Cold Fusion Featured on Radio SETI

Here’s a link to a podcast just released SETI Institute’s Big Picture Science radio show which covers cold fusion. Rather predictably, the topic of cold fusion comes up in a feature called ‘Science Blunders’, and when I started listening I was expecting the familiar story that dismissed the whole cold fusion story out of hand. But I was rather pleasantly surprised about how the whole piece ended up. The interviewer talks to David Goodstein, a physicist California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

The link below will take you to a podcast of the piece which runs for about 10 minutes.

  • Alan DeAngelis

    So, it was Fleischmann and Pons who set LENR back a quarter
    of a century. I’m so glad he set us straight.

  • GreenWin

    Frankly this a script to maintain the fiction that there were not enough positive results in experiments replicating Pons & Fleischmann. Even ONE positive result is enough to warrant expanded research. There were far more than one positive result. CalTech and MIT physics and chemistry were both mortified their schools had been scooped. MIT received lucrative government grants funding its hot fusion programs. CalTech’s Charles A Barnes, Prof Physics, said in a 1989 interview: “We had worked on these fusion reactions for a long time, and in particular we had, just a couple of years ago [cir 1987], measured a weak fusion reaction that occurs when you bombard D with D—namely, the reaction that goes directly to helium-4 with the production of the 23.5 MeV gamma ray. We had measured this at low energies, and it turned out to be scientifically very interesting to us. “

    The facts are that the CalTech Kellog and Noyes labs ran a bunch of electrochemical cells with old materials on hand and were unable to replicate P&F excess heat. Then Steve Koonin CalTech prof Theoretical Physics announced that “Pons and Fleischmann were suffering from incompetence and delusions.” Koonin had intended to accuse P&F of “fraud” except CalTech President Thomas Everheart nixed it. Koonin was hired by British Petroleum in 2004 to head their long range technology strategy. Koonin later went to the US Dept of Energy and was retired 2011.

    • Fortyniner

      ….’my work here is done’…

      Perhaps we are finally reaching a ‘Planckian’ turning point.

      • GreenWin

        A virtual ‘kick off’ maybe.

    • SiriusMan

      When the LENR story is finally public, I really hope some detailed investigations begin as to what actually happened in 1989. We know from Mallove about data manipulation at MIT etc…..but how/why exactly did it occur?

      The story that ‘hot fusion scientists wanted to keep their funding’ doesn’t cut it for me. I think it much more likely that the public dismissal of cold fusion simply allowed its quiet transition into the ‘black world’ of classified military R&D. How could it not? Equipping ships, tanks, aircraft with LENR power sources would give any military a huge advantage. Releasing the technology to all nations could cause a massive shift in the geopolitical balance. The military has good reasons to want to keep it secret.

      …but that leaves the question as to the motives of the scientists who dishonestly dismissed cold fusion. Were they forced to do it? Threatened? If some intimidating government guys approach a scientist and insist he/she does a particular thing, because ‘its a matter of national security’, do the scientist do it? My answer is: almost certainly yes!

      Anyway, it is going to be very interesting to see how this all plays out….

      • AlainCo

        I support the idea that it is a pure academic problem.

        yes scientsit were forced to reject cold fusion, they were punished if dissenting. Biberian explain it well. They were facing fraudsters whoc could not be denounced (see mallove in EIR ) .

        this is very common, and caused by the fact that in academic world your win if you are in the consensus.

        Roland Benabou explain well how the victims of delusions start to support the delusion

        “The key observation is that this tradeoff is shaped by how others deal with bad news, creating cognitive linkages. When an agent benefits from others overoptimism, his improved prospects make him more accepting of the bad news which they ignore. Conversely, when he is made worse off by others’ blindness to adverse signals, the increased loss attached to such news pushes him toward denial, which is then contagious. Thinking styles thus become strategic substitutes or complements, depending on the sign of externalities (not cross-partials) in the interaction payoffs. When interdependence among participants is high enough, this Mutually Assured Delusion (MAD) principle can give rise to multiple equilibria with different social cognitions of the same reality. The same principle also implies that, in organizations where some agents have a greater impact on others welfare than the reverse (e.g., managers on workers), strategies of realism or denial will trickle down the hierarchy, so that subordinates will in effect take their beliefs from the leader.”

        Even it is looks credible, I today think theproblem was not caused by hot fusion, but by ego and conservatism of a hand ful of APS lords…

        then the parroting and the terrors started and maintained the fraud.

      • Frechette

        I don’t believe in conspiracy theories in this matter. It all gets down to arrogance and self interest on the part of certain individuals and institutions representing main stream science. We’ve seen this sort of reaction in the past. Nothing has changed. At the end of the late 1800s members of the Royal Society had the arrogance to claim there was nothing left to be discovered in physics. They were proved wrong by work of experimentalists. The Michelson Morley experiment comes to mind.

        • AlainCo


  • Marc Ellenbroek

    Unfortunatly not a very in depth discussion about LENR, quite basic as if nothing happend since P&F. But it is balanced in its very basic level.

  • AlainCo

    is there a transcript?