Spirituality, New-Age - Free energy
cold fusion

Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
It is March 2003 as we mount permanently on the web
this Special Report about MIT and Cold Fusion—almost the
14th anniversary of the announcement by Drs. Fleischmann
and Pons at the University of Utah on March 23, 1989. We
published this report in Infinite Energy Issue #24 in
March/April 1999, but now it is available as a free internet
download for all the world to see. Every citizen who is concerned
about the future of clean energy generation and the
future of our environment should read this report. Every
MIT student, every MIT graduate, and every financial contributor
to MIT should read it. Judge for yourself where the
facts lead.

When many people are asked today about cold fusion, if
they recall the 1989 announcement at all, they may offer
remarks such as, “The experiment couldn’t be reproduced.”
Or, “Cold fusion was quickly dismissed by other laboratories
as a mistake.” One of the most significant players in establishing
in the public mind that thoroughly erroneous view
was a team of investigators at MIT at its lavishly funded hot
fusion laboratory, then called the MIT Plasma Fusion Center.
The MIT group rendered a highly negative assessment of the
Fleischmann and Pons claims, in part by performing its own
attempt to reproduce the heavy-water/palladium excess heat
experiment. The announced “failure to confirm” by the MIT
group became one of the three top negative reports weighing
against cold fusion in those early days. The U.S. Department
of Energy (DOE) cited the MIT PFC’s negative conclusion in
rendering its rushed, condemning report in the fall of 1989;
alphabetically, the MIT group’s report is the first technical
reference cited in the DOE Cold Fusion Panel’s report.
It is therefore of considerable interest to understand what
really happened at MIT in 1989, and the several years following,
on the matter of cold fusion. The story is most certainly
not what is regurgitated in numerous journalistic
accounts, which are most often unflattering to Drs. Fleischmann
and Pons and those researchers who followed their
pioneering path. In fact, the story of cold fusion’s reception
at MIT is a story of egregious scientific fraud and the coverup
of scientific fraud and other misconduct—not by Fleischmann
and Pons, as is occasionally alleged—but by
researchers who in 1989 aimed to dismiss cold fusion as
quickly as possible and who have received hundreds of millions
of DOE research dollars since then for their hot fusion
research. The cover-up of fraud, sad to say, reaches the highest
levels at MIT and includes the current MIT President,
Charles M. Vest. Remarkably, President Vest has recently
been named by U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham to
head the Task Force on the Future of Science Programs at the
Department of Energy. The high level task force will “examine
science and technology programs across the department
and consider future priorities for scientific research.” MIT
President Vest also serves on the President’s Committee of
Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) and is vice
chair of the Council on Competitiveness. It is hoped that
fair minded readers of the MIT and Cold Fusion Report will
conclude that MIT’s Charles Vest, who represents what are
now provably unethical vested academic interests, is not a
person whose scientific advice should be sought about
DOE’s science and technology plans.
The top man who, for now, will be leading DOE’s panel of
the “future of science” will get to pass judgment on whether
hot fusion “science” should be funded at all, and if so to
what extent, and at what institutions. One of those places
just happens to be MIT, which receives tens-of-millions of
dollars each year for its tokamak hot fusion research. Does
this not seem to pose a slight conflict of interest—even had
no scientific fraud been carried out against cold fusion at
MIT in 1989, and even had Vest not participated in its coverup?
Will Vest recuse himself on the matter of hot fusion
funding? Will there be any consideration of New Hydrogen
Physics Energy (which includes cold fusion) by a DOE panel
led by President Vest? We believe that under the circumstances
it is not possible for cold fusion/LENR to receive any
re-assessment—let alone a fair one—for a role in DOE’s
future science programs. If after reading this report concerned
citizens feel the same way, they should consider writing
to the White House to express their displeasure. Those
who are more directly concerned about the integrity of
MIT’s research and reputation should write to Charles Vest
or to other academic officers at MIT. Perhaps this might
prompt a long-overdue official investigation of events in
1989-1992, followed by an official withdrawal of the MIT
PFC’s fraudulent calorimetry paper from the scientific literature.
MIT and Cold Fusion: A Special Report
Introduction by Dr. Eugene F. Mallove
(MIT Class of 1969, Aero/Astro Engineering, SB 1969, SM 1970)
Editor-in-Chief, Infinite EnergyMagazine
President, New Energy Foundation, Inc.
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2 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
MIT has played an extraordinary role in the history of cold
fusion. By acts of commission and omission it continues
to do so. On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the
startling announcement by Drs. Fleischmann and Pons on March
23, 1989, it is imperative that Infinite Energy explore the major role
of MIT in shaping the history of the investigation of cold fusion.
Excess power evolution and unexpected (“impossible”)
nuclear changes in hydrogen-metal systems come under the
rubric “cold fusion.” Whatever its complete microphysical
explanation turns out to be, cold fusion is of surpassing importance
from the perspective of both science and technology.
MIT’s role in this affair bears close scrutiny by all who value
what they assume MIT stands for: the open-minded quest for
the truth about Nature and the application of new discoveries
in science toward the betterment of humanity.
This report will be of special interest to all who are concerned
about the well-being of MIT—its alumni/ae, students, faculty,
and administration. What this brief history says about the
actions and inactions in the area of cold fusion by one of the
world’s great technical universities has far-reaching implications
for everyone interested in the heated cold fusion controversy.
The history of MIT’s reaction to cold fusion will become
a remarkable case study in how a major scientific revolution is
affected by the strong news media influence of MIT, by government
funding of MIT, and by the scientific involvement of MIT
professors, administration, students, and staff.
Extraordinary circumstances demand extraordinary action. It
is our obligation—our moral imperative—to publish the
detailed report that follows. Unfortunately for the world, many
people still believe that the claims of a new, clean, abundant
energy source and nuclear reactions occurring near room temperature
were quickly and definitively disposed of by the careful
work of scientists at MIT in the spring of 1989. Nothing
could be further from the truth. These investigators at MIT did
not produce definitive work. In fact, quite the contrary. A great
opportunity for pioneering by MIT was missed and the baby
was thrown out with the bath water—at least temporarily.
The actions of certain MIT staff members in 1989 were a major
influence on the news media, on other scientists, and on the
funding support for cold fusion. This is a matter of record.
Though a small group of open-minded, involved faculty, staff,
and alumni pursued and continue to pursue cold fusion, MIT as
a whole did, indeed, acquire the deserved reputation as a “Bastion
of Skepticism” on cold fusion. Sad to say, it was initially
only a handful of MIT staff and faculty who gave MIT this reputation.
They inappropriately drove many others—on campus
and off—to dismiss the claims from Utah in 1989 and the
research that has followed. Thus, the role of MIT in cold fusion—
apart from the stellar accomplishments of those who persevered
in scientific investigations—must be regarded as a permanent
blemish on MIT’s otherwise undisputed role as a leader in science,
technology, and education. Fortunately, it is a bad mark
that could be expunged by future good deeds—and apologies
for past misdeeds. Is the MIT of 1999 up to that? We shall see.
One hopes that this true characterization of MIT’s institutional
behavior in the early 1990s and beyond will be but a temporary
aberration. Yet if the past is any guide, there is little cause for optimism
that a sudden awakening to the truth will occur at MIT.
Perhaps the greatest hope lies in the youth—the students and
graduates of MIT who will examine the scientific literature objectively.
Most MIT professors today are simply oblivious to the subject.
If they were to examine the research record of the past
decade, they would readily see the opportunities to enter what is
clearly an area of enormous potential. MIT students and alumni/
ae may need to become catalysts that move faculty members
and administration in the right direction, away from the present
untenable position of denying well-established experimental
facts and the theoretical developments by Professors such as
Peter L. Hagelstein (Electrical Engineering and Computer Science)
and Keith H. Johnson, formerly of the Department of Materials
Science and Engineering.
I defy any previously uninvolved MIT student or graduate to
examine the thirty-four references that are cataloged on pages
29-34 of this issue (“Key Experiments that Substantiate Cold
Fusion Phenomena”) and conclude that the information is not
strong enough to warrant further investigation and action.
These are only a small sample of many other papers and developments
that can be cited. In 1999, it is possible for MIT graduates
to visit laboratories in the U.S. and abroad where cold
fusion investigation and development are moving forward.
And soon enough there will be a host of demonstration sets and
kits that research laboratories can purchase to observe the
effects themselves. Some of these will be distributed by companies
in which MIT graduates are involved.
The events of 1989-1992 are past history, but one must learn
from the past or be condemned to repeat it. I hope that MIT students
will also study the wrongs that have been done by MIT
faculty and staff, which perverted the process of science in this
area. Ironically, those very faculty and staff who so loudly pontificated
about the alleged unethical actions of cold fusion
researchers Drs. Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons are
themselves most culpable. They launched distortions about
cold fusion that have gained such wide currency.
As the record shows, the first assault against the truth in 1989
was press manipulation by faculty members engaged in the lavishly
funded hot fusion research at MIT’s Plasma Fusion Center
(PFC). They did not believe the Utah work at all. They suspected
that Pons and Fleischmann were engaged in a “scam,” and
they were concerned that if the public were to have a too openminded
attitude toward the prospect of cold fusion as an energy
solution, funding for their beleaguered thermonuclear program
would be endangered—even more so than in its perennial
brushes with budgetary extinction.
The truth about the calorimetry experiment performed at MIT
in 1989 under DoE contract funding (DoE Contract DE-ACO2-
78ET51013) is stark and unambiguous. Its purported “negative”
Why “MIT and Cold Fusion”?
by Eugene F. Mallove, Sc.D.
MIT Class of 1969 (Aero/Astro Engineering ‘69 SB; ‘70 SM)
Chief Science Writer, MIT News Office 1987-1991 The Official
MIT Logo
MENS ET MANUS [MIT Motto—”Mind and Hand”]
3 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
result was used to influence the U.S. Department of Energy’s
rushed 1989 report against cold fusion. In alphabetical sequence,
it is the very first report cited in the U.S. DoE’s ERAB (Energy
Research Advisory Board) Cold Fusion Panel report of 1989.
Some would characterize the data manipulation in the sixteenauthor
MIT paper of 1989 as mere “data fudging.” We do not
mince words: the use of improperly handled scientific data to
draw in the public mind and in the mind of the scientific community
a completely false conclusion about an emerging discovery
of overarching importance to humankind is high-level scientific
misconduct, plain and simple.
We do not know for certain who unethically manipulated the
data, and that is not important, but it was, indeed, inappropriately
manipulated. “Inappropriately manipulated” is actually a very
charitable way of describing what was done. We do know, however,
that this erroneous study in the spring of 1989 at the MIT
Plasma Fusion Center was defended by then Plasma Fusion Center
Director Ronald R. Parker. Parker continues to play a leading role
in hot fusion. For several years after leaving the MIT PFC, he was
stationed at the ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental
Reactor) in Garching, Germany. Since 1989, the U.S. Government
has funnelled billions of dollars into magnetically confined thermonuclear
fusion development on projects, such as ITER. Though
ITER funding was recently killed by the U.S. Congress, funding of
tokamak hot fusion continues at MIT and elsewhere.
The record is clear: Had MIT researchers behaved responsibly
and ethically as scientists in the spring of 1989, it is most probable
that a position of open-mindedness by MIT on the difficult subject
of verifying the Utah claims would have averted the highly
negative U.S. Department of Energy Report drafted in the summer
of 1989. History would have been far different. Most likely,
expensive engineering programs aimed at hot fusion reactors
would have been cancelled in the early 1990s; plasma physics
studies would have continued at MIT, and MIT researchers,
including those at the Plasma Fusion Center, might have become
the most eminent cold fusion researchers in the world.
It was not to be. Cool heads could have reserved judgement.
They could have followed the experimental facts where they
would ultimately lead, but they chose not to. Heads were not
cool, they were hot. MIT could have been in the vanguard of the
new scientific field as befits its leadership role in science, but
this did not happen. MIT chose—and is continuing to choose—
defense of its existing professional support from the Federal
government over meticulously documented evidence of a new
scientific field and the pathway to revolutionary technologies.
In fact, the current President of MIT, Dr. Charles M. Vest, who
ignored my written concerns in 1991-1992, is on a Federal panel
that now has major impact on U.S. DoE energy research funding.
Dr. Vest played a key role in papering over the misdeeds of
1989, as the following report clearly shows.
To use press manipulation and data manipulation to misdirect
billions of dollars in Federal scientific funding is scandal of the
highest order. To coin a phrase in this era of various “-Gate” scandals
and cover-ups—this is HeavyWatergate, one of the greatest
(but still to be acknowledged) scandals in the history of science.
To use the phrase “scientific schlock” which then MIT Plasma
Fusion Center Director, Prof. Ronald R. Parker used against Fleischmann
and Pons’ work in 1989 (and later falsely denied using it,
perhaps fearing legal action), aptly characterizes the methods
used by certain MIT researchers against the new science of lowenergy
nuclear reactions. It was not only data manipulation or
“processing,” as Parker later would contend on the 1994 BBC and
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation cold fusion documentary,
“Too Close to the Sun,” but there was a whole range of dirty tricks,
deceptions, and self-deceptions that MIT professors and senior
officials employed against cold fusion. We have catalogued most
of them; this report is lengthy, but it is not comprehensive. Still, we
urge you to read this history and learn from it. Perhaps concerned
MIT graduates or faculty will have something to say about this. I
encourage your feedback.
Some may say, “Why drag up the negative past, why not just
emphasize the positive in the pages of this magazine?” To some
degree that argument has merit, and we would like to be as positive
as we can be. But we cannot ignore the reality that
MIT’s reputation as a “bastion of skepticism” against cold
fusion has had a devastating effect on the progress of scientific
investigation. As an article in Infinite Energy Issue
No. 11, revealed, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is
using bogus conclusions from MIT investigators in 1989 to
deny U.S. citizens their Constitutional rights to be granted
patents on their intellectual property. Some of those—at
least two to my knowledge—are MIT graduates! If generations
of MIT students, alumni/ae and professors do not
learn from the tragic errors of the past, how can the future
be anything but dim?
How can the scientific and technological might and the
vast resources of MIT be turned to this most important scientific
problem of cold fusion and new energy, if the subject
is relegated to nonsense and pseudoscience by past unacknowledged
misdeeds—done by individuals, but with the
implied imprint of MIT? How many scientists are not tuned
into cold fusion precisely because in their minds MIT’s “smart
people” back in 1989 proved that there was nothing to cold
fusion claims? Lots. We hear from them all the time. When they
first learn about what is happening in the cold fusion field today
they are shocked, and then amazed to hear of the farce at MIT in
1989 and beyond.
MIT’s Plasma Fusion Center continues to receive tens of millions
of dollars per year for its tokamak hot fusion program.
This clearly makes no sense now that cold fusion has begun to
demonstrate its commercial potential as both an energy source
and in the low-energy remediation of radioactivity generated in
the past from the commercial and defense industry fission
nuclear enterprises. Who would wish to waste further billions
of dollars on a technology—hot fusion—that has already come
under serious question for its technological and economic viability
as a twenty-first century energy source, if there were a
clear alternative?
The alternative is here. Come home to your traditions, MIT.
Arise ye sons and daughters of MIT—help bring MIT back to
excellence and intellectual integrity on a new science frontier.
4 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
Introduction
When on March 23, 1989 Drs. Martin Fleischmann and Stanley
Pons announced that they had measured nuclear-scale
excess energy from a palladium-heavy water electrochemical
cell, and that they had also detected some preliminary evidence
of nuclear signatures from their exotic energy-producing reactions,
the world was in awe. Their famous afternoon press conference
at the University of Utah, coming less than twelve hours
before the Exxon Valdez ran aground off Alaska’s pristine coast
and spilled millions of gallons of oil, reminded us of the serious
problems linked with fossil fuel dependency. The Chernobyl
nuclear reactor accident of 1986 also hovered in the background.
It was already clear that conventional fission nuclear
power was in deep political trouble in many countries. The close
coupling of energy and the environment was growing ever more
apparent.
Following the Utah disclosure, the prospect loomed of a
quantum leap in energy technology—a solution to the dilemma
of fossil fuel domination and its threats to the environment and
world peace. The Utah claims soon came to be known as “cold
fusion,” because the electrochemists were saying that they had
solved the problem that the plasma physicists and engineers in
the “hot” fusion program had been working on for four
decades.
The hot fusioneers had been trying to mimic the stars—to
“bring the power of the Sun down to Earth” in the form of controlled,
thermonuclear fusion. This was the attempt to use the
deuterium in ordinary water as an effectively infinite fuel supply.
In only one cubic kilometer of ocean, the nuclear fusion
energy that could be extracted from the approximately
1/6,500th fraction of water’s hydrogen that is heavy hydrogen
exceeds the combustion energy content of all the known oil
reserves on Earth.
Tantalizing as the prospect of infinite energy from the oceans
was, the hot fusion program had never generated even a single
watt of excess power in its huge plasma reactors, which cost
hundreds of millions of dollars per year to support. Success—
“break-even” or “more energy out than in”—with magnetically-
confined hot plasma fusion always seemed to be twenty
years away. This led to the perennial joke that hot fusion is “the
energy source of the future. . .and always will be.” Moreover,
even if the hot fusion program were to succeed in building a
commercially viable central-station generator of electricity
sometime in the year 2050 or beyond, the technology would
have serious limitations. The energy from the hot fusion reaction
of deuterium and radioactive tritium, which had to be supplied
in bootstrap-fashion from the reaction, would emerge in
the form of deadly neutron radiation (14 MeV neutrons). That
would have to be transformed into more benign thermal energy
in a hot jacket of molten lithium in order to heat water for
steam-generated electricity. The practical engineering problems
would be enormous, the technology would add more nuclear
waste to the global inventory (though not as much as conventional
fission power, or so claim the tokamak hot fusion advocates),
and it was far from certain to be economically viable.
In fact, in October 1983 MIT Professor of Nuclear Engineering,
Lawrence M. Lidsky, published an article (“The Trouble
with Fusion”) condemning the hot fusion program. It was a
high-profile cover story for MIT’s Technology Review. The stark
black and white cover of the issue read, “Even if the fusion program
produces a reactor, no one will want it.” Other key
remarks made by the outspoken Lidsky, who was then an Associate
Director of the Plasma Fusion Center: “Long touted as an
MIT and Cold Fusion: A Special Report
Compiled and written by Eugene F. Mallove, Sc.D.
MIT Class of 1969, S.B. Aero/Astro Eng., 1970 S.M. Aero/Astro Eng.
Photo: E. Mallove
5 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
March 23, 1989, afternoon
Fleischmann and Pons announcement at the University of Utah.
April 17, 1989
Richard Saltus of the Boston Globe writes to MIT President Paul Gray
complaining about lack of access to the MIT Plasma Fusion Center (see
Exhibit D—May 1 response by MIT President Gray (see Exhibit E).
April 26, 1989
MIT Professor Ronald Ballinger testifies before U.S. House of Representatives
Committee on Science, Space and Technology (see Exhibit A).
April 28, 1989
Professors Ronald R. Parker and Ronald Ballinger give interview to
Nick Tate of the Boston Herald, planting anti-cold fusion story (see Exhibit
B).
April 30, 1989
A late-night call by Professor Parker to Eugene Mallove’s home in Bow,
New Hampshire triggers press release to wire services denying the substance
of the Herald’s banner page-one story the next day (see Exhibit C).
May 1, 1989
Press release from the MIT News Office issued, which denies Boston
Herald's characterization of Professor Parker’s remarks about Pons and
Fleischmann’s work as “scientific schlock” and “maybe fraud.” (See
Exhibit C.) • MIT President Paul Gray sends letter to Boston Globe.
June 26, 1989
MIT Plasma Fusion Center holds “Wake for Cold Fusion” party weeks
before Phase-II calorimetry data are analyzed!
July 10, 1989
Section of PFC/JA-89-34 report exists which shows intermediate
processed Phase-II calorimetry data. Data are not yet time-averaged.
This was not published (see graphs, p. 11).
July 13, 1989
Section of PFC/JA-89-34 exists which shows intermediate processed
Phase II calorimetry data. Data for both H2O and D2O have been timeaveraged
in one-hour intervals. Power curve for D2O result retains
roughly the same shape as unaveraged data but has been shifted down.
This was published (see graphs, p. 11).
July, 1989
Publication of PFC/JA-89-34 cold fusion experiments report based on
work funded by DoE contract No. DE-AC0278ET51013. • Mid-July initial
draft of DoE ERAB Cold Fusion Panel report is negative.
July 18, 1989
MIT PFC Director Parker’s Memo on “Cold Fusion Mug” and “stamp
out scientific schlock” t-shirt (see Exhibit F).
November 1, 1989
Final DoE ERAB Cold Fusion Panel report is issued. It cites negative
MIT PFC report—“Albagli et al.” as the first reference. (By contrast, positive
results from U.S. Naval Surface Weapons Center are omitted.)
March 26-28, 1990
“Energy and Environment in the 21st Century” conference at MIT. MIT
President Paul E. Gray makes unflattering comparison of cold vs. hot
fusion (see Exhibit G).
July 19, 1990
Chief Science Writer Dr. Eugene Mallove of the MIT News Office hears
for the first time parts of the Parker/Ballinger/Tate interview tape played
over telephone by Nick Tate of the Boston Herald (see Exhibit B).
August 15, 1990
Meeting with Dr. Stanley Luckhardt (MIT Plasma Fusion Center) and
independent scientist, electrochemist Dr. Vesco Noninski, in Dr. Luckhardt's
office. Within a week Dr. Noninski is challenging the analysis of
the MIT PFC calorimetry on analytical grounds.
September 8, 1990
Letter from PFC team member rejecting Noninski’s analysis of the MIT
experiment—letter provides minimal technical details.
October 10, 1990
Letter to Dr. Noninski from Chemistry Dept. head Professor Mark
Wrighton saying “no evidence whatsoever” has been obtained to verify
Pons and Fleischmann claims. Wrighton provides no technical details in
rebuttal (see Exhibit H).
January 16, 1991
Eugene Mallove meets with Prof. Ballinger in his office and Ballinger
remarks about Pons and Fleischmann being “crooks“ who could have
been “locked up in jail.” At Gordon Institute lecture Ballinger makes
other negative remarks about Pons and Fleischmann (see Exhibit A).
January 19, 1991
Mallove discovers the July 1989 down-shifted MIT excess-heat curve
(See graphs, p. 11), which later became the subject of controversy.
January 25, 1991
Mallove has lunch at “Networks” in MIT Student Center with Dr. Luckhardt.
Luckhardt can’t explain how “bias” was taken out. Luckhardt
said there could be 20 milliwatts excess power in the MIT PFC results,
but “not the 80 mW that Fleischmann was talking about.”
April 12, 1991
Letter from Eugene Mallove to MIT President Charles M. Vest, copy to
former President Paul E. Gray, suggesting organizing an MIT panel to reexamine
cold fusion in light of accumulating knowledge. No response
was ever received from either MIT President (see Exhibit I).
April 29, 1991
Eugene Mallove writes letter to Dr. Luckhardt requesting calorimetry
information (see Exhibit J).
May 13, 1991
Mallove’s first call to Dr. Luckhardt to try to get MIT PFC H2O curve.
May 20, 1991
Dr. Luckhardt cancels previously scheduled get-together with Mallove
and says he forgot to get raw data at his other office. He puts Mallove
off until the following Friday.
May 24, 1991
Two calls to Dr. Luckhardt (10 am and 1:30 pm)—phone messages left
about getting data on H2O curve. No response to Mallove’s messages.
•Near final version of Eugene Mallove’s resignation letter exists.
May 29, 1991
Taping of WGBH Boston Channel 2 clip on Cold Fusion—Mallove and
MIT PFC’s Dr. Richard Petrasso. • Final refusal by Stan Luckhardt to
turn over PFC calorimetry data.
June 7, 1991
Professor Ronald Parker publicly disparages the PFC team's calorimetry
work on cold fusion! (See Exhibit K.) • Eugene Mallove submits his
resignation from the MIT News Office (see Exhibit L) following the onehour
talk on cold fusion by Frank Close at the PFC and a heated question
and answer session (see Exhibit K).
June 14, 1991
Eugene Mallove’s request faxed to Professor Parker for promised data
relating to PFC cold fusion calorimetry experiments (see Exhibit M).
July 30, 1991
No response yet received from the PFC. Second request sent to Professor
Parker (see Exhibit N) • Press release from MIT PFC “stands by” the
1989 PFC results and conclusions (see Exhibit T).
August 8, 1991
Fax letter from Parker to Mallove giving Stan Luckhardt’s revised objectives
of MIT PFC experiments and stonewalling again on data transfer
(see Exhibit O).
August 9, 1991
WBUR program about Mallove’s resignation and charges airs in Boston
(see Exhibit P).
August 13, 1991
Fax received by Mallove from Parker with heavy water and light water
curves (see Exhibit Q).
August 18, 1991
Formal request by Eugene Mallove to MIT President Vest for investigation
of scientific misconduct at MIT PFC, concerning both data mis-handling
and deception of press and MIT News Office (see Exhibit R).
September 16, 1991
Eugene Mallove responds to August 30, 1991 MIT PFC Press Release
(see Exhibit T).
October 9, 1991
President Vest writes to Prof. Philip Morrison requesting misconduct
inquiry opinion (see Exhibit U).
October 14, 1991
PARTIAL CHRONOLOGY OF EVENTS RELATING TO MIT’S HANDLING OF COLD FUSION
6 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
Prof. Morrison’s initial inquiry report to President Vest (see Exhibit V).
October 17, 1991
President Vest’s response letter to Mallove (see Exhibit W).
October 24, 1991
Mallove’s letter to President Vest rejecting Morrison’s assessment and
requesting a formal investigation (see Exhibit X).
November 11, 1991
Nobel Laureate Julian Schwinger speaks about cold fusion at MIT
physics gathering celebrating birthday of his former student. Evidently
this has no effect on Physics Dept. resistance (see pages 18-20).
December 31, 1991
Mallove’s letter to President Vest asking for status (see Exhibit Y).
January 2, 1992
Electrochemist Dr. Andrew Riley dies in cold fusion explosion at SRI
International. Dr. Brian Ahern (an MIT graduate) tried to warn SRI of
danger, but telephone call did not go through.
January 6, 1992
President Vest sends brush-off letter to Eugene Mallove (see Exhibit Z).
February 9, 1991
Eugene Mallove sends new evidence of scientific misconduct to President
Vest based on report of MIT graduate Dr. Mitchell Swartz’s independent
investigation. Mallove demands thorough investigation (see Exhibit Z-1).
Further prompt to Vest on February 21 (see Exhibit Z-2).
March 10, 1992
Dr. Luckhardt sends memo to Prof. Morrison giving further explanations
of 1989 work. Redefines the objective of experiment as “turn on”
of “anomalous heating event” rather than D2O vs. H2O comparison!
(See Exhibit Z-3.)
March 19. 1992
NIH physicist Dr. Charles McCutchen’s letter to President Vest complaining
about ethical problems with MIT PFC experiment (see Exhibit
Z-4).
March 20, 1992
Prof. Morrison’s second report to President Vest. Suggests Dr. Luckhardt
continue to have possession of data and should make further
assessments! (See Exhibit Z-5.)
April 1, 1992
President Vest’s final brush off letter to Eugene Mallove giving an unacceptable
conclusion. This was no April Fool joke (see Exhibit Z-6).
April 2, 1992
MIT Associate Provost Sheila Widnall’s letter to Dr. McCutchen—a further
brush-off and statement that experimenters will continue to be processing
contested data and will be writing a future memo with experiment
“clarifications.” (See Exhibit Z-7.)
May 1992
Publication of MIT PFC Technical Report (PFC/RR-92-7), a singleauthor
(Luckhardt) “Technical Appendix to D. Albagli et al. Journal of
Fusion Energy article” (originally 16 authors!) Error limits of MIT PFC
calorimetry are further expanded and the nature of the experiment was
further redefined to deflect data mishandling accusation.
July 26, 1992
Dr. McCutchen letter to Provost Widnall, asks MIT PFC to publish a correction
that the experiment was not as advertised (see Exhibit Z-8).
August 3, 1992
Provost Widnall’s letter to Dr. McCutchen giving final MIT brush-off
(see Exhibit Z-9).
August 18, 1992
Dr. McCutchen letter to Eugene Mallove details his frustration with
Provost Widnall’s response (see Exhibit Z-10).
August 19, 1991
Dr. McCutchen’s final letter to Provost Widnall saying, “I am sorry MIT
continues to tough it out. Apparently the university feels it need not be
fair to cold fusion people.” (See Exhibit Z-11.)
August 1992
Dr. Mitchell R. Swartz publishes fourteen page analysis of MIT PFC Phase
II Calorimetry in Fusion Facts newsletter. Also published, in part, in subsequent
Proceedings of Fourth International Conference on Cold Fusion and elsewhere.
