Skip to comments.MIT Physicist Nixes Cold Fusion Funding
Posted on 05/16/2012 7:52:16 PM PDT by Kevmo
Of all the interesting tidbits to come out of The Atom Unexplored conference in Turin, Italy in May 4, perhaps the account by Dr. Peter Hagelstein of MIT on how a prominent physicist actively worked to cut cold fusion funding was the most eye-opening. In the question and answer session held after the morning LENR portion of the proceedings, a member of the audience asked a rather poignant question regarding why scientists often fail to develop clear “road maps” from the laboratory to the “real world.” In responding to this question, Dr. Hagelstein gave a quite detailed and thoughtful answer regarding this problem as it relates to cold fusion/LENR. As the final part of his answer, he stated the following regarding his own recent personal experience regarding this issue: The other issue is how to get support for such work. In the United States at the moment, outside of a program under Dennis Bushnell at NASA, there is no currently, as far as Im aware, there is no other government support for any work in this area for such experiments. I recently had the experience of working with a large company in the U.S. who was interested in pursuing experiments in this area and helping out. So we put in, we discussed with the technical people at this company of the possibility that they might put in some money for the support of the replication of the Piantelli experiment. So they got the agreement, they got the money, they got it to MIT, and we thought “good, now we can make some progress.” However, a very famous physicist at MIT, who is involved in the energy program, found out what we were trying to do, and he cancelled the program. And he called up the vice president of the company and said some things that werent very polite about the research. And not only did the funding not come and the experiments didnt happen, but my colleagues at the company were very worried about where theyre going to work next. As you know, there are unemployment issues currently in our bad economy, so theres a fundamental difficulty with respect to getting support for the experiments, and what that means is that the science can be expected to go very slowly for these reasons, until a solution is found to this problem.
As many know, MIT was at the forefront in the effort to discredit cold fusion in 1989, and the report issued by that institution detailing a failed replication attempt carried an enormous amount of weight in forming the public perception that cold fusion was a hoax and junk science. The MIT report was the first document listed in the Department of Energys negative assessment of the technology in 1989. A story that appeared in the Boston Herald, with the headline MIT Bombshell Knocks Cold Fusion Breakthrough Cold is felt by many to have set off the feeding frenzy in the media that cold fusion was a hoax. However, in a report published by the late Dr. Eugene Mallove in 1999, he extensively detailed the efforts of some high-ranking individuals at MIT to falsify positive replication results in order to ensure that MIT continued to receive tens of millions of dollars in US government funding for its plasma fusion (hot fusion) program. You can read the detailed accounting here. This article is a first-hand account of what took place at MIT, since Dr. Mallove was the head of MITs Science Information Office at the time of these events. He subsequently resigned in protest over the alleged fraud of his colleagues.
Yet, over the many years since the alleged fraud perpetuated by the staff and administration at MIT, that institution has come a long way in distancing itself from this stain on its otherwise stellar reputation. MIT now holds regular cold fusion colloquiums and just this year held a class detailing cold fusion history and current research. The class included a demonstration of the NANOR cold fusion device built by MIT graduate Dr. Mitchell Swartz. As Dr. Hagelstein pointed out in his lecture (see link below) at The Atom Unexplored, this device has run since January and demonstrated energy gains up to 14 times that of the input power. Most of Dr. Hagelsteins presentation on May 4 covered the NANOR and included detailed technical data about the device. He even offered an open invitation to the public to visit MIT to witness the device function. If any readers want to see a functioning cold fusion device first-hand, I would highly suggest you make a pilgrimage to MIT to see the NANOR sooner rather than later. I cannot imagine that the experimental NANOR device will run indefinitely, nor that its opponents in the physics department, who continue to receive generous grants from the US Government for competing energy research, will allow this demonstration to continue that much longer regardless. Honestly, I really regret that the bulk of this article is about the efforts of some in the physics department at MIT to squash cold fusion research once again. I say this because The Atom Unexplored conference was really quite informative and the presentations quite good. If you have not taken the time to view the videos from the conference, I would highly recommend that you do so. All the presentations may be viewed here. I have also taken the liberty of posting the presentations of Dr. Hagelstein and Prof. Piantelli (given by his associate and Nichenergy executive Valerio Ciampoli) to You Tube. I have also posted the question and answer session that followed the LENR portion of the proceedings. It is also quite interesting. The last 2 minutes of the Q&A is Dr. Hagelsteins account of the funding cancellation noted above.
