectric fusion article. Otherwise, the lead section of the cold fusion article would become longer than the 4 paragraphs recommended by WP:LEAD. Pcarbonn 19:32, 26 May 2006 (UTC)
My rewrite doesn't change the number of paragraphs, though. It replaces the sentence "The popular press sometimes use the term 'cold fusion' incorrectly, to describe plasma fusion that occurs in table-top apparatus such as pyroelectric fusion" with the two sentences above. CRGreathouse 21:00, 29 May 2006 (UTC)
You are right. Still, let's try to keep short and to not distract readers from the real cold fusion subject. A reviewer of this article requested that the lead section be shortened to 3 paragraphs a couple of weeks ago [3]. How about: "The popular press sometimes use the term "cold fusion" incorrectly, to describe "globally cold, locally hot" plasma fusion that occurs in table-top apparatus such as pyroelectric fusion" ? ("globally cold, locally hot" added) Pcarbonn 07:14, 30 May 2006 (UTC)
Yes, that's better. Thanks! CRGreathouse 22:57, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

Deuterium Oxide = Heavy Water?

I'm no expert on chemistry, but from my understanding, the name Deuterium Oxide implies one Deuterium atom and one Oxygen. Is not water two hydrogens and one oxygen? Wouldn't "DiDeuterium Oxide" be a better name? Wouldn't the name "Deuterium Oxide" essentially be a heavy version of Hydrogen Per Oxide? For that matter, I could've sworn that Oxide specifically meant two oxygens... So wouldn't Deuterium Oxide essentually be HO2? Not H2O? Anyway, are any experts out there who can correct me, or correct the article properly? I'm not going to touch it because I'm just an armchair physicist and really have no business making statements in any official capacity.

I'm no chemist either. A quick look on google showed that dideuterium oxide is synonymous with deuterium oxide, although it looks illogical, as you suggest. Also, peroxide means 2 oxygens, while oxide means one. So, I would thing that the article is fine.Pcarbonn 16:35, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
I am a chemist- The usual nomenclature for these inorganic compounds specifies the numbers the anion (in this case a single oxide gets no prefix) and the informed reader is assumed to know how many of the cation are needed to balance those anions. There's more to the naming of oxygen than you suggest- a pair of bound neutral oxygen atoms is O2 molecular oxygen, peroxide is [O2]2- with a -1 charge per oxygen, and a dioxide has two O2- comprising a total of -4 charge. If necessary the charge of the cation is specified rather than the number of equivalents. See the list of compounds at oxide- where Cu2O is named Copper(I) Oxide and CuO is named Copper(II) Oxide. Perhaps this is a silly way to do this, but specifying the number of both cation and anion was regarded as redundant, and nomenclature is extremely slow to change. Dideuterium Oxide is comprehensible but not the preferred name, as it contains redundant information. --Noren 17:19, 31 May 2006 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification. Indeed, why use dideuterium oxide, if deuterium oxide is shorter and unambiguous. I can understand the logic.Pcarbonn 19:54, 1 June 2006 (UTC)


Peer Review

Responding to the request for peer review, I've read this article. In my opinion, as a working physicist, the introduction fails badly in not spelling out the reason why the hypothesis that fusion reactions explain the reported measurements of excess heat generations remains unaccepted as an explanation by most physicists. According to our theoretical understanding of fusion, release of excess heat should be accompanied by release of well-determined quantities of energetic particles including fast neutrons and gamma rays. None of the experiments reported to release excess heat have also released energetic particles in the quantities predicted. In the absence of a convincing theoretical argument why the purported fusion reactions should not behave like all others that we have measured, the clear conclusion is that something else, most likely measurement error or poor experimental design, yields the reported results.

As I see from the talk page that this article has been heavily discussed, I'll ask for comments on a proposal to write the above content into the introduction before going ahead and doing so. Mordecai-Mark Mac Low 15:51, 3 June 2006 (UTC)


With all due respect Mordecai,


If the introduction is lacking in that it fails to spell out the reason why cold fusion doesn't look like hot fusion, then let us attend to that. There are two good books that review this if you wish to learn more. If you are going to assert yourself as qualified to advise on cold fusion, you should at least learn what is known on the subject and not attempt to insert your conventional point of view.


