Lattice Energy LLC-LENRs from 1900s to 1989 to Today and Beyond-Feb 21 2012
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Lattice Energy LLC-LENRs from 1900s to 1989 to Today and Beyond-Feb 21 2012

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At this juncture in the history of LENRs, it is important to note that Pons & Fleischmann (1989), however publicly maligned, were in fact correct about their calorimetrically measured ‘excess ...

At this juncture in the history of LENRs, it is important to note that Pons & Fleischmann (1989), however publicly maligned, were in fact correct about their calorimetrically measured ‘excess heat’ being a real physical effect resulting from some type of nuclear process. However, Pons & Fleischmann were totally mistaken in their idea that the nuclear process producing their observed 'excess heat’ and Helium-4 was a strong interaction, Coulomb barrier-penetrating D-D fusion reaction. Nonetheless, their intuitive hope that the phenomenon might someday be successfully harnessed to provide a new type of clean, truly ‘green’ nuclear energy technology could also prove to be correct in the not-too-distant future.

Unfortunately for Pons & Fleischmann, their excess heat effects were poorly reproducible in 1989-1990 because they were completely wrong about their D-D fusion hypothesis and had no knowledge whatsoever of what is now called nanotechnology and plasmonics. Indeed, certain technical knowledge derived from nanotechnology, plasmonics, and materials science that is utterly necessary to be able to fabricate reproducible, well-performing LENR devices did not even exist in 1989, or even in the mid- to late 1990s. In my opinion, there is no way condensed matter LENRs could have been truly experimentally reproducible prior to the past several years.

However, commercialization may now be feasible today; the tools to do so are finally available.

I believe that our collective many-body theory has finally put LENRs on a firm theoretical footing by firmly anchoring them in the solid bedrock of electroweak theory, the Standard Model, and many-body collective effects. That said, many more important experimental and theoretical discoveries remain to be made by adventuresome scientists; new vistas of opportunities that that are opening-up for future R&D are huge.

However, the field of LENRs now needs to attract many, many more new entrants from many different disciplines in ‘mainstream’ science for LENRs to flower fully and reach their ultimate scientific and commercial potential.


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Lattice Energy LLC-LENRs from 1900s to 1989 to Today and Beyond-Feb 21 2012 Lattice Energy LLC-LENRs from 1900s to 1989 to Today and Beyond-Feb 21 2012 Document Transcript