The only public demonstration of a cold fusion cell is now going on at MIT. I don’t think a long-running, public demonstration of this sort has ever been carried out in the history of the technology. It is being conducted by a tenured MIT professor and the device was built by an MIT grad. No doubt this demo is being carried out with the permission of the MIT administration. MIT has held regular colloquiums on cold fusion, as I pointed out in the article. MIT grad Dr. Brian Ahern was doing some fine LENR work before he went underground. Last I heard he was giving more low-key demonstrations at various locations around the country. I was very critical of Ahern for making unfounded calls of fraud against Rossi, but that does not mean he has not made and will continue to make important contributions to the field.
I understand you want to extract your pound of flesh from MIT Mr. Arnold, but give credit where credit is due. MIT is not a monolithic institution in any sense of the word and I am sure that debate is being carried out there about what course to take in regards to both allowing this demo to continue, how much credence and publicity to give it etc. There are obviously people there that support the research and those who want to see it go away, like the “very famous” physicist Hagelstein spoke about. Even back in 1989 when the alleged fraud and conspiracy to discredit cold fusion, not every member of that institution was aware of the misdeeds of a few, even those these deeds had far-reaching consequences. There is no need to throw everyone at MIT, who has attended MIT or has supported MIT under the bus. Not all are guilty.
As an institution, whether MIT can pay enough penance to pay for past sins in regards to discrediting the technology remains to be seen. The powers that be at that institution can either support the work of Hagelstein and Swartz or they can once again give in to the tantrums of its physics department and energy labs who continue to receive tens of millions of dollars in federal funding. The final chapter has not been written. Time will tell. I hope all associated with MIT who read this will raise their voices and protest those at that institution what wish to sweep cold fusion under the rug once again. I applaud all those at MIT who continue to support this technology in the face of fierce opposition.
The Cold Fusion Ping List
cold fusion is only 30 years away!
I hear that every 10 years for the last 40 years.
A Visit to MIT
May 12, 2012
Many thanks to Barry Simon for submitting this report of his visit to MIT to meet Dr. Peter Hagelstein and view Dr. Mitchell Swartzs NANOR LENR device.
I went to MIT yesterday. My wife and I were scheduled to play music at a spring fair at the college. I sent Peter Hagelstein an email asking if I could see him and the Cold Fusion device, and to my surprise I got a welcome reply. To top it off he graciously said he could give me 30 minutes. For two days prior I tried to think of pertinent questions. I was hoping to videotape the whole thing, but he asked that we just talk without the camera running. However he did allow me to video the CF device. Like the EverReady Bunny it has been running continuously since January. It is sealed so it has not been refueled. It is putting out between ten to fourteen times more energy than its input. I was surprised that it does not produce steam. Apparently it is quite different than A Rossis Ecat since it uses palladium and is small. It is in a plastic bin (making the inner works hard to see) with all sorts of measuring devices hooked up to it. PH said he couldnt open the bin because the temperature measurements were dependent on it being contained. I asked if he would mind if I put the 30 second video on YouTube, and he thought it would be the right thing to ask Michael Swartz of Jet Energy. I sent an email off to him when I got home. (see earlier post) Mitchell Swartz mentioned this in his reply: the setup at MIT has been measuring heat after death these last two weeks, with no additional electrical input power. Im not exactly sure what that means.
PH said his son is about to videotape an interview with him. Not sure when this will be out.
We talked for about forty five minutes. He is by no means an egotistical person, and for me personally it was great to have all my questions answered. My first question was: Is LENR now repeatable science? If you emailed detailed directions to someone in Japan, could they build a replica and get the same results (10 14 times the output)? To my discouragement he answered Yes and no. (I was hoping for a resounding Yes!) He explained (and I can only paraphrase) how different samples of palladium react differently, and right now the sample they are using is quite effective. There are other factors as well.
