Archives for April 2009

CBS 60 Minutes reports on cold fusion

The CBS newsmagazine 60 Minutes reported on cold fusion on April 19, 2009. The video and an article describing it are here:

“COLD FUSION IS HOT AGAIN – Presented in 1989 as a revolutionary new source of energy, cold fusion was quickly dismissed as junk science. But today, the buzz among scientists is that these experiments produce a real physical effect that could lead to monumental breakthroughs in energy production. Scott Pelley reports. Denise Schrier Cetta is the producer.”

Here is a detailed description of the broadcast at New Energy Times.

The reported featured the work of McKubre et al., and Dardik et al. Here are some notable papers by these authors:

McKubre, M.C.H., et al., Development of Advanced Concepts for Nuclear Processes in Deuterated Metals. 1994, EPRI.

McKubre, M.C.H., et al., Isothermal Flow Calorimetric Investigations of the D/Pd and H/Pd Systems. J. Electroanal. Chem., 1994. 368: p. 55.

Dardik, I., et al. Ultrasonically-excited electrolysis Experiments at Energetics Technologies. in ICCF-14 International Conference on Condensed Matter Nuclear Science. 2008. Washington, DC.

CBS asked Prof. Robert Duncan to do an independent evaluation of the literature and to visit researchers and experiments. Duncan has not performed cold fusion experiments himself and had the impression that the original claims were mistaken. He now says: “I found that the work done was carefully done, and that the excess heat, as I see it now, is quite real.” He added: “If you ask me, is this going to have any impact on our energy policy, it’s impossible to say, because we don’t fundamentally understand the process yet. But to say, because we don’t fundamentally understand the process and that’s why we’re not going to study it, is like saying, ‘I’m too sick to go to the doctor.'”

Most experts who have conducted independent evaluations of cold fusion have concluded the effect is real, notably Gerischer, who wrote: “In spite of my earlier conclusion, — and that of the majority of scientists, — that the phenomena reported by Fleischmann and Pons in 1989 depended either on measurement errors or were of chemical origin, there is now undoubtedly overwhelming indications that nuclear processes take place in the metal alloys.” See:

Richard Garwin asserted that there may be an error measuring input power, and the excess heat might be an artifact for this reason. This is ruled out for several reasons, most notably:

  1. The excess heat has been measured when there is no input power, in heat after death and with gas loading.
  2. As McKubre pointed out in his response, “A very large number of people have been making these measurements and a measurement of current, voltage, temperature resistance is some of the simplest measurements that a physicist or a physical scientist will measure.”
  3. Garwin himself, in his 1993 report on his visit to SRI wrote: “We have found no specific experimental artifact responsible for the finding of excess heat . . .” In other words, he does not know any specific reason to doubt the power measurements. Unless he can cite a specific reason his claim cannot be tested or falsified and therefore it is not a valid scientific assertion. Garwin’s SRI report is here:

Garwin also said: “I am living proof that there’s doubt. Now, they can say that there, that excess heat is being produced. But they can’t say there’s no doubt. All they can say is they don’t doubt. But I doubt.” This is also not a valid scientific assertion.