  • Lattice Energy LLC LENRs from the early 1900s ... to 1989 ... to 2012 and beyond One participant’s perspective on the past and the future of the field Lewis Larsen President and CEO Lattice Energy LLCAt this juncture in the history of the field, it is important for us to note that Pons & Fleischmann (1989),however publicly maligned, were in fact correct about their calorimetrically measured ‘excess heat’ beinga real physical effect resulting from some type of nuclear process. However, Pons & Fleischmann weretotally mistaken in their idea that the nuclear process producing their observed excess heat’ and Helium-4 was a strong interaction, Coulomb barrier-penetrating D-D fusion reaction. Nonetheless, their intuitivehope that the phenomenon might someday be successfully harnessed to provide a new type of clean,truly ‘green’ nuclear energy technology could also prove to be correct in the not-too-distant future.Interestingly, LENRs probably did not first begin with the P&F brouhaha. Incredibly, from ~1905 - 1927some of the most famous people in British science (Thomson, Ramsay, etc.) episodically reportedexperimental results that were, in hindsight, likely the result of neutron-catalyzed LENR transmutations.Anomalous effects (e.g., appearance of new elements) were observed spectroscopically in variouselectrical discharge experiments and published in premier journals of that era (e.g., Nature, Proceedingsof the Royal Society, etc.). Thomson even published a paper in Nature in which he complained abouthaving major problems with experimental reproducibility of such effects. Does that issue sound familiar?Up through the 1920s, nobody had a sensible explanation for anomalous transmutation effects that werebeing discovered experimentally. So by 1932 (when Chadwick experimentally confirmed the existence ofthe neutron predicted by Rutherford) the whole area of inquiry had been quietly dropped with little fanfare,many people apparently preferring to pursue hotter contemporary topics such as quantum mechanics.Over the past 100+ years, who knows how many scientists have actually observed different aspects ofLENR-related phenomena, could not explain or understand what they saw experimentally, and were theneither unable or unwilling to publish such controversial results in well-recognized, peer-reviewed journals.In my view, LENRs were never “cold fusion.” Unbeknownst to anyone back in 1989 and a number ofresearchers still remaining in the LENR field today, according to the Widom-Larsen theory P&Fsexperimental results were actually the result of a combination of condensed matter many-body collectivequantum effects, the weak interaction, ultra low momentum neutron production, and subsequent neutron-capture catalyzed nuclear reactions and decays.Importantly, our theoretical approach can explain all of the good experimental data in LENRs, includingPons & Fleischmann’s. As explained in our technical publications, LENRs in condensed matter systemsdo not involve any appreciable amount of Coulomb barrier-penetrating fusion, i.e., deuterium-deuterium,D-T, hot, "cold," warm, or otherwise.None of our work includes the assumption of any new microscopic physics. What is novel about our newtheoretical approach to LENRs is that, for the first time, we extend many-body collective effects to existingelectroweak theory within the overall framework of the Standard Model. In a total of seven technicalpublications, we have developed a foundational theory of LENRs that weaves together all of thepreviously disparate threads of varied experimental evidence into a coherent whole. We have done sousing rigorous, established, well-accepted physics.Unfortunately for Pons & Fleischmann, their excess heat effects were poorly reproducible in 1989-1990because they were completely wrong about their D-D fusion hypothesis and had no knowledgewhatsoever of what is now called nanotechnology and plasmonics. Indeed, certain technical knowledgederived from nanotechnology, plasmonics, and materials science that is utterly necessary to be able toCopyright 2012, Lattice Energy LLC All rights reserved Page 1
  • Lattice Energy LLCfabricate reproducible, well-performing LENR devices did not even exist in 1989, or even in the mid- tolate 1990s. In my opinion, there is no way condensed matter LENRs could have been truly experimentallyreproducible prior to the past several years. However, commercialization may now be feasible today.It is also important to note that a number of other LENR experimentalists besides Pons & Fleischmannwere correct about their experimental observations. Scattered around the world, these mostly unsungresearchers labored experimentally for nearly 20 years (most of them with little funding), exploring themany complex avenues and treacherous backwaters of the vast LENR parameter space. During thattime, they kept the flame of scientific discovery alive by doggedly collecting experimental data until a largeenough body of knowledge had accumulated for someone to be able to develop a comprehensive theoryof the phenomena. The accumulation of all that varied experimental data on LENRs, while little-publishedin major peer-reviewed journals, was crucial to the development of our theory. Those members of thesmall LENR community can be proud of their contributions, which we cite in one manner or another.One must recognize that when researchers work on the cutting edge of science in a new, initially poorlyunderstood field, sometimes knowing what doesnt work experimentally is just as important asunderstanding what does work; Edisonian failures can be every bit as instructive as successes. Most ofall, the availability of high quality experimental data is crucial for the development of any successfultheory. In good scientific practice, theory and experiment are inextricably and indissolubly linked; onehand synergistically washes the other; Faraday needed a Maxwell and Maxwell needed a FaradayToday, there are also larger ‘tectonic’ forces at work: underneath all the ongoing public controversy andhidden ferment, a scientific paradigm shift has been brewing slowly over the past 20 years. In 2012, itappears that the larger world of ‘mainstream’ science is finally waking up to the possibility that previouslyneglected weak interactions might be able to provide another new source of clean, CO2-free energy. Infact, given their unique characteristics, weak-interaction LENRs could ultimately prove to be a vastlycleaner, ‘greener,’ less expensive power generation technology than strong-interaction fission or fusion.In our 2006 European Physical Journal C paper, we showed an example of a LENR-based Lithium-seednuclear reaction cycle that generated roughly as much energy as nuclear fusion reactions, but without therelease of any dangerous energetic neutrons or ‘hard’ gamma radiation. Thus LENRs are potentiallymuch better than fusion; that part is revolutionary. However, LENRs gore many long-standing sacredcows in different fields and threaten a myriad of vested scientific and commercial interests.Pons & Fleischmann and the small international LENR community that subsequently developed were notuniquely persecuted by ‘mainstream’ science. This community was just the first major wave of ‘shocktroops’ in the forefront of an aborning scientific revolution involving the weak interaction. As in manymilitary engagements in real-world revolutions, the first troops to ‘hit the beach’ usually take the biggestcasualties because they have the least information about the battlefield and are the easiest targets.This type of difficult, gut-wrenching, long drawn-out process has happened many times in the long historyof science, especially in the case of major paradigm shifts. Thomas Kuhn chronicled examples of suchsagas in his famous 1962 book, “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.” Revolutions, scientific orotherwise, are rarely bloodless; LENRs are no exception to that rule.I believe that our collective many-body theory has finally put LENRs on a firm theoretical footing by firmlyanchoring them in the solid bedrock of electroweak theory, the Standard Model, and many-body collectiveeffects. That said, many more important experimental and theoretical discoveries remain to be made byadventuresome scientists; new vistas of opportunities that that are opening-up for future R&D are huge.However, the field of LENRs now needs to attract many, many more new entrants from many differentdisciplines in ‘mainstream’ science for LENRs to flower fully and reach their ultimate scientific andcommercial potential.[This short essay has been updated and adapted from remarks contained in a post I made on the Financial Times ScienceBlog on March 28, 2009, at http://blogs.ft.com/scienceblog/2009/03/24/a-sad-anniversary-for-cold-fusion/#more-22 ]Copyright 2012, Lattice Energy LLC All rights reserved Page 2