I asked whatever happened to the Patterson cell, and he mentioned the same phenomenon as above. It seemed when Patterson made his minuscule beads, one batch worked great but he didnt seem to be able to produce more and get the same results. I wonder if this same phenomenon is what happened to F&P. perhaps they were fortunate enough to find an effective metal, for reasons not yet understood, where others tried to repeat and the palladium was not as conductive. (James Patterson died in 2008. George Miley claims he has reproduced a version of the Patterson cell.)
I asked about the politics at MIT thinking there would be a great divide between the Hot Fusion and the Cold Fusion people (on the web they seem as polarized as Republicans and Democrats). He implied there isnt that much tension between the two. I assumed tension between the two was why the donated research money got returned by a higher- up at MIT, and he told me the physicist who returned the money just does not believe in Cold Fusion because it is against everything he was taught.
And all you skeptics out there will be glad to know he said skepticism is a good thing.
I asked (I wanted to hear it from someone like him) if it is true that LENR has the potential to reduce nuclear waste into a harmless waste product and he said Yes. I asked if it will be able to desalinate salt water so it can be used for irrigation in arid countries and he said Yes.
I asked about people visiting MIT to see the Nanor, and he said for people to email him first. I feel lucky I got in to talk to him and see the CF device. It all seemed quite sychronistic. But I would discourage curiosity seekers. He is a busy man and seems to thoroughly enjoy research, though I think some of you rocket scientist type people would not have a hard time getting an interview.
I tried to take notes and carry on a conversation at the same time. Not my strong point. An experienced interviewer would find a treasure trove with Peter Hagelstein.
I feel a little uncomfortable paraphrasing all of this. I dont have the technical background that many of you have. My only Physics teacher in High School was narcoleptic (Im not joking). We used to sit in class wondering if we should wake him up or not. I didnt learn much that year.
At the end I told him how I hang my hopes and dreams on LENR and he said All technologies are like a double-edged sword. They can be used for good or evil.
I wrote in once to Frank that he might not want to quote a source who just gives an Internet name. My name is Barry Simon from Massachusetts, USA. (I am not Barry Simon the famous mathematician, but Barry Simon the not so famous musician) Peace and Light
So burn Food and like it!
That’s a neat trick, since P&F only published their results 23 years ago.
I have a little question for Dr. Hagelstein, a stupid question I'm sure, in as much as I don't come from MIT. My question is this:
"Hey Dr. Hagelstein, why not just walk down the hall to where they do all those wonderful computer models that show that global warming is caused by a few parts-per-million of extra CO2 in the atmosphere, and how those few ppm are so sure to cause life on Earth to come to an end, and they're so sure of their results that we must bankrupt ourselves and live in caves if we are to survive...
"Why not simply go over to their lab, where they have these mighty computers that can simulate the whole atmosphere of the Earth, and all the plants and animals on the Earth and swimming in the oceans, and say "hey guys, do you think you could simulate some hydrogen atoms that have been sorbed into the surface of a piece of palladium metal."
It'd be great, Dr. Hagelstein, cause not only would it be falling-off-a-log easy for these whole-planet-simulator guys to get you your answer for a few thousand Pd atoms and a few dozen hydrogens atoms (those are real easy to simulte, but you know that), but it would probably go a long way toward cheering them up... you know, lift their mood some. This is because they're always so down-in-the-dumps about the world coming to an end, and their kids not having anywhere to live cause Earth's kaputski, and it's all because of those awful fossil fuels and all those nasty carbon atoms. Why, if they get the results that some of the lab work seems to suggest they might, the whole fossil-fuel thing might turn into a fossil itself! And wouldn't that be grand!
Just a thought.
I am going to go play with the alignment of magnets, someday I’ll get it right...
"They" are doing things ~ catalytic things ~
"They" are doing other things as well ~ just reading through one of those news stories about graphene filtering hydrogen out of water (but not all the hydrogen, just that of a certain atomic weight) I noticed a reference to iron hydride and the core of the Earth.
