Archives for October 2012

Scientific American censors discussion of cold fusion, including statements by its own editors

The Scientific American published another attack on cold fusion, Ouellette, J., Genie in a Bottle: The Case Against Cold Fusion, in Scientific American. 2012. The author ignores the scientific literature and looks instead at movies, popular culture and mythology surrounding the 1989 announcement. She concludes that cold fusion does not exist.

In the on-line discussion of this article, the author allowed only skeptical arguments against cold fusion. She erased all rebuttals, and all messages supporting it, including: proof that many scientists support the research; that the effect has been widely replicated; and that over a thousand peer-reviewed papers on the subject have been published in mainstream journals. Finally, she erased messages quoting the editors of the Scientific American, and a message saying that peer-reviewed replicated experiments are the standard of truth in experimental science, which cited the Chairman of the Indian AEC and other distinguished scientists.

To paraphrase Marx, the opposition to cold fusion began as a tragedy and it is ending as a farce.

Edmund Storms wrote this response to this column:

The scientific proof supporting the claims made by Fleischmann and Pons is now overwhelming. This is not the opinion of a “handful of diehard supporters” but of several major universities and corporations. The information is easily obtained at and in many books written about the history and the science. We are no longer in 1990 when the claims were in doubt and many people attempted to replicate them, some with success. Many of the reasons for success and failure are now known. An explanation for the phenomenon is being developed and claims are being demonstrated for commercial-level power. Surely a writer for a magazine as important as Scientific American would know these facts and not continue using the myth that was created before the facts were known.

The author first erased it, but later restored it, adding, “With all due respect to Dr. Storms, I stand by my post.” She erased several messages from many different contributors. Here are two by Jed Rothwell:

If you are going to quote Robert Park, it seems to me you owe it to your audience to quote him when he brags publicly that he has never read a single paper. That is what he has said, repeatedly. He said it to a large crowd of people at the APS. If you do not believe me, ask him yourself. It is misleading to quote him as some sort of expert when he brags about the fact that he knows nothing.

The editors of the Scientific American also told me that they have read no papers on this subject, because ‘reading papers is not our job.’ Their assertions about cold fusion are also technically wrong. I published their comments here:

[Quoting a skeptical attack] Cude wrote: “I’m not aware of a single major university that has expressed the opinion that evidence for the claims of P&F is overwhelming.”

Professors at universities and at other institutions express that opinion. For example, the Chairman of the Indian Atomic Energy Commission said that, as did the world’s top expert in tritium at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (NSF p. 13-3). In 1991, The Director of the Max Planck Institute for Physical Chemistry in Berlin wrote: “. . . there is now undoubtedly overwhelming indications that nuclear processes take place in the metal alloys.”

Hundreds of other distinguished experts in nuclear physics and other related disciplines have said they are certain cold fusion is real. They know this because they have conducted experiments and detected the reaction at high signal to noise ratios, and their experiments have survived rigorous peer-review. That is the only way anyone ever knows anything for sure in science. Replicated, high sigma experiments are the only standard of truth.

Cold fusion in mass media articles

Cold fusion is attracting some attention in the mass media. Recently, several articles about it have been published, including:

Anderson, M., Big Idea: Bring Back the “Cold Fusion” Dream, in Discover Magazine. 2012. This is about the Widom-Larsen theory.

Featherstone, S., Can Andrea Rossi’s Infinite-Energy Black Box Power The World–Or Just Scam It?, in Popular Science. 2012. This describes a visit with Rossi, and another with Celani.

Gibbs, M., Cold Fusion Gets a Little More Real [Updated], in Forbes. 2012. A report on the visit to Defkalion by M. Nelson of NASA. Nelson’s visit was supposed to be confidential, but it was revealed in leaked documents discussed in this article, and also by eCat News, “Defkalion Self-Leaks Catalyst.”

Hambling, D., Cold fusion: smoke and mirrors, or raising a head of steam?, in 2012, which covers Rossi’s recent claims, ICCF17, Celani’s recent claims and so on.

Ouellette, J., Genie in a Bottle: The Case Against Cold Fusion, in Scientific American. 2012. A renewed attack on the research. See the latest news item.