Your suggestion that the claims of cold fusion are due to "most likely measurement error or poor experimental design" is an old, old argument. These have already been addressed in voluminous and excruciating detail. Much of this article, as well as the related article, Cold Fusion Controversy discuss this.


Naturally, the burden of proof is on the claimant, so nobody says you personally have to accept any of the current hypothesis as proof. However, you do have the obligation to explicitly identify an error of procedure if you wish to assert anomalous error. Vague, general assertions are meaningless and unsupportable.


I would also like to point out that your perspective "In the absence of a convincing theoretical argument," reflects an aberration of the scientific method. Using a plain English metaphor, it puts the cart before the horse. The foundation of scientific exploration is experiment, not theory. In other words, "theories guide, experiments decide."


Now if you would like a single sentence to explain the paradox of cold fusion versus hot fusion, consider the statment by Nobel physics prize winner Julian Schwinger "The defense is simply stated: The circumstances of cold fusion are not those of hot fusion." www.lenr-canr.org/acrobat/SchwingerJcoldfusiona.pdf


If I am understanding this part of your text, "why ... the hypothesis remains unaccepted as an explanation by most physicists," correctly, the answer is simple. It's because they don't believe it/accept it (make your own choice of words.) Do they have good reason to not believe/accept it? Yes, absolutely. But it's not because there are pervasive and complete procedural errors in the experiments, or pervasive and complete mental illness in the experimenters, but because, "Large heat release from fusion at room temperature would be a multidimensional revolution." [Richard Garwin, Nature, Vol. 338, April 20, 1989]


STemplar 18:16, 3 June 2006 (UTC)

I've copied my comment over to the separate peer review page, where it belonged in the first place. I suggest we move the discussion over there. However, as you've taken the trouble to leave an extensive comment here, let me briefly reply here as well. I believe we have agreed that the conventional point of view is underrepresented in the article, since you suggest that I "not attempt to insert it". However, a neutral point of view should prominently mention the conventional point of view.

I do agree that I should not have made such a strong statement on the apparent sources of excess heat production (experimental error, etc), although that probably does continue to represent the consensus opinion. (I do have the expertise to discuss the consensus opinion of physicists. See my home page for details.) The experimental record does point to the possibility of some sort of small excess heat production occurring. However, labeling that something "cold fusion" is a theoretical statement, and that is what I was referring to. Your revised final paragraph (ending in the quote from Garwin) is essentially accurate. In other words, extraordinary conclusions require extraordinary evidence. As much of the evidence currently contradicts the conclusions (namely the lack of release of fusion byproducts and energetic particles), calling this apparent heat release "cold fusion" is not widely accepted. A theory that conclusively predicted the observations starting from atomic fusion would be one way of fixing that, but that hasn't yet appeared. Therefore I stand by my basic statement that most physicists don't accept the results as "cold fusion" because there are neither observations of expected fusion byproducts/energetic particles, nor a theory predicting alternative behavior Mordecai-Mark Mac Low 02:03, 4 June 2006 (UTC)


Mordecai, I am in full agreement with you. It is my opinion that the assertion of "fusion" in "cold fusion" is, indeed, speculative and an unnecessary and unfortunate label to the field of condensed matter nuclear research. What you have described above correctly in my opinion, performs the necessary separation of the issues. A)"the possibility of some sort of small excess heat production" which has strong empirically support and B)the assertion of an understanding of the mechanism -- for the reasons you state, as well as the fact that even researchers in the CMNS field shared bitterly divided opinions regarding theory. I'm ready to move this over to the peer review page.
STemplar 17:43, 5 June 2006 (UTC)
Pcarbonn, I don't understand the link you put in associating PRL with PRA.
STemplar 23:29, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

Bubble fusion

I added "bubble fusion" as a type of experiment the press is likely to confuse with cold fusion. What is the point of removing this comment?--Ron Marshall 17:40, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

The argument of Zarniwoot was that bubble fusion is speculative. The argument I would add is that the lead section of the article is too long already, so we should focus on what cold fusion is, not what it is not. Pcarbonn 19:55, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

If pyroelectric fusion is left in I see no reason why bubble fusion should not be there too. Calling bubble fusion speculative is irrelevant. The important question is accuracy, not the length of the introduction.--Ron Marshall 16:48, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

