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Answer to LA Times about John Huizenga, the physicist who helped discredit ‘cold fusion’ (LENR)


Just today I fall on another article about the death of John Huizenga, the man who delayed the chance for Cold Fusion to make our world better of 10-20 years.

John Huizenga dies at 92; physicist helped discredit 'cold fusion'
John Huizenga worked on the Manhattan Project, helped discover two chemical elements and co-led inquiry into 'cold fusion,' the 'scientific fiasco of the century.'

Thanks to LA Times to allow us to comment (it seems less and less allowed), but my dreamed answer was too long for the rules, and finally it makes a good article. Feel free to critic, correct, comment and improve :

It seems your article is uninformed, but anyway state the current consensus.

One of the best voice to talk on cold fusion science have been Charles Beaudette, in Excess Heat. (You can find his book on the site of University of Tsinghua
, courtesy of the author, or on on-line libraries).

His work, was to document and analyse the critics. His book contains much more citation of scientific papers, and by the way many many more after 1989. In fact the only good results appeared after one or two years of hard work, and only by competent electrochemist.

As Beaudette reminded, physicist had abandonned the domain of calorimetry in the 1950s, to focus on nuclear physics, thanks to the success of Manhattan project, which launched many nuclear physicist in the higher governmental sphere.



There have been in 1996 only 4 critics, by Lewis, Hansen, Wilson, Morrison.

The one of Lewis, that the cell was not mixed, was asserted enough strongly in Baltimore conference, with hidden insults and understatements, to convince the planet and terrorize dissenters... it was in fact a huge evidence of his ego and his incompetence. Fleischmann rebutted it quickly showing that his cell was perfectly stirred by design (which Lewis could not imagine without decades of experience). It tooks 2 more years to prove with measurements that the temperature was stable at 0.01C, thanks to the design.

Fleischman&Pons cell design (a Dewar with hard vacuum,tiny and lonk neck, compact shape for self-stirring, open electrolysis, refilling measurement to control recombination) was replicated exactly in 1996 by CEA (Longchampt).

Meanwhile many other design replicated the results, with different techniques : Oriani used seebeck calorimetry with opencell and separated gas to cancel recombination (His paper was peer-reviewed but rejected afterward because of what Scheckman denounce today). McKubre (SRI) used a closed pressurized cell with recombination, with temperature compensation ensure isothermal mode and flow calorimetry. Miles (Of Chinal Lake Naval Air Warfare) used open cells, and captured the gases. He organized double blind measurement of He4 with Bush of Texas university, and proved that Heat and He4 were commensurate. ENEA later with Report41 Deninno confirmed that only active cells did produce He4.

Many labs proved Tritium (but not with heat) which as Huzenga admitted could not be an artifact, from US to India. This is why he concluded it could not be an artifact, thus without any evidence, concluded it was a fraud. 3 inquiry were launched, all failed, but it did not change his position.

Hansen raised the problem of recombination, but again it was rebuted by facts. Fleischmann was measuren the recombination by measureing the refilling. it was below 1% and negligible compared to the 15-50% of anomalous heat (and heat after death).

Wilson produced interesting critics, and by the way he rebutted Lewis and Hansen arguments. He nevertheless admitted undeniable anomalous heat even after his corrections. This was presented as a critic, but was in fact a confirmation.

Morrison critic was just based on misunderstanding, and was not maintained.

None of the 4 critics are anymore defended. The summary is that according to science, Cold fusion excess heat is replicated, measured, and no critic is maintained. Why it is the consensus that Cold Fusion is bad science? It is a cognitive cascade that can be explained by the Groupthink theory of Roland Benabou (Find his papers at Princeton, Groupthink: collective delusion in organizations and markets).

Lewis with Garwin visited the lab of another replicator (McKubre, with closed cell, in isothermal mode using flow calorimetry and recombination), and found nothing. Like any honest man he stay absolutely silent about that fact, moaned about minor details that did not rule out results, and continued like Huizenga to say that since it was impossible, and there was no artifact found, it was thus unknown artifact...

People should really read the book of Beaudette to read the details, to check the scientific articles, and judge of their respective quality, and about the ethical structure of each camp. This book is boring like an attorney report, but raise furror to the one who understand what it reveal.

The argument that there was no neutron is like a cowboy saying that bull dont produce milk, or birds don't have horn. The only question was about the excess heat, and it is proven.

It is true that all physicist, except one trained by Heinz Gerischer (a skeptic German top electrochemist of Plank Institute who admitted in 1992 that Excess heat was real), failed to reproduce Excess Heat. Most did not measure it and focused on neutrons.

Many did not know the required conditions, discovered few years after, about deuterium loading, current density, palladium impurity selection, crystallographic structure of the surface (found recently by ENEA/NRL/SRI). Their main problems were that they were assuming cold fusion was hot fusion, expecting what was not there, they expected quick result where it tooks minimum 3 month to obtain a single result, and finally they were simply incompetent relatively to the extreme complexity of the calorimetry, which was challenging even for the top expert.

Serious electro-chemist obtained results in more than 1 year, often 2 or 3 years to cross-check all...

Back to business and free-market, please note that Cherokee fund (who manage billions of $ in energy) have invested 12million$ in an LENR technology (E-cat bought by Industrial Heat LLC).

They have signed agreement with the technology park of Badoing HIDZ, known as the valley of electricity in China.

Darpa is funding LENR research, hidden as nanotechnology since few years.

US navy after SPAWAR (closed when boss changed), is researching actively in NRL with Italian ENEA and SRI. It seems even that SRI is subsidized to test the technology of others commercial companies, and have replicated 5 of them (from SRI McKubre).

NASA GRC state on their internet site that Excess Heat is proven, and Doug Wells works for NASA/NARI to study LENR propulsion for planes, in seedling project (conference soon in 2014).

Toyota have recently replicated the research of Mitsubishi (Iwamura), and published in JJAP a peer-reviewed journal... Unlike the myth, many LENR papers are published in peer-reviewed papers like in Naturwissenschaften, Journal of electroanalythical chemistry, JJAP... Thanks to Pamela Boss (Spawar), Schekman, to have described the problem to publish in high-impact journals, that Enea report41 DeNinno and Oriani have revealed.

I have no doubt that Huizenga was sincere and honest when seing that Bockris (and others in US and India) cells were producing tritium, he concluded that it could not be an artifact, and THUS it HAVE TO BE A FRAUD.

Future will say how that statement have to be judged. Sadly many scientist of that affair are dying, and it will ruin our chance to obtain excuses.

Sorry for the family. I have no doubt all was done with sincerity. It is a tragedy of Groupthink, like are subprimes, Challenger, Enron, and... many others in process...

All assertion on theoretical question, either in 1989 or today, are for me without foundation until we have more data. No theory works. It seems data will came from free market and venture capitalist, not from peer-review or pet-theories.

Best regards


Published on 3 Feb 2014
By AlainCo (alainco@lenrnews.eu)

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