I have noticed a couple of interesting reports have been published online about the proceedings of the recent International Low Energy Nuclear Reactions Symposium held at William and Mary College in Williamsburg, Virginia.
The first was a brief report posted by Jed Rothwell on the vortex-l mailing list. He mentioned that there were about 50 attendees and he sensed a high level of enthusiasm among them. Rob Duncan of the University of Missouri, who has been one of the leading academics in the field of late was there talking about what is going on at MU. Rothwell states:
Rob Duncan described various projects now underway at U. Missouri. They want to be certain of the results before they announce them, but it is apparent that they are doing a lot of solid fundamental research in cooperation with the ENEA and others. Energetics Technologies has relocated from Israel to the U. Missouri commercial “incubator” where they are doing commercial-type R&D less open to discussion, more targeted to getting patents.
He also noted that Peter Hagelstein of MIT presented his latest theory of LENR which was apparently well received. Another point of interest was that there are more LENR projects getting funded these days, suggesting a softening of attitudes towards cold fusion by those who hold the purse strings.
The second report was an article entitled “Cold Fusion is Real” published on OpEdNews.com by astrophysicist Josh Mitteldorf who attended the conference. The author was not well versed in the current state of play in the LENR field, and he talks about how surprised he was to learn that things are alive and well despite the virtual absence of information in scientific circles. He writes:
Dismissed by mainstream scientists, denied funding and space in the scientific journals, Cold Fusion has occupied a scientific backwater for 23 years. Meanwhile, demonstrations have been repeated again and again, a great deal of know-how has been acquired and shared over the internet. The scientists who stuck with it have been vindicated, and once again people are saying that a solution to the global crises of pollution and climate change may be within our sights.
Mitteldorf discusses the politics involved in cold fusion research and give examples from stories he heard at the conference.
I heard one story after another about censorship and suppression — all whispered between conference presentations. A Nobel prize-winning physicist writes his own theory of how Cold Fusion could come about. He sends it to the straight-arrow Physical Review, where he has never had a paper rejected for publication in his life. But Phys Rev sends it back to him — they will not consider it or send it out for review. The Nobelist — a towering figure in physics, named Julian Schwinger — resigns from the American Physical Society in protest. (This was back in 1992.) A mainstream physicist with a large working group in Illinois lands a $50 million contract for research in Cold Fusion, and after his work has already begun, he gets a call from his project manager saying that the project has to be canceled. An MIT researcher lands a grant from a private entrepreneur (60% of which goes to the MIT Administration, as is standard), but gets a call from the Administration telling him they will not accept the funding, and he has to give it back. Another MIT professor has stunning experimental results concerning a new and reliable way to kick-start cold fusion, and even the specialized engineering journal where he submits the article tells him they will not accept the article, as a matter of policy.
It’s interesting to see the point of view of someone who is new to the subject. Mitteldorf seems surprised and excited about the current levels of activity among cold fusion researchers, and from what he learned at the conference, is optimistic that this technology will soon emerge into the public consciousness and be embraced as a solution to our energy problems.