Naturwissenschaften Citation

Morphological Changes Indicating Substantial Anomalous Energy

Szpak, S., et al., "Evidence of Nuclear Reactions in the Pd Lattice," Naturwissenschaften, Vol. 92(8), p. 394-397, (2005) STemplar 23:24, 5 June 2006 (UTC)

Possible Rewrite of Intro

Cold fusion is a nuclear fusion reaction that takes place at or near room temperature and atmospheric pressure, such as in muon-catalyzed fusion. The popular press sometimes use the term "cold fusion" incorrectly, to describe "globally cold, locally hot" plasma fusion that occurs in table-top apparatus such as pyroelectric fusion.
"Cold fusion" is often used to refer to condensed matter nuclear science (CMNS, previously called "low energy nuclear reactions"), although the evidences of fusion in this line of research are still unconvincing. Cold fusion of this type was initially reported by Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons at the University of Utah in March of 1989. Because it was presented as a new practical source of energy, this announcement was front-page news for some time, and generated a strong controversy, but the debate abated quickly and CMNS was rejected by the mainstream scientific community.Pcarbonn 20:23, 5 June 2006 (UTC)


Revision to Pcarbon's proposal


"Cold fusion" is a colloquial term for the field of condensed matter nuclear science. The field comprises two main branches; one claiming experimental evidence for excess heat, another claiming experimental evidence for transmutations. The underlying theoretical mechanism, or mechanisms, responsible for both sets of observations are highly debated both within the CMNS community, as well as outside it.
The name "cold fusion," has been an unfortunate label because the hypothesis of "fusion" is still quite speculative, the proposed explanations for the observations vary immensely. Experimentally, the conditions to create the CMNS reactions, mainly high temperature, differ greatly from that of conventional nuclear fusion. As well, these CMNS reactions lack the expected fusion byproducts and energetic particles.
The excess heat branch of "cold fusion" was initially reported by Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons at the University of Utah in March of 1989. Because it was presented as a new practical source of energy, this announcement was front-page news for some time, and generated a strong controversy. The debate abated quickly and CMNS has been generally rejected by mainstream.
STemplar 23:58, 5 June 2006 (UTC)


These suggested revisions represent a very substantial improvement, in my eyes, that certainly begin to address my critique. I would, however, point out that even calling the field CMNS is still making a substantial theoretical assumption: we don't really know whether the excess heat is produced by chemical or nuclear processes (or something else entirely). Let me propose a synthesis of our three points of view:


Cold fusion describes nuclear fusion occurring at room temperature. Muon-catalyzed fusion represents an uncontroversial example of such a process. The popular press sometimes uses the term "cold fusion" incorrectly, to describe "globally cold, locally hot" plasma fusion that occurs in a table-top apparatus such as pyroelectric fusion.
In 1989, Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons at the University of Utah claimed that cold fusion occurs during electrolysis of heavy water. Experimental evidence has accumulated since for excess heat being produced in similar experiments, and for nuclear transmutations, but not in the proportions expected for fusion reactions. As a result, the underlying process remains unexplained, with the scientific mainstream rejecting the nuclear fusion hypothesis.
Because it was presented as a new practical source of energy, the claim of cold fusion by Fleischmann and Pons was front-page news for some time, and generated a strong controversy. Experiments similar to theirs continue to be performed, but with results generally regarded as inconclusive to date. Although the term condensed matter nuclear science is used by those performing these experiments, it remains unknown whether the processes observed are actually chemical, nuclear, or some combination.

Mordecai-Mark Mac Low 15:55, 6 June 2006 (UTC)

Mordecai - "we don't really know whether the excess heat is produced by chemical or nuclear processes (or something else entirely)" - well, I think based on the energy density we can safely rule out anything chemical, unless you know of a chemical reaction that produces GJ/kg level output? You are correct that something else entirely is not completely ruled out, and I would be interested to hear what you think that might be. Most of the things I can think of would be considered far less likely than cold fusion by most physicists. I'd have to say that by Occam's razor it almost has to be a nuclear reaction. ObsidianOrder 01:07, 7 June 2006 (UTC)


The article should not present a conclusion, but the scientific arguments for and against cold fusion and what the term cold fusion does and does not mean. The question is whether or not nuclear reactions are occurring in so called cold fusion experiments. A nuclear reaction may or may not be deuterium fusion. Nuclear transmutations indicate that some of the reactions are not deuterium fusion. The article should admit that establishment expectations of reaction products are based on hot fusion reactions and the hot fusion environment is way different from the cold fusion environment.