MIT TECHNOLOGY REVIEWAND COLD FUSION
To its credit, MIT Technology Review published an excellent
feature review article about cold fusion by Dr. Edmund Storms
(Los Alamos National Laboratory, ret.) in the May/June 1994
issue. This might have been a turning point in media coverage
of cold fusion, had this influential magazine continued to follow
the subject. It did not.
Afirestorm of protest against the Storms article had confronted
then TR editor Dr. Steven J. Marcus, which led him to write
an editorial in the August/September 1994 issue, “Don’t Blame
the Parent.” He wrote, “. . .we’ll occasionally make people angry
for having allowed an author to present the ‘wrong’ point of
view. But reaction to the cold fusion story marks the first time in
my memory that dissenting readers criticized the magazine’s
editors not only for choosing to run this material—variously
describing it as ‘dreadful,’ ‘appalling,’ ‘pseudo-scientific,’ ‘irresponsible,’
and ‘an example of the goggle-eyed approach to science’
—but for hurting the institutional parent in the process.”
Marcus heard from so-called scientists who said that the article
“casts disgrace on MIT,” one who said that it “trashes research
at MIT,” and one who wrote that it “embarrasses the Physics
Department, MIT, and all graduates of MIT.” (MIT students are
advised to look up these articles to see for themselves what all
the commotion was about.)
There were, of course, positive responses as well, which
praised the editor for having found the courage to publish the
Storms cold fusion article, but these did not apparently reflect
the majority of the sentiments received. Marcus published six
response letters in that August/September issue, including a
positive one from cold fusion theorist and MIT Professor Keith
Johnson and a negative letter from MIT Nuclear Engineering
and Materials Science Professor Kenneth C. Russell.
Unfortunately, the protest of the Storms article in Technology
Review was not the first time MIT faculty had become upset with
Technology Review on the matter of cold fusion. The negative opinion
of MIT Physics Professor Herman Feshbach caused the previous
editor of Technology Review, Jonathan Schlefer, to back
down in the spring of 1991 from his intent to publish my cold
fusion review article. This 1991 article would have said essentially
what Storms did in 1994, but by 1994, even more confirmatory
evidence could be cited. Schlefer had accepted my article after
much editorial revision! Both positive and negative viewpoints
were presented in that approved article, plus my clearly identified
opinion that the evidence was building strongly toward
proof of the phenomenon. That was not negative enough for
Feshbach—who called all evidence for cold fusion “junk.” This
sorry episode of censorship was one of the key reasons for my
resignation from the MIT News Office in June 1991 (see Exhibit K
for more on this event).
Prof. Feshbach had told me his other reason for not wanting the
article to be published. He said that he had “. . .fifty years of experience
in nuclear physics and I
know what’s possible and
what’s not.” He later demonstrated
the same sort of monumental
arrogance and ignorance
when he appeared on
ABC Television’s Nightline
program, June 11, 1997. Even
though Feshbach admitted
that he knew absolutely nothing
about the Patterson Power
CellTM cold fusion device
which was the subject of the
program, he told viewers that
he could “categorically” state
that there were no nuclear reactions
occurring in it.—EFM
7 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
inexhaustible energy source for the
next century, fusion as it is now being
developed will almost certainly be too
expensive and unreliable for commercial
use.”; “The scientific goal of the
fusion program turns out to be an
engineering nightmare.”; “A fusion
reactor might well produce only onetenth
as much power as a fission reactor
of the same size.”; “The drawbacks
of the existing fusion program will
weaken the prospects for other
fusion programs, no matter how
wisely redirected.” Foreshadowing
the benefit of cold fusion that
would emerge over five years
later, Lidsky also wrote of aneutronic
hot fusion: “Neutrons
induce radioactivity and damage
reactors. Neutron-free fusion
might provide inexhaustible,
benign power.” Prof. Lidsky later
moved into work at MIT on
advanced fission reactors, but
kept an open mind about cold
fusion after it emerged.
Enter Fleischmann and Pons
Onto the scene on March 23, 1989 came two world-class electrochemists,
Professors Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons,
who were boldly claiming on international television that they
had already achieved break-even in some form of nuclear
fusion, but in a humble jar of heavy water—without lethal
attendant radiation! This was an instant prescription for controversy.
By analogy, it was as shocking and insulting to the hot
fusion people as if they had been told that their television set
had not been able to turn on for decades because they had
neglected to plug it in! The threat to the hot fusion enterprise
was palpable and real. More to the point: even if the hot fusion
people did not believe the Utah claims were sound, the threat
that some hot fusion funding (perhaps $25 million) would be
diverted by the U.S. Congress to study cold fusion was very
real. The always financially embattled hot fusion program was
running scared in the onslaught of cold fusion news.
MIT Professor Ronald Ballinger, who would play a key role in
the scandalous attacks against cold fusion, testified before the
U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Science, Technology,
and Space (see Exhibit A). His April 26, 1989 testimony had a
seemingly appropriate “wait and see” message, but behind the
scenes Ballinger, Parker, and other MIT hot fusioneers had
among themselves already dismissed cold fusion. They were
sharpening their knives against Fleischmann and Pons. (See
recorded interview with Boston Herald, Exhibit B.)
The idea that deuterium in heavy water might be undergoing
some kind of nuclear fusion reaction within the palladium cathodes
of the Pons-Fleischmann cells was, of course, very difficult
to accept. Where was the expected lethal radiation, for example,
which standard nuclear physics would seem to predict? Why
weren’t Pons and Fleischmann dead if they had truly generated
even a minor fraction of a watt of cold fusion-derived energy?
This became known as “the dead graduate student” problem.
Furthermore, how could the palladium cell have overcome the
natural, very high electric repulsion force between the positively
charged deuterium nuclei—the so-called Coulomb barrier
that had been thought to put an absolute barrier between high
energy nuclear physics and ordinary chemistry? Elements
(except those that are radioactive or which spontaneously fission)
should retain their identities. This is basic scientific “fact”
doled out in high school science classes. Room-temperature
fusion of even light elements such as hydrogen or lithium was
considered to be prima facie impossible. (There was an old pre-
Alcator-C hot fusion tokamak reactor at MIT Plasma Fusion Center. Magnetic
fields confine a hydrogen plasma while the temperature and density are
increased. (From MIT Plasma Fusion Center pamphlet, “Fusion Energy Research”)
Dr. Stanley Luckhardt of the MIT Plasma Fusion Center poses in
the spring of 1989 with nest of cold fusion cells on a lab cart. Ironically,
this cold fusion equipment was removed from the cavernous
neutron-shielded room to make way for the next generation Alcator-
C hot fusion reactor. (MIT News Office Photo)
Technology Review October 1983
Professor Lawrence M. Lidsky
Professors Martin Fleischmann (R) and Stanley Pons (L).
Infinite Energy archives
8 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
cold fusion era joke among MIT students about the need for a
Department of Alchemy, but MIT was apparently not quite
ready for the real thing!)
Conventional understanding was that nothing at ordinary
conditions could bring the nuclei of deuterium close enough
together such that the nuclear forces, at very close approach,
would take over and facilitate fusion to helium—or to anything
else. That two “miracles” were implicit in cold fusion was just
too much to bear for the mainstream physics community.
Nonetheless, the establishment held its skepticism in check—at
least publicly—for several weeks. Some scientists told the news
media that the claims were “very interesting,” but they thought
they were unlikely to be true. By implication, they suggested
there might be a mistake, which they would likely find after
doing their experiments to check up on Fleischmann and Pons.
Immediately, the cold fusion story became very big news all
around the world. Thousands of scientists and basement inventors
tried to verify—or disprove—the claims from Utah. The
May 8, 1989 editions of Time, Newsweek, and Business Week ran
prominent cover stories on cold fusion—a first for science coverage
apart from events in space exploration. The question of
the hour was—as Business Week editorialized on its cover: Is
cold fusion a “miracle or a mistake”? Of course that was the
possibility that had to be excluded—a major mistake in either
excess heat measurement or nuclear measurements.
When cold fusion was announced, I had the good fortune to
be the chief science writer at the MIT News Office, the main
public relations arm of MIT. My tenure was from September
1987 through June 1991. Previously, I had written major scientific
articles for MIT Technology Review, the magazine of my
alma mater’s Alumni/ae Association. After leaving my job as
an aerospace engineer at MIT Lincoln Laboratory in 1985, I
shifted careers and had worked as a science writer and broadcaster
for the Voice of America in Washington, DC. I would also
eventually teach science journalism both at Boston University
and at MIT in the Department of Humanities (both when I was
in the MIT News Office, and for a time afterward).
My position at the News Office required me to interact daily
with members of the national and international press. Thus,
when the Pons and Fleischmann announcement occurred, it
was my job to report to the media what certain key scientists at
MIT were thinking about the amazing claims out of Utah.
I had already been instrumental, some weeks before March 23,
1989, in exposing the entire science writing staff and senior editors
of The Wall Street Journal to the hot fusion program at MIT, where
the Alcator line of tokamaks were being developed. I did that
proudly. In fact, I remember introducing Plasma Fusion Center
(PFC) Director Ronald R. Parker to the Wall Street Journal’s Jerry
Bishop, the senior reporter who would later write an award-winning
series of articles on cold fusion. As an engineer turned writerengineer,
I had been since age sixteen an advocate for hot fusion.
While a student in engineering at MIT in 1967, I remember
being impressed by the Russian hot fusion exhibit at the world
Expo in Montreal. I thought that hot fusion offered a real though
difficult-to-develop solution to the world’s energy needs.
Because I had been trained as an aerospace engineer with a particular
interest in interstellar propulsion methods, I was fond of
hot fusion, because it might offer a very high performance
propulsion system for limited travel to
the “local” stars. I would write of this in my 1989
book, co-authored with colleague Dr. Gregory
Matloff, The Starflight Handbook: A Pioneer’s Guide
to Interstellar Travel (John Wiley & Sons). In 1969 I
had written a lengthy term paper for MIT course
16.53 on the Bussard Interstellar Ramjet concept, which used the
hydrogen of the interstellar medium as fusion fuel. In the 1970s
and 1980s, I collaborated with physicist Robert L. Forward of
Hughes Research Laboratories on lengthy bibliographical studies
of the related subjects of advanced interstellar propulsion
concepts and the search for extra-terrestrial civilizations (SETI).
The cold fusion story quickly drew very heavy media attention,
and I was rapidly drawn into the frenzy that resulted at the
MIT News Office. There were many requests for interviews with
Massachusetts
Institute of Technology
TECH TALK
September 16, 1987
Volume 32, Number 7
Dr. Eugene Mallove '69
named News Office
science writer
Dr. Eugene F. Mallove '69, an engineer and scientist who has
written widely on science for the Voice of America, The Washington
Post and Technology Review, has been appointed chief
science writer for the MIT News Office. The appointment, as
assistant director, was announced by Kenneth D. Campbell,
director of the News Office. “Gene Mallove brings three great
strengths to the News Office: his background in science and
engineering; his MIT experience; and, most importantly, his
ability to communicate his fascination for science, both in the
written word and on the air-waves. I am delighted to welcome
Dr. Mallove back to MIT,” said Mr. Campbell.
A science writer for the past five years, Dr. Mallove’s most
recent position was as international science writer and broadcaster
at the Voice of America, which he joined in 1985. He was
responsible for a weekly 15-minute “New Horizons” program on
science, technology, and medicine, and for a daily five-minute
program of science teaching to the world, “Science Notebook.”
He has written free-lance articles for the Washington Post and
other newspapers, and for Technology Review and a new magazine,
“Computers in Science.” He is the author of The Quickening
Universe, to be published by St. Martin's Press this fall.
Dr. Mallove received his SB in aeronautical and astronautical
engineering from MIT in 1969, and his SM in the same field in
1970. In 1975, he received from Harvard University his ScD
degree in environmental health sciences, specializing in
aerosol physics and air pollution control.
His career in science and engineering includes work as a consulting
astronautical engineer on space propulsion systems with
Hughes Research Laboratories, 1970-77; engineer with The
Analytical Science Corporation, 1977-79, and with Northrop Co.
(Precision Products Division), 1980-81; systems engineering
manager with Jaycor, Systems Engineering Division, 1981-82;
and engineer with MIT Lincoln Laboratory, 1983-85.
He founded a firm, Astronomy New England, Inc., which
developed and marketed astronomy-related products for six
years, ending in 1985. (Reprinted from MIT Tech Talk)
9 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
Ronald Parker and others at the PFC. Agroup of PFC and Chemistry
Department scientists and students had immediately set out
to check the Utah claims. There were regular calls to me at the
News Office to provide status reports, photo opportunities, and
interviews for members of the PFC team. Then in mid-April 1989,
Professor Peter L. Hagelstein, a laser and quantum physics
expert in the MIT Department of Electrical Engineering and
Computer Science, went public with a theory of how cold
fusion might be explained in terms of “coherent nuclear reactions.”
Professor Keith H. Johnson of the MIT Dept. of Materials
Science, another MIT luminary, with deep knowledge of palladium
hydrides and superconductivity in his background, also
put forth a theory that allowed nuclear reactions to occur in the
Pons-Fleischmann cells. Unlike Hagelstein, who proposed pure
nuclear reactions operating in a coherent fashion with a metal
lattice, Johnson tried to explain the excess heat as a result of
peculiar effects of so-called Jahn-Teller chemical bonding. I
thought this was a wonderful honor for MIT, to have two openminded
theorists approaching the Utah results with caution,
but attempting to pose explanations for it if it could be confirmed.
Others at MIT did not hold this view. The Hagelstein-
Johnson work was almost immediately regarded with disdain
—particularly by the plasma fusion people. So there were
early-on two camps at MIT, one largely negative (but at that
point generally restrained in its public comments), and another
putting forth hope that the Utah discovery was no mistake and
could be explained on theoretical grounds—much as Nobel
Laureate Julian Schwinger began to try to do at that time. (See
Julian Schwinger’s talk on cold fusion, which he delivered at
MIT in November 1991.)
The story was growing more fascinating every day, as
reports of positive results in replication efforts came in from
around the world, as well as news of negative results from
other laboratories. I was able to write a series of articles*
about MIT’s response to cold fusion for MIT Tech Talk, the
administration newspaper that circulates on campus and is
used as a public relations tool to influence the general mass
media. (Tech Talk is not to be confused with the MIT student
newspaper, The Tech.) [*April 5, 1989, Vol. 33, No. 27, “Recent ‘cold
fusion’ claims baffle experts”; April 26, 1989, Vol. 33, No. 29, “Cold fusion:
theories, controversy abound”: May 3, 1989, Vol. 33, No. 30, “Group finds
flaw in cold fusion experiment”; May 31, 1989, Vol. 33, No. 34, “Cold
fusion is still a hot topic.”]
There were also a few immediate false-positive results from
outside MIT, such as from Georgia Tech, that were reported prematurely
to the press. These left several scientists embarrassed
when they had to retract or sneak away with red faces—as
Charles Martin did at Texas A&M University. Unfortunately,
Dr. Eugene F. Mallove’s Input for MIT President Paul
Gray’s Remarks for MIT Technology Day 1989
(Prepared, May 11, 1989)
Two decades ago humanity was poised to begin an epic journey—
the first manned landing on another celestial body, the Moon. We well
recall the extraordinary contributions made by the thousands of scientists
and engineers to the epic flight of Apollo 11 in July, 1969—in particular
the work of MIT engineers who developed the guidance and
navigation systems for our spectacularly successful lunar missions.
We remember the electric atmosphere and the spirit of global celebration
—even amidst domestic conflict and war—as the world in rapt
attention watched a tiny contingent of humanity make a giant leap
onto a new world. And we remain very proud that a son of MIT who
received his doctorate from the Department of Aeronautical and Astronautical
Engineering, Col. Edwin E. Aldrin, Jr., was aboard Apollo 11
and became the second human being to step onto the lunar surface.
The launching of the first Sputnik in 1957 is often cited as the beginning
of the space age. The era from 1957 through the watershed year of
1969—incidentally, the time of graduation of the 100th MIT class—contrasts
remarkably with the present. Slide rules were still the indispensable
companions of scientists and engineers; desk-top computers were
unheard of and children did not play at video games; energy crises
were only a theoretical possibility—as was the threat of global climate
change; environmental issues were yet to rise to the fore of public
attention; genetic engineering had not entered the public lexicon; and
nuclear power seemed to have an endless, promising future.
Today we aim to go beyond the Moon, not only with our space program,
but with our ambitions to make a better planet Earth through science
and technology. But these ambitions are beclouded by a worrisome
anti-technology backlash and pervasive scientific illiteracy in our society
that threatens not only our venture into space and efforts to reach a
reasonable accommodation with nature, but our very standard of living.
As MIT's recently released “Made in America” study suggests”. . .
Office of the President
May 6, 1988
Mr. Eugene F. Mallove
Room 5-111
Dear Gene,
I write, a bit belatedly, to express my appreciation to you for your
tremendous help this spring in preparing those remarks on scientific
illiteracy. As you know, I have gotten considerable mileage from them
already (the Washington campaign opening, the New York Academy,
and the Time-Life editors) and will get even more mileage from them
in the months ahead. Your collaboration in this task was a tremendous
help, and I am much in your debt.
I suspect you were startled, as was I, by the revelations this week
about the Reagans’ reliance on astrology. On second thought, I guess
we should not be surprised.
With warmest regards and best wishes,
Sincerely yours, Paul E. Gray PEG/mmd cc: Kathryn W. Lombardi
Eugene Mallove was held in high regard by many members of the MIT
faculty and administration, as this 1988 letter from Dr. Gray attests.
MIT Prof. Peter L. Hagelstein in his laser laboratory at MIT, circa 1994.
(Photo by Eugene Mallove)
MIT Prof. Keith H. Johnson at home in
his movie production studio.
MIT News Office
10 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
these and other political issues came to color the attitude of
many observers of the cold fusion scene—especially because
Pons and Fleischmann had been forced to make their announcement
via a press conference, rather than through scientific publication.
The reasons for the press conference are too involved to
explore here, although Dr. Fleischmann himself sheds some
additional light on the topic in an essay in this issue (not reprinted
here, see Issue 24 of Infinite Energy). However, it is a matter of
record that Fleischmann and Pons really did not want to make
their disclosure for another eighteen months until they understood
their discovery better. The parallel claims by physicist
Steve Jones of nearby Brigham and Young University, patent
issues, and other conflicts brought the issue into public view in
March 1989. Further complicating the story and enraging other
scientists, lawyers at the University of Utah prohibited or retarded
the disclosure of experimental details by Fleischmann and
Pons. As a historian of this subject, I feel confident in stating that
if Fleischmann and Pons had been allowed to hand out at their
press conference the pre-print of their paper which was later that
spring published in the Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry, the
intensity of opposition to cold fusion would have been reduced
by at least 50%.
If one had any interest in the process of science, this was
already a first-class captivating story. Naturally, I called my literary
agent at the time, Richard Curtis, and alerted him that
there might be a new book for me in this
saga. Because I had already written two
books (at the time I was still completing The
Starflight Handbook), it was not difficult to
convince John Wiley & Sons to offer me a
contract for a book on cold fusion. I didn’t
know how the story would turn out, but it
was certainly going to be a matter of some
interest given the already huge media coverage.
My first book was The Quickening
Universe: Cosmic Evolution and Human
Destiny (St. Martin's Press, 1987), which
had been published soon after I arrived
at the MIT News Office.
One of the stipulations in the cold
fusion book contract was that if Nature
or Science magazine (or both) were to
reach the general editorial conclusion
that cold fusion was not real, the publisher
could revoke the contract. As
would transpire, that happened; the
contract was revoked. In the spring of
1989 and beyond, the complex politics
among the hot fusion program, the
Department of Energy ERAB Cold
Fusion Panel, the cold fusion camp, the media, and the mainstream
science community led to widespread rejection of cold
fusion as a Big Mistake—incompetence on the part of Pons and
Fleischmann and others reporting positive results, or worse.
“Possible fraud” and “scientific schlock” is how PFC Director
Ronald Parker would characterize Pons and Fleischmann’s
work to Boston Herald environmental reporter Nick Tate in an
interview in late April 1989, which surfaced on May 1. That
May day in Baltimore, the absent electrochemists were viciously
attacked at the meeting of the American Physical Society. The
“F-word”—fraud—had been unleashed against cold fusion,
thanks in no small way to the MIT PFC. Boston Herald Reporter
Nick Tate would later write in a retrospective (June 8, 1991):
“The MIT analysis debunked the Utah claims, and in an interview
with the Herald, Parker—who wrote the report with Dr.
Richard Petrasso—said the chemists misinterpreted their
results. He also called it possibly fraudulent ‘scientific schlock.’
Some say those comments set the tone for the national criticism
of the Utah work that followed.”
But as we all know, the cold fusion story did not die. Positive
results, as well as negative results in attempts to replicate the
Pons and Fleischmann experiment, continued to be reported
through 1989 and beyond. I was fascinated by the trend, not
knowing how it would all come out. I was trying to be as objective
as possible within the tumult. Certainly, I was encouraged
by much of what I heard, but I was also discouraged by what
my contacts at the MIT Plasma Fusion Center were saying.
Some of them, such as Dr. Stan Luckhardt, told me that the tritium
detection in cold fusion experiments at Los Alamos
National Laboratory should be ignored because it had been
done by “third-rate scientists.” I assumed, provisionally, that
these MIT experts knew what they were talking about. These
were Dr. Edmund Storms and Dr. Carol Talcott—in retrospect
definitely not “third rate.” Despite Nature and Science magazines’
negativity, eventually the sharp editor at John Wiley &
Sons, David Sobel, perceived that it would be a good idea to
reinstate the book contract, so I continued to follow the story.
Even without the contract, I would have continued to be deeply
immersed in the field. How could any serious person with a
strong science background not be, so intriguing had become the
physical evidence—and, in parallel, its public rejection. And
several MIT professors remained very interested in it—not only
Peter Hagelstein and Keith Johnson, but
Prof. Louis Smullin, Prof. Lawrence Lidsky,
Prof. Donald Sadoway (who filed a patent
too!), and Prof. Philip Morrison.
In May 1991, Fire from Ice: Searching for the
Truth Behind the Cold Fusion Furor came out.
Its general conclusion was that the evidence
for cold fusion was overwhelmingly compelling.
In my view, for four or five years
now, the basic evidence has been 100% confirmed;
it is not merely compelling. Commercial
opportunities abound for engineering
power-generating reactors, even though
the precise microphysical characterization
of “cold fusion” remains contentious. In
1991, Julian Schwinger offered this promotional
comment for the jacket of Fire from Ice:
“Eugene Mallove has produced a sorely
needed, accessible overview of the cold
fusion muddle. By sweeping away stubbornly
held preconceptions, he bares the
truth implicit in a provocative variety of
experiments.” (See page 17 for further positive comments on Fire
from Ice by Schwinger and other MIT-affiliated people.)
In 1991, I thought that both cold fusion and hot fusion could
play a complementary role in the energy economy of the world—
even though neither technology had been developed to the stage
of commercial devices. I offered that opinion in Fire from Ice. But
I was on dangerous ground. That was the last thing that the hot
fusion people wanted to hear! They thought they had buried cold
fusion about two years before. They had been fighting cold
fusion in the press and in government from the outset.
Today, it is hot fusion that will be buried. Once the first commercial
prototype reactors using cold fusion get widespread
public acceptance—and they inevitably will—the white elephant
of the tokamak hot fusion program is likely to be abrupt-
Nick Tate, then of Boston
Herald, now with Atlanta
Journal Constitution
(Photo courtesy of AJC)
Julian Schwinger
Infinite Energy archives
ly canceled by an outraged Congress. The U.S. DoE-Academia
scandal against cold fusion demands a Congressional investigation
if ever a matter of pressing scientific, technological, and
legal importance did. Congress has already killed U.S. involvement
in the $10-billion ITER (International Thermonuclear
Experimental Reactor). The media, in general, are still largely
ignoring scientific and commercial developments in cold fusion,
but commercial-scale reactors will be impossible to deny—even
for some heretofore obtuse science journalists who should have
been continuing their coverage had they not been so strongly
influenced by the likes of the negativists at MIT and elsewhere.
It Began at MIT
By the spring of 1991, most of the media and certainly the vast
bulk of the scientific establishment had written off cold fusion. Fortunately
for us all, they were—and are—all wrong. How did the
scientific community and the media get the idea that cold fusion
was bunk, “pathological science,“ and worse, when experiments
continued worldwide? Substantial, increasingly refined experimental
proofs were published—even in peer-reviewed journals,
but the goal posts kept being moved by the
opposition. Today, these goal posts are so distant,
they are off the planet.
In retrospect, I have concluded that much of
the blame for the “cold fusion war”—and it certainly
has been just that—stems from a vituperative
campaign against the field with deep roots at
MIT, specifically at the MIT Plasma Fusion Center.
Not exclusively in that lab, however. Then
chemistry Professor Mark S. Wrighton was also
on the team that was investigating cold fusion.
He later signed the infamous rush-to-judgement report against cold
fusion by the U.S. Dept. of Energy (Prof. Mildred Dresselhaus of
MIT also signed the negative DoE report but was much less
involved, and as of 1999 is apparently “neutral” about cold fusion.
One wonders about the propriety of her public silence). Wrighton
became Provost of MIT in (1990) after Charles Vest (formerly of the
University of Michigan) became President of MIT and picked him.
Since 1995, Wrighton has been Chancellor at Washington University
in St. Louis.)
In the spring of 1991, as I was finishing Fire from Ice, and feeling
increasingly uncomfortable with what was happening at MIT with
respect to cold fusion, I made a fateful discovery. Questions had
already arisen about exactly how the MIT PFC-Chemistry Dept.
team had analyzed their excess heat calorimetry study that com-
11 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
pared a heavy water/palladium cell with an ordinary water/palladium
cell. This was the so-called “Phase-II Calorimetry” study that
had been published in the Journal of Fusion Energy. (Edited at the
MIT Plasma Fusion Center—how’s that for short-circuiting peer
review!) From the pile of information that I had been collecting
about the on-going work at MIT and elsewhere, I found two draft
documents concerning this calorimetry that had been given to me
by PFC team members during the rush toward publication. I could
see immediately that there was a serious discrepancy between the
unpublished, pre-processed raw data (the July 10, 1989 draft) and
the final published data on the July 13, 1989 draft. (See page 11
graphs reproduced from these drafts). At first glance, it appeared
that the data had been altered between July 10th and 13th to conform
to what would be most welcome to the hot fusion people—a
null result for excess heat in the heavy water data. I would later
publicly challenge the creation and handling of these graphs by
MIT PFC staff (see extensive Exhibits J through Z-11).
The Phase-II Calorimetry curves were later investigated in
the outstanding analysis by my cold fusion colleague and fellow
MIT graduate Dr. Mitchell R. Swartz. There can be no doubt
now that these curves were the end result of a serious lapse in
scientific standards in this affair that happened at MIT.
Our alma mater, which had played such a critical role in the
development of radar in World War II, in the Apollo flights to the
Moon, in deep space missions, in electronics, in biotechnology, in
the chemical industry, in defense systems, and too many other
fields to mention in one sentence, would acquire the reputation in
the media as the “bastion of skepticism” against cold fusion. Tragically,
MIT as an institution was not to fulfill the role it could have
played in bringing cold fusion technology to the world. Quite the
contrary, thanks to various false information coming from the hot
fusion lab at MIT, the high-profile reputation of MIT was used to
legitimize the view that cold fusion is bunk. It was said that the
PFC calorimetry results disproved cold fusion—showed no excess
heat. This is far from correct, as Dr. Swartz admirably showed. His
analysis has been published in several
venues.
From the vantage point of 1999, the role of
the MIT Plasma Fusion Center/Chemistry
Department team that investigated the cold
Prof. Mark S. Wrighton, then head of the MIT Chemistry
Dept., signed the U.S. Dept. of Energy negative cold fusion
report, which relied heavily on later contested results from
the MIT PFC-Chemistry Department team.
Photo: MIT News Office
Journal of Fusion Energy. Vol. 9, No. 2, 1990
Measurement and Analysis of Neutron and Gamma-Ray
Emission Rates, Other Fusion Products, and Power in
Electrochemical Cells Having Pd Cathodes
David Albagli,1 Ron Ballinger,3,4 Vince Cammarata,1 X. Chen,2 Richard M. Crooks,1
Catherine Fiore,2 Marcel P. J. Gaudreau,2 I. Hwang,3,4 C. K. Li,2 Paul Linsay,2 Stanley
C. Luckhardt,2 Ronald R. Parker,2,5 Richard D. Petrasso,2 Martin O. Schloh,1 Kevin W.
Wenzel,2 and Mark S. Wrighton1,5
Results of experiments intended to reproduce cold fusion phenomena originally reported by Fleischmann,
Pons, and Hawkins are presented. These experiments were performed on a pair of matched
electrochemical cells containing 0.1 x 9 cm Pd rods that were operated for 10 days. The cells were analyzed
by the following means: (1) constant temperature calorimetry, (2) neutron counting and ?-ray spectroscopy,
(3) mass spectral analysis of 4He in effluent gases, and 4He and 3He within the Pd metal, (4)
tritium analysis of the electrolyte solution, and (5) x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy of the Pd cathode
surface. Within estimated levels of accuracy, no excess power output or any other evidence of fusion
products was detected.