Not that it was terribly meaningful, but now that they've figured out how some of the catalytic conversions take place earth scientists are taking another look at the old question of what keeps the core hot.
The iron hydride compound they believe forms our core was compared to palladium in terms of hydrogen absorption capacity.
You mean “hot fusion” ~ it’s been 30 years away for the last 67 years!
So, then... ask him.
Peter L. Hagelstein
Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering
Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
Energy Production and Conversion
I have suggested to Dr. Hagelstein that he invite scientists from NIST in to examine the device’s performance. If ANY government agency is qualified to undertake an examination of measurements taken, they are “IT”.
What is MIT’s problem? They keep beating the same drum; are they losing funding due to LENR (I’d prefer to not use CF) is that the reason?
Any positive results from the conference from April 14th?
No news from Defkalion, I wonder if they are having money problems? No news from Rossi either. I was hoping for something; I don’t need to see a Mr. Fusion, I just want proof it works and so institutions like MIT can’t control the debate.
Almost certainly. I saw a news squib that said that Obama has recently suggested cutting $2 million from the MIT "hot fusion" budget.
"Any positive results from the conference from April 14th?"
I think there have been, but I haven't seen any definitive reports. The videos of the talks are available online, but they are an hour and a half long....EACH. I just don't have the time to watch'em (not to mention that my bad hearing makes "watching" difficult). Hopefully, English transcripts will be available "eventually". Not even videos from the NASA conference, much less transcripts.
"No news from Defkalion, I wonder if they are having money problems? No news from Rossi either. I was hoping for something; I dont need to see a Mr. Fusion, I just want proof it works and so institutions like MIT cant control the debate."
Actually, there is some slight news from both, but none that address the scientific questions. Defkalion has released photos of their "under contstruction" production facility, and Rossi has given some interviews to the same effect. Eventually, the resistance "dam" is going to break.
You know, I wanted to go to MIT so bad, in my mind, they were the #1 in engineering schools; unfortunately, health circumstance stopped that idea right quick. They’re the ones whose lab created the inertial guidance computer for Apollo.
Now, they’re just playing politics with their hands out.
So much for science being number one. I can understand funding issues but the things they’ve done to people in the LENR/LANR area that are just downright sleazy.
I was hoping for some serious data from that April 14th confab. Especially since Francesco Piantelli had his Nickle reactor running without the catalyst Rossi says he needs.
Is MIT playing a fake? Downplaying LENR while they internally work on it to be first? I don’t have a problem with that but I do have a serious problem with them destroying scientist’s in the process. Uggh...
My son to the rescue! He is going to MIT in September to study physics, and he is a LENR believer! However, one of his closest his friends is already there, and he is very anti-LENR. I will have a bit of an inside look at this and I will report if I ever hear anything interesting.
Your son is obviously incredibly intelligent. I wish him the very best.
Cold, Hot it does not matter.
MSM will run anything when they need ratings.
kind of like fishing for idiots.
ooh they have a bite!
In the form of stellar fusion it's been around for quite a long time.
When it’s that far away it’s not like we, on Earth, have it under control.
How is that relevant? Hot fusion is demonstrably real and we use the energy.
We have no control over the source of the fusion you are referring to. Best we’ve got are nuclear bombs ~ not terribly controlled, and not something you’d want heating your home ~ (I assume you wouldn’t want to be nuked)
Your point still isn’t relevant. Hot fusion is demonstrably real and useful, something which isn’t applicable to cold fusion.
Now, where is this local fusion power plant you think is up and running?
Really. What's your evidence for that?
How about you? Do you trust some physicists and some astronomers?
I think I’ll go with the number of quality citations, which once again leaves you out in the cold.
Kind of slow it seems ~ but with respect to this piece: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/may/25/iranian-team-collaborate-us-nuclear ~ does anyone have any idea how many of the LENR critics have an involvement with this company or with Iran?
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/may/25/iranian-team-collaborate-us-nuclear ~ are you involved in this in a professional capacity?