Since there is strong evidence of nuclear transformations, does it remain unknown that nuclear reactions are occurring? I have yet to see any kind of rebuttal of nuclear transmutation evidence. The evidence for nuclear reactions are heat, tritium, helium, and nuclear transmutations with unnatural isotope ratios. All of this should be clear in the introduction and in the article.

--Ron Marshall 17:10, 6 June 2006 (UTC)


The evidence for nuclear transformations is weaker than the evidence for excess heat flux as far as I can tell. The argument that the cold fusion environment is different from the hot fusion environment appears weak: nuclear reactions involve so much energy that their "macroscopic" environment (eg beyond the innermost electron orbital) becomes pretty irrelevant.
I don't think there is broad consensus that the nuclear transformations are definitely tied to the heat flux, although it is certainly argued that they are. Thus, the cautionary final sentence: I didn't say they weren't nuclear reactions, but that they are not yet generally accepted to be such, which is pretty clearly true. Mordecai-Mark Mac Low 18:52, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
I like the version of Mordecai, except for one thing: skeptics offer many reasons for rejecting claims of cold fusion. Unreproducibility, lack of documentation, theoretical impossibility, errors in measurement, insufficient nuclear products, fraud, you name it. This is best seen in the DOE review: there is not one reason that is presented stronger than the other. I trust the opinion of the DOE review more than my own, or those from other editors: I'm sure you would too, as required by Wikipedia policy. While the temptation is great, it would be wrong for us to choose just one for the intro. Because the intro cannot list all the reasons for lack of space, we can only say the conclusion. So here is a proposal that addresses the need to properly position CMNS, while not simplifying the debate inappropriately:
Cold fusion describes nuclear fusion occurring at room temperature and normal pressure, such as in Muon-catalyzed fusion. The popular press sometimes uses the term "cold fusion" incorrectly, to describe "globally cold, locally hot" plasma fusion that occurs in a table-top apparatus such as pyroelectric fusion.
In 1989, Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons at the University of Utah claimed that cold fusion occurs during electrolysis of heavy water with palladium cathode. Because it was presented as a new practical source of energy, this announcement was front-page news for some time, and generated a strong controversy, but the debate abated quickly and the claim was rejected by the mainstream scientific community. In recent years, the only prominent general science journal to publish a cold fusion paper was Naturwissenschaften. Some cold fusion researchers say that they have been shunned by the scientific establishment.
Yet, research continued. More than 1,500 researchers in "condensed matter nuclear science", as they call their research, have published scientific papers, often in specialized peer reviewed journals such as Physical Review A, Journal of Fusion Energy, and Journal of Physical Chemistry. The latest mainstream review of research in cold fusion occurred in 2004 when the US Department of Energy set up a panel of eighteen scientists. The panelists were evenly split on the following issue: "Is there compelling evidence for power that cannot be attributed to ordinary chemical or solid state sources". Two thirds of the panel did not feel that there was any conclusive evidence for low energy nuclear reactions, five found the evidence "somewhat convincing" and one was entirely convinced. The nearly unanimous opinion of the reviewers was that funding agencies should entertain individual, well-designed proposals for experiments in this field. Pcarbonn 19:42, 6 June 2006 (UTC)
Ladies and gents, I see lots of good discussion here, but unfortunately, I am short on time at the moment and may not be able to contribute extensively for a week or two. I want to point out a glaring problem and encourage you to attend to it. To associate that which is commonly associated with the term "cold fusion" to muon-catalyzed fusion is, IMO, in great error.
There is no controversy about muon-catalyzed fusion. Why? Because it is not a source of energy. I know of only one researcher who bothers to study this - Steven Earl Jones. He reported in Baltimore in 1989 that his form of "cold fusion" scales to the Fleischmann Pons claims "as 1 dollar is to the national debt." (Google for the source.) 57 neutrons per hour, folks. That's what he reported at ICCF-10 in 2003. 57 neutrons/hr is cute - but for all practical purposes, largely insignificant.
The reason why Jones' work has nothing to do with a possible energy producing low energy nuclear reaction is that he doesn't use an electrolyte anything like F&P. He's got a witch's brew called "Mother Earth Soup." Even though Jones was the first to publish a paper (1986, I think it was) using the term "cold fusion," what the world recognizes of cold fusion is the Fleischmann-Pons experiment, the idea of *energy* from deuterium. So, bottom line, I think the Jones muon catalyzed fusion should be mentioned, but it is incidental. It should be made clear that (unless someone can correct me) nobody besides Jones studies this, whereas hundreds of CMNS researchers study a dozen different varieties of D-Pd experiments, many modeled after the original FP D-Pd experiment.
STemplar 00:56, 7 June 2006 (UTC)
I agree completely. Muon-catalyzed fusion is technically cold but almost nobody thinks of that when they say "cold fusion". As far as the common usage of the term is concerned, "cold fusion" is precisely synonymous with CMNS or LENR or whatever you want to call it. Yes, muon-catalyzed fusion deserves a mention, but not prominently in the intro as it is now. Quote: "Cold fusion has two major lines of research: muon-catalyzed fusion and condensed matter nuclear science (CMNS, previously called "low energy nuclear reactions")". This is just plain wrong. ObsidianOrder