KEY WORDS: Fusion; cold fusion; palladium; excess heating.
fusion claims in 1989 grows clearer. It is a sad
tale that cannot be fully addressed in a short
space. Suffice it to say that early on,
senior members of the PFC/Chemistry
group, such as Dr. Richard
Petrasso and Prof. Ronald Parker,
took the view that the Utah claims
were flawed, or worse, fraudulent.
It went downhill from there. In
Prof. Mildred
Dresselhaus
MIT News Office
TECHNOLOGY
12 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
Excess Power Data. July 10, 1989 H2O Unpublished. Excess Power Data. July 13, 1989 H2O Published
Excess Power Data. July 10, 1989 D2O Unpublished. Excess Power Data. July 13, 1989 D2O Published.
How the MIT PFC Experiment Worked—Or Didn’t!
Accurate calorimetry of electrolytic cells is a difficult task, prone to many
subtle errors, which crept into the 1989 MIT PFC Phase-II Calorimetry
experiment. A schematic diagram of the experiment is at the right. A temperature
sensor monitors the temperature of the water. Auxiliary heater
power is automatically adjusted to maintain constant cell temperature, so
the heater power is a measure of the energy released in the cell. Thus, if
heat is generated within the cell, less heater power is required. However,
water is lost from the cell during the experiment, reducing the ease with
which heat is conducted to the environment, which also tends to reduce the
heater power requirement. During the experiment, the input power shows
a declining heater power trend from water loss. The graphs above have
been compensated for this water-loss trend. “Compensation” is error prone,
especially where the heat release (possible cold fusion power) may be
steady. The MIT researchers later (after their report was challenged) said
they expected a “sudden turn on” of excess heat. Dr. Swartz concludes
that “The Phase -II methodology is flawed because it masks a constant
[steady-state] excess heat.” He also notes, “. . .the PFC data itself indicates
that evaporation was a minor source of solvent loss...most solvent loss
occurred by electrolysis. Such solvent loss would be greater for the H2O
solution...such electrolysis is used commercially to isolate heavy
water...putative differential excess solvent loss for heavy water is not a rea-
The two pairs of graphs (below), referring to the same experiment, are
from two drafts (executed three days apart) of the MIT PFC Phase-II
Calorimetry comparative study of a heavy water (D2O) Fleischmann-
Pons cold fusion cell and an ordinary water (H2O) control cell. In the
July 10, 1989 draft, there is clear evidence of excess heat (beyond electrical
input power) in the D2O cell, but no visually apparent excess in the
H2O cell. The data were averaged over-one-hour intervals to produce
the July 13, 1989 draft, which shows no excess heat in the D2O cell.
There is now no doubt that to produce the July 13, 1989 draft, the D2O
data had to be treated differently than the H2O data to give the final
impression of a “null” result—no excess heat for D2O. The results were
published in this form in the Journal of Fusion Energy and a MIT PFC
Tech Report, widely cited (especially by DoE) as evidence that the
Fleischmann and Pons claim was false. In essence, the hour-averaged
data were properly transformed from the intermediate processed form
(July 10) for the H2O control experiment, but the D2O experiment
curve in the July 13 draft appeared to be arbitrarily shifted down to
make the apparent excess heat vanish. There is no justification for this
curve shifting. The manipulation of the data between dates July 10 and
13 was more disturbing and unexplained, because the two sets were
“asymmetrically” treated, as proved in the extensive analysis done by
MIT graduate Dr. Mitchell R. Swartz.
sonable explanation for the asymmetric algorithm used to shift the 7/10/1989
D2O curve.” On June 7, 1991, Prof. Ronald R. Parker publicly stated that
data from the MIT PFC was “worthless,” yet it had been published in a fusion
journal edited at MIT. Later in 1991, he said that he stood by the negative con-
Heater power decline.
MIT PFC Raw Data
H20
Schematic of PFC Experiment
From Draft MIT PFC Report
D20
Unpublished data
Published data
Graphic Proof of Serious Scientific Misconduct at MIT in 1989
13 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
William Broad’s 1991 front-page news story in the March 17, 1991 Sunday
New York Times, senior PFC physicist Richard Petrasso revealed
his original views about Pons and Fleischmann: “I was convinced
for a while it was absolute fraud. Now I’ve softened.
They probably believed in what they were doing. But how they
represented it was a clear violation of how science should be
done.” This is final proof, as though more were needed, that the
scientific experiments to investigate cold fusion were inappropriately
biased from the outset.
Petrasso’s comments
came within Broad’s article,
bannered with “Cold-
Fusion Claim is Faulted
On Ethics as Well as Science.”
The article amounted
to a virtual promotional
book review of UK physicist
Frank Close’s book,
Too Hot to Handle, which
came out at about the time
of Fire from Ice. The New
York Times also reviewed
Close’s book in its Book
Review section. Curiously,
Fire from Ice was never reviewed by the Times. Frank Close, who
worked closely with Petrasso et al. in assaulting Pons and Fleischmann,
falsely accused them of having
fudged gamma-ray spectroscopy data. The
bizarre truth is that even had Pons and
Fleischmann faked gamma ray data—they
most certainly had not—their all-important
nuclear-scale excess power results, the key
signature of cold fusion, has withstood the
test of time. Cold fusion is now being developed
commercially. To their credit, Fleischmann
and Pons were not comfortable
with the preliminary nature of their neutron/
gamma-ray data and have long since
withdrawn those data. Others subsequently confirmed much
lower levels of neutron emission. On the other hand, the use of
the strawman of gamma-ray curves by Petrasso et al. at the MIT
PFC is all the more reprehensible when the history of real data
fudging in cold fusion is examined—the data “processing” (i.e.
improper manipulation) of calorimetry curves from electrochemical
experiments performed at the MIT PFC in the spring of 1989.
Let us not forget, these were serious experiments, funded by
the U.S. Department of Energy under Federal contract. The
authorization to investigate came from U.S. President George
Bush through Energy Secretary Admiral Watkins. (As a general
matter, people who file false reports to Federal agencies are subject
to criminal sanctions if this work is brought to the attention
of appropriate investigative authorities before the statutes of limitation
expire.) This calorimetry issue was not a small matter. In
the spring of 1989 it was absolutely critical to determine whether
there was anything to the Pons and Fleischmann claims. The
energy and environmental future of the world hung in the balance
—and the MIT PFC people failed us. They preferred to get
rid of a scientific claim in which they did not believe, and which
threatened their federally-funded program, by playing politics
with the media, trivializing their experiments, and ultimately
foisting on the world highly flawed data—some would say
fraudulently represented data—from a calorimetry experiment
ostensibly performed to determine scientific truth.
To understand how the curves that I and later Dr. Swartz analyzed
in his report came about, one should have some background.
In late April 1989, Professor Parker and Professor
Ronald Ballinger, both members of the PFC team then investigating
the claims of Pons and Fleischmann, held a covert interview
with Herald reporter Nick Tate to plant a very negative
story against the Utah work. No one at the MIT News Office was
told of this interview until late on the night before the story was
to appear in banner headlines in the Boston Herald. As Parker
told Tate (a tape released by the Herald confirms this—see Exhibit
B), Parker and Ballinger et
al. were opposed to the
“cheer-leading” for cold
fusion by the Boston Globe.
They wanted to give Tate an
exclusive story about some
nuclear physics evidence
that they said they had
developed, which they
claimed would prove the
Fleischmann-Pons experiments
to be highly flawed.
This evidence concerned
the gamma-ray spectra
coming from attempts to
measure neutrons impinging on a water bath near the Pons-
Fleischmann cells.
Historically, it is evident that this Herald story helped unleash
the tidal wave of negativity against Fleischmann and Pons and
others who continue to work in the field. Ironically, Parker et al.
accomplished what they really set out to do with that story, but
at the time Parker attacked reporter Tate for allegedly mis-reporting
what he had said during his interview. Tate came very close
to being fired on the spot by his editor; he would have been fired
had he not had an audio tape of the interview to confirm what
he had been told by Parker. After all, it was an MIT professor’s
word against that of a young reporter.
A frantic Ronald Parker, perhaps fearing that he would be
sued by Pons and Fleischmann for the harsh words that were
quoted a bit too explicitly for his taste, called me late on the
night of April 30, 1989. He had me dispatch a press release to the
wire services denying the impending Boston Herald story, the exact
nature of which he had learned from a call from CBS television. Of
course, I had at that time no reason to doubt what he was telling
The energy and environmental future of the world hung in
the balance—and the MIT PFC people failed us. They preferred
to get rid of a scientific claim in which they did not
believe, and which threatened their federally-funded program,
by playing politics with the media, trivializing their
experiments, and ultimately foisting on the world highly
flawed data—some would say fraudulently represented
data—from a calorimetry experiment ostensibly
performed to determine scientific truth. . .
Prof. Ronald R. Parker, at hastily called MIT press conference on May 1,
1989, explains what the MIT PFC team believed to be the errors in the
Fleischmann-Pons neutron measurements. He also denied using the
harsh language against Fleischmann and Pons quoted in the Boston
Herald story that day. Photo: MIT News Office
14 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
me: that the story was a distortion. I would learn the stark truth
about this deception only over a year later when Tate allowed me
to listen to the actual tape. There can be no denying what Parker
told Tate about Fleischmann and Pons. In one key passage in the
interview, Parker says this: “So, what are you going to do with this,
uh, Nick? You know this is. . .what you are hearing is that we think
it’s a scam, right?” Tate responded: “Why is it today that you think
it’s a scam?” Parker’s reply: “We have been studying the evidence
together very slowly and we want to have a paper out on this
before we actually blast them. Monday (May 1, 1989) we’re putting
a paper out on it. . .” In addition to this, the actual word “fraud,”
was used by Parker no less than five times on the audio tape—as
he discussed Pons and Fleischmann’s work. This tape is a key
“smoking gun” of the entire cold fusion controversy. The treachery
and conniving by Parker and Ballinger are there for all to see—disgraceful!
By June of 1989,
the hot fusion community
and the
physics establishment
were very satisfied
that they had
debunked cold
fusion. Any of the
growing numbers of
positive reports
could readily be dismissed
by reporters
and other, less
involved scientists.
After all, the plasma
physicist authorities
at MIT had spoken.
In fact, so convinced
were the PFC people
that they had killed
off cold fusion, they
held a celebratory
party—billed as a
“Wake for Cold
Fusion” on June 26,
1989. The humorous
poster for the party
notes: “Brought to
you by the Center
for Contrived Fantasies
—Black Armbands
Optional.”
What is most
interesting about
this anything-butfunny
mockery by
the PFC is that at the time the party was held, the data for the
Phase-II calorimetry experiments had not yet been analyzed! It
was not until mid-July 1989 that the calorimetry data were put
in anything like final published form. No formal conclusion had
been set into print. How do we know this? Simple. In the course
of my investigations into cold fusion, I would of course regularly
ask PFC team members for their latest impressions, data,
etc. So I was given many, many documents that piled up on my
desk, not all being closely examined when received. But as I
was completing Fire from Ice in the spring of 1991, questions
about the PFC calorimetry had been brought up by my cold
fusion colleague, electrochemist Dr. Vesco Noninski. Was the
methodology and analysis of the PFC Phase-II calorimetry
reported in the paper published by the PFC in the Journal of
Fusion Energy sound? Noninski had many doubts and so did I.
We approached a team member for clarification and got no satisfaction
—just continued brush-off. I then looked through my
stacks of papers from the PFC and found to my complete astonishment
(and dismay) the
two draft reports on the
Phase-II calorimetry. One
was dated July 10, 1989
and the other July 13,
1989, a clearly more complete
version—the version
that was actually
published in both a formal
PFC report and the
Journal of Fusion Energy.
Only a week after this
MIT PFC analysis solidified,
PFC Director Parker
occupied himself dispensing
“humorous”
cold fusion mugs that were obtained “wholesale” in Utah (see
Exhibit F)!
On June 7, 1991 I resigned from the MIT News Office, to
protest the outrageous behavior of the PFC and others at MIT
against cold fusion. Among other disgraceful happenings, an
article of mine on cold fusion that had been approved for publication
by the then editor of MIT Technology
Review, was canceled after being
trashed by MIT Physics Department
Professor Herman Feshbach. Feshbach
told me over the phone when I
inquired, “I have fifty years of experience
in nuclear physics and I know
what is possible and what is impossible.”
He also told me that he did not
want to see any more evidence for cold
fusion, which I offered to show him,
because, “It’s all junk!”
Hours before my formal resignation,
the PFC was having another of its “celebrations”
for the death of cold fusion. Dr.
Frank Close was speaking at a seminar
there, billed “An Exposé of Cold Fusion,”
in which he lashed at Pons and Fleischmann
for their alleged fudging of
gamma ray curves. He had nothing of significance
to say about the P&F calorimetry,
consistent with this appalling highenergy
physicist mind-set that “knew
everything that could and could not happen”
among nuclei. After Close was finished,
Dr. Petrasso as master of ceremonies,
very reluctantly gave me some
time to comment. (“Just one minute,
Gene!”) I showed the July 10-July 13 curve
shifting with overhead transparencies
and suggested sarcastically to Close that
he should consider covering this important
documentary finding in the next edition
of his book (Heaven forfend that
there should be another!). It was as
though I were talking to a wall. This was
Electrochemist Dr. Vesco C. Noninski
questioned MIT PFC’s analysis of its
calorimetry data. Photo by E.Mallove
MIT Prof. Herman
Feshbach MIT News Office
Dr. Frank Close
Princeton University Press
Dr. Richard Petrasso
Photo by E. Mallove
15 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
not deemed important. After all, hadn’t he just “proved” that
cold fusion was dead?
PFC Director Parker then stated that this was the first time he
had seen the data I had flashed on the screen—it probably was.
Then Parker made the astounding assertion that “you can put
those curves anywhere you wish.” He publicly stated that the
data from the MIT PFC was “worthless.” (See Exhibit K). Many
weeks later, after I had revealed the PFC story to the world, Parker
reverted to defending the conclusions of the calorimetry data—
in an informal press release put out by the MIT News Office (see
Exhibit T). It must take many years of training to maintain such
mutually contradictory opinions with a straight face—on national
television and in written documents.
Let me be clear: There was likely no grand “conspiracy” to
suppress a positive finding for excess heat in the MIT PFCPhase-
II calorimetry, it’s just that the mind-set of the MIT hot
fusioneers and Chemistry Department people allowed lower
echelon persons to monkey with the data. He or she could not
possibly bring anything to his superiors—Ronald Parker and
then MIT Chemistry Dept. Head Mark Wrighton—that looked
remotely positive for excess heat. This would have opened up
the cold fusion story again in the summer of 1989, this time with
MIT coming in with some encouraging news. So, the data was
“fudged.” I can think of another F-word—beyond “fudging”—
that applies. It is closer to the truth. Ronald Parker likes to
bandy it about in interviews with newspaper reporters. This
groundless, manipulated and fabricated data has subsequently
been cited over and over again by the U.S. Patent Office to reject
cold fusion patent applications. It was even used, in part, ultimately
to kill the Pons and Fleischmann patent itself, which
happened in the Fall of 1997. Other MIT-trained cold fusion
inventors have also had their patent applications attacked with
this unscientific travesty from MIT.
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the MIT PFC experiment
was that after I publicly challenged it, the objective of the
experiment was redefined by its defenders! Thus, it is quite literally
true that the experiment published in the Journal of Fusion
Energy and the MIT PFC technical report is by definition fraudulent
—if only because the ground rules for comparing the heavy water
and ordinary water experimental outputs were subsequently changed
and are not as stated in the article. These ground rules went from
the obvious implication that can be taken from the lack of difference
between the published curves to the statement that the
MIT PFC team were looking for “fast turn on” of 79 mW excess
heat and didn’t find it! See NIH physicist Dr. Charles
McCutchen’s letters to the MIT Administration about this key
point—Exhibits Z-4, Z-8, and Z-11. Dr. Mitchell Swartz has produced
a remarkable, clear analysis of the data produced by the
MIT PFC—including all
of the various inconsistent
versions of the data
and their interpretation).
The work speaks for
itself. Interested readers
may request the original
color-graphic paper
which is included in a
paperback book from
JET Technology, P.O. Box
81135, Wellesley Hills,
MA 02481.
• Swartz, Dr. Mitchell
R., “Re-Examination of
a Key Cold Fusion
Experiment: ‘Phase-II’ Calorimetry by the MIT Plasma
Fusion Center,” Fusion Facts, August 1992, pp. 27-40.
• Swartz, Dr. Mitchell R., “A Method to Improve Algorithms
Used to Detect Steady State Excess Enthalpy,”Proceedings:
Fourth International Conference on Cold Fusion (December 6-9,
1993, Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii), and in Transactions of Fusion
Technology, Vol.26, December 1994, pp. 369-372.
• Swartz, Dr. Mitchell R., “Some Lessons from Optical Examination
of the PFC Phase-II Calorimetric Curves, Proceedings:
Fourth International Conference on Cold Fusion (December 6-9,
1993, Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii).
The Sham MIT “Inquiry”
I am very glad that Dr. Swartz undertook the task of this
essential analysis, because certainly he was more capable than I
in this kind of detailed examination of points that appeared and
disappeared in various versions put out by the PFC. He did it
himself after I turned over to him the materials that I had discovered.
I was so revolted by the handling of this matter by the
MIT Administration, that I really could not stand to wallow in
the falsehoods coming out of the MIT PFC. My feeling was:
“Let them stew in their own self-created problems. The world
will eventually understand what they did.” It will.
After my formal complaint to MIT President Charles Vest in
August 1991 (see Exhibit R), in which I asked for an appropriate
investigation of scientific misconduct in the data handling and
in the planting of a false press story by Parker in 1989, the
whole matter was, in effect, swept under the rug by Vest after
an utterly insufficient examination of the technical issue by Professor
Professor Philip Morrison, who was a friend of MIT PFC
report co-author, Dr. Petrasso.
Morrison’s down-playing of the issues involved was a great
disappointment, but not surprising for someone who to this day
does not comprehend the significance of the research results in the
cold fusion field. Asymptom of this: To my knowledge, Prof. Morrison
—at least as of early 1999—has never reviewed in his wide
ranging columns any cold fusion books—either positive or negative.
In one of his notes to President Vest (Exhibit V), Morrison stated
that cold fusion findings “would at most open some way to
build a new battery, possibly a fuel cell.” This kind of ill-informed
remark should be beneath the author of The Ring of Truth!
Concerning the ethical issues of Parker’s dealings with the
press and the MIT News Office, President Vest
stated that his legal counsel advised him no action was necessary.
It was a shameful, sham “inquiry,” not a thorough investigation,
as the subsequent portion
of this report and the various
Exhibits show. I complained
vigorously to
President Vest that the
inquiry was totally inadequate.
In fact, the people
who should should have
been under investigation
were allowed to continue
Dr. Mitchell R. Swartz of JET Technology,
Inc. lectured on cold fusion calorimetry,
January 20, 1996 at Cambridge Marriott
Hotel. Meeting sponsored by Infinite
Energy Magazine.
Photo by E. Mallove
MIT President Charles M. Vest,
who continues to ignore cold
fusion research. He excused the
unethical behavior of MIT PFC
staff against cold fusion. He is
on a Federal panel that has
advised the Clinton Administration
to increase funding for hot
fusion—a benefit for the MIT
PFC (see Exhibits R through Z-
11).
MIT Photo by Edward McCluney
16 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
1991 complaint to President Vest (see Exhibit R) that a “20% discrepancy
in heater power, used to heat the same volume of fluid,
has been suggested as corroborating evidence that the heavy
water cell produced excess heat.”
At the very least it was scientifically and morally required
that the MIT PFC group repeat its experiments, rather than having
them cited year after year against cold fusion, when they
should have been retracted or corrected, per the suggestion of
physicist Dr. Charles McCutchen—see Exhibit Z-11. To cover up
a sorry episode may have been comfortable for the MIT administration
in an era in which cold fusion had not yet achieved general
acceptance (thanks in no small way to some on the MIT
staff), but that era will pass. An age of enlightenment is coming
that will make the tokamak hot fusion program at MIT a footnote
to history. The era of safe, clean, and abundant energy from
water—non-chemical energy from hydrogen—will drown the
deceivers from MIT to Princeton. (If anyone has any doubt about
this emerging commercial reality, they should consult one of the
energy-from-water corporations that was influenced by the
announcement of Fleischmann and Pons—see BlackLight Power
Corp. [www.blacklightpower.com]. No doubt many bright MIT
graduates will be employed there.) No one can say that we did
not warn MIT officials of the consequences if this important matter
was allowed to be mishandled at MIT the way it was and
continues to be.
Other Issues
The preceding is the basic story of what went on at MIT in
1989-1992. Much of this could have been avoided if President
Vest had had an open-door policy toward appropriate scientific
dissent. On April 12, 1991, I had sent a letter to President Vest
(see Exhibit I), at a time when I was feeling optimistic about
what could be accomplished. I had hoped that the new MIT
President, who had replaced the outgoing Dr. Paul E. Gray,
would take action on its important message. I recommended
that a study group be formed to re-examine what had been
learned about cold fusion since 1989. Should I have been surprised
at not receiving a response? Not when President Vest
had chosen Chemistry Department head Mark Wrighton, to be
Provost. Examine Wrighton’s brusk and totally inappropriate
response to Dr. Noninski (Exhibit H). Wrighton’s “let me make
this perfectly clear I have no comment” letter is not a response
that a scientist with integrity would have written.
After the events of 1991-1992, there followed many hard years
of struggle, working with other engineers and scientists in cold
fusion research, and trying to correct false impressions about
cold fusion investigations that were being made by journalists
and government officials. The launching of Infinite Energy magazine
in 1995 (and its short-lived precursor, Cold Fusion magazine,
1994) was, in part, a response to the egregious distortions about
cold fusion that were initiated by members of the MIT PFC.
Fire from Ice was well received by many reviewers, but its message
was largely drowned out by an onslaught of scurrilous anticold
fusion books, the first one by Frank Close, Too Hot to Handle
(1991). Dr. Richard Petrasso of the MIT PFC had aided Close’s
work. He was in complete agreement with Close’s opinions; witness
his comment published on the front page of the Sunday New
York Times, March 17, 1991, which was essentially a laudatory
review of the book by Close. Recall Dr. Petrasso’s words: “I was
convinced for a while it was absolute fraud. Now I’ve softened.
They [Pons and Fleischmann] probably believed in what they were
doing. But how they represented it was a dear violation of how science
should be done.” Acase of the pot calling the kettle black, I’d
say, in light of the technical publication to which Petrasso (and fifto
handle the data and write a subsequent “Technical Appendix”
that made further excuses for data mishandling. As Dr. Swartz
has shown, the data was, indeed, altered yet again during the
“investigation”! For now, I hope that Dr. Swartz’s analysis, and
my own assessments and exchanges with President Vest, will be
examined carefully by all who still have an open mind about the
historical development of the cold fusion controversy.
My conclusions about the inappropriate data manipulation
at the MIT PFC are my own and my opinions about the implications
of this data mishandling are to be considered distinct from Dr.
Swartz’s. My assessments of the MIT calorimetry and data handling
appear in my Letter of Resignation (Exhibit L), my formal
request for an investigation of scientific misconduct (Exhibit R),
and other exchanges with President Vest that form the exhibits
to this report. But let me quote Dr. Swartz’s summary conclusions
from his fourteen-page technical paper:
From: Dr. Mitchell R. Swartz’s, “Re-Examination of a Key Cold
Fusion Experiment: ‘Phase-II’ Calorimetry by the MIT Plasma
Fusion Center,” Fusion Facts, August 1992, pp. 27-40.
The light water curve was published by the PFC essentially intact
after the first baseline shift, whereas the heavy water curve was shifted
a second time. The cells were matched,12 and solvent loss would
be expected to be greater for H2O.
The Phase-II methodology is flawed because it masks a constant
[steady-state] excess heat. Furthermore this paradigm fails to use
either the true baseline drift, and may avoid the first 15% of the D2O
curve in Types 3, 3B, 4, and 5 curves.
What constitutes “data reduction” is sometimes but not always
open to scientific debate. The application of a low pass filter to an
electrical signal or the cutting in half of a hologram properly constitute
“data reduction,” but the asymmetric shifting of one curve
of a paired set is probably not. The removal of the entire steady
state signal is also not classical “data reduction.”
In the May 1992 Appendix, the PFC retroactively claims its
“systematic errors now total 100 to 400 milliwatts, implying an
insensitivity of >30 kilojoules.
Much current skepticism of the cold fusion phenomenon was
created by the PFC paper’s reporting “failure-to-reproduce.”12 as
opposed to its later claimed “to insensitive-to-confirm” experiments17].
Because it may be the single most widely quoted work
used by critics of cold fusion to dismiss the phenomenon, the
paper should have clarified all “data” points and the methodology
used. Apparent curve proliferation, volatile points, asymmetric
curve shifts, combined with an impaired methodology have needlessly
degraded the sensitivity, and believability of the Phase II
calorimetry experiment.
12. D. Albagli, R. Ballinger, V. Cammarata, X. Chen, R.M. Crooks, C.
Fiore, M.P.J. Gaudreau, I. Hwang, C.K. Li, P. Linsay, S.C. Luckhardt,
R.R. Parker, R.D. Petrasso, M.O. Schloh, K.W. Wensel, M.S. Wrighton,
“Measurement and Analysis of Neutron and Gamma-Ray Emission
Rates, other Fusion Products, and the Power in Electrochemical Cells
Having Pd Cathodes,” Journal of Fusion Energy, 9, 133, 1990.
17. S.C. Luckhardt, “Technical Appendix to D. Albagli et al., J. Fusion
Energy, 1990, Calorimetry Error Analysis,” MIT Report PFC/RR-92-
7, (May 1992).
Present MIT students as well as alumni should investigate this
most unfortunate episode for themselves, and take action—for
the well-being of MIT. There is no doubt in my mind that the
MIT PFC calorimetry was mishandled and fraudulently misrepresented.
Dr. Swartz’s paper, using proper analysis that
could have been performed by the MIT PFC, determined that
“the average power by this method is 62 milliwatts (±34 milliwatts).”
As Dr. Swartz states, this is “qualitatively similar to the
value expected for a ‘successful’ experiment.” Furthermore, Dr.
Swartz credits in his references and conclusions my August
17 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
teen others) has signed his name. Nothing much has changed for
Dr. Petrasso. In 1997 he was quoted by writer Bennett Daviss: “The
ongoing reports of excess heat and nuclear by-products catch people’s
attention about as much as the occasional UFO report. I have
better things to do with my time.” (In TWA Ambassador article, September
1997, see reprint in IE No. 17.) He and Professor Parker continue
to spend your money on hot fusion.
There were other negative books, one by DoE’s John Huizenga
(Cold Fusion: The Scientific Fiasco of the Century, 1992), and
another by science journalist Gary Taubes (Bad Science: The Short
Life and Weird Times of Cold Fusion, 1993). Taubes became a
Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT for a year, a nominal
honor for him, if not a disgrace for MIT. The MIT News Office,
to my knowledge, never published one word about the existence
of Fire from Ice, nor the fact that Fire from Ice was nominated
in 1991 for the Pulitzer Prize by John Wiley & Sons as one of
only two of its books so nominated that year. Professors at MIT
routinely bombard the News Office with requests that their
every major or minor award be acknowledged in Tech Talk. Virtually
all such requests are granted.
So goes PR at MIT—ever protective of the MIT Administration
and its deficiencies—whether in flaps over an MIT student being
killed by an alcohol overdose at an MIT fraternity after warnings
were ignored by President Vest (See Boston Globe, October 1, 1997,
p.1 “Students Warned MIT on Drinking—Complaints Began in
1992), or the very serious matter of data fudging and misrepresentation
by MIT hot fusion scientists. The MIT Administration
clearly was not happy by the spate of publicity that my resignation
from the News Office generated. It acted accordingly.
The MIT PFC continues to receive Federal funding for its lucrative
hot fusion projects—over $250 million since 1989. One of the
ways that MIT helps to insure the continued flow of such funding
is by having President Vest sit on the various Federal panels that
make recommendations to the Administration and the the Department
of Energy. Now that former Physics Dept. Head Professor
Ernest Moniz is a Deputy U.S. Secretary of Energy, MIT’s ability to
bring influence to bear for hot fusion will be even stronger.
