Last week, May 14th to be precise, was a sad anniversary, and I did not want it to pass too long, without some remembrance here, for on May 14, 2004, Dr. Eugene Mallove was murdered at one of his private rental properties. As police stated, the official motivation was suspected to be robbery, and indeed two suspects were arrested in 2005 for the murder, but charges were dismissed in 2008.
The sudden and brutal murder immediately prompted all sorts of conspiracy theories, for Mallove, a credentialed scientist, had been one of the few from that community to speak out against the railroading of Pons and Fleischmann over their reports of "cold fusion," i.e., the fusion of atoms at basic room temperatures - the same process as goes on in the sun - without extremes of heat and pressure to do so. Up to that time, mankind knew of only one way to actually accomplish the feat: the hydrogen bomb. Controlled fusion experiments continued at that time in hot fusion models with gigantic tokamak magnets and billions of dollars work of research grants. What Pons and Fleischmann had accomplished using simple equipment, a basic kind of "electrolysis" apparatus, simple materials, and a few thousand dollars, was impossible. It overturned "all the standard models."
If that sounds like Nazi scientist Ronald Richter's claims to have achieved fusion under similar circumstances in Juan Peron's Argentina in the early 1950s, it is, for exactly the same charge was leveled against Richter then as was leveled against Pons and Fleischman decades later.(See my Nazi International, chapters 8 and 9).
Dr. Mallove courageously waded into this sorry picture and investigated both Pons and Fleischmann and the scientific community railing against them, and found against the scientific community and its inbuilt biases in favor of theory over observation, publishing his results in a book that still remains a classic in the field, Fire from Ice: Searching for the Truth Behind the Cold Fusion Furor. Mallove went on to found a magazine devoted to the scientific treatment of alternative energy devices and theories called Infinite Energy, which was a no holds barred and very technical magazine.
For our purposes, it is worth noting a few things about his book, Fire from Ice, for in these details might lie some clues not only about his own tragic death, but recent events as well. Shortly after the Pons and Fleischmann episode, at least one country was paying serious attention. Here's what Mallove wrote in 1991 in his book: "If the United States couldn't do this, the Japanese would. In fact, they were already off and running.... 'Fusion fever' had gripped Japan with 'over a hundred companies' already involved, and Europe was beginning to stir too."(p. 92)
Then there was this: "Evidenve was all around: In late November, Japanese scientists at Nagoya University reported a radically new cold fusion method. Writing in the English-language Japanese Journal of Applied Physics, Nobuhiko Wada and Kunihide Nishizawa described high levels of neutron emission - 20,000 times background - apparently coming from fusion reactions that began when they applied 20,000 volts (sound like Ronald Richter here folks?-ed) between palladium electrodes in a cell of deuterium gas. Another group at Osaka University reported a level of neutrons 2.5 million times background coming from a cold fusion cell."(p. 185)
Obviously, Japan was not the only country interested in the phenomenon - India, France, Germany, Russia and China all jumped on the bandwagon. But no one did so with more zeal and organization - and funding - than did the Japanese.
Mallove hints at why, and in doing so, suggests an avenue of interpretation as to why the Japanese would have seized upon the phenomenon as something significant enough to warrant such serious investigation. Summarizing the phenomenon, Mallove - almost echoing Ronald Richter decades earlier (see my Nazi International, chs 8 & 9) - stated the following: "Anyone seriously investigating cold fusion phenomena had long since realized that a nuclear explanatioon for any of the anomalies, particularly the excess heat occurring in multiple kinds of calorimeters, could not be conventional nuclear reactions. Standard plasma physics branching ratios...simply did not pass muster. A serious researcher also had to contend with what is now obvious: that subtle materials properties of electrodes and/or other cell components were causing effects to appear and disappear erratically."(pp. 2401-241).
The fate of Pons and Fleischmann was that of Dr. Ronald Richter three decades earlier: public derision and denunciation. Though as I point out in Nazi International, while publicly denouncing Richter, the USAF was quietly and secretly investigating his claims.
Which puts the Japanese interest in cold fusion into some perspective, for as I pointed out in The Philosophers' Stone, in the 1920s and 1930s, the Japanese had noticed, oddly enough, something that the Germans had noticed at almost the same time, namely, that under certain conditions of magnetic and electrical stress that were little understood, nuclear transformations could occur. When Pons and Fleischmann made their controversial announcement, you can bet your bottom dollar that those Japanese scientists remembered the work of their countrymen five decades earlier, and realized that there was something missing in the standard model of physics, and they set out to find out what it was.
While there has never been any hard evidence to suggest that Dr. Mallove's murder was due to his crucial role in exposing the so-called "science" that led to the debunking of cold fusion within this country (and the wider English-speaking world), there has never been any doubt in my mind that this - and not some silly "robbery" - was the motivation. Mallove, like Japan, was getting to close to something that was supremely threatening to those with a vested interest in closed systems physics.
Mallove, like Japan, may have been murdered for it.