On muon-catalyzed fusion we are supposed to be reporting the facts, not making them up. I do not think the term "cold fusion" started with Steve Jones, I remember reading the term in the 60's in reference to the 1968 nobel prize in physics given for experiments which included a muon-catalyzed fusion experiment. We need to make it clear that there are multiple definitions even though we are concentrating on one. See http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2003/09/10_crawford.shtml People are still looking at muon-catalyzed fusion. It has been proposed as a means of starting hot fusion rockets for instance. --Ron Marshall 17:35, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

GA promotion

I, thoroughly read this article which explains in deep details the experiments, the history, the controversies and even more than that. It is a bit underreferenced because this is a controversial topic and as such every statement should have an inline cite. Lincher 17:18, 7 June 2006 (UTC) P.S. Please archive this talk page.

Thank you. I've placed many of the references at the end of each paragraph, instead of at the end of each statement. Is this an appropriate way to do it ? Is it clear enough that the reference is for the whole paragraph ? Pcarbonn 20:19, 7 June 2006 (UTC)

Cold fusion is not just CMNS

The lead section currently says: "Cold fusion, also called condensed matter nuclear science (CMNS) or "low energy nuclear reactions" (LENR), was initially reported by Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons at the University of Utah in March of 1989.". I propose to change it to this:

Cold fusion is generally used to refer to "condensed matter nuclear science" (CMNS) or "low energy nuclear reactions" (LENR). Such cold fusion was initially reported by Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons at the University of Utah in March of 1989.

OK ? Pcarbonn 09:21, 10 June 2006 (UTC)

OK. ObsidianOrder 09:16, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
Minor nitpick: muon-catalyzed fusion "consumes more energy than it generates" - that's not possible since energy is conserved ;) This is probably intended to mean "the amount of energy it produces as heat is only slightly larger than the energy required as input to the reaction". Ok, perhaps there is no elegant way to explain it in a brief sentence, but the point is that the heat output is *always* greater than the total input of all forms of energy combined, but obviously you can't run it in a closed loop with some kind of heat engine until the ratio becomes greater than 1 over the efficiency of whatever you use to complete the loop. You would need ouput at least 400% of the input if you have a steam turbine/electical generator/thermocouple or whatever with an efficiency of only 25%. MCF output is somewhere in the single-digit percentages above input, I believe? ObsidianOrder 09:16, 11 June 2006 (UTC)
Conservation of energy does not mean that all reactions are exothermic, which seems to be what you're claiming here. In chemistry endothermic reactions are quite common. In a nuclear reaction such as this, energy can be converted to mass as well as the reverse. The muon decays to an electron and two neutrinos, the energy for which must come from somewhere. If the net result is more mass, or higher entropy, reactions certainly can be endothermic. Do you have some more detailed reason to doubt the published work in this area? --Noren 20:16, 11 June 2006 (UTC)