In a 1995 issue of the Journal of Fusion Energy we find “The
U.S. Program of Fusion Energy Research and Development:
Report of the Fusion Review Panel of the President’s Council of
Advisor’s on Science and Technology (PCAST),” (Vol. 14, No. 2,
1995, pp. 213-250). One of the nine co-authors is none other than
Charles M. Vest. The report’s summary states, in part: “Funding
for fusion energy R&D by the Federal government is an important
investment in the development of an attractive and possibly
essential new energy source for this country and the world
in the middle of the next century and beyond. . .The private sector
can not and will not bear much of the funding burden for
fusion at this time because the development costs are too high
and the potential economic returns too distant. But funding
fusion is a bargain for society as a whole.” That’s their opinion,
not ours. This is not even the opinion about hot fusion of many
technologists who have nothing to do with cold fusion.
The report states, “. . .we believe there is a strong case for the
funding levels for fusion currently proposed by the U.S. Department
of Energy (DoE)—increasing from $366 million in FY1996
to about $860 million in FY2002 and averaging $645 million
between FY1995 and FY2005.” It goes on to acknowledge that
“Although the program just described is reasonable and desirable,
it does not appear to be realistic in the current climate of
budgetary constraints. . .” So the report asks for less, in the tradition
of grabbing for whatever the bureaucracy thinks it can
get: “. . .to preserve what we believe to be the most indispensable
elements of the U.S. fusion effort and associated international
collaboration.” The panel recommended about $320 million/
year and continues further fantasy thinking about committing
Federal in continued support for ITER (International
Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor). Fortunately, the
U.S. Congress withdrew support from ITER in late 1998.
And, wonder of wonders, the 1995 report speaks directly
about the need to continue to support MIT’s Alcator C-Mod tokamak
reactor. I suppose that in the general run of how Federal
funding of science is promoted by numerous interest groups, this
apparent conflict of interest—an MIT President recommending
that MIT receive further funding for its hot fusion reactor—is not
unusual. However, such advising by MIT’s Vest is very unseemly,
when seen in the context of the cut-off of all DoE funding for
cold fusion, resulting from the 1989 negative report and from the
MIT PFC experiment on which that report was based. Furthermore,
as this history has made clear, President Vest played no
small role in the whitewashing of this 1989 misconduct.
In another report, this one directly to President Clinton on
November 4, 1997, “Report to the President on Federal Energy
Research and Development for the Challenges of the Twenty-
First Century,” the Energy Research and Development Panel of
PCAST, which includes Dr. Vest, we find the general recommendation
spelled out in the cover letter to President Clinton:
“The report recommends an increase, over a five-year period, of
$1 billion in the Department of Energy’s annual budget for
applied energy technology R&D. The largest share of such an
increase would go to R&D in energy efficiency and renewable
energy technologies, but nuclear fusion and fission would also
receive increases. The composition of the R&D supported on
advanced fossil-fuel technologies would change in favor of
long-term opportunities, including fuel cells and carbon sequestration
technologies, but the overall spending level for fossil
fuel technologies would stay roughly constant in real terms.” In
table “ES.1” we find the fusion wish list after 1998 in “millions
of as-spent dollars”: 1997—$232 (actual); 1998—$225 (request);
1999—$250; 2000—$270; 2001—$290; 2002—$320; 2003—$328.
The report states that the request for fusion is the “third largest
increase” of the various energy items. It calls the funding “. . .easily
justified as the sort of investment government should be making
in a high-risk but potentially very-high yield energy option
for society, in which the size and time horizon of the program
essentially rule out private funding.” Well, virtually all of the scientists
working in cold fusion in 1999 think that cold fusion is,
indeed, “a very-high yield energy option” for society. Private
industry has invested in it in a limited way, and more will come.
If it were not for the Federally paid scientists—in hot fusion and
high energy physics—who assaulted cold fusion with lies and
deceptions—there would likely be even more private money
now flowing into cold fusion. One thing is certain: no private
company in its right mind will spend any significant money on
tokamak hot fusion, as practiced at MIT and elsewhere.
What it boils down to is this: By studying the history MIT and cold
fusion, one learns that paradigm-paralyzed and unethical scientists
have the motive and means to wreck massive damage against an emerging
science and technology, especially when an aging and well-financed
program is threatened. An MIT President who has access to the highest
power levels of the Federal government should not be contributing to
the distortion of government spending by feathering MIT’s nest and
ignoring facts. MIT alumni/ae, students, staff, and President Charles
M. Vest need to consider this—E. Mallove
18 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
You ask for “. . .a few words. . .” Perhaps
they can be found above. If not, how about:
Eugene Mallove has produced a sorely needed,
accessible overview of the cold fusion muddle.
By sweeping away stubbornly held preconceptions,
he bares the truth implicit in a provocative
variety of experiments.
Yours, Julian Schwinger
P.S. I am grateful for E.M. for quoting A.C.D. [Arthur Conan
Doyle] on p. 216. I have long been conscious of that bit of sherlock
Holmes wisdom, but could not recall the particular story in
which it appears. J.S.
Other Comments on Fire from Ice
by MIT-Affiliated People (from the book jacket)
“Mallove brings dramatically to life the human side of this
important scientific controversy, which has tapped the emotions
of its scientific participants in a way usually typical only of
major scientific revolutions. Fire from Ice is highly recommended
reading for anyone who is interested in the nature of scientific
controversy and scientific change. I frankly could not put
the book down once I had started it.”
—Dr. Frank Sulloway, former MacArthur Fellow, science historian,
MIT Program in Science., Technology, and Society
“Fire from Ice is a masterpiece of scientific documentation.
Progress in deciphering the cold fusion effect is now stalemated
by an establishment pressure for conformity. An authoritative
book needed to be written, and it had to come from someone with
roots in both the science and journalism communities; there are
very few people in the world as qualified as Eugene Mallove is to
write it and give the story the meticulous attention it required.”
—Dr. Henry Kolm, co-founder of MIT’s Francis Bitter National Magnet
Laboratory
Letter by Julian Schwinger
Re: Eugene Mallove’s Fire from Ice
Letter of February 5, 1991 from physics Nobel Laureate Julian
Schwinger (Nobel Prize for physics in 1965, shared with Sin-Itiro
Tomanaga and Richard P. Feynman “for their fundamental work in
quantum electrodynamics, with deep-ploughing consequences for
the physics of elementary particles”). This handwritten letter was
sent to John Wiley & Sons, Inc., concerning the manuscript of
Eugene Mallove’s book, Fire from Ice: Searching for the Truth
Behind the Cold Fusion Furor, which would soon be published in
May 1991. [Note: Italics and square brackets have been added by
E. Mallove.]
Dear Judith McCarthy [John Wiley & Sons]:
Thank you very much for sending me Mallove’s typescript.
For almost two years, I have been muttering: “Someone has to
write a book about this!” “This”is the bizarre story of cold
fusion—its bizarre science, and its bizarre human behavior. The
author of that book would need some familiarity with the relevant
physics (atomic and nuclear), chemistry (electrolysis, at
least), and should have had first-hand experience of some of the
events and their participants. But, most of all, he must have a
balanced view that incorporates an understanding of what the
“scientific method” really means.
I have just finished reading every word of 470 pages of typescript.
(In modest proof thereof, I offer two ‘Typos. . .etc.) I
enjoyed it very much. Eugene Mallove, in my book, is the right one to
write about “the truth behind cold fusion.”
I have enclosed two recent articles of mine, one delivered the
day before December 7 [1990], in Tokyo, the other a short supplement
that has been submitted to a Japanese journal. Please
send them on to E.M. (beyond MIT, I am unaware of his
address) for his possible interest and, at least, amusement.
I should also like to add, vis-a-vis his recognition of the
absurdity of the Editorial note on p. 435, that its promise—
”duty to give him the opportunity to explain his ideas and present
his case. . .” was a lie. Only the short introductory note, Part
1, was published. When Part 2 and the much more substantive
Part B were submitted, they received the usual vituperative
reviews and were rejected; they have never been published.
Incidentally, the other paper of mine cited on p. 551, Cold
Fusion: A Hypothesis, which was published after more than a
year’s delay, went first to PRL [Physical Review Letters].
Although I anticipated rejection, I was staggered by the heights
(depths?) to which the calumny reached. My only recourse was
to resign from the American Physical Society, (APS).
Prof. Peter Hagelstein lecturing on cold fusion theory
at MIT April,1989.
MIT Photo
Dr. Petrasso, Prof. Hagelstein, and Prof. Fleischmann at First
International Conference on Cold Fusion, 1990, Salt Lake City.
Photo by E. Mallove
19 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
In Nobel Laureate Julian Schwinger’s eloquent talk at MIT, he
compared the possible theoretical foundation of cold fusion with
that of the much more accepted but equally mysterious phenomenon,
sonoluminescence. Julian Schwinger had resigned from
the American Physical Society (APS) to protest its censorship of
his theoretical work on cold fusion from APS publications. It was
an honor for me to have become a good friend of Schwinger’s
due to my involvement with cold fusion. His praise for my book,
Fire from Ice, was a very great honor (see prior page). Unfortunately,
Schwinger’s 1991 message at MIT was not absorbed by
the assembled MIT physicists.—EFM
A Progress Report:
Energy Transfer in Cold Fusion
and Sonoluminescence
by Julian Schwinger, University of California
Birthday celebrations are inevitably somewhat nostalgic.
Appropriately, then, I found the cover title for this lecture in my
own distant past. I first came to Berkeley on the day that World
War II began. Not long after, Robert Oppenheimer gave a lecture
—perhaps on cosmic ray physics—which he called “A
Progress Report,” in the sense, he explained, that time had
elapsed. Asimilar expression of modesty is in order here. I have
no great discoveries to announce; only feelings, hypotheses,
and programs. As Mort Sahl once
proclaimed:
The future lies ahead.
I am sure that my first topic,
cold fusion, has caused many eyebrows
to levitate. Cold fusion?
Isn’t all that nonsense dead and
buried? How can anyone be so
insane as to talk about this totally
discredited subject?
Well, to the extent that sanity
implies conformity with the mores
of a society—didn't the Soviets
clap their egregious dissidents
into insane asylums?—sanity, I
submit, is not a canon of science.
Indeed, isn’t it a goal of physics, specifically, to push at the frontiers
of accepted theory through suitably designed experiments,
not only to extend those frontiers, but, more importantly, to find
fundamental flaws that demand the introduction of new and
revolutionary physics?
The seemingly bizarre behavior of some key players in the
cold fusion melodrama has managed to obscure a fundamental
challenge that this episode presents. Whether or not the reality
of cold fusion has been demonstrated experimentally, one must
ask if any conceivable mechanism now exists, or might be
devised, whereby nuclear energy could be extracted by manipulations
at the atomic level.
One is mindful of the high temperature superconductivity
story. Despite the assurances of theorists that superconductivity
could not exist much above absolute zero, that barrier was
broken experimentally. Although it took time to get reproducible
results, the reality of the phenomenon is completely
established, despite the absence (to my knowledge) of any
accepted theory.
High temperature superconductivity
is an atomic process.
Cold fusion is that too, but also
involves the much shorter space
and time scales of nuclear
physics. It should therefore be
much more difficult to control
this phenomenon by manipulations
at the atomic, perhaps better
said: at the chemical, level.
More difficult, but not necessarily
impossible.
Despite my earlier qualification
of the established reality of
cold fusion, one cannot ignore
the evidence accumulated in
many laboratories—of excess heat production, of tritium production
—all of which is characterized by irreproducibility and
by uncontrollable emission in bursts. But, from what has just
been said, that kind of behavior is expected; it is not a basis for
rejecting the reality of the phenomena.
This brings me to study the validity of the case against cold
fusion, as seen by a hot fusioneer—henceforth known as HF—
who rejects the possibility that new physics is involved.
In the hot fusion of two deuterons—the D-D reaction—the
formation of a triton (3H) and a proton proceeds at about the
same rate as that for the creation of 3He and a neutron. But,
given the claims of tritium production in cold fusion experiments,
neutrons at the expected intensities are conspicuously
absent, although low levels of neutrons, appearing in bursts,
have been observed. To HF the conclusion is obvious: No neu-
—sanity, I submit, is not a canon of science.
Indeed, isn’t it a goal of physics,
specifically, to push at the frontiers of
accepted theory through suitably
designed experiments, not only to
extend those frontiers, but, more importantly,
to find fundamental flaws that
demand the introduction of new and
revolutionary physics?
A lecture by cold fusion theorist Nobel
Laureate Julian Schwinger, November 11, 1991, at
MIT celebrating the 60th birthday of
Professor Kenneth Johnson—a former student
20 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
trons—no tritium—no cold fusion. Moreover, the two cited
reactions are the only important ones in hot fusion. So: No neutrons
—no cold fusion—no excess heat.
Very soon after March 23, 1989—which one might well call Dday
—-the idea was advanced that excess heat is produced by the
formation of 4He in the ground state. To this HF responds that the
suggested reaction is weak, and no one has detected the ?-rays of
roughly 20 MeV that should accompany the formation of 4He.
Then came the suggestion that excess heat might result from
the HD, rather than the DD, reaction. Heavy water (D2O)
always has some small contamination of light water (H2O). The
fusion of a proton and a deuteron produces 3He. To which HF
responds that no ?-ray of roughly 5 MeV, which should accompany
this reaction, has been observed.
With heat production and tritium production allocated to the
HD and DD reactions, respectively, how can one understand
the suppression of neutron production? It may be that two fusing
deuterons populate, not the quite remote ground state, but
rather the first excited state of 4He. That excited state decays
into a triton and a proton. But, decay into 3He and a neutron is
energetically forbidden. Tritium—Yes. Neutrons—No. HF
responds to this by pointing to the absence of the roughly 4
MeV ?-ray that should accompany the 4He excited state.
Thus presented, the experimental aspects of HF’s indictment
of cold fusion come down to the non-existence of various ?-rays
that the tenets of hot fusion require. What rebuttal can one give
to these charges?
Well, consider the following bit of insanity:
The circumstances of cold fusion are not those of hot fusion.
In contrast with hot fusion, where energies are measured in
substantial multiples of kilovolts, cold fusion deals with energies
that are a fraction of a volt. The dominant electromagnetic
mechanism for hot fusion is electric dipole radiation, in which
the parity of the particle system reverses.
Now, at the very low energy of cold fusion, two deuterons, for
example, which carry even intrinsic parity, have very little chance
of fusing in other than the orbital state of zero relative angular
momentum—of even orbital parity. Thus, an excited state of 4He
is formed that has even parity. Possibly it radiates down to the
first excited state, or the ground state of 4He. But both of the latter
states also have even parity. With no parity change, electric dipole
radiation is forbidden. There are, of course, other mechanisms
that might intervene, albeit much more weakly—electric quadrupole
radiation, magnetic dipole radiation, electron-positron pairs.
But, much more important is the impetus this result gives to considering
the following additional bit of insanity:
The excess energy liberated in cold fusion is not
significantly transferred by radiation.
If not radiation, what? HF, with his focus on near-vacuum
conditions, would have no answer. But cold fusion does not
occur in vacuum—it appears in a palladium lattice within
which deuterium has been packed to form a sub-lattice. Which
leads to the next bit of insanity:
The excess energy of cold fusion is transferred to the lattice.
This is the moment to introduce HF’s theoretical ace in the
hole. In hot fusion work it is taken for granted that the fusion
reaction rate is the product of two factors: the barrier penetration
probability that stems from the Coulomb repulsion of like
charges; and the intrinsic reaction rate that refers mainly to the
nuclear forces. At the very low energy of cold fusion, the penetrability
of the Coulomb barrier is so overwhelmingly small that
nothing could possibly happen.
How does one respond to that? By sharpening the initial insight:
The circumstances of cold fusion are not those of hot fusion.
At the very low energy of cold fusion, one is dealing essentially
with a single wave function, which does not permit the
factorization that HF takes for granted. The effect of Coulomb
repulsion cannot be completely separated from the effect of the
strongly attractive nuclear forces. This is a new ball game.
All very well, but can one be a little more specific about the
new mechanisms that might produce cold fusion?
If, as I hypothesized, the lattice is a basic part of that mechanism,
some knowledge of the palladium lattice, loaded with
deuterium, is needed. That knowledge exists for light loading,
but, as far as I am aware, not for heavy loading. There is, however,
a theoretical suggestion that, for sufficiently heavy loading,
a pair of new equilibrium sites, for hydrogen or deuterium
ions, comes into being within each lattice cell. The equilibrium
separation of such a pair is significantly smaller than any other
ionic spacing in a cell.
It would seem that, to take advantage of those special sites, a
close approach to saturation loading is required. (Indeed, that is so
if a steady output is to occur.) But, the loading of deuterium into
the palladium lattice does not proceed with perfect spatial uniformity.
There are fluctuations. It may happen that a microscopically
large—if macroscopically small—region of the lattice attains a
state of such uniformity that it can function collectively in absorbing
the excess nuclear energy released in an act of fusion.
And that energy might initiate a chain reaction as the vibrations
of the excited ions bring them into closer proximity. This
burst of energy will continue until the increasing number of
irregularities in the lattice produce a shut-down. The start-up of
another burst is an independent affair. It is just such intermittency
—of random turnings on and off—that characterize those
experiments that lead one to claim the reality of cold fusion.
Now we come to barrier penetration, or rather, what replaces
it. HF accepts a causal order in which the release of energy—at
the nuclear level—into the ambient environment, follows the
penetration of the Coulomb barrier. The response to that carefully
crafted statement is surely: Of course! What else? Well,
how about this major bit of insanity?
Other causal orders and mechanisms exist.
Unlike the near-vacuum of HF, the ambient environment of
cold fusion is the lattice, which is a dynamical system capable of
storing and exchanging energy.
The initial stage of one new mechanism can be described as
an energy fluctuation, within the uniform lattice segment, that
takes energy at the nuclear level from a dd or a pd pair and
transfers it to the rest of the lattice, leaving the pair in a virtual
state of negative energy. This description becomes more explicit
in the language of phonons. The non-linearities associated
with large displacements constitute a source of the phonons of
the small amplitude, linear regime. Intense phonon emission
can leave the particle pair in a virtual negative energy state.
To illustrate the final stage of this mechanism, consider the pd
example where there is a stable bound state: 3He. If the energy of
the virtual state nearly coincides with that of 3He a resonant situation
exists, leading to amplification, rather than Coulomb barrier
suppression. Between the two extremes of causal order there are,
of course, a myriad of intermediate energy transfer mechanisms,
so that the mechanism, as a whole is devoid of causal order.
I note here the interesting possibility that the 3He produced in
21 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
the pd fusion reaction may undergo a secondary reaction with
another deuteron of the lattice, yielding 5Li. The latter is unstable
against disintegration into a proton and 4He. Thus, protons
are not consumed in the overall reaction, which generates 4He.
The suggestion that nuclear energy could be transferred to
an atomic lattice is usually dismissed (contemptuously, I might
add) because of the great disparity between atomic and nuclear
energy scales; of the order 107, say. It is, therefore, of great psychological
importance that one can point to a phenomenon in
which the transfer of energy between different scales involves--
and here I quote—”a focusing or amplification of about eleven
orders of magnitude.”
It all began with the sea trials, in 1894, of the destroyer HMS
Daring. The onset, at high speeds, of severe propeller vibrations
led to the suggestion that bubbles were forming and collapsing
—the phenomenon of cavitation. Some twenty-three years
later, during World War I, Lord Rayleigh, no less, was brought in
to study the problem. He agreed that cavitation, with its accompanying
production of pressure, turbulence, and heat, was the
culprit. And, of course, he devised a theory of cavitation. But,
there, he seems to have fallen into the same error as did Isaac
Newton who, in his theory of sound assumed isothermal conditions.
As Laplace pointed out in 1816, under circumstances of
rapid change, adiabatic conditions are more appropriate.
During World War I, the growing need to detect enemy submarines
led to the development of what was then called (by the
British, anyway) subaqueous sound-ranging. The consequent
improvements in strong acoustic sources found no scientific
applications until 1927. It was then discovered that, when a
high intensity sound field produced cavitation in water, hydrogen
peroxide was formed. Some five years later came a conjecture
that, if cavitation could produce such large chemical energies,
it might also generate visible light. This was confirmed in
1934, thereby initiating the subject of sonoluminescence (SL). I
should, however, qualify the initial discovery as that of incoherent
SL, for, as cavitation noise attests, bubbles are randomly
and uncontrollably created and destroyed.
The first hint of coherent SL occurred in 1970 when SL was
observed without accompanying cavitation noise. This indicates
that circumstances exist in which bubbles are stable. But
not until 1990 was it demonstrated that an SL stream of light
could be produced by a single stable cavity.
Ordinarily, a cavity in a liquid is unstable. But it can be stabilized
by the alternating cycles of compression and expansion
that an acoustic field produces, provided the sonic amplitudes
and frequencies are properly chosen. The study of coherent SL,
now under way at UCLA under the direction of Professor Seth
Putterman, has yielded some remarkable results.
What, to the naked eye, appears as a steady, dim blue light, a
photomultiplier reveals to be a clock-like sequence of pulses in
step with the sonic period, which is of the order of 10-4 seconds.
Each pulse contains about 105 photons, which are emitted in
less than 50 pico seconds, that is, in about 10-11 seconds.
When I first heard about coherent SL, some months ago, my
immediate reaction was: This is the dynamical Casimir effect.
The static Casimir effect, as usually presented, is a short-range
non-classical attractive force between parallel conducting plates
situated in a vacuum. Related effects appear for other geometries,
and for dielectric bodies instead of conductors.
A bubble in water is a hole in a dielectric medium. Under the
influence of an oscillating acoustical field, the bubble expands
and contracts, with an intrinsic time scale that may be considerably
shorter than that of the acoustical field. The accelerated
motions of the dielectrical material create a time-dependent—
dynamical—electromagnetic field, which is a source of radiation.
Owing to the large fractional change in bubble dimensions that
may occur, the relation between field and source could be highly
nonlinear, resulting in substantial frequency amplification.
The mechanisms that have been suggested for cold fusion
and sonoluminescence are quite different. But they both depend
significantly on nonlinear effects. Put in that light, the failures of
naive intuition are understandable.
So ends my Progress Report.
Julian Schwinger’s cold fusion work has been published in
non-APS journals, including the Proceedings of the National
Academy of Sciences. We proudly reprinted his “Cold Fusion: A
Brief History of Mine,” in Issue No.1 of Infinite Energy, 1995.
For a few years, the “cold fusion underground” at MIT held a
well-attended cold fusion symposium during the IAP (Independent
Activities Period). Since 1996, this activity has
moved off campus.—EFM
COLD FUSION
A Massachusetts Institute of Technology
IAP Program—Video-Lecture-Demonstration Program
January 21,1995, Saturday 9AM-5PM
Room 6-120, Physics Lecture Hall
First floor, main building of MIT.
TENTATIVE PROGRAM - Subject to Change
Start at 9:00 am sharp
* Dr. Eugene F. Mallove, MIT'69, Organizer -—Introduction, outline,
and overview of latest results (30-45 min)
* Dr. Peter Graneau (Video tape of water plasma explosions)
“Anomalous Forces in Water Plasma Explosions” (45-60 min)
* J. Patterson's U.S. Patent and Technology—video tape and lecture
by staff of Clean Energy Technology, Dallas, TX (30 min)
* James Griggs—The Hydrosonic Pump (video and lecture) (45 min)
* Coffee Break
* Ray Conley, MIT -- Results of Light Water Excess Heat Experi–
ments (20min)
* Fred Jaeger, ENECO (Patents and Commercialization) (10 min)
* Recent results of experiments at E-Quest Sciences—Helium and
Excess Heat (10 min)
* Lunch Break of 20-25 minutes, refreshments to be served outside 6-120
* Professor Peter L. Hagelstein, MIT
“Neutron Transfer Reactions”—Progress in theory (45 min)
* Professor Keith Johnson, MIT, Progress in Theory of Excess Heat
and Progress in Producing "Cold Fusion: The Movie" (45 min)
* Professor Vesco Noninski, Fitchburg State College
“Nuclear measurements—new understandings” (20 min)
* Bertil Werjefelt, PolyTech(USA) (45 min)
“'Magnetic Energy': Experiments, Commercial Prospects, and Theory”
* Video Tape from Japan, Fuji Television (8 minutes)—“Magnetic Energy”
* Time allotted for late-arriving additions in cold fusion and
enhanced energy
* CBC Cold Fusion Program, “Too Close to the Sun” (50 min)
* Evening Break at 5:00 p.m. for dinner and possibly resume for
7:00-8:30
General Discussion of Business and Social Issues—Possible Panel
Discussion. Refreshments and organizing costs contributed by
ENECO, a company committed to commercialization of cold fusion
and enhanced energy technologies.
The full tapes of the program and a written record summarizing the
meeting will also be available through Dr. Gene Mallove, Bow, NH.
22 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
EXHIBIT A
While the MIT PFC-Chemistry Department team was going
through the early stages of its motions to “debunk” the work of
Drs. Fleischmann and Pons, one of the team members, Professor
Ronald Ballinger, was sent to Washington to testify before
Congress. The MIT hot fusion people wanted to minimize the
chance that Congress would divert any hot fusion funding to the
investigation of cold fusion. In his testimony, Ballinger audaciously
claimed that the MIT calorimetry methods were more
sophisticated than those of Fleischmann and Pons—a great
irony in view of later serious questions about the MIT PFC work.
While this Congressional blocking action was carried out, the
plan to launch a PR assault against cold fusion was moving forward.
Only two days later, Professors Ballinger and Ronald R.
Parker would give a secret interview with Boston Herald reporter
Nick Tate (see Exhibit B), the story that would mark the beginning
of accusations of fraud against the Utah electrochemists.—
Eugene Mallove (EFM).
Comments on “Cold Fusion”
Testimony presented to the Committee on
Science, Space, and Technology
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D. C.
by Professor Ronald G. Ballinger, Department of Nuclear Engineering,
Department of Materials Science and Engineering,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts
April 26, 1989
Mr. Chairman, Members of the Committee:
I am Ronald Ballinger, a faculty member of the Departments
of Nuclear Engineering and Materials Science and Engineering
at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. I am very grateful
for your invitation to convey my views related to the recent
reports of the achievement of
“cold fusion.”
I am a member of an interdisciplinary
team at MIT that is
involved in an attempt to reproduce
the reported “Cold
Fusion” results of Professors
Pons and Fleischmann of the
University of Utah. The team’s
principals include Dr. Ronald R.
Parker, Director of MIT’s Plasma
Fusion Center; Professor
Mark S. Wrighton, Head of the
Chemistry Department; and
myself. (A complete list of team
members and areas of expertise is included). The team is composed
of experts in the fields of physical metallurgy, electrochemistry,
plasma physics, instrumentation, and radiation
detection. The team has been involved in attempts to reproduce
the results, reported by Professors Pons and Fleischmann since
shortly after their results were released to the press and for publication
in the Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry.
As I am sure that you and the members of this committee are
aware, any breakthrough in the area of energy production that
has the potential to supply current and future energy needs in a
non-polluting manner must be given serious attention. Quite
apart from its impact on basic science, the results recently
reported by Professors Pons and Fleischmann, should they
prove to be correct, represent such a breakthrough. The basic
nature of their results have been described and discussed by
earlier testimony before this committee. Basically, the team at
the University of
Utah has reported
the fusion of deuterium
atoms in a palladium
matrix at room
temperature.
As evidence that
“cold fusion” has
taken place, the production
of excess
heat and neutron
radiation has been
reported. The reported
magnitude of both
of these is such that
their presence could
be verified by other
investigators.
Much more modest
results have been reported by a team of investigators at
Brigham Young University. We feel that it is important to distinguish
between the BYU results, which are of scientific interest
but of limited or no practical significance and those of the
University of Utah which, should they prove correct, have
major implications for future energy production.
Since the reports of these results, a number of teams worldwide
have been attempting to reproduce these results. To my
knowledge, with the possible exception of the Stanford results
and results from Europe and the USSR of which I have no personal
knowledge, no team has been successful. As far as the
results of attempts by the team at MIT are concerned, we have
been thus far unable to scientifically verify any of these results.
This is in spite of the fact that we are employing calorimetry and
radiation detection methods of even greater sophistication and
sensitivity than those of the University of Utah. Having said
this, I can assure you that these negative results have not been
the results of a lack of effort. The MIT team has been, as I am
sure is the case with other teams, laboring around the clock.
However, we and the other teams have been handicapped by a
lack of enough scientific detail to guarantee that we are actually
duplicating these experiments.
In the scientific community, the soundness of experimental or
theoretical research results is evaluated through peer review
and duplication. For results such as those reported, whose
potential impact on the scientific community and the world are
so great, this review process is absolutely essential. Unfortunately,
for reasons that are not clear to me, this has not happened
in this case—at least so far. The level of detail concerning
the experimental procedures, conditions and results necessary
for verification of the Pons and Fleischmann results have not
been forthcoming. At the same time, almost daily articles in the
press, often in conflict with the facts, have raised the public
expectations, possibly for naught, that our energy problem has
been “solved.” We have heard the phrase “too cheap to meter”
applied to other forms of electric energy production before. And
so the scientific community has been left to attempt to reproduce
and verify a potentially major scientific breakthrough
while getting its experimental details from the Wall Street Journal
and other news publications.
