More on Cold Fusion in Scientific American

The newly released Believers film has been mentioned already in Scientific American, and now it has been followed up with a longer article by Jennifer Ouellette titled “Genie in a Bottle: The Case Against Cold Fusion“, which provides a familiar critique. You don’t have to read too far to get an idea of what the tone of the article will be.

I can’t speak for the quality of the film, because I haven’t seen it, but as someone who has covered physics for (*cough*) going on 20 years, I well remember the controversy, and have followed it off and on over the years. So I readily admit to getting a little rant-y when I encounter insufficiently skeptical reportage on this topic. It’s prime ground for wishful thinking: who wouldn’t want a source of cheap, limitless energy? I sure do! But wanting something to be true isn’t the same as something actually being true in the rigorous experimental sense of the word.

Despite the developments that have been taking place recently that have been chronicled here and elsewhere, the narrative about cold fusion that most people hear from media sources they trust is that there really is nothing going on, and probably won’t ever be.

While I have a very different take on the whole field, I think I understand the author’s position given cold fusion’s history and its assessment by respected authorities. I really think that it’s just a matter of time (how long, I don’t know) before reassessment will take place, and then the idea of cheap limitless energy won’t be so far-fetched.

  • Roger Bird

    Arrogance has no place among explorers and paradigm shifters.

  • GreenWin

    Here’s another comment erased by the SciMerican COCKTAIL PHYSICS lady but should be given a full airing; this one from 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 also technically wrong. I published their comments here:” . . . – Jed

  • lcd

    She may be in for a rude awakening

    • Peter_Roe

      In the short term her ‘opinions’ will probably be reflected in a number of MSM articles – she should enjoy this while it lasts. For others thinking of contributing similar disinformation pieces to MSM publications, I would strongly advise the use of a pseudonym.

    • NJT

      Or a new hair dye job – sorry I just could not help myself – I love those blond jokes…

  • Pedro

    Over on the JoNP website, Emilio Icaza asked AR: “You mentioned last week that Leonardo Corp would not be the same this week. Has that transformation taken place?, and, when will we find out about it?”

    AR replied: “Dear Emilio Icaza:
    Yes, Leonardo Corp is very much powerful now. I can already say that the first 1 MW hot cat will go in operation within February 2013. It will not be a military application, therefore selected persons will be allowed to visit it. It will be installed in a big power production and distribution plant. This is the new. The plant is made in the USA.
    An extremely important agreement has been signed after the tests of the Hot Cat, which are going on since June in the USA and in Italy.
    The details will be communicated only after the plant will have been working for enough time to be visitable, also to avoid clubs in the wheels. That’s all I can say right now. Warm Regards, A.R.”

    Note that the delivery in februari is for a HOT CAT plant (the first), not the old eCAT plant that was delivered one year ago to the military.

    • Karl

      Very very good news!

  • GreenWin

    This comment to the Scientific American’s “Cocktail Physics” article is from Dr. Edmund Storms:

    “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.” Dr. Edmund Storms 10/30/2012

    Surely Ms. Ouelette knows more about science than Dr. Storms. Which is probably why Scientific American bought her story. I just cannot figure why she neglects to mention all her years as Associate Editor for the American Physical Society APS NEWS. They are LENR’s biggest opponent… after oil&gas, hot fusion/fission, electric utilities and fake environmentalists.

  • jacob

    for those who have been following this bloc for some time ,it must be clear ,that LENR will bring a tremendous boost to all countries of this world,ok there is going to be joblosses at first ,but it would be overshadowed by the remarkable job creation LENR has to offer,spending money for energy can very soon be obsolete,positioning all inhabitants of earth on an equal playing field,food production could be anywhere on earth,over population would be a non issue.
    The governments should sit down with their finance ministers and actually run some numbers ,and will realize it would be a win win situation for most involved .

    Why should humanity not prosper??

    including their budgets

    • Kim G. Patterson

      The fox (Vulpes vulpes) is guarding the hen house.


    • orsobubu

      >Why should humanity not prosper??

      Because in capitalistic production system conditions, LENR would accelerate overproduction, overpopulation, unemployment, competition, automation, fall of the profit rate (see Karl Marx’ Capital). In a word, LENR would enhance crisis conditions bringing to imperialistic wars. These crisis are inevitable in capitalism, but LENR brings nearer the physical limit of a continuous and limitless market expansion, which is the only way to delay the day of reckoning. In addition, there is a risk deriving from multiplying human industrial activities on Earth, because the heat barrier cannot be surpassed. I imagine only two ways to overcome this: mankind expansion in outer space (not a robotic expansion, because only human worked hours produce capital) or a communist revolution, where use value (useful energy and goods) replace exchange value (wage work, money, capital, banks).