On papers

I'm a little bit concerned about the claim of 1500 papers published. I'm not disputing it, but how many are self published or otherwise unreliable? Should we be including such papers in the intro? Jefffire 16:55, 22 June 2006 (UTC)

1500 papers ? the intro talks about 1500 CMNS researchers, not papers. The estimate comes from LENR-CANR library and its list of authors. Pcarbonn 20:35, 22 June 2006 (UTC)
My mistake. I'm not sure that's a reliable source though. Perhaps a better wording could be used? Jefffire 21:09, 22 June 2006 (UTC)
That source is not a list of "cold fusion" authors, it's far more inclusive than that. The first three author entries are: Abbas, A. (a "cold fusion" author); Abbenseth, R. (an author of a 1980 paper on Pd-D alloys; a paper cited by "cold fusion" authors which is not itself a "cold fusion" paper); and ABC T.V. (clearly not a "cold fusion" paper author.) On the other side, it's not clear to me whether or not authors who have not ever published as first author are included in the enumeration of 1500 authors. This source does not support the 1500 authors claim. --Noren 16:46, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

That paragraph's other claims are even more dubious. The above bibliography cites no papers since 1991 in Physical Review A and none since 1995 in Journal of Physical Chemistry. There has been one publication in Journal of Fusion Energy listed since 1994, which was a review rather than a standard paper. Are there other "cold fusion" papers in these journals? The existing text's claim that "cold fusion" papers are often published in these journals is false. I'm inclined to delete this whole paragraph. --Noren 16:46, 23 June 2006 (UTC)

OK for a rewrite. I think it's important to say in the intro that research continued after the first DOE review, and that many scientists with a variety of credentials have worked on it (the field is not limited to a handful of diehard). In the LENR-CANR library, some references are not scientific articles, but on the other hand, only the first author of a paper is referenced in the list of 1,500 authors, so I would propose to stick to this estimate until a better one can be found. There are quite a few references published after 2000, but most seem to be proceedings from the ICCF, so I suggest that a word on this meeting is appropriate. How about:
"Some CMNS researchers say that they have been shunned by the scientific establishment. An estimated 1,500 scientists with a variety of credentials have contributed to the field or participated to the international conferences on cold fusion, and some have published in specialized peer reviewed journals such as Physical Review A, Journal of Fusion Energy, and Journal of Physical Chemistry. In recent years, the only prominent general science journal to publish a cold fusion paper was Naturwissenschaften"
Pcarbonn 09:44, 24 June 2006 (UTC)
As you said to me last month, "The way you present it makes it look like Original Research. We especially strive to avoid original research in this article because the subject is very controversial, so please provide a source or remove the statement." Please supply a reference that directly addresses your claim, or a list of 1500 names. Your proposed phrasing of the next sentences still gives a NPOV impression that those three journals actively publish "cold fusion" papers, while in reality the only thing published in any of the three in the last decade was a single review. How about paraphrasing from [[4]]:
"Some CMNS researchers say that they have been shunned by the scientific establishment. Cold fusion papers are almost never published in refereed scientific journals. However, the general science journal Naturwissenschaften published a cold fusion paper recently." --Noren 10:57, 24 June 2006 (UTC)
This is a tough I'm afraid, and may take some time to find an amicable solution. At present, I'm not sure about either of these two options, but I think they are getting there. Jefffire 11:12, 24 June 2006 (UTC)
I agree on the need for sources, and on the lack of papers since 1995. Should the intro only present the current situation? I don't think so, and some history is useful. Then the question is "how do you describe a bottle: as half full or half empty ?" Shouldn't we focus on what happened, as opposed to what did not, so that the reader can make his own mind ? So here is another attempt:
"Some CMNS researchers say that they have been shunned by the scientific establishment. Many scientists with a variety of credentials have contributed to the field or participated to the international conferences on cold fusion, and some have published in specialized peer reviewed journals such as Physical Review A, Journal of Fusion Energy, and Journal of Physical Chemistry in the early nineties. After the initial interest, the only prominent general science journal to publish a cold fusion paper was Naturwissenschaften in 2005"
Pcarbonn 15:56, 24 June 2006 (UTC)
I quite like it. Out of interest, what exactly is the Naturwissenschaften paper about? Jefffire 16:11, 24 June 2006 (UTC)
Stemplar added the reference to Naturwissenschaften in the lead section: "Szpak, S., et al., "Evidence of Nuclear Reactions in the Pd Lattice," Naturwissenschaften, Vol. 92(8), p. 394-397, (2005)". I don't know anything else about the article. Pcarbonn 16:31, 24 June 2006 (UTC)
I agree with the content of that paragraph, this is good work, and we're getting close! I do think the phrasing could be improved a bit, how about:
"Some CMNS researchers say that they have been shunned by the scientific establishment. Many scientists with a variety of credentials have contributed to the field or participated to the international conferences on cold fusion. In the early nineties, some published in specialized peer reviewed journals such as Physical Review A, Journal of Fusion Energy, and Journal of Physical Chemistry. After the initial interest, the only prominent general science journal to publish a cold fusion paper was Naturwissenschaften, in 2005."
--Noren 17:37, 24 June 2006 (UTC)