Experiments conducted in haste and based on insufficient
detail coupled with premature release of results have often
resulted in retractions and embarrassment on the part of the scientific
community—caught in the heat of the moment. I guess
we are all human.
Professor Ronald G. Ballinger
MIT Photo
23 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
The result of this unsatisfactory situation has been that a
healthy skepticism and, in some cases, distrust of the reported
results has developed. We at MIT share this skepticism.
At the risk of becoming too technical in my comments, I feel
that I must be a bit more specific with regard to the source of this
skepticism. As I mentioned earlier the major results, reported by
the University of Utah group, are that there has been a generation
of excess heat and the measurement of neutron radiation.
By excess heat I mean that there has been a measurement of
more energy produced than has been supplied to the system.
From our standpoint, the key point of verification is the detection
of neutron radiation. From an engineering point of view,
however, the importance of excess heat production is critical. On
these two critical points we have found that the results reported
in the few available published documents from the University of
Utah are inconclusive or unclear. For example, with respect to
the detection of neutrons, critical products of the fusion reaction,
the reported results are confusing. They either do not agree with
or are not presented completely enough to show that they are
consistent with what one would expect from the emission of
neutrons from the deuterium fusion reaction. Specifically, the ?-
ray spectrum shown in the Fleischmann/Pons paper and attributed
to neutron emission does not exhibit a shape and intensity
that demonstrates the increase reported in the number of detected
neutrons above normal background. Further, the reported
rate of neutron emission and level of tritium production are consistent
with natural background. The results have nevertheless
been reported as “significant.” Those inconsistencies can only be
resolved by a full disclosure of the details of the experimental
measurements for examination by the scientific community.
Until such time as this occurs we feel that the data is insufficient
to demonstrate the presence of neutrons.
As far as the issue of excess energy is concerned we are also
faced with a confusing situation. While the presence of excess
energy is documented in the Journal of Analytical Electrochemistry
paper, the method by which this excess energy was determined
is not clear. With metals, such as palladium, which act as
hydrogen storage media and at the same time as catalysts for
many chemical reactions, both situations which can result in
discontinuous chemical energy releases, it is critical that a total
energy balance over time be done. To us it is not clear that this
has been the case. Until this issue is clarified we are unable to
make a judgement concerning the excess energy issue.
In conclusion, I feel that it is safe to say that the scientific
community is (1) excited about the possibility of a significant
advance in the area of fusion energy research, (2) but is, at the
same time, skeptical of results that have not been verified to this
point and (3) is very frustrated at the methods by which the discovery
has been handled both in the scientific and non-scientific
community. Thank you.
PROFESSOR RONALD GEORGE BALLINGER
Professor Ballinger is an Associate Professor at the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology with a joint appointment in the Departments of
Nuclear Engineering and Materials Science & Engineering. Professor
Ballinger's areas of specialization are as follows: (1) Environmental
effects on material behavior, (2) Physical metallurgical and electrochemical
aspects of environmentally assisted cracking in aqueous systems,
(3) Stress corrosion cracking and hydrogen embrittlement in Light
Water Reactor systems, (4) The effect of radiation on aqueous chemistry
and stress corrosion cracking, (5) Experimental fracture mechanics techniques
and analytical methodology, and (6) Materials development for
cryogenic applications. Professor Ballinger is the author of several
papers in the above areas and is a member of several professional societies
including the National Association of Corrosion Engineers, The
American Society for Metals, The Electrochemical Society, The American
Nuclear Society, and the American Society for Testing and Materials.
Professor Ballinger is a member of the International Cyclic Crack
Growth Review Group and the International Cooperative Working
Group in Irradiation Assisted Stress Corrosion Cracking.
MIT Cold Fusion Group
Plasma Fusion Center
Professor Ronald R. Parker
Director, Plasma Fusion Center
Plasma Physics/Fusion Research
Dr. Xing Chen
Postdoctoral Associate
Radiation Detection
Dr. Catherine Fiore
Research Scientist
Radiation Detection
Dr. Marcel Gaudreau
Research Engineer
Fusion Engineering
Dr. David Gwinn
Research Engineer
Instrumentation/Design
Dr. Paul S. Linsay
Principal Research Scientist
Radiation Physics
Dr. Stanley Luckhardt
Principal Research Scientist
Plasma Physics
Dr. Richard Petrasso
Research Scientist
X-and ?-ray Spectroscopist
Mr. Kevin Wenzel
Graduate Student
Radiation Detection
Dept. of Nuclear Engineering
and Dept. of Materials Science
and Engineering
“Words to Eat”
MIT Professor Ronald George Ballinger may hold the alltime
record for making a foolish statement against cold fusion.
He wrote in 1991: “It would not matter to me if a thousand
other investigations were to subsequently perform experiments
that see excess heat. These results may all be correct,
but it would be an insult to these investigators to connect them
with Pons and Fleischmann.”
These words of “wisdom” appeared in the Gordon Institute
News, March/April 1991. Apart from their unrepentant mean
spirit, they are internally inconsistent. If in his hypothetical the
remarkable discovery of Fleischmann and Pons were to be
validated, why would the scientists not be due praise? Is
Ballinger’s sense of righteous indignation about Fleischmann
and Pons so pronounced that he could not grant them credit
—ever? One would think that scientific ethics alone would
mandate that these “thousand other investigations” should be
tied directly to those who inspired them!
Ballinger wrote in the same venue: “Putting the ‘Cold
Fusion’ issue on the same page with Wien, Rayleigh-Jeans,
Davison-Germer, Einstein, and Planck is analogous to comparing
a Dick Tracy comic book story with the Bible.” The facts
about this moralizing hypocrite, Prof. Ballinger, are even more
amazing when one learns that Ballinger subsequently personally
sought funding support from Dr. Thomas O. Passell at the
Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) to carry out materials
science projects related to cold fusion!
Professor Ronald G. Ballinger
Associate Professor
Physical Metallurgy and Electrochemistry
Dr. Il Soon Hwang
Research Scientist
Physical Metallurgy/Electrochemistry
Dr. Alan Turnbull
Visiting Scientist (National Physical
Laboratory, UK)
Electrochemistry/Surface Science
Martin Morra
Graduate Student
Physical Metallurgy
Mr. Frank Wong
Graduate Student
Mechanics/Instrumentation
Department of Chemistry
Professor Mark Wrighton
Head, Department of Chemistry
Chemistry/Electrochemistry
Dr. Richard Crooks
Postdoctoral Associate
Electrochemistry
Mr. Vincenzo Cammarata
Graduate Student
Chemistry/Electrochemistry
Mr. Martin Schloh
Graduate Student
Chemistry/Electrochemistry
Mr. David Albagli
Graduate Student
Chemistry/Electrochemistry
24 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
From this “smoking gun” interview, it is
clear that the story in the Boston Herald,
May 1, 1989, was an eminently fair
reflection of the interview with Professors
Parker and Ballinger. Virtually the
full April 28, 1989 interview with Parker
and Ballinger is transcribed from the
audio tape released by the Boston Herald.
It is fascinating to hear Parker
telling a DoE Cold Fusion Panelist (Dr.
Richard Garwin of IBM) that they think
they have evidence of “fraud” by Fleischmann
and Pons. Parker is seen
coordinating with NBC reporter Bob
Bazell the forthcoming “blast” against
the Utah electrochemists.—EFM
[Editor’s Note: “xxxx” means inaudible
portion of audio tape.]
Parker: . . .accuse them of fraud, one
could.
Tate: Can you—can you tell me what
the uh—what exactly the significance
of the 2.5 is? I mean, understand I’ve
attempted—I’m not a scientist. I’ve
attempted to read as much as I can
understand.
Parker: I can give you a short synopsis
of that.
Ballinger: Can we, uh—can I make—
say something here about —? You’re going to publish this right?
Tate: Yes.
Ballinger: You’re not a scientific person, right?
Tate: That’s correct.
Ballinger: What’s the procedure about this? Can we see what
you’re going to print, before you’re going to print it? Not to
change anything, but to make sure you don’t screw something
up here.
Tate: In technical terms?
Ballinger: In technical terms.
Tate: Uhhh—
Ballinger: You know we’re talking about serious business here
and I have seen crap in newspapers that comes out, you know, that
quotes the generation of isotopes which aren’t—don’t exist and all
kinds of stuff like that. Nobody’s going to change anything—
Parker: That’s a good point. The reason I stopped talking to the
Globe, for example, is that I felt that they were reporting irresponsibly.
Ballinger: They interviewed me but didn’t (xxxx). . .
Parker: Yeah, and you know they were out there just leading
the cheers instead of being objective.
Tate: Let me say this to you, that in general the process is—the
policy of the paper is to turn down a story before having it proof
read outside of the paper. But I understand what you’re saying.
I think that given I am not a scientific person, we could work
something out.
Ballinger: There has to be a way because there’s sort of a moral
obligation here on our part to make sure that . . .
Parker: Let me—Yeah let me put it another way, I mean we’re
beginning to get a very short fuse on this whole issue, as you
can tell, because for example these guys were down in Congress
when Ron was down there on Wednesday asking for twentyfive
million bucks. [Editor’s Note: See Ballinger’s Congressional
testimony, page 84.]
Ballinger: A hundred and twenty five.
Parker: Well, a hundred. . .
Tate: Was it $125 million?
Parker: Only a mere twenty-five from the government, right?
Ballinger: Twenty-five from the government, the rest from
industry.
Parker: And, you know, it’s one thing when they come out
with something that’s potentially interesting scientifically and
so on and so forth. It’s quite another thing when they’re out
there trying to fleece the public money to push something that,
uh, has no credibility at this point. Now in a (xxxx) way what
we’re saying is we’re ready to begin getting into the controversial
issue.
Tate: I should explain to you. . .
Parker: We don’t want to do that without trusting the source,
Okay? In other words, you know I can’t trust the Globe, I’d like
to trust you. I can’t trust you unless I know what you’re going
to turn out.
Tate: I guess it depends on what we talk about. What you’re
suggesting is that what I would like to do based on just a little
information that I’ve heard is write a story that indicates you
have serious questions and concerns about what Pons and Fleischmann
are saying. . .
Parker: We can go beyond the concerns and questions to say
that what they have reported is not true. That’s a much stronger
statement.
Tate: And potentially what you’re suggesting is that—to bring
some money into the university.
Parker: I shouldn’t say that, I should say that that’s your conjecture,
not mine. Okay, the fact that they’re down there asking
for $125 million you can draw your own conclusions from that.
Ballinger: I would suggest that you probably have a tape of the
entire hearing.
Parker: Do you have one?
Tate: I don’t have one, no.
Ballinger: Well, you should get one and you should look at it
and spend the time, because then you’ll understand what was
going on down there. In terms of your background, it’s a very
important thing for you to look at. Even though you may be on
Exhibit B: Partial transcript of tape of interview (Friday, April 28, 1989)
by Nick Tate of the Boston Herald with
Professor Ronald R. Parker and Associate Professor Ronald G. Ballinger
This tape was released to the public, according to a Boston Herald story on May 2, 1989. The contents of this tape clearly
contradict the MIT Press Release of May 1, 1989, which was issued by the MIT News Office on behalf of Professor Parker.
Prof. Ballinger
Prof. Parker
Nick Tate, then of the
Boston Herald
25 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
a deadline and it may be six hours long and all that stuff, you
really need to see what was going on.
Tate: What was your impression of what was happening?
Ballinger: It was a fairly well-orchestrated attempt to, in my
mind, short circuit in this case well-established and well-recognized
review process for any kind of research much less this
kind of research and get uh—diversion of funds to uh from the
government from other projects presumably to the University
of Utah. And, uh, they used uh you know. If you assume that
what they are saying is correct, you may argue about the heavyhandedness
of what their logic is of their methods, but for
something that’s not been proved to be correct,
the fact that they used this (xxx) was
going on plus the fact that (xxx). . .
Ballinger: If you don’t look at the tape, you
should read Ira Magaziner’s testimony. He
is the consultant that they hired to uh . . .
Parker: Is he the one who went into this
society in Rome?
Ballinger: He made a very, you know, a
very pseudo-truth — that’s the word I’d
use. You start out with something which is
fundamentally true, but everything is not so
true after that. We are, in fact, getting killed
by the Japanese. I mean we’re great inventors,
but we don’t do a good job of bringing
things to market. The Japanese are excellent
at that and were getting beaten. We’re getting our ass beaten,
right? And that’s the argument that he used, we should definitely
—we should stuff all kinds of money in here, we should
go on parallel paths, we should establish a center—an international
center in Utah, naturally in Utah, because that’s where
the best scientists are. And we should get going on this right
away. That makes sense, if you’re trying to, if you have an
established, verified product. You know, I mean I think I agree
that we’re getting killed by the Japanese and so therefore we
should —there has to be a way to augment the way we do that
kind of thing. But he started from a fundamental assumption
which was not correct, and that is, we don’t have anything
that’s proven, and moreover not only do we not have anything
that is proven, but there’s a lot of reason to believe that not only
will it be disproven, but it will turn out that it’s not correct.
Tate: Let me ask you, just back up a step. You’re talking
about—I presume you’re talking about traditional scientific
controls and traditional scientific methods that have not been
observed in this particular situation.
Parker: This is sci— I’ll give you a quote: This is scientific
schlock, Okay.
Tate: Tell me specifically what they’ve done.
Parker: [Parker laughs].
Tate: That is that may. . .
Parker: I’ll just tell you about the neutrons, Okay.. That’s really
important, Okay. They’ve taken some data. They didn’t even
take it themselves, they had people take it for them. They published
it in their paper and they claimed that it showed the presence
of neutrons from their experiment. The data is patently,
has been patently falsely interpreted. Neutrons are not present
at anywhere near the level their own data shows. They’re not
there. They’ve misinterpreted their results. They falsely interpreted
their results. Whether they did this intentionally or not I
don’t know, but they did not present—interpret their results
correctly. It’s a key point in their paper.
Tate: Specifically what they’re claiming, that it was neutrons
they were creating. . .
Parker: That they were creating neutrons from their experiment.
Their documentation unfortunately shows that not only
was it falsely interpreted, but there were no neutrons at anywhere
near the level they claimed. You can use the data in two
ways, to show that they falsely interpreted it, but also that there
weren’t neutrons at the level they claimed.
Tate: So at best it’s misinterpretation and at worst it’s — as you
were saying. . .
Parker: It’s fraud.
Tate: Now do you know this from studying their research,
from reviewing their information, or have you tried—and I presume
you’ve, in addition, attempted to parallel what they’ve
done?
Parker: We reproduce their results so we completely understand
why they misinterpreted. Let me put it a different way, we
don’t see why they misinterpreted, we don’t understand what
they should have seen and didn’t.
Tate: So you’ve reproduced their experiment?
Parker: We’ve simulated the neutrons. We’ve said, suppose
there were no neutrons, what would it have looked like? And
we find something quite different from what they claim.
Ballinger: We find what we should expect.
Tate: Would you care to speculate on their intent?
Parker: I think Ron made it perfectly clear that when you’re
asking for $125 million for the university, I mean I don’t want
to be tied into that quote, but I mean you have to draw the
(xxxx). They were in Washington Wednesday asking for $125
million dollars.
[Editor’s Note: At this point in the interview, Parker gets a phone call
from Dr. Richard Garwin of IBM Corporation, one of the key people
on the U.S. Department of Energy’s cold
fusion review panel. . .]
Parker (to Garwin): I just talked to
Richard [Petrasso] who wrote the
Nature piece. I don’t know if you saw
that? But he and I basically chuck it off,
I mean you know I said his piece was
the best thing written so far. And he told
me he saw the original submission and
it did have the line at 2.5 [MeV]. The
original submission had the line at 2.5
so, you know that’s, uh, the smoking
gun with fingerprints, Okay, you don’t even need (xxxx). Oh,
gee, I don’t want to quote him, but that’s a good question, but
the original submission to the journal had 2.5, just as the 2.5 in
the equation, so you know now it transcends I think the question
of whether they misinterpreted to the question of whether
there was deliberate fraud. Okay, alright. . .(xxx). Well, all your
detective work was correct, but now he has the smoking gun
with the fingerprints on it, right? [Laughs] Okay, right, see ya!
Bye. . .
Parker: So I thought he would be good to talk to and he just
volunteered. He’d seen the original submission to the journal.
The line was at 2.5.
Ballinger: That’s what we suspected.
Ira Magaziner
He later played a role
in the Clinton Administration
on health policy.
Photo: Courtesy White
House
Dr. Richard Garwin
Photo: IBM Corporation
26 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
Parker: Right (xxxx). . .
Parker: This is where I’d say, uh, we just don’t know, I mean
—misinterpretation or was it malicious. . .
[Editor’s Note: Now Parker remarks about
Prof. Huggins’ positive results in his Stanford
University replication of P&F’s experiment.]
Parker: Unfortunately I’ve seen that
paper. I’d give it a B as a senior thesis . . .
[Parker and Ballinger laugh intensely about
Fleischmann’s implication about Japanese
work.]
Parker: So, what are you going to do
with this, uh, Nick? You know this is. .
.what you’re hearing is that we think it’s
a scam, right?
Tate: Why is it today that you think it’s a scam?
Parker: We have been studying the evidence together very
slowly and we want to have a paper out on this before we actually
blast them. Monday we’re putting a paper out on it. . .
Parker: It depends on what magnitude you want to break it.
Tate: Well, it seems to me that it’s a very significant story for
you to be saying...
Parker: It’s the first time I’ve actually been (xxx) this strong.
Up until now I’ve been hoping...
Tate: I mean everybody thinks you have been very skeptical,
as have other teams (xxx) can reproduce it. . .
Parker: Open to the possibility. I think
after five weeks we are basically getting
to the point where we can no longer suspend
the disbelief.
[Parker gets a phone call from science
reporter Bob Bazell of NBC-TV]
Parker (to Bazell): Hello, Bob. Thanks
for calling me back. Okay, appreciate it
because uh (xxxx) we don’t want them to
have a chance to uh come up with any
sort of (xxxx) Now I promise on Monday
we’ll have it out. I’ll fax it to you. Okay,
alright? I’ve got one in my office! Ha, ha. It’s a local paper. No,
we have not done anything as far as a press release. . .Uh, well
maybe we can work something out. It depends on how big a
story he wants to do. Well, if they didn’t see neutrons. You
know I just talked by the way to Richard Garwin and he confirmed
that the first paper that Pons and Fleischmann submitted
had the line at 2.5 MeV. Did you know that? Well, that’s
important because they moved it. And now the question is, is it
fraud, or is it (xxxx)?
Parker: Well, that was Bazell, Bob Bazell — you know who he
is, of NBC? — he’s a little concerned about how you’re going to
handle it. He’s concerned and I am too, because he’s been very
good to me as far as being confidential and respecting my views.
He’s at the (xxxx) right now where he wants to run something
on this. And I feel like I’d like to, you know, I don’t mind if it hits
the streets the same day, but I think it would be. . .
Tate: That’s fine.
Parker: I think if you’d respect that we can probably give you more. . .
Tate: I would just ask that no other media outlets get this information
beforehand. I think that’s fair.
Parker: I was just thinking in my mind. I have a list of sort of
good (xxxx). . .
Ballinger: Technology Review. . .
Parker: Yeah, they’ll come out months
from now. We’ll have to give it to MIT
actually, I mean Mallove.
Tate: I’m not real hot to scoop anybody
with the story. It’s a big story. I’d like to do
that and respect your wishes. But if it comes
out in another publication, a competitor or a
daily publication . . .
Parker: It’s not coming out in the Globe.
Tate: Okay.
Ballinger: And I don’t answer phone
calls unless they’re from inside MIT. . .
Tate: Obviously, we’re going to need to get into more of the
technical aspects of it. Can you tell me some of those for that
story in Monday’s paper or would you prefer to handle that?
Parker: I’m going to have to leave in ten minutes anyway, so
it’s not going to be great. . . Let’s see, how to handle it. We’re
going to get into trouble with Mallove, if we don’t apprise him
on Monday. But you could break the story on Monday.
Parker: [Parker on the phone to Harold Furth of Princeton Plasma
Physics Lab]. . . We’re also working with a guy called
Wrighton, who is an electrochemist. . . Next week we’re definitely
going to hit them. . . So meanwhile, we’re pretty much
going to blast these guys on Monday — on the neutrons. . . Well
you know, you can take that one on. I’m not going to get into the
calorimetry. I think, having done the
calorimetry for several weeks now, I
understand much better about the problems,
and I think I could speculate on
what they did or didn’t do. I certainly
know enough to discount completely the
Stanford experiment, only because they
published enough details so I could see
where they went wrong. Now in the case
of Utah, they didn’t publish details, so I
can’t say. . . All I’m going to focus on— I
know the following facts. They published
a peak initially at 2.5, they then moved it
to 2.2 for the same data, alright? Now that could be either fraud
or it could be just misinterpretation. I’m not going to comment
on that. However, the line that they finally show is xxx sodium
iodide, 3-inch crystal. . .
Parker: How are we going to leave it? You’re going to hold this
for Monday, right?
Ballinger: I’d really like to see it for technical content. You
know nobody’s going to try to, and although we might like to
sometime. End of Tape
Prof. Huggins
Photo, Stanford University
Robert Bazell
Photo, NBC TV
Eugene Mallove
“In one word,
it’s garbage.”
MIT Professor of Physics Emeritus Martin Deutsch
May 6, 1989, characterizing cold fusion.
Harold P. Furth
Princeton Plasma
Physics Laboratory
27 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
Exhibit C
MIT News Office Deceptive Press Release
I had been up into the wee hours of the night of April 30-May 1,
1989, sending a press release dictated to me over the telephone
at my home in Bow, New Hampshire by Professor Parker.
I telephoned it to UPI, Reuters, and the Associated Press,
and it denied what Parker had said in the interview with the
Boston Herald’s Nick Tate. When I arrived at the MIT News
Office early that morning after a sleepless night, we hastily put
together a printed form of the press release to handle the
approaching storm. This is the text of the Press Release that
was issued from the MIT News Office on May 1, 1989. On the
day of my resignation from my MIT News Office position, June
7, 1991, I publically disavowed this Press Release—an unintended
falsification of the truth in which I was used as a dupe in
part of an orchestrated campaign against cold fusion (an image
of this Press Release appears on page 76)—EFM
MIT News Office PRESS RELEASE May 1, 1989
URGENT MEDIA ADVISORY
For Immediate Release May 1, 1989
MIT Contact: Eugene F. Mallove, Sc.D. Chief Science Writer
CAMBRIDGE, Mass., May 1—Professor Ronald R. Parker,
Director of the MIT Plasma Fusion Center responded today to
an article published this morning in the Boston Herald, an article
that he says has seriously misquoted him and given a largely
incorrect view of his discussions with the Boston Herald’s
reporter, Nick Tate.
Professor Parker issued this statement:
“The article erroneously characterizes remarks that I
made regarding the cold fusion experiments done at the
University of Utah. Specifically, I did not: (1) Deride the
University of Utah experiments as “scientific schlock” or (2)
Accuse Drs. Fleischmann and Pons of ‘misrepresentation
and maybe fraud’.”
Today, Professor Parker’s colleagues will present a paper
(co-authored with him) at the meeting of the American
Physical Society in Baltimore, Maryland, in which they suggest
that data that Drs. Pons and Fleischmann claim support
the observation of neutron emission in their experiments
were misinterpreted by Pons and Fleischmann.
Based on their independent analysis, the MIT researchers
say that if neutron emission occurred in the Pons and Fleischmann
experiment that they reported in the Journal of Electroanalytical
Chemistry, it would have been at a level far
below that reported by the University of Utah group.
Exhibit D — Boston Globe Letter to
MIT President Paul Gray —April 17, 1989
There is convincing evidence (see Exhibit B) that Prof. Parker
had made a deliberate attempt to exclude the “cheer-leading”
Boston Globe from getting access to the MIT PFC in the hectic
early days of the cold fusion uproar. Frustrated Globe science
writer Richard Saltus wrote an extraordinary letter on April 17,
1989 to then MIT President Paul E. Gray. This was before the
Herald’s bombshell story of May 1, 1989 broke!—EFM
The Boston Globe, Boston Massachusetts 02107
Telephone 617-929-2000
Paul E. Gray, President, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Dear Dr. Gray:
We in the Sci-Tech section have always regarded MIT as a rich and
crucial source of ideas and information. The News Office does an
invaluable job in bringing stories to our attention, and the faculty and
staff generally are very helpful when we call on their expertise. In addition,
your visit to the Globe left a strong impression, and created
renewed interest in subjects like science and math education and global
environmental issues.
It has been disturbing, therefore, to have encountered such a lack of
cooperation—a selective one, it appears—from the leadership of the
Plasma Fusion program during our reporting of the claimed breakthrough
at the University of Utah. We felt our readers would want to
know how this scientific controversy has affected a premier fusion
research center—and one in the Globe’s city.
However, repeated attempts by myself and another reporter to talk to
individuals at the Plasma Fusion Center have met with little success. In
the first weeks of the story, Dr. Ronald Parker did make himself available
on a few occasions, but for the past week or more has failed to
return phone calls.
I also was utterly rebuffed in an attempt, which I had cleared with the
News Office, to visit the fusion center briefly— entirely at Dr. Parker’s
convenience—so that I could convey something of the activity there
during this highly unusual time. I called several times, dropped by
once, and left telephone numbers where I could be reached, saying I’d
be glad to talk with anyone who had a free moment. The secretary
promised to let me know what could be arranged. However, no one
ever responded. I appreciate the enormous demands on Dr. Parker’s
time. Yet, he has found time for other publications, including the Washington
Post —whose reporter toured the facility, took photographs and
interviewed several researchers and the New York Times, which quoted
Dr. Parker as recently as last Sunday.
Whether this selective access reflects caprice or some bias against the
Globe is hard to tell. In any case, it is regrettable that we have had to
give up on MIT and turn to institutions like Princeton, where, although
I am sure they are no less busy, researchers have been more helpful.
Sincerely,
Richard Saltus, Science writer
cc: Dr. Ronald Parker, Plasma Fusion Center
Exhibit E — MIT President Paul Gray’s Letter to the
Boston Globe May 1, 1989
MIT President Gray, apparently unaware of Parker’s true dealings,
was himself duped into writing what he honestly thought
was a valid response to the Globe’s Saltus.—EFM
OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENT
Richard Saltus, Science Writer
The Boston Globe
Dear Mr. Saltus:
I write in response to your letter of April 17, which laments
the recent inaccessibility of Professor Ronald Parker. I have
looked into this and find that Professor Parker has been deluged
by requests for information about cold fusion and is unable to
respond to all of them. He has tried to be as helpful as possible,
consistent with his belief that judgment should be reserved
until the scientific facts are clarified. That cautious stance has
led him to discourage all media visits to the Plasma Fusion Center,
although his efforts have not always been successful.
I have been assured that there was no discrimination
against the Boston Globe and that, to the contrary, Professor
Parker spoke five or six times with your colleague, Mr. David
Chandler.
I regret that you feel ill used during these recent events, but
I am satisfied that they are merely a consequence of the extraordinary
circumstances attendant to the claim of cold fusion.
We certainly hope that our good relations with the Boston Globe,
and with the Sci-Tech section in particular will continue.
Sincerely yours,
Paul E. Gray
PEG/mmd Signed in his absence
cc: Kenneth D. Campbell, Ronald R. Parker
28 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
Exhibit I
Eugene Mallove’s Letter to MIT President Charles Vest
April 12, 1991
My urgent letter to President Vest, copied to President Gray,
went unanswered. Should I have been surprised? Not when
President Vest had chosen Chemistry Department head Professor
Mark Wrighton as Provost. Wrighton was a co-leader of
the 1989 MIT PFC cold fusion experiments and a signer of the
1989 negative DoE cold fusion report. If President Vest had
given him my letter to review, Wrighton would probably have
dumped it in his circular file.—EFM
Eugene F. Mallove, Sc.D., Chief Science Writer
MIT News Office, Room 5-111
Lecturer in Science Journalism, Department of Humanities
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
President Charles M. Vest
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Dear Dr. Vest:
I am reminded of wonders wrought by science and technology
on this day, the 30th anniversary of the first flight into space
by a human being, Yuri Gagarin, and also the 10th anniversary
of the flight of our space shuttle. I recall my feelings of awe—as
a child and later as a young engineer, that human beings could
accomplish these wondrous things. It seems that on the frontiers
of science and technology, when dedicated men and
women give their energies to a task, they can achieve wonders.
