So many of you sent me this one, and indeed, it was also in a couple of automatic mailings of various sites that I subscribe to, that I simply have to report on it. It seems that Italian engineer Dr Andrea Rossi's cold fusion reactor, which has been running steadily now for some time, has received at least a first tacit nod from other scientists:
Something the article states is worth repeating here: this first nod is not yet peer-reviewed, in other words, Rossi's E-CAT converter has not yet been given the final "seal of approval" so to speak.
All of this once again made me think, or rather, speculate, on what the ultimate reasons for the suppression of cold fusion may have been. Granted, to speak of "suppression" now is anachronistic, for even MIT is hosting seminars on the subject, when formerly it led the charge against Pons and Fleischmann. But nevertheless, as the late Dr. Eugene Mallove more than adequately documented in his book Fire from Ice and subsequently in the magazine that he founded, Infinite Energy, there was a mad rush in science to silence the subject altogether, to brand Pons and Fleischmann as frauds, and to close down any further public inquiry. The whole episode strikes me still as too peculiar and strange to be written off merely to "bad science" or "flawed public policy", and even Hollywood got in on the act. There was, for example, the Keanu Reeves-Morgan Freeman movie Chain Reaction, in which cold fusion is suggestively attained by incorporation of the phenomenon of sonoluminescence via a resonant frequency. At approximately the same time there was the Val Kilmer-Elizabeth Shue movie The Saint, in which Kilmer, playing the role of Simon Templar, steals a cold fusion formula from Oxford physicist Elizabeth Shue.
Fiction aside, it would appear that Rossi's device is in line with current thinking and theorizing on the cold fusion phenomenon:
The device being tested, which is called the Energy Catalyzer (E-Cat for short), was created by Andrea Rossi. Rossi has been claiming for the past two years that he had finally cracked cold fusion, but much to the chagrin of the scientific community he hasn’t allowed anyone to independently analyze the device — until now. While it sounds like the scientists had a fairly free rein while testing the E-Cat, we should stress that they still don’t know exactly what’s going on inside the sealed steel cylinder reactor. Still, the seven scientists, all from good European universities, obviously felt confident enough with their findings to publish the research paper."
As you can imagine, any time an inventor will not allow the entire invention to be scrutinized, alarm bells go off and red flags are raised. Even worse, as the article avers, there even appear to be "secret ingredients" in Rossi's fusion alchemy, and there is another red-flag-raiser for conventional science, namely, getting more energy out than is put in:
"As far as we can tell, the main barrier to cold fusion — as with normal fusion — is producing more energy than you put in. In NASA’s tests, it takes a lot more energy to fuse the nickel and hydrogen than is produced by the reaction. Rossi, it would seem, has discovered a secret sauce that significantly reduces the amount of energy required to start the reaction. As for what the secret sauce is, no one knows — in the research paper, the independent scientists simply refer to it as “unknown additives.” All told, the E-Cat seems to have a power density of 4.4×105 W/kg, and an energy density of 5.1×107 Wh/kg."
Secret ingredients, inventors not allowing the whole apparatus to be examined, more out than in, quiet but very obvious suppression, convenient deaths, denunications by famous academic institutions that do pirouettes and seemingly reverse their positions ... it all sounds so wonderfully medieval and alchemical that one wonders if one hasn't gone to sleep and awakened in fifteenth century Florence.
The question that inevitably occurs is: why all the expenditure of energy over what we were assured was either simply bad science, or complete fraud?
That must await part two:
See you on the flip side...