OK for me. Let's see if others have comments. Pcarbonn 08:39, 25 June 2006 (UTC)

I suspect that we misrepresent the number of articles published in peer reviewed journals. I'll check again the library. It may be better to say: "In the early nineties, many published in specialized peer reviewed journals...".Pcarbonn 07:08, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

But, when does some become many? It may be better to used a more neutral term. Jefffire 13:58, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

For the record, I've looked at how many references the LENR-CANR.org library has for each year (using text search):

  • 1989: 427
  • 1990: 534
  • 1991: 309
  • 1992: 241
  • 1993: 211
  • 1994: 173 (no ICCF conference this year)
  • 1995: 193
  • 1996: 229
  • 1997: 86 (no ICCF )
  • 1998: 196
  • 1999: 83 (no ICCF)
  • 2000: 132
  • 2001: 39 (no ICCF)
  • 2002: 138
  • 2003: 118
  • 2004: 117
  • 2005: 92
  • 2006: 2

Total: 3.320 And for the major sources:

  • 660: ICCF
  • 97: J. Electroanal. Chem
  • 80: Phys. Rev. (Lett, A, ...)
  • 74: J. New Energy
  • 72: Fusion Energy
  • 68: Infinite Energy
  • 61: AIP Conference Proceedings
  • 24: J. Phys. Chem.
  • 22: Jpn. J. Appl. Phys.

So we should adapt the list of journals we cite in the intro. Pcarbonn 20:18, 26 June 2006 (UTC)

Then we open the whole "what is a mainstream journal" can of worms. A brief mention of numbers, which can be expanded in later sections, will probably suffice. Jefffire 13:21, 27 June 2006 (UTC)
Can we agree that J. Electroanal. Chem is a reputable peer reviewed journal to be cited in intro? Do we have a source for the statement that most publications happened before 1995 ? (my own research on J. Electroanal. Chem indicates that they were still many publications after 1995). Based on these 2 observations, here is a revised version of the paragraph
"Some CMNS researchers say that they have been shunned by the scientific establishment. Many scientists with a variety of credentials have contributed to the field or participated to the international conferences on cold fusion. Articles have been published in specialized peer reviewed journals such as Physical Review A, Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry, and Journal of Fusion Energy. After the initial interest, the only prominent general science journal to publish a cold fusion paper was Naturwissenschaften, in 2005."
We could also say "More than 200 articles have been published...", but would it be considered as Original Research ?Pcarbonn 10:43, 28 June 2006 (UTC)


Good job on the shift from 1500 papers to the current text. The "1500" could be a problem because there is apparently a broad spectrum of quality in these papers. Good balance.
STemplar 05:42, 1 July 2006 (UTC)

Published Papers

New Energy Times appears to be keeping a running list of current published papers in the field, they also have the bibliographical references to the F&P 1990, Oriani 1990, Wilson 1992 critique, and the 1992 F&P response to the Wilson critique. http://newenergytimes.com/Reports/SelectedPapers.htm

Note also the 2004 Journal of Fusion Energy paper, as well as the six other papers published in the last two years.

STemplar 06:09, 27 June 2006 (UTC)

Thanks for your input. Could you add the full bibliographical references to the articles you mention ? It would be great. Pcarbonn 09:50, 27 June 2006 (UTC)