We are now facing, I believe, a new wonder in science. It is
one, to be sure, that seems to be having an exceedingly difficult
birth. I speak of what some people consider to be preposterous
and “pathological” science, but others whom I believe have
probed deeper into the matter, consider to be no longer deniable:
that unusual nuclear reactions of incompletely understood character
have been produced in metal lattice systems. Of course I
am speaking of the controversial “cold fusion” phenomena. As
Exhibit G - MIT President Paul Gray’s 1990
Remarks on Cold vs. Hot Fusion
This public statement clearly shows how badly the MIT PFC had
duped the rest of the MIT community.—EFM
“If ever there was, in the media’s eye, a silver bullet, ‘cold
fusion’ certainly fit the bill. According to the first news
release, it was ‘simple, safe, and easy to implement.’ Unfortunately,
all the media attention surrounding the controversy
over the veracity of the cold fusion experiments has overshadowed
the quality work that has gone into ‘hot’ plasma
fusion research over the last forty-five years. Here the potential
energy payoff is so great and the scientific and political
motivation so strong that a very large and productive
research effort is already in place.”
Energy and The Environment in the 21st Century (Proceedings of a
Conference held at MIT March 26-28, 1990), MIT Press, 1991, p. 119-
136, in “Energy Technology: Problems and Solutions,” by Paul E.
Gray, Jefferson W. Tester, and David O. Wood.
Exhibit H
Prof. Mark Wrighton’s Letter to Dr. V. C. Noninski
October 10, 1990
This brusque letter from Prof. Wrighton, offering no scientific
discussion, is an insult, yet so symptomatic of how the MIT
Administration went about its anti-cold fusion work.—EFM
MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
DEPARTMENT OF CHEMISTRY
MARK S. WRIGHTON
DEPARTMENT HEAD AND
CIBA-GEIGY PROFESSOR OF CHEMISTRY
Dr. V.C. Noninski
New York, NY
Dear Dr. Noninski:
Unfortunately, I have not had time to review your various
pieces of correspondence with me concerning our work directed
toward establishing the validity of claims concerning cold
fusion. Let me be perfectly clear with you: we have obtained
no evidence whatsoever to verify the original claims by Pons
and Fleischmann concerning cold fusion. I believe that we
have indicated the nature of the errors involved in the
calorimetry that we have done and do not believe that there is
experimentally significant evolution of “excess heat.”
Sincerely yours,
Mark S. Wrighton
MSW:jvs
cc: Dr. S. Luckhardt
MIT President, Paul E. Gray
Plasma Fusion Center
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
To: Terri Priest
From: Ron Parker
Subj: Cold fusion Mug
Date: July 18, 1989
Thanks for your thoughtful procurement of the “cold fusion”
mug. I really enjoyed it and will keep it with my “stamp out
scientific schlock” tee-shirt and other cold fusion memorabilia.
We have ordered two dozen (at quantity discount) for souvenirs
to members of the MIT Cold Fusion Group. When they
arrive, I’ll send you one in case you know of someone else
who would enjoy it.
Thanks again!
Exhibit F
Photos, Infinite Energy archives
29 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
Nobel Laureate Julian Schwinger said in March 1990, “It is
no longer possible lightly to dismiss the reality of cold fusion.”
After long and careful study of this controversy in both its scientific,
media, and political dimensions, I am personally convinced
at greater than a 99% confidence level that cold fusion is
real—both the nuclear emanations that have been reported and
the excess enthalpy that seems to emerge from various experiments.
The erratic nature of the phenomena —the lack of reproducibility
“on demand”—has clearly been the central obstacle
to acceptance in the scientific community, but extraneous
“political” and programmatic factors have also played a role. It
would seem, however, that reproducibility—no doubt a function
of certain critical atomic structure and composition factors
in the test systems—is getting to be less and less a problem.
Two unusual documents that have come to my attention are
only the most recent in a cascade of information that is now
emerging in the field. Physicist David Worledge of the Electric
Power Research Institute (EPRI), who has just returned from a
trip to the Soviet Union, supplied me with the astounding report
of the “Workshop on Nuclear Fusion
Reactions in Condensed Media,” which
was held at a world-class high-energy
physics center under the sponsorship of
the USSR Academy of Sciences, among
other prestigious scientific organizations.
This is extraordinary because this
heretofore unknown but suspected
level of effort on cold fusion in the
Soviet Union gives an independent
check on some of the nuclear effects
work in the U.S. (I regret to say that in
the present atmosphere of hostility to
cold fusion in the U.S., such a conference
would now be unthinkable at places like Brookhaven
National Laboratory and Fermilab.) Noteworthy is the claimed
increasing levels of reproducibility in the experiments, which
incidentally, is also happening in the U..S—e.g. at Los Alamos
National Laboratory and at SRI International in Palo Alto, which
has carried out reproducible excess energy production in electrochemical
cells.
The other paper comes from my colleague,
Dr. M. Srinivasan, Head of the
Neutron Physics Division at the Bhabha
Atomic Research Center, BARC, in
India. This is his recent excellent summary
of the experimental evidence for
cold fusion, which BARC has played a
major role in supplying. Read it and perhaps
be amazed, as I have been. I was
already aware of most of the results that
he cites, but he assembles it so nicely.
As for experimental work here at MIT
in this exciting new field, I regret to tell you that it does not exist.
After the initial brief but intense period of experimental assessment
in the spring of 1989 by an interdisciplinary team drawn
from the Plasma Fusion Center and from the Chemistry Department,
led by PFC Director Professor Ronald R. Parker and then
Chemistry Department head, Professor Mark S. Wrighton, to my
knowledge, nothing further has been done along experimental
lines. It is notable, however, that researchers in several departments
at MIT have continued a strong interest in the field.
An atmosphere of hostility, analogous to the editorial position
on cold fusion of a certain well-known scientific journal
[Nature], is prevalent. I do not feel that MIT’s best interests are
served any longer by unwarranted ignoring of the mounting
experimental evidence for cold fusion. It seems to me essential
that members of the MIT community reassess the experimental
findings that have come and are coming from both domestic and
foreign laboratories. To do any less would be, it seems to me, an
abdication of scientific responsibility, not to mention a possible
longer range injury to the reputation of MIT. It is even possible
that the international competitiveness position of the U.S. might
be at stake, something we here have given much attention to.
There is strong evidence, for example the enclosed Matsushita
Corporation patent application, that Japanese laboratories are
devoting their considerable talents to this field. (I believe it probable
that a major Japanese Corporation may be funding the work
of Drs. Fleischmann and Pons now in France.) [Editor’s Note: That
corporation turned out to be IMRA, an affiliate of Toyota Corp.—EFM]
Basically, I think the train is leaving the station, and MIT is not
on it. This deeply troubles, saddens, even embarrasses me —as
an alumnus who cares deeply about MIT and its image. May I
suggest that you assemble very soon and publicly a panel of MIT
scientists and engineers to consider and evaluate the status of
research on “nuclear reactions in deuterium infused metals.”
(There is no need to call it the politically charged, “cold fusion,”
even though that may well be what it is.) I can imagine the composition
of such a panel, who would hear from researchers both
within and from outside MIT—including from foreign countries.
Obviously, MIT's thoughtful skeptics (e.g. Dr. Richard Petrasso)
as well as proponents of these phenomena (e.g Professor Peter
Hagelstein) should be aboard. As a chairperson, I would offer
the names of three outstanding scientists, who could guide
deliberations in a fair manner: Professors Philip Morrison,
Jerome Friedman, or Henry Kendall. Because of my knowledge
of the field through being a conduit of information, I would be
honored to assist any such panel in its deliberations.
I have sent a copy of this letter to your predecessor, Professor
Paul Gray, with whom I have discussed cold fusion earlier, in
the days when the controversy arose. My deep appreciation to
you for carefully considering this suggestion. I look forward to
discussing the idea further with you, if you feel that it has merit,
and of course I hope you will.
Sincerely, Eugene F. Mallove
Exhibit J
Eugene Mallove’s Letter to Dr. Stanley Luckhardt
April 29, 1991
My written request to Dr. Luckhardt for clarification and other
data was rebuffed.—EFM
Eugene F. Mallove, Sc.D., Chief Science Writer, MIT News Office,
Room 5-111, Lecturer in Science Journalism, Department of Humanities
Dr. Stanley C. Luckhardt
Room 36-293
Dear Stan:
Glad that you were able to come to Dr. Fred Mayer’s [cold fusion]
seminar last week and ask some good questions. It’s nice to have an
alternate theory to compare with Peter’s [Hagelstein’s] ideas.
I have been meaning to submit a short note to the Journal of Fusion
Energy, a comment of sorts about the MIT experiments in the spring of
1989 and where they fit into the big picture. I would mainly be addressing
the calorimetry issue and in that regard would want to refer to both
your perspective and to that of Dr. Noninski. I realize that there are two
pieces of information that it would be helpful, though not essential, for
me to have: (A) The precision and assumed accuracy of each of the measuring
devices (current, voltage, and temperature) and (B) The plot of
the heater power versus time for the light water comparison cell run that
corresponds to the D2O heater power plot presented in the PFC report.
Thanks in advance for your help, and I look forward to sharing with
you some of my ideas, once I get them on paper.
Sincerely, Eugene F. Mallove
Dr. M. Srinivasan
of BARC
Dr. Worledge of EPRI
30 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
Matters came to a
head on June 7,
1991, when—
unknown to me until
the very few days
before it occurred—a
lecture by a strong
critic of cold fusion,
Dr. Frank Close of the
UK, was scheduled
for a Friday seminar
at the Plasma Fusion
Center. The posters
for the talk proclaimed
it to be “An
Exposé on Cold
Fusion”—and indeed,
it was just that— a
slanderous attack of
Fleischmann and Pons! It turned out to be a climactic event in
my career and in the history of cold fusion.—EFM
Parker: Looking at the Pons and Fleischmann experiment is a
valuable object lesson, you know, regardless of whether there is
anything to the field that sort of followed their work. And to me
probably the most disturbing comment that was made and left
out there was the almost inference that it’s O.K. to drop a data
point if your name is Millikan [the physics Nobel laureate]. I
don’t think it’s O.K. to drop a data point if your name is Millikan,
Parker, Fleischmann, or Pons. That’s the lesson. That is
what science is about. We don’t drop data points, we don’t
become passionate, you know, about “this has to be right, we
have to make that data look this way.” [Ironically, that is precisely
what the MIT PFC did with its data! —EFM] Science is
supposed to be objective, even if it sometimes goes against the
grain, and that is what we try to teach here at MIT to our students.
Let it come out the way it comes out and don’t mount a
big PR campaign, you know, and if it doesn’t fit, then force the
data to fit. We’re trying to be dispassionate. That’s what science
is about and I hope that’s what students will take out of this
whole thing. Regardless of whether or not any of these other
experiments which you can mention are right or wrong, let’s
look at them one at a time. Let’s try to reproduce them.
We at MIT looked very carefully at Fleischmann and Pons,
and this is what
we came up
with. [If we]
think we ought
to look at another
set of experiments
and we
think we have
expertise, we
will. But just let
it fall where it
lies. We’re not
going to come out one way or another until we look at it.
Mallove: Would you consider re-evaluating your own experiment,
if I brought in experts to evaluate it? Would you consider
that? Because I’ve asked Dr. Luckhardt for several weeks now—
and I know he’s not here today. He told me at one point he would
provide me with the heater power curve for the light water
experiment so that I could ascertain what the heck was going on
in that experiment. He then finally ended up saying to me he
would not give it to me—or that it would take a week to do it.
Parker: I think, Gene, that what you showed up here earlier is
completely a surprise to me. [The Phase II comparison power tests
of light water versus heavy water, published and unpublished
versions.] We will give you every piece of data we ever took.
Parker: My personal. . .
Mallove: Fine.
Parker: I’ll tell you what my opinion is of that work, because I
was part of it. I don’t think it’s worth very much. Alright? And
that’s why it’s just published in a tech report. I don’t think it’s
worth very much. I think to do calorimetry is one of the hardest
things I ever tried to do. I’d rather stick to plasma physics.
Mallove: But, Ron, with all due respect, I agree with you, I
agree with you. [that the work was not conclusive]
Parker: When you have an open system is where you can make
big errors, where you don’t know the overpotential, the electrode
potential, and so on. These things are unknown. I mean
it’s really tough and that’s why I don’t put any stock at all --
you can redraw those curves anyway that you want. I don’t
think that data is worth anything. Now you may be able to find
something in it. I did the experiment; I don’t think it’s physics.
Mallove: But what I’ve seen, because I certainly see it from
Douglas Morrison [of CERN] and I see it from people like Frank
Close and others, that your prestigious laboratory with its excellent
resources is being used in some respect as a standard which
everyone else is supposed to adhere to. My own personal feeling
is that those who have continued beyond May of 1989 to do
experiments, have gotten some very significant results that this
laboratory and other laboratories at MIT ought to take a look at
again, and that’s the only thing that will ultimately clear this up.
I don’t agree that passion and PR and so forth should solve this:
I think experiment should, but they are not being done here.
Frank Close: Can I say something? It’s one o’clock and we’ve got
to go to a luncheon. [inaudible] I think that what Ron just said
about moving data points and [inaudible]. Whether this turns out
in the long run to be right or wrong is a completely separate issue
as against what happened at the time. This really addresses the
question of what you were saying to the students. One cannot do
science and start just dropping data points because it was convenient
for you, changing curves around because you wanted to
prove something. If you do, and you’re caught out, that’s how it
is and I could not rightly suppress information once it had come
my way. If scientists try to hide the fact when they discover that
things are being done in the name of science malevolently, then
science is going to suffer for it. And if then people who come out
and whistle blow get attacked for it, it’s even more disturbing.
We saw what happened over many years with the David Baltimore
case and how long it did take for that to come out. I don’t
think that those sort of things will give science a very good name,
if we didn’t address them when they came up.
Petrasso: Thank you very much for coming today.
Exhibit K
Question and Answer Session for Frank Close's talk at MIT
Plasma Fusion Center (“Too Hot to Handle: An Exposé on
Cold Fusion”), Friday June 7, 1991. (Final interchange, in
which the PFC Director Ronald Parker was introduced by
Richard Petrasso)
Transcription by Eugene F. Mallove. Bold type sections are of particular
interest (bold added by E. Mallove).
MIT PFC Promotional Brochure
31 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
and his group. In one calorimetry experiment a Pons-Fleischmann
electrochemical cell was filled with heavy water and a control cell
with ordinary water. The power curves generated were published
in the Journal of Fusion Energy and came out looking essentially the
same, apparently indicating that the heavy-water cell had not produced
excess heat as might have been expected if a fusion process
were going on. Mallove says that the heavy-water curve was shifted
by the experimenters to make it look the same as the ordinary
water curve but that actually the heavy-water cell experiment did
show excess heat. Parker’s explanation is that the shift was made
in accordance with conventional data treatment.
All this came at time when MIT was still reeling from the Baltimore-
Imanishi-Margot O'Toole furor. Perhaps that is why
Mallove's resignation drew only mixed attention from the media.
The Boston Herald, UPl, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and the
Christian Science Monitor thought it newsworthy, but The New York
Times, Science magazine, and Nature, which would normally have
covered or at least noted such a dramatic form of professional selfimmolation
in academia, were notably silent. Interestingly the Wall
Street Journal, which in July reported a series of new cold fusion
findings (or “sightings of the dead” as the physicists regard them),
failed to mention Mallove's whistle-blowing departure from MIT.
The MIT administration also did not respond, although Professor
Parker said he thought the affair ridiculous and dismissed the
alleged new evidence of cold fusion as no evidence at all.
Mallove then accepted an invitation from National Public Radio
to air the controversy over WBUR in Boston. The broadcast of 9
August 1991 led off with: “A crisis of confidence in Boston's leading
research institution . . .MIT scientists are now being charged
with manipulating the media and altering data in an attempt to
shoot down the work of the Utah scientists.”
Then Mallove's voice cut in: “What went on behind closed doors at
my alma mater is so upsetting that I will not rest until the whole matter
is given thorough airing. We have a major big science program, hot
fusion, which is literally trying to squash cold fusion.”
In late August, Mallove pressed Parker and his group for their
lab notebooks to allow for an independent check of the calorimetry
work in 1989. So far, he says, only an item or two has turned up.
Parker insists that it isn’t worth the effort to have an assistant generate
all the lab data involved. While Mallove interprets this as bad
faith, the prevailing view at MIT is that rather than fraud the scientists
involved may have conducted poor science that they would
not like to expose.
Mallove has now escalated the furor once again by dispatching a
registered letter to Mary Rowe, assistant to the president of MIT,
requesting a formal inquiry into the misconduct charges. This time
Nature did report the incident as a cold-fusion tempest at MIT. Much
of the betting is that a formal inquiry is unlikely to take place, mainly
because it would be hard to prove malicious intent, and even if the
data had been improperly handled at a time of high tension at MIT,
it would mark only a minor footnote to the now largely discredited
work of Pons and Fleischmann.
Is there life beyond the MIT News Office for Mallove? Apparently
yes. At 44 he intends to retain his post as a lecturer in science
journalism in the humanities department at MIT and he enjoys the
thought of no longer daily commuting 60 miles to Cambridge from
his home in Bow, New Hampshire. He has a dozen book proposals
making the rounds of publishing houses and if none of them works
out, he could return, he says, to an early love—the entrepreneurial
life. In the 1980s he produced astronomical materials such as sky
maps for museums and consulted with aerospace manufacturers
like Hughes on the potential of innovative space propulsion systems.
At the moment he has no special plans for cold fusion except to
write a sequel to his book—assuming, of course, that there is also a
sequel to cold fusion. ???
Fall 1991 (NASW’s)* Newsletter (“SW”)
SCIENCE WRITER QUITS MIT NEWS OFFICE,
CITES COLD-FUSION DISPUTE
by Lee Edson (Reprinted with permission from NASW).
(Freelance writer living in Stamford, CT)
“I am convinced at greater than 99% confidence
level that cold fusion is real—both the
nuclear emanations that have been reported
and the excess enthalpy that seems to emerge
from various experiments.” Thus did Eugene
Mallove, chief science writer of the MIT News
Office, write to MIT President Charles Vest in
April 1991. After detailing new, and as he put
it, astounding findings in Russia and India, he
decried the lack of experimental work on cold
fusion at MIT “after the initial but intense
period of experimental assessment in the
spring of 1989.”
Mallove based his expertise in large part on his research for Fire
from Ice, an optimistic book on cold fusion published in July by John
Wiley & Sons. He also holds a B.S. and M.S. in astronautical engineering
from MIT, a Sc.D. in environmental health sciences from Harvard,
and has authored several other scientific books.
Urging the MIT president to set up a panel to investigate the status
of research on cold fusion, Mallove went on to say, “I do not feel
that MlT's interests are best served any longer by unwarranted
ignoring of the mounting experimental evidence for cold fusion. It
seems to me essential that members of the MIT community reassess
experimental findings that are coming from both foreign and
domestic laboratories. To do any less would be an abdication of scientific
responsibility, not to mention a longer range injury to the
reputation of MIT. . .”
By June, Mallove had not heard from MIT and was convinced that
the scientific community had closed its mind to cold fusion as a real
phenomenon, even if not promising as a source of endless cheap energy.
Frustrated and feeling uncomfortable about continuing his role as
a spokesman for MIT, NASWer Mallove quit his job in the News
Office, announcing his resignation at a public meeting, and submitted
a 17-page “J’Accuse” letter to his alma mater. The litany of charges
expanded on his earlier note to the president. He accused the university
of publishing fudged experimental findings to support MlT’s early
condemnation of the work of Pons and Fleischmann—a condemnation
he charged that helped propel the nation's negative tone toward the
Utah scientists.
Mallove went on to blast MIT Professor Ronald Parker, head of
the Plasma Fusion Center, for “using” him and the press of– fice in
publishing a false press release. In that release Parker had denied
that he had ever called Pons and Fleischmann frauds as reported by
Nick Tate in the Boston Herald. Tate later produced transcripts that
showed Parker had indeed used the expression “fraud” on several
occasions, and in a classic riposte Parker said that he didn’t mean it
in connection with the controversial cold fusion findings.
Mallove also charged that the university was seeking to censor
his writings by killing a 9,000-word article that he had written for
the MIT magazine, Technology Review, explaining his views on cold
fusion. He claimed the article had been accepted after revision but
was later turned down because of the negative comments of
reviewers, especially by an MIT physicist who was violently anticold
fusion. (In a subsequent telephone interview Jonathan Schlefer,
the former managing editor of Technology Review, who told me
he was responsible for rejecting the article, firmly denied Mallove’s
allegations, saying that his article was too one-sided and not up to
snuff.)[Ed. Note: This reconstruction by Schlefer is utterly false—
EFM]. Nevertheless, Mallove was paid the full price of $1,000 for
the article.
The core of the scientific misconduct alleged by Mallove has to
do with calorimetry experiments performed by Professor Parker
Photo by E. Mallove
32 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
My letter of resignation form the MIT News Office was submitted
June 7, 1989, two days before my 42nd birthday. It details
the constellation of concerns about unethical press manipulation
and data manipulation that was the central fact of the MIT
PFC’s response to cold fusion.—EFM
Eugene F. Mallove, Sc.D., Engineering
Lecturer in Science Journalism, Department of Humanities
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
June 7, 1991
Kenneth Campbell, Director and
Robert DiIorio, Associate Director
MIT News Office, MIT Room 5-111
Dear Ken and Bob:
The time has come to formalize what I have been alluding to
these past few weeks. Regrettably, I must tell you that I intend
to leave the MIT News Office within this year as soon as I am
able to obtain employment elsewhere. Circumstances surrounding
the cold fusion controversy and the unfortunate way
it has been dealt with at MIT leave me no choice. Furthermore,
the appearance of Fire from Ice, has already prompted insulting
attacks by those negativists—on and off campus—who think
that they have a monopoly on scientific wisdom in this area.
I feel increasingly uncomfortable being the ex-officio representative
of the tragic and indefensible abrogation of academic standards
that has occurred at MIT in this matter. The latter characterization
will prompt raised eyebrows, I’m sure, given that in the
(erroneous) popular view it is cold fusion researchers who are the
exclusive violators of such standards. But this amazement will
merely be another manifestation of arrogance toward and misinformation
about cold fusion research. Please excuse the length of
this letter, which is of the nature of a report, albeit not a comprehensive
one, on the treatment of cold fusion at the Institute.
This is a serious matter, not some esoteric quibbling about a
peripheral exotic question. The sooner the MIT administration
understands this and acts upon it, the better it will be for this
cherished place of great dreams, visions, and deeds. I am proud
to be an alumnus of MIT, but I am outraged, embarrassed, and
amazed at what has happened here. Of course there may well
be an open-minded attitude toward cold fusion among a large
“silent majority” of students and faculty here. I hope that my
book will be able to inform those at the Institute who still are
curious about cold fusion. The most visible MIT response to
cold fusion so far, however, has been an appalling arrogance
and intolerance, combined with actions that have significantly
hindered understanding of the phenomenon here and elsewhere.
The consequences for MIT could well be devastating
when the last “i” is dotted and the last “t” crossed toward proof
that cold fusion phenomena exist. The shield that falsely protects
the Institute now is the milieu of skepticism that surrounds
cold fusion in certain prominent publications and societies, but
that skepticism is doomed to collapse like a house of cards. It is
only a matter of time, and it may be sooner than many believe.
Ironically, this is a false shield of skepticism run amok that some
researchers within MIT have labored mightily to help build.
Frankly, the direct evidence for nuclear effects in many cold
fusion experiments is already overwhelming. If and when—
more likely I would say, when—the measurement of real excess
power production is resolved and proved to come from heretofore
unknown nuclear processes, the MIT response to cold
fusion will be judged most severely; and that negative assessment
will be completely correct unless an immediate and dramatic
change of course occurs. If cold fusion ultimately proves
to be a utilitarian power source, it will be very difficult for MIT
to recover its credibility.
Some of my intolerant critics will probably hasten to suggest
that it is I who will suffer the consequences of a too credulous
view of cold fusion. On the contrary, I will never be embarrassed
by my views, first because they have been honestly reached; I
started with deep skepticism, went back and forth from belief to
disbelief many times, and arrived at what is to me an inescapable
conclusion. Second, even were I to be proved wrong—an unlikely
event—I have taken great pains to spell out precisely the
required circumstances for the collapse of the multiple channels
of experimental evidence that would have to occur to prove that
cold fusion is an illusion. If that unbelievable circumstance
should arise, so be it, but I wouldn’t recommend waiting for it.
I know that there are many other dimensions of my job in the
News Office that present no apparent conflict. By right, there
should have been no conflict in the matter of cold fusion either
—even though I have written a book on the subject that takes a
contrary view to widely held skeptical opinions. After all, isn’t
diversity in scientific viewpoint supposed to be the driver of
progress at a great research university? And I do have scientific
and engineering training and experience, and am presently a
Lecturer in Science Journalism in the Department of Humanities.
These credentials certainly qualify me to discuss this subject
as a peer of those who decry it. But cold fusion is no ordinary
topic. Regrettably, it has not been possible to discuss it here
as one would, for example, relativistic space travel or “child
universes”—concepts that are hardly “accepted,” but which
apparently do not cause the visceral reaction to their mere mention
that cold fusion does. As Dr. James McBreen of
Brookhaven National Laboratory has said, “A lot of people
undergo personality changes when discussing this topic.”
Indifference, Intolerance, Ridicule, Censorship
On 12 April [1991] I wrote to President Vest about cold fusion,
and sent a copy of the letter to former MIT president Gray (see
attached). The letter was a summary of where I thought matters
stood now in the field, including the reports of the recently
announced Soviet work and the well-known Japanese involvement.
I asked that Dr. Vest consider appointing a panel to assess
the field in light of many new developments. I presume he has
taken the matter under advisement, but I find it distressing that
no hint of a response has come on this earnest appeal. I know
that our chief executive is very busy, but this is an important
matter. It would not surprise me at all, though, if that letter were
being disparaged by high-level negativists here who are legion.
Much more disturbing is the stark reality that since the spring
of 1989, no experimental work on cold fusion has occurred at
MIT, an indisputable message of indifference. Thus we have the
institutional response, in effect, “It’s dead.” One of the world’s
greatest scientific institutions has not actively participated in its
splendid laboratories in getting to the bottom of a possible new
scientific phenomenon. Incidentally, even if “cold fusion” were
not to be a revolutionary nuclear process, there is broad agreement
even among skeptics that some unusual thermal effects
have been seen in palladium-platinum heavy water cells. So
where is the scientific curiosity among our resident skeptics to
put that final nail in the excess power issue by doing experiments
to discover what is causing these effects—possibly interesting
and useful in their own right even if not nuclear? Are our
Exhibit L
Dr. Mallove’s Resignation Letter from the MIT News
Office June 7, 1991
33 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
resident skeptics waiting for government funding? No, they don’t
really want to be bothered with this research. Even if they were
inspired to do it, they wouldn’t get the money, of course. The
skeptics who influence and control DoE’s purse strings have
made sure of that. What follows is the untenable and unscientific
position of DOE, as stated by Secretary of Energy Admiral
James Watkins in a recent speech (May 6, 1991). This attitude came
about not of course exclusively from, but in no small way through
the efforts of influential members of the MIT community:
“Remember cold fusion? Front page news for weeks on end.
Will it work or won’t it? Is it the key to our energy freedom,
or a hyped-up hoax? In the end, it was neither. Just bad science.
But how was the public to form an opinion when the
scientific community itself and the
reporters who covered the story
were unable to persuasively lay out
the scientific merits of the issue.”
“But there was damage done here
too. Two members of the scientific
community made everyone in
white lab coats look fraudulent.
Congress held hearings and railed
against my agency and others for
not pouring millions into cold
fusion, in the process shedding no
light on the real underlying issues of energy production and
use. And at the same time, they cut my department’s budget
for real fusion energy by $50 million.”
I am aware of some relatively quiet cold fusion work done by
staff members of MIT, that was conducted discretely off campus.
There were also a few efforts carried out at Lincoln Laboratory.
Some anomalies were seen, and interest there thankfully has
not died completely. [Ed. Note: Definite excess energy later was
observed at Lincoln Labs, but the results have been withheld
from the public.—EFM] But there has been no other significant
experimental work, as far as I am aware. This is disappointing,
but not surprising. Professor Ronald R. Parker, one of the two
professors who led the limited MIT cold fusion experimental
effort from late March to late May, was quoted in his letter to
author Robin Herman (Fusion: The
Search for Endless Energy, 1990). Her
book has a concluding chapter mocking
cold fusion in which Professor
Parker is quoted. “Unfortunately, a
lot of time and effort has been wasted
due to this blunder.” I was amazed to
discover that when this statement
was made (May 11, 1989), the experiments
to explore cold fusion at MIT
had not even been completed.
Though there has been no laboratory
work since the spring of 1989, cold
fusion has been the butt of jokes and
the focus of merriment at MIT. At the
Plasma Fusion Center in the summer
of 1989, a “Wake for Cold Fusion”
party was held. One of the MIT
reviewers for a major publication
[Nature] that has blocked numerous
attempts by researchers with positive
cold fusion results to publish them,
once was known in this area by an
editor of that publication as,
“Rambo.” [This was Dr. Richard Petrasso of the MIT PFC] The
head of the Physics Department [Prof. Robert Birgeneau]
remarked with humor and pride in the summer of 1989 department
newsletter, “I should like to note, however, that none of
our faculty contributed to the confusion surrounding ‘cold
fusion.’”
There have been other remarkable comments. “Garbage”
was how one MIT physics professor [Prof. Martin Deutsch]
bluntly characterized cold fusion work to a prominent science
magazine [Science News] in 1989. One of the researchers who
was on the Plasma Fusion Center/Chemistry Department team
evaluating cold fusion [Prof. Ronald Ballinger] told me five
months ago that he thought Pons and Fleischmann were
“crooks who should be put in jail.” Another team member, Dr.
Richard Petrasso, was quoted recently on the front page of the
New York Times (March 17): “I was convinced for a while it was
absolute fraud. Now I’ve softened. They [Pons and Fleischmann]
probably believed in what they were doing. But how
they represented it was a clear violation of how science should
be done.” Apparently another skeptical physicist could not
sanction that severe charge. In a letter to the New York Times
printed April 9, 1991, Yale physicist Robert Kemp Adair wrote:
“Last November, I served on a a committee that met with Dr.
Pons in a review of the National Cold Fusion Institute at the
University of Utah. Though I concluded that he and Dr. Fleischmann
had seen no cold fusion, I am confident they reported
no invented data and committed no egregious breach of scientific
ethics.” Unfortunately, the insinuation of fraud applied to
these researchers was given early impetus here.
Recently, the attacks took an uglier turn both from within and
from outside MIT. Physicists Dr. Frederick Mayer and Dr. John
Reitz of Ann Arbor, Michigan—both with distinguished scientific
careers—were invited to MIT by Professors Peter Hagelstein
and Lawrence Lidsky—to conduct a scientific seminar
about their theory of “cold fusion” that appeared in their
“Nuclear Energy Release in Metals” paper, which has been published
in Fusion Technology. The seminar was advertised in the
usual channels on campus. To my knowledge, since the affair
began it was the first technical seminar on cold fusion open to
the general public at MIT that actually cast the phenomenon in
a positive light. The presentation was informative and was conducted
with dignity. I was proud to have helped facilitate this
meeting—a worthy effort, I thought, to clear the air on the topic.
In advance, Dr. Mayer had expressed a fear that he would be
scurrilously attacked, as opposed to being challenged with reasoned
arguments—as he hoped he would be. Since Dr. Mayer is
an acquaintance of President Vest (their sons are friends too,
and Dr. Mayer was at one time a soccer coach of President Vest’s
son’s team), that would have been especially offensive.
Fortunately, Dr. Mayer was not attacked at the seminar
because those most likely to offend didn’t show up; the critics
held their fire until afterwards. Apparently Dr. Robert L. Park of
the American Physical Society’s Washington office took offense
not only at the theory presented by these scientists, but at their
press conference in the Boston Sheraton Hotel the day after the
seminar at MIT. (Only three members of the media attended.)
Park, who has mocked cold fusion from the beginning, much as
his weekly electronic mail column, “What’s New,” ridicules
those who study the possible effects of low frequency electromagnetic
fields on biological systems, was also upset that I had
provided nominal assistance (on my own time) for the Reitz-
Mayer press conference.
Sec. of Energy
Admiral Watkins
Robert Birgeneau
34 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
What was the nature of this aid? It was merely to fax a news
release (which they had prepared) and their technical paper to
a handful of media outlets; I also made a few phone calls, and
was contacted by people who had heard about the press conference,
including Park’s secretary. That’s how he was informed
to write his diatribes. My news judgement then and now was
that the seminar at MIT reflected well on the Institute; it showed
that we are at least nominally in the business of openly discussing
even controversial scientific matters. Also, by facilitating
news stories that reporters apparently found interesting
(such as William Broad of the New York Times), the News Office
maintained its deserved reputation as a useful information outlet.
I would make that same judgement again about any other
topic. Occasionally some interesting figure from outside MIT
arrives to make a controversial statement, e.g. scientist Dr.
James Lovelock (the Gaia hypothesis), and our office doesn’t
hesitate to “promote” them to the press.
As a result of these highly appropriate scientific events, these
are the “gifts” we received from Park. They came in two successive
weeks of his widely circulated
column, which is signed “Robert L.
Park, The American Physical Society,”
giving the impression that his is an
official Society view, even though it is
not. Not once did Park mention the
scientific seminar at MIT. He preferred
what he evidently considered to be
the pejorative “press conference.”
Here is the 1st message:
“INCREDIBLE COINCIDENCE:
SIMULTANEOUS BOSTON PRESS CONFERENCE! At the
very instant that Mills was revealing his startling new findings
in Lancaster, two-well known physicists, Fred Mayer
and John Reitz, were in Boston announcing their new cold
fusion theory, with the help of the MIT press office. Their
paper, which will also be published by Fusion Technology,
involves—are you ready?—tiny hydrogen atoms! Except they
call them ‘hydrons’ and attribute them to ‘continuum bound
state resonances.’ Mayer expects prototype power generating
systems in about five years. Neither Mayer or Reitz is associated
in any way with MIT. How then did the MIT press office
get involved? Very good question?”
(April 26, 1991)
Professor Ronald R. Parker of the
PFC chose not to bring this piece of
slander and omission directly to my
attention. Evidently he agreed with its
tenor and was stirred up about the
Mayer-Reitz press conference. Instead,
he faxed a copy of it to someone in the
MIT News Office, who has little familiarity
with the scientific issues of cold
fusion and with whom you know I
have had clashes.
In the Washington Post on Friday 26 April, Park made this statement
about Mayer after describing his theory as “wacky”: “There
is no reason to doubt the sincerity of the two scientists involved,
who are respected and well known as science managers [note the
put-down “managers”—the two are practicing physicists!] But
there are also sincere scientists who believe in psychokinesis, flying
saucers, creationism, and the Chicago Cubs.”
Continuing his coordinated attack, Park made this insulting
statement to the Chronicle of Higher Education--his assessment
of the Mayer-Reitz theory: “It is proof again that a degree in science
is not an inoculation against foolishness and mendacity.
It’s just got to be wrong.”
The following week, Park attacked me in his column again,
this time directly:
“MIT FUSION FLAKE FLACKS NEW BOOK! TINY LITTLE
HYDROGEN ATOMS called ‘hydrons,’ explain cold
fusion, according to two Ann Arbor physicists who held a
press conference in Boston last week. Why was the press conference
in Boston—and why was the MIT press office helping?
The answer seems to be that an MIT science writer is promoting
his new book, which contends that the evidence for
cold fusion is persuasive. He predicts that in the history of science
Pons and Fleischmann will be viewed as heroes.”
The major falsehood of this nearly libelous statement: at no
time during the Mayer-Reitz visit to Cambridge-Boston was Fire
from Ice mentioned publicly, in any context. What a stupid way
for me to “flack” a book! Park comes closer than anyone I know
to wearing well the term: “scientific bigot.” It was he who in
March 1990 described the First Annual Conference on Cold
Fusion in Salt Lake City as a “seance of true believers”—without
having attended the meeting or learned what went on.
Now, despite their outrageous intent to defame and ridicule,
one could dismiss the mouthings and electronic missiles of
Robert Park as the pathetic prejudice of an aging physicist, who
may fear that his world view is crumbling—as the history of science
has shown happens time and again. Perhaps all wisdom
does not reside in the APS, Park may be thinking. However, it is
unfortunately not so easy to dismiss the outright censorship of
one’s writings, particularly when that censorship is influenced
by another physicist, this one at MIT.
Over many months I had prepared a lengthy (9,000 word)
feature article on cold fusion that was to appear in Technology
Review at the end of this summer. The piece recounted the essentials
of the cold fusion story (see attached draft), by presenting
the arguments on both sides, though it did come to the general
conclusion that cold fusion might well be real, given the accumulating
evidence. My article had passed through a major revision
cycle, in which I had carefully adhered to the wishes of editor
Jonathan Schlefer. In mid to late April the word came back
from Jonathan that the revision seemed to be fine—not to worry.
Someone else within Technology Review even told me it was
being considered as a cover story. It was considered that good.
Imagine my shock on May 9, when I received a call from
Schlefer telling me that the article was not going to be published.
He offered no suggestion of any changes that could
make it acceptable— the usual option when an editor has some
new problem with a piece, particularly after he has professed to
find it basically satisfactory. Schlefer told me that it had been
sent out for review to three technical people, each of whom
allegedly had some problems with it, though these problems
were not clearly indicated nor were they discussed. There was a
blanket statement that each reviewer had found the piece too
positive. Further investigation on my part determined that,
except in one case, this was far from true.
A senior and respected MIT physicist seems to have been
mainly responsible for scuttling the article [Prof. Herman Feshbach].
I called to ask him what he had found objectionable.
Despite my distress that the article would not appear in Technology
Review, throughout the telephone conversation I was calm
and polite. His evident anger increased through the call. He
began by saying that fundamentally my article was “not a piece
Dr. Robert L. Park
Dr. Fred Mayer
35 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
of journalism.” He described it as
more of an “advocacy piece.” This
assessment struck me as very peculiar
for three reasons: 1.) I had deliberately
balanced both sides of the
controversy as closely as possible,
even as I interjected my own view
by suggesting that it was difficult to
explain away all the phenomena—
that some unexplained cold fusion
phenomena seemed truly spectacular;
2.) Technology Review is a forum
for advocacy—sometimes not even advocacy with which many
readers will identify. Many if not most pieces in Technology Review
are advocacy pieces, some quite markedly so—like the cover
story that suggested that the U.S. used atomic bombs against
Japan to demonstrate a threat against the Soviet Union; like the
recent cover that all but ratified the threat of global warming
(even though the question is still being debated); or like the most
recent cover story that suggests that the motivating force for the
war in the Gulf was the Pentagon’s need to check out a new military
paradigm; 3.) Finally, it became completely clear in the
remaining conversation that an advocacy piece against cold
fusion would very much have pleased this professor.
I was astounded that this professor had not learned that arguments
“from authority” don’t hold water. He ridiculed me citing
“that Bulgarian chemist.” He did not use the chemist’s name; it
happens to be Dr. Vesco Noninski, a multi-talented electrochemist
from Bulgaria who is fluent in many languages and who
is visiting the United States. Noninski, apart from his having carried
out in Bulgaria very novel heat measuring experiments on
cold fusion—ones that demonstrated excess power—has published
and prepared very interesting analyses of the MIT and
Caltech cold fusion calorimetry experiments. These indicate the
possibility that these teams may have measured excess power,
but didn’t realize it because of improper analysis of their own
data. These analyses are very convincing. They don’t prove, of
course, that cold fusion is real, but they do indicate that not all
negative result experiments may be truly null. Furthermore,
Noninski is far from an “advocate” of cold fusion. He maintains
that he does not know what the phenomenon is, but insists that
careful calorimetric (heat measuring) analyses must be carried
out even to begin to discuss “cold fusion.” He has considered
the error source aspects of cold fusion calorimetry more than
anyone I have encountered in the field.
So what did our physicist non-calorimetry expert say about
Noninski? He challenged me angrily, “You would trust this Bulgarian
chemist over what Mark Wrighton said [about cold
fusion]?” I didn’t answer him on that point, but yes, I would,
because Noninski has put far more time into the problem (see
account below). The physicist was not saying “Dr. Noninski”; I
kept hearing “this Bulgarian.” And MIT is supposed to stand
for cultural diversity? This is incredible! I could hardly believe
what I was hearing from this man whom I had admired and
respected. McBreen of Brookhaven was right!
The physicist [Feshbach] told me that he had “50 years of
experience in nuclear physics and I know what’s possible and
what’s not.” I brought up several other names of physicists who
had initially been skeptical of cold fusion, but who had done
experiments of their own that had convinced them something
was going on. One was at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Dr.
Howard Menlove. Almost before I could get a researcher’s
name out of my mouth, I was cut off by an angry objection from
the physicist, generally of the character, “I don’t know who he
is!” Finally, I tried to suggest that it might be a good idea if my
critic examined a recent technical review of the entire cold
fusion field that has been prepared by physicist Dr. M. Srinivasan
of the Bhabha Atomic Research Center, one of India’s premier
nuclear facilities. Srinivasan is the head of BARC’s Neutron
Physics Division, but the physicist would hear no more
about him. He was getting too angry to stay on the line much
longer. He blurted out, “I don’t want to see any more evidence!
I think it’s a bunch of junk and I don’t want to have anything
further to do with it.” With that, the conversation ended.
This arrogance is so offensive that it can hardly be suffered,
and it need not be. That is one of the reasons I’m leaving the
News Office. I’m profoundly embarrassed that we have such
close-mindedness here on scientific issues. I cannot represent
such attitudes even in an ex-officio capacity. Furthermore, I
intend to attack them, not only after I leave this office, but in my
remaining time here.
An Unfortunate News Release
MIT always speaks the truth in press releases emanating from
the News Office, right? Wrong—not always, sorry to say. On
May 1, 1989, the News Office issued a press release, a copy of
which is attached; it was prepared by me in telephone consultation
with Professor Ronald Parker of the PFC at his request. The
press release was crafted to deny statements that Boston Herald
reporter Nick Tate had attributed to Professor Parker, which
attacked Pons and Fleischmann in the manner denied in the
press release. When I prepared that release, and for more than a
year afterward, I believed that the statement that our office had
issued was valid, though I had some doubts. I simply trusted
what was being asked of me in preparing the release. I trusted
too much—another reason for my leaving the News Office. I do
not wish to be put in that compromised position again. My own
integrity is too important.
After having listened to the actual tape of the interview that
Nick Tate at long last provided me (in July 1990), I believe that
his story’s characterization of what Professor Parker and Professor
Ballinger had said in their conversation with Tate the
week before, is substantially correct. It was a well-orchestrated
attempt to condemn the work of Pons and Fleischmann, not
merely to criticize it technically. In my view, virtually any other
competent reporter would have written essentially the same
story that Tate wrote. In fact, the partial transcript published by
the Herald on May 2, 1989, should have been enough to convince
me of the soundness of Tate’s story, had I not been told
that these remarks were “out of context.” Parker and Ballinger
may deny it, but I know what I heard on that tape, which I was
deeply disturbed to listen to. I have been wrestling with the
knowledge of what it held, and this has been cutting me up
inside ever since first hearing it.
I have a doctorate in engineering, and I came to my career in
science writing at no small sacrifice in compensation, simply
because I enjoy writing more and I believed that it would give
me greater reach. It definitely has. I also have been proud to represent
my alma mater and its fine research, including the many
outstanding accomplishments in magnetic confinement fusion
at the Plasma Fusion Center. Everyone, including Professor
Ballinger and Professor Parker, knows that. I had, and at some
level still do have affection for the people at the Plasma Fusion
Center. They are personable and they have a good cause, which
I am solidly behind—as I spell out clearly in Fire from Ice, even as
I strongly believe in the prospect of cold fusion. Hot fusion
research has many merits that go far beyond the distant and
admirable goal of commercial power reactors, and these may
Prof. Herman Feshbach
MIT News Office
36 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
still be necessary; we don’t know enough to say no yet. But I am
absolutely outraged to have played a role in this public deception
that involved such objectionable language and accusations.
I hope that an instance like this never occurs again for any member
of the News Office. I officially withdraw my approval of the
MIT news release in response to the Herald story.
More important than any feelings I have about being
deceived was the effect that the intended disparagement of
Pons and Fleischmann’s work had on the future course of cold
fusion research. Yes, others would have jumped in anyway to
assail Pons and Fleischmann; the chorus might have been
equally loud. But sending out the kind of calculated, negative
message against Pons and Fleischmann was wrong. To add
insult to injury, members of the PFC staff act as though Pons
and Fleischmann were the only ones capable of what they claim
to be irregularities in research. Unfortunately, their own house
is not in such fine order (see below).
Further actions were taken by various members of the PFC to
assist in discrediting Pons and Fleischmann. In particular, there
was clearly significant cooperation with physicist Frank Close,
who has written in my view a highly negative and extremely
imbalanced account of the cold fusion story—his book, Too Hot
to Handle. It focuses on numerous alleged departures in scientific
ethics on the part of Fleischmann and Pons, while saying
virtually nothing about or belittling all subsequent experimental
work that provides supporting evidence for cold fusion, e.g.
physicist Howard Menlove’s neutron burst detection work at
Los Alamos National Laboratory is not discussed. The dedication
to Close’s book reads precisely: “To the xxxxx from MIT
and the friends and colleagues who shared the spring of 1989.”
[The “xxxxx” was Richard Petrasso] Incidentally, Close is uniformly
disparaging of the role of the media in the cold fusion
saga, paralleling the attitude of some on the PFC staff (and Park
of the APS) who continue to get upset whenever cold fusion is
given some credence in the media. When cold fusion is disparaged,
it’s fine with them. Close shamelessly brings up several
times the now thoroughly discredited accusation by another
journalist that fraudulent adulteration of experimental cells
with radioactive tritium occurred at Texas A&M University. An
interesting aside: Close is so reckless in his treatment that he
was able to confuse the Boston Globe with the Boston Herald,
which confusion is sure to please neither paper.
Questions About the MIT Cold Fusion Calorimetry Experiments
The MIT Plasma Fusion Center/Chemistry Department
experimental contribution to cold fusion research was conducted
from late March 1989 through late May 1989. The search for
evidence of cold fusion in heavy water cells and comparisons
with light water cells included attempts to find various nuclear
products, as well as indications of excess power. The final
report of the sixteen-member team appeared as Plasma Fusion
Center Report, PFC/JA-89-34, dated July, 1989: “Measurement
and Analysis of Neutron and Gamma Ray Emission Rates,
Other Fusion Products, and Power in Electrochemical Cells
Having Pd Cathodes.” The authors are listed as: D. Albagli,1 R.
Ballinger,2,3 V. Cammarata,1 X. Chen, R. Crooks,1 C. Fiore, M.
Gaudreau, I. Hwang,2,3 C.K. Li, P. Linsay, S. Luckhardt, R.R.
Parker, R. Petrasso, M. Schloh,1 K. Wenzel, and M. Wrighton1
[1 = Dept. of Chemistry, 2 = Department of Nuclear Engineering,
and 3 =Department of Materials Science and Engineering].
The abstract to the report concludes, “Within estimated levels of
accuracy, no excess power output or any other evidence of
fusion products was detected.” Later this report was reprinted
in essentially the same form in the Journal of Fusion Energy, June
1990, Vol.9, No.2, pp.133-148.
Here I wish to comment not on the nuclear product measurements
discussed in this report and subsequent paper, but on the
power measurements. In fact, one experiment in the series of
experimental cells reported in this work is of particular interest,
because it is the only case in which graphs of the raw data that
form the power measurements are shown. This so-called
“Phase-II” calorimeter experiment compared the power production
of a light water control cell and a heavy water cell. The
record of the controversy clearly shows that at that time skeptical
scientists were placing great emphasis on the need to find
differences in the power production between light water cells
and heavy water cells. The presumption by many at the time
and subsequently was that if a heavy water cell produced
excess power and a light water cell of identical form did not,
then there was more reason to investigate further the possibility
that unknown nuclear reactions might be occurring.
A Possibly Incorrect Power Analysis
Regardless of how the data from this experiment are interpreted,
I am firmly of the opinion, as are many others, that it is
not possible to use the latter MIT experiment, or even the more
crude series discussed earlier in the PFC paper, to conclusively
prove anything one way or another about the reality of cold
fusion. It is simply far too limited a check. Some other laboratories
that have obtained sporadic positive results for excess
power have generally spent much more time in their trials and
tried a greater series of electrodes, a possible requirement sometimes
to pick up the anomalous thermal effects.
However, there has been a technical analysis of this MIT
experiment, which leads me to believe that at least in the heavy
water case in the Phase-II experiment, there is evidence of
excess power production. The evidence of excess power production
based on this analysis is to appear in a forthcoming
issue of Fusion Technology. In that paper, the power density produced
in the palladium electrode rises from zero at 20 hours
into the test to close to 2 watts per cubic centimeter at 100 hours.
The analysis on which this conclusion is based differs from
the MIT analysis because that analysis has introduced an adjustment
to the raw data whose validity remains uncertain. (This
adjustment is a subtraction from the raw data of a linear fit to
the noisy and declining heater power, with no quantitative
assessment as to why this should be done.) In fact, if this adjustment
is performed, for the reasons suggested in the MIT paper,
it is possible to get a null result for the excess power measurement
in every case. It is surprising that this was done, because
in the methodology of the MIT calorimeter, declining heater
power should have suggested the presence of an unknown heat
source. The explanation in the paper does not seem satisfactory.
Without question, more work needs to be done to decide
what analysis of the Phase-II experiment is appropriate. Other
than that, the result cannot be used to draw any firm conclusions
about excess power.
An Unwarranted Curve Shift
There is another aspect of the Phase-II excess power experiment
that is troubling. Even if the MIT thermal analysis (which
sanctions the forementioned subtracting out of the heater
power) is presumed to be correct, data provided to me in the
summer of 1989 show that there was likely to have been a difference
between the heavy water cell and the light water cell;
the heavy water water cell seems to be evolving excess power,
while the light water cell does not—exactly what many wanted
to see at the time as an indication of anomalous nuclear effects.
Attached are four figures. The first two are from the pub-
37 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
lished MIT paper and show the excess power produced by the
Phase-II heavy water and light water cells. The raw signal was
noisy and was averaged in hour-long intervals to produce the
data (black dots) seen in these figures. The results rise and fall
above the zero excess power line, and there is nothing that leaps
out from this data comparison to suggest that excess power is
being produced in the heavy water cell and not in the light
water cell. It looks as though both excess power plots are about
equally noisy. This data that form these curves was prepared at
least as early as July 13, 1989, because I was given a draft article
by the PFC that bears that date. [Ed. Note: See page 74.]
On the other hand, I also was given the processed but unaveraged,
and hence more noisy, data that went into forming these
published curves. These data appear in the two other attached
figures. The figures are copies of graphs that appear in another
PFC draft report to me on calorimetry, dated July 10, 1989, three
days before the draft with the averaged data. The light water
graph oscillates above and below the zero excess power line
(which I have introduced as a dotted line to make the comparison
more clear), with no obvious bias above or below the zero
line. There appear to be cyclic (24 hour?) variations in the presented
excess power, but it is not clear what these are from. The
heavy water curve by contrast is dominantly above the zero
line, indicating the strong possibility of a residual excess power
(even though the magnitude of the variation may be below the
stated sensitivity, 40 milliwatts). The two curves are simply
quite different. There could be something like a few tens of milliwatts
excess power here, on average, as one PFC researcher
agreed there could be. For this 0.1 centimeter diameter electrode,
9 cm long, 20 milliwatts would translate to excess power
of 0.28 watts per cubic centimeter.
So why do we see no evidence of this possible excess power in
the graphs that are in the final report and the published paper?
The inescapable answer seems to be that the averaged data for
the heavy water was moved down an arbitrary amount so that it
now has more the appearance of the null result in the case of the
light water averaged data. Interestingly, the light water averaged
data seem to be consistent in level with the corresponding curve
of raw processed data, that is, it has not been moved down.
I am planning to prepare an article for Fusion Technology that
will address some of these data analysis issues.
Lessons
The recent turn of events in the David Baltimore-Imanishi
Kari-Margot O’Toole affair offers some lessons for MIT on the
matter of cold fusion. This is brought home most effectively by
Dr. Baltimore’s recent apology to Dr. O’Toole. As quoted in The
Tech (May 5, 1991), Baltimore said, “I recognize that I may well
have been blinded to the full implications of the mounting evidence
by an excess of trust, and I have learned from this experience
that one must temper trust with a healthy dose of skepticism.
This entire episode has reminded me of the importance of
humility in the face of scientific data.” Clearly many MIT scientists
who have recklessly attacked honest efforts to come to
grips with a possible new phenomenon have lacked “humility
in the face of scientific data.”
Another pertinent comment was recently made by Professor
William F. Schreiber of Electrical Engineering and Computer
Science. Writing on the Baltimore affair in the MIT Faculty
Newsletter (April 1991), he said: “A name on a paper implies
responsibility for its contents. We certainly ought not to appear
as authors of work we have not watched carefully enough to
know whether or not it is correct.”
Employment Prospects
[Editor’s Note: non-relevant sections of this part of resignation
letter omitted for brevity.]
. . .Working at the MIT News Office as Chief Science Writer has
been a great privilege and an enlarging experience for me. The
vistas that have opened up are immense and the talented people
and friends I have come to know are many. I wish that the MIT
community had been able to react with less acrimony and divisiveness
in the matter of cold fusion. I will not reconsider my
decision to leave the News Office unless that situation changes
radically, something I do not foresee happening soon. But I am
deeply grateful to both of you for having selected me in the summer
of 1987 to fill the important role of science writer, and I
appreciate that you have always respected my abilities and
sought my perspectives. But circumstances dictate a moving on.
Whatever may transpire, I hope to stay in touch with you and
perhaps even work with you in some new capacity in the future.
Science Reporting Suggestions
[Editor’s Note: non-relevant sections of this part of resignation letter
omitted for brevity.]
. . .Difficult as some of these matters are to hear about, I hope
this airing of views has been helpful to you and will lead to beneficial
changes within MIT. You have been great people to work
with. (Even though this letter is being given to you today, it was
written in nearly its present form on May 24, 1991).
Sincerely, Eugene F. Mallove
Exhibit M
Eugene Mallove’s Formal Request for MIT PFC Raw Data
June 14, 1991
Following my resignation from the New Office, I attempted, in
vain, to get the data that Prof. Parker had promised me at the
public forum on June:
To: Professor Ronald Parker, Director
Plasma Fusion Center, MIT
From: Dr. Eugene F. Mallove, Bow, New Hampshire
Date: June 14, 1991
Re: Data Required for Further Evaluation of the MIT Cold
Fusion Calorimetry Experiment
In response to your offer to provide data that I might request
concerning the cold fusion calorimetry experiments carried out
in the spring of 1989 at the PFC, I would appreciate receiving
the following items:
(1) The unpublished Phase-II experiment heater power curve
for the H2O case, corresponding to the D2O heater power curve
that was published.
(2) Copies of all laboratory notebook pages relating to the PFC
calorimetry experiments on cold fusion, both Phase-I and Phase-II.
(3) An explanation of why the hour-interval-average excess
power curve for the case of the D2O Phase-II experiment is centered
around the zero excess power level, when the processed
data (before time- averaging) on Dr. Luckhardt’s memo of July
10, 1989 are almost entirely above the zero excess power line. A
memo dated July 13, 1989 is where this apparent change occurs,
and that is the graph that was published.
(4) An exact data-processing and mathematical description of
how the excess heater power curves were arrived at from raw
experimental measurements.
(5) Calculations, if any, that provide a thermal analysis for heat
38 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
flow out of the top of the cell, including the glass tubes, etc.,
which touch the cell solution.
My sincere thanks in advance for any information that you
might provide on your experiments. Some of my colleagues
may be interested in the nuclear products data, but I am concerned
only with the heat measurements.
Sincerely, Eugene F. Mallove
Exhibit N
Eugene Mallove’s Letter to Professor Parker
July 30, 1991
The data and notebooks promised and requested were still not
forthcoming from Prof. Parker as of July 30, so I sent him a
reminder—not really expecting to get satisfaction from this
stonewaller.
Professor Ronald Parker, Director
MIT Plasma Fusion Center, Room NW16-288
Dear Professor Parker:
It is surprising and distressing that six weeks after my written
request to you and your colleagues for data and information that
you publicly promised to provide about the PFC cold fusion
experiments, not a single requested item has been sent to me. I
hope that you will remedy this situation very soon or at least
explain the reasons for the delay. I have attached a copy of the
fax to you of 14 June 1991, which lists the needed information.
Sincerely, Eugene F. Mallove
cc: Kenneth Campbell, MIT News Office
Exhibit O
Prof. Ronald Parker’s Letter to Eugene Mallove
August 8, 1991
By a “miraculous coincidence” a letter from Parker arrived by
fax at my home on August 8, 1991, the very day before the
Broadcast of the August 9, 1991 WBUR radio program by David
Baron concerning the cold fusion furor at MIT and my resignation
(see Exhibit P). Of course, since Parker had been interviewed
for this program, he knew it would be broadcast, though
he could not know how revealing it would be of his various perfidies
against cold fusion. However, no data—on request since
June 14, 1991—accompanied Parker’s fax. This letter is an
insult to the intelligence of any scientist who thinks about it.
Here we have Parker post-experiment reconstructing the objective
of the PFC Phase-II calorimetry so that it coincides with his
hoped-for outcome, namely a null result!
PLASMA FUSION CENTER
MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139
Ronald R. Parker, Director
Dr. Eugene F. Mallove, Bow, NH
Dear Gene:
Regarding the specific information that you requested in your
June 14, 1991 fax, I will attempt to respond to your point (3), the
same point which you raised after the seminar by Frank Close,
and, as I understand it, the same point you raised with Stan
Luckhardt who gave you the same answer as I will give you here.
As the calorimetry experiments progressed, electrolyte evaporated
causing a decrease in thermal conductivity of the system to
the external world and a concomitant decrease in heater power
required to sustain constant temperature. The difference in the
two curves corresponds to two different ways of accounting for
this systematic baseline drift. In one, the drift was fitted with a
somewhat arbitrary linear function, and the data in Figs. 4b and
5b of the 7/10/89 draft was produced after subtraction. In the
other, the drift was fitted with a different linear function, this time
a least-squares fit, and the data appearing in the final version of
the paper were produced. The difference in the two results is an
indication of the error intrinsic in the measurement. The implicit
assumption was that we were looking for a fast turn-on of the
anomalous heat production and so it was legitimate to subtract
out a slow baseline drift caused by depletion of the electrolyte.
Whether this is a correct assumption is arguable, but in any event
the main conclusions stand: We detected no significant difference
between H2O and D2O, and in both cases any excess power
would have been less than 79 milliwatts, the level claimed for a
similar experiment by the Utah group. Our paper estimates the
uncertainty of calorimetry measurement as 40 mW, and so you
are free to posit an excess heat less than this level it you wish.
As for the other points raised in your fax, I believe that Stan has
been extremely forthcoming in discussing them with you, and
would be willing to assist you further. However, he has major
responsibility for several PFC projects and I cannot allow him to take
time away from, them for this purpose. I suggest that you negotiate
directly with him to see what arrangements could be made.
Sincerely, Ronald R. Parker
cc: Ken Campbell, MIT News Office
MIT Aero/Astro student Ray Conley, works on his cold fusion project in the
Dept. of Aeronautics and Astronautics. His patent application was attacked
by the USPTO, in part by the citation of the “negative” MIT PFC cold fusion
experiment of 1989 (See Infinite Energy, No.11).
Photo E. Mallove
FUSION and OTHER NUCLEAR REACTIONS IN THE SOLID STATE
Volume 2 - Calorimetric Complications [Includes: "LESSONS FROM OPTICAL
EXAMINATION OF the PFC Phase-II CALORIMETRIC CURVES"]
Edited by Dr. Mitchell Swartz; JET Technology
Press (Wellesley, MA)
ISBN 1-890550-02-7, March 1999
(60 pages, 8 color figures) $24.95
The book is part of a series.
BUT for subscribers of
Infinite Energy
$19.95 (available~April 99)
(shipping/handling $2.00 U.S.,
$4.00 outside US)
Order from: JET Technology
P.O. Box 81135
Wellesley Hills, MA 02481
39 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
In disgust with all that had happened against cold fusion, I
resigned from MIT on June 7, 1991. Later that summer, August
9, after I battled with the Plasma Fusion Center to get data that
Parker had promised me on June 7 (see Exhibits K, M, and N),
science journalist David Baron broadcast over Boston’s National
Public Radio affiliate, WBUR, a program that encapsulated
the controversy at MIT up until then.—EFM
Acrisis of confidence in Boston's leading research institution,
details just ahead here on 90.9 WBUR Boston at
Boston University. I’m Jordan Weinstein. . . [weather
report and lead-in music]
Announcer: One of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s
top spokesmen on scientific matters has resigned, charging
researchers at the school with misconduct. The dispute centers
around events of two years ago
during the flurry of activity stemming
from claims of cold fusion by
researchers at the University of
Utah. MIT scientists are now being
charged with manipulating the
media and altering data in an
attempt to shoot down the work of
the Utah scientists. In our weekly
segment on science and health,
WBUR’s David Baron reports:
Baron: For almost four years, Gene
Mallove represented MIT to the
world. As chief science writer for
the Institute, Mallove produced press releases and encouraged
reporters to write stories about the school. With a bachelors and
masters degree from MIT and several books to his credit,
Mallove was considered well-qualified for the job. Two months
ago, he quit.
Mallove: What went on behind closed doors at my alma mater
is so upsetting that I will not rest until the whole matter is given
thorough airing.
Baron: In a seventeen-page resignation letter, Mallove alleged
misconduct by scientists at MIT’s Plasma Fusion Center, misconduct
he says he unearthed while researching a book on cold
fusion. MIT’s Plasma Fusion Center receives tens of millions of
dollars in federal funds each year to develop an energy source
based on hot fusion, the same process that powers the sun.
Mallove says the scientists had a vested interest in seeing cold
fusion die as quickly as possible.
Mallove: We have a major Big Science program, hot fusion,
which is literally trying to squash cold fusion.
Baron: For most people, the cold fusion story began on March
23, 1989. On that day, two chemists at the University of Utah
announced that they had accomplished in a simple table-top
experiment what other scientists had failed to do after decades
of work. Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann said they’d produced
sustained power using nuclear fusion—potentially providing
a cheap, safe, and nearly inexhaustible source of energy.
Scientists worldwide raced to replicate the Utah work. Some
laboratories initially reported success, but the excitement soon
turned to skepticism when many of those early claims proved
incorrect. Then on May 1, 1989, the Boston Herald ran a story on
its front page with the banner headline: “MIT Bombshell
Knocks Fusion Breakthrough Cold.” The article said that MIT
scientists had discovered serious flaws in Pons and Fleischmann’s
work. Ron Parker, head of MIT’s Plasma Fusion Center,
reportedly accused the Utah scientists of misrepresentation
and maybe fraud and called the research “scientific
schlock.”The story immediately spread across the country. MIT
issued a press release, denying that Parker had made the published
comments. Parker spoke at a news conference that day:
Tape of Parker’s remark at 1989 press conference: Let me just
say quite clearly for everybody, that I am not, have not, and, uh,
really seriously doubt whether I ever will accuse Professors
Pons and Fleischmann of fraud.
Baron: Parker says he was misquoted. The Herald reporter who
wrote the story, Nick Tate, says when he heard that, he was
flabbergasted.
Tate: Not only were the concerns about possible misinterpretation
and fraud and scientific schlock repeated to me more than one time
during the course of our interview, but I also had them on tape.
Baron: At the time, Tate decided not to release his recording of
the interview, but a year later he gave a copy to Gene Mallove
at MIT. And this week he gave a copy to WBUR. On five separate
occasions during the taped interview, Parker uses the word
“fraud.” At one point he says, quote, “Now it transcends the
question of whether they misinterpreted to the question of
whether there was deliberate fraud.”
Tape of Parker talking in 1989 interview: . . .you know now it
transcends I think the question of whether they misinterpreted,
to the question of whether there was deliberate fraud.
Baron: At another point, Parker says to reporter, Tate, quote,
“So what are you going to do with this, Nick? What you’re hearing
is we think it’s a scam, right?”
Tape of Parker talking in 1989 interview: What you’re hearing
is we think it’s a scam, right?
Baron: Elsewhere in the interview Parker indicates he purposely
did not contact the Boston Globe with his story, because
that newspaper was, he said, “leading the cheers for cold
fusion.” The way Gene Mallove sees it, Parker and colleague
Ron Ballinger, who also took part in the Herald interview, planted
the critical story in the Herald to generate widespread negative
publicity regarding cold fusion. MIT’s Ron Parker says he
stands by his claim that he was misquoted. He points out that
the Herald said he accused Pons and Fleischmann of misrepresentation.
The word he really used was misinterpretation.
Parker: I have said that they have published data which was
incorrectly interpreted and not real data. Uh, I, have, uh, no way
of knowing if they knew at the time or even since that time
whether the data was incorrect.
Baron: Parker says his comment about a scam was meant to
refer not to Pons and Fleischmann’s research, but to their request
for $25 million from Congress. And Parker denies he was trying
to manipulate news coverage. He says he was merely trying to
communicate important findings about the Utah work.
Parker: When we had found out that they had made fundamental
mistakes in interpreting their data, we felt certainly an
obligation to bring this to the attention of the media at that time.
Exhibit P Transcript of WBUR (90.9 FM)
Radio Broadcast,
Friday, August 9, 1991, 5:50 a.m. and 7:50 a.m., Boston, MA.
[WBUR is a National Public Radio affiliate station.]
David Baron
WBUR Science Broadcaster
Boston University Photo Services
40 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
Baron: But when Gene Mallove resigned from his post at MIT,
he said Ron Parker’s unethical behavior went beyond the
episode with the Boston Herald. In July of 1989, Parker and his
colleagues reported the results of their attempt to replicate Pons
and Fleischmann’s work. They claimed they found no evidence
of fusion, either in the form of radiation or energy produced.
But when Mallove recently found a draft of that final report, he
discovered what he considers a significant discrepancy. One of
the graphs in the draft report suggests some low level of power
was produced, but in the final version, the points on the graph
have been moved.
Mallove: The data has been shifted down to make it look like
there was no net power. Now in my estimation, there was
absolutely no justification for this and I do not know why this
was moved, nor have I had an answer from them as to why it
has been moved.
Baron: Mallove suspects the data was moved because the scientists
didn’t want to provide any positive evidence for cold
fusion supporters. But Ron Parker says it was unclear exactly
where to put the data points on the graph and in the final report
he used a more sophisticated method for determining their
placement. Besides, he adds, the level of power hinted at in the
earlier graph falls within the experiment’s margin of error. That
is, says Parker, it’s effectively zero.
Parker: It’s as simple as that and that’s the end of the story on it.
Baron: But Gene Mallove hasn’t let the story end there. He has
continued to press Parker and his colleagues for their lab notebooks
to check their work. Parker has declined to turn them
over, saying to collect all the relevant papers would be time consuming
and not worth the effort. One MIT faculty member
familiar with but not involved in the dispute said he thinks
Mallove’s claims have a germ of truth to them. The professor,
who asked not to be identified, said scientists at the Plasma
Fusion Center didn’t keep a very open mind to the claims of
cold fusion. The faculty member said he doesn’t think anyone
was guilty of deliberate misconduct, though they may have
conducted bad science. MIT’s administration has so far stayed
out of this cold fusion controversy. Gene Mallove hasn’t pushed
for any formal inquiry, and the Institute’s Provost, Mark
Wrighton, says he doesn’t see anything worth investigating.
Observers say even if MIT scientists were guilty of misconduct,
it’s unlikely their actions changed the course of history. By the
late spring of 1989, scientists across the country were coming to
the same conclusion—that the Utah work was seriously flawed.
And while intriguing claims of cold fusion continue to be
reported at laboratories around the world, the field has had a
hard time regaining its credibility. For WBUR, I’m David Baron.
Exhibit Q
Prof. Ronald Parker’s Letter to Eugene Mallove
August 13, 1991
After the WBUR radio program, another fax arrived from Prof.
Parker, this one having some but not all the requested data
appended to it. And, he was asking me not to disseminate data that
had been generated during a Federally funded research project!
Dr. Eugene F. Mallove, Bow, NH
Dear Gene:
At my request, Stan Luckhardt dug out the data you requested
concerning the heater power for the H2O cell in the Phase-II
calorimetry measurements. For convenience in comparing with
D2O, he plotted the corresponding D2O result on the same
scale. The two graphs that he produced accompany this letter.
Since these data are unpublished, they are provided only for
your information and should not be reproduced or disseminated
without our permission.
Sincerely, Ronald R. Parker
XC: S. Luckhardt, K. Campbell
The stonewalling and obstruction of fact-finding about the MIT
PFC experiment had been unrelenting. After much deliberation,
I made the decision to submit a request for a formal investigation
of scientific misconduct.—EFM
Dr. Eugene F. Mallove
The Writing Program, 14N-316, Department of Humanities
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02139
August 18, 1989
Dr. Mary P. Rowe
Special Assistant to the President, Room 10-213
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge, MA 02139
Dear Dr. Rowe:
I regret to have to bring to your attention a serious matter of
possible scientific misconduct, which has to do with the mishandling,
analysis, and representation of scientific data by a group of
researchers at MIT. Much as I did not wish to involve your office
in a formal inquiry into this matter, I believe that the circumstances
and evolution of this controversy now demand this action.
Specifically, I refer to some key data presented in a technical
report of July 1989 done by a team of researchers from the MIT
Plasma Fusion Center and their associates in the Department of
Chemistry. The report is designated PFC/JA-89-34, “Measurement
and Analysis of Neutron and Gamma Ray Emission Rates,
Other Fusion Products, and Power in Electrochemical Cells
Having Pd Cathodes”(Attachment #1). This report was subsequently
published as a paper in the Journal of Fusion Energy, Vol.
9, No. 2, 1990, pp. 133-148 (Attachment #2). The research was
supported, the report says, “in part by the United States Department
of Energy contract number DE-AC02-78ET51013.” So I
presume that not only MIT guidelines but Federal regulations
as to the handling of scientific data govern here. The sixteen
authors of the paper are: D. Albagli,1 R. Ballinger,2,3 V. Cammarata,
1 X. Chen, R. Crooks,1 C. Fiore, M. Gaudreau, I.
Hwang,2,3 C.K. Li, P. Linsay, S. Luckhardt, R.R. Parker, R.
Petrasso, M. Schloh,1 K. Wenzel, and M. Wrighton1 [1=Dept. of
Chemistry, 2=Department of Nuclear Engineering, and
3=Department of Materials Science and Engineering].
As an engineer with a long-standing professional interest in
energy systems and in my former role as chief science writer at
the MIT News Office, my interest in this paper evolved as the
controversy about the claims of cold fusion emerged beginning
with the announcement on March 23, 1989 by Professors Fleischmann
and Pons at the University of Utah. As you know, I am
the author of a book, Fire from Ice, about the scientific, political,
and media aspect of the cold fusion controversy. My recent resignation
from the MIT News Office was prompted by my deep
concerns about the way prominent members of the MIT faculty
have dealt with the subject. However, the issue at hand is not
Exhibit R
Eugene Mallove's Formal Request for an
Investigation of Scientific Misconduct at MIT
41 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
the truth or falsity of cold fusion claims, nor the issue of the way
in which cold fusion has been regarded at MIT generally, but
the manner in which a specific piece of scientific research was
conducted by one particular group at MIT.
Yet the effects on the scientific process to understand a baffling
new phenomenon cannot be ignored. The MIT work has
been widely cited as a keystone in dismissing the claims of
Fleischmann and Pons. It also no doubt was one factor in the
decision by former Chemistry Department head, Mark S.
Wrighton, to sign the DoE Energy Research and Advisory Board
report (November, 1989), “Cold Fusion Research,” which most
observers would agree eventually ended DoE funding of cold
fusion research in the United States. Professor Wrighton was a
key author of the MIT research paper.
The MIT work in question has to do with calorimetry, the
measurement of heat in electrochemical cells that were set up
by the MIT research group to test the claims by Professors Pons
and Fleischmann to have measured significant excess power in
some cells. The part of the paper that is of most concern is the
section on calorimetry, not the results of nuclear measurements,
although I do believe that the paper’s statement in its final summary
with regard to nuclear measurements is completely
unfounded: “Importantly, the level of fusion products present is
by far a more sensitive indicator of fusion reactions than are the
relatively insensitive heat-based measurements which form the
foundation of the claim of nuclear fusion as put forth by FPH.”
This statement presumed that all the possible nuclear reaction
paths and products that might explain cold fusion were known
a priori and were measured by the MIT group, clearly a statement
that an objective scientist investigating a puzzling new
phenomenon should not be making. In fact, theoretical and
experimental developments have, I believe, totally invalidated
those early beliefs by the MIT team. So the nuclear effects part
of the paper, while useful and interesting, does not go to the
heart of the cold fusion question as it was in 1989: Is there unexplained
excess power in some electrochemical cells run in heavy
water and palladium-platinum electrodes?
I respectfully ask you to initiate an immediate inquiry to
determine whether a thorough investigation of the specific concerns
that I have enumerated below is warranted. I believe that
these concerns are certainly of sufficient magnitude to justify an
investigation consistent with the Policies and Procedures guide
for MIT faculty and staff. Those who are co-authors of the
paper, including Professor Wrighton, should, of course, disqualify
themselves from participating in the inquiry and subsequent
investigation. I also request that Dean of Science Professor
Robert Birgeneau not be involved in any inquiry and possible
subsequent investigation, due to his well known negative
view of cold fusion research.
The objectives of the investigation should be three-fold: (1) To
determine whether there was misconduct in the handling and
representation of the data to other scientists and to the public;
(2) To determine whether there was misconduct and/or sufficiently
egregious errors in the work to warrant the paper’s
retraction or significant amendment; and (3) To determine
whether two of the paper’s authors, Professor Ronald R. Parker
and Associate Professor Ronald Ballinger, engaged in unethical
behavior in orchestrating a public attack on the motives of
researchers whose work they hoped to prove incorrect -- in part
with the forementioned research paper. Further, to determine
whether Professor Parker subsequently engaged in unethical
behavior in deceiving the scientific community, the MIT News
Office, and former MIT President Paul Gray about the nature of
his actions.
Specific Concerns Enumerated
The MIT Plasma Fusion Center/Chemistry Department experimental
contribution to cold fusion research was conducted from late March
1989, through late May 1989. The search for evidence of cold fusion in
heavy water cells and comparisons with light water cells included
attempts to find various nuclear products, as well as indications of
excess power.
One experiment in the series of experimental cells reported in this
work is of particular interest, because it is the only case in which some
of the graphs of the raw data that form the power measurements are
shown. This so-called “Phase II” calorimeter experiment compared the
power production of a light water control cell and a heavy water cell.
The record of the controversy clearly shows that at that time scientists
were placing great emphasis on the need to find differences in the
power production between light water cells and heavy water cells.
Numerous statements by a variety of scientists at the time—on both
sides of the controversy—attest to this, and these statements could readily
be assembled if necessary. The presumption by many at the time and
subsequently was that if a heavy water cell produced excess power and
BREAKING
SYMMETRY
Cold Fusion Movie
Imitates Life. . .
“COMING TO A THEATER
NEAR YOU”
Written, Produced, and Directed
by former MIT Professor Keith Johnson
(Dept. of Materials Science)
[Excerpts from a Synopsis by Writer,
Producer, and Director Keith Johnson]
Carolyn, late twenties, a recent Ph.D. in Astrophysics from
Cal. Tech., where she developed a theory of “cosmic dark matter,”
arrives at a renowned Boston area Technical Institute to
fill an Assistant Professor physics faculty position. There she
meets her supervisor, Professor Klinger, a pompous physicist
who heads up the Fusion Energy Lab devoted to harnessing
the nuclear energy of the sun. Carolyn is told she is replacing
another woman, Yvonne, who was denied tenure, and (under
threat of future tenure denial) is discouraged by Klinger from
continuing her own work on dark matter.
While moving into her apartment, Carolyn meets Steven, a
consultant chemist, and the chemistry between them begins.
Steven tells Carolyn he knew Yvonne because of his academic
interest in Yvonne's controversial Institute research on “cold
fusion,” a cheap, environmentally safe way of generating energy
from water. Steven informs Carolyn that Yvonne was
denied tenure because her work on cold fusion threatened
Klinger's costly “hot” fusion empire. . .
. . .The film reaches an explosive conclusion at a rehearsal for
Carolyn’s physics convention lecture. There we learn the
shocking truths about. . .Klinger's role in suppressing cold
fusion, and last but not least, the connection of the cold fusion
energy to cosmic dark matter.
42 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
a light water cell of identical form did not, then there would be motivation
to investigate further the possibility that unknown nuclear reactions
might be occurring—particularly if the magnitude of the integrated
release of energy were to exceed the energy from any conceivable
chemical reactions in the cell.
1. Shift of Intermediate Processed Data, Perhaps to
Suppress Evidence of Possible Excess Power
This is one of the most troubling aspects of the Phase-II excess power
experiments. Even if the processing of the raw data for this experiment
were presumed to be correct, which I doubt to be the case (see subsequent
listed concerns), data provided to me in the summer of 1989 by
members of the MIT research team show that there was likely to have
been an apparent difference in the performance of the heavy water cell
and the light water cell; at least on one extant graph the heavy water
water cell seems to be evolving excess power, while the light water cell
seems not to be—exactly what many hoped to find at the time as an
anomalous effect.
Attached are four figures, which have been adjusted in size by me
from their original form to better compare them (see Attachment #3).
The first two are from the published MIT paper and show the excess
power produced by the Phase-II heavy water and light water cells. The
intermediate processed signal was noisy and so was averaged in hourlong
intervals to produce the data (black dots) seen in these figures. The
results rise and fall above the zero excess power line, and there is nothing
that leaps out from this data comparison to suggest that excess
power is being produced in the heavy water cell and not in the light
water cell. It looks as though both excess power plots are about equally
noisy. This data that form these curves was prepared at least as early
as July 13, 1989, because I was given a draft article by the PFC that bears
that date (see Attachment #4). [Ed. Note: See graphs, p. 74.]
On the other hand, I also was given the processed but unaveraged ,
and hence more noisy data that went into forming these published
curves. These data appear in the two other attached figures. The figures
are copies of graphs that appear in another PFC draft report to me on
calorimetry, dated July 10, 1989, three days before the draft with the averaged
data (see Attachment #5). The light water graph oscillates above
and below the zero excess power power line (which I have introduced to
make the comparison clearer), with no obvious bias above or below the
zero line. There appear to be cyclic variations in the presented excess
power, but it is not clear what these are from. The heavy water curve, by
contrast, is dominantly above the zero line, indicating the possibility of a
residual excess power (even though the magnitude of the excess power
may be below the report’s stated sensitivity of their calorimetry, 40 milliwatts).
The two curves are simply quite different. There could be something
like a few tens of milliwatts excess power here, on average, as several
PFC researchers have subsequently agreed there could be. For this 0.1
centimeter diameter electrode, 9 cm long, 20 milliwatts would translate to
excess power of 0.28 watts per cubic centimeter.
So why do we see no evidence of this possible excess power in the
graphs that are in the final report and the published paper? The
inescapable answer seems to be that the averaged data for the heavy
water was moved down an arbitrary amount so that it now has more
the appearance of the null result in the case of the light water averaged
data. Interestingly, the light water averaged data seem to be consistent
in level with the corresponding curve of raw processed data, that is, it
has not been moved down.
In a recent letter to me (see Attachment #6), Professor Ronald R. Parker,
who has been aware of my concerns since at least early June of this
year, states: “Our paper estimates the uncertainty of calorimetry measurements
as 40 mW, and so you are free to posit an excess heat less
than this level if you wish.” This blithe remark is of concern for a number
of reasons. Foremost is because I reject the entire methodology of
getting to these intermediate processed curves in the first place (see
below). Second, there is no substantiation of how this 40mW sensitivity
of the calorimeter was derived—certainly of key importance in knowing
whether any significant shift of the data is warranted at all. I
requested via a letter of April 29, 1991 to another team member, Dr.
Stanley Luckhardt, information on how the sensitivity of the calorimeter
was computed (see Attachment #7). No information on this point
has been forthcoming from him, as you will see below.
There is yet another concern about the downward shift in the heavy
water cell data. Note that on page 4 of the July 10 draft of the calorimetry
section (Attachment #5), there is no final paragraph of conclusions.
However, on the July 13 draft (Attachment 4), a conclusion
paragraph has been inserted—after the curve was shifted down. The
key sentence is: “The data show a slowly fluctuating power level in
both the H2O and D2O cells, but neither show evidence of sustained
power production at the levels claimed in Ref. [Pons and Fleischmann’s
report].” How is one to judge what level of power may have
been present in the heavy water case if the heavy water curve is arbitrarily
moved to make it look like the light water curve? The readers of
this report are expected to believe that the calorimetry was sensitive
enough to present evidence of a “slowly fluctuating power level” (clearly
with less than 40 mW sensitivity required to observe them), but they
are misled by the contrived down-shift of the heavy water power curve.
2. A Grossly Incorrect Analysis of Raw Data that was Guaranteed
to Produce Zero or Minimal Difference Between Light Water and
Heavy Water Power
There is a simple equation cited by the paper’s authors that governs
whether some unknown source of anomalous power, px, is acting in the
cell. That equation is: ph + px = constant. Now by the methodology of
this paper, if the heater power, ph, is declining in time, that would be
an immediate indication that there might be some excess power building
up. Now if one fits any kind of curve to the ragged raw data that
describes ph as a function of time and then subtracts this from the raw
data, one does not get px. Yet this is precisely what the group apparently
did. The result is merely a reflection of the “noise” that is left over
once the subtraction is done. There is no way that one can say that this
processing gives px.
It is obvious that px is linearly related to ph, but to justify a subtraction
of any part of the raw ph signal would require a careful thermal
analysis of the cell’s heat transfer characteristics to determine how
much, if any, of the heater power drift should be removed. This analysis
was not done by the MIT group.
There has been a more elaborate technical analysis of this experiment,
which leads me to believe that at least in the heavy water case in the
Phase II experiment, there could be evidence of excess power production.
The evidence of excess power production based on this analysis
appears in a technical letter to the editor in Fusion Technology , Vol. 19,
May 1991, pp. 579-580 (see Attachment #8). In that letter, the power density
produced in the palladium electrode is shown to rise from zero at
20 hours into the test to close to 2 watts per cubic centimeter at 100
hours. In view of the very belated release of the light water heater
power curve (see concern 6. below), I am less confident of all the details
of the analysis in Fusion Technology, but I am very confident that the MIT
group’s method is without justification.
The analysis on which Drs. Noninskis’ conclusion in Fusion Technology
is based differs from the MIT group analysis because the latter analysis
has introduced the forementioned subtraction from the raw data that
does not appear to be proper -- a subtraction from the raw data of a linear
fit to the noisy and declining heater power. In fact, if this adjustment
is performed, for the reasons suggested in the MIT paper, it is possible
to get nearly a null result for the excess power measurement in every
case. It is surprising that this was done, because in the methodology of
the MIT calorimeter, declining heater power should have suggested the
presence of an unknown heat source. In Professor Parker’s letter to me
of August 8, 1991 (Attachment #6), remarkably he acknowledges that
the subtracting out of ph due to the depletion of the electrolyte may not
necessarily be justified : “Whether this is a correct assumption is
arguable. . .” Then he states by pure fiat: “but in any event, the main
conclusions stand: We detected no significant difference between H2O
and D2O. . .” In other words, even though the PFC’s assumptions about
the manipulation of the data may be incorrect, we are expected to
believe that there is no significant difference between H2O and D2O
because the PFC group says without substantiation that its calorimeter’s
sensitivity was 40 milliwatts.
3. False Assertion About the Significance of Unpublished Test
Results That Motivated The Incorrect Analysis
The authors of the MIT work attempt to justify their unwarranted
subtracting out of the heater power. On page 20 of the PFC report
(Attachment #1) we find the statements: “However, measurement of ph
43 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
over a 100 h period, Figure 6, indicates a significant drift caused by a
reduction of the solvent volume. We demonstrated that this drift was
due to solvent loss rather than to an unknown power source, px, by calibrating
ph as a function of the electrolyte solution volume. When
enough solvent was added to the D2O cell to compensate for that lost to
the electrolysis at the end of the 100 h period shown in figure 6, ph
returned to within 20% of its original value.” This statement is shocking
because the authors are suggesting that a 20% discrepancy in heater
power (over 200 milliwatts) to heat the same volume of fluid that was
present initially can be ignored. In fact, if this experimental finding of a
20% discrepancy is true, it might be the best evidence of all that the
heavy water cell really did produce anomalous excess heat.
The report immediately follows with yet another blatantly untenable
statement: “If the total volume of solvent loss over the course of the
experiment had been taken into account, including that lost to evaporation,
ph would have been even closer to its original value.” If the cell
has been refilled to compensate for the water lost to electrolysis, then
what fraction of that refilled water disappeared through evaporation
and what fraction disappeared through gas evolution is irrelevant. The
net effect of these statements—just as in the unexplained downshift—is
to obscure the possible evidence for excess power.
4. Subsequent Claims that the Basic Objective of the Research was
Other than Claimed in the Report
Long before the concerns that are being enumerated in this letter
had been brought to the attention of the MIT group, I met with Dr. Stanley
Luckhardt to try to understand in detail how the MIT work was
done. Frankly, I was politely looking for assurances that the data had
not been arbitrarily down-shifted and that there might be some fundamental
unpublished reason for the shift. I met with Dr. Luckhardt on
January 25, 1991 and, without being accusatory at the time, received
extremely unsatisfactory explanations. Dr. Luckhardt could not explain
how the “bias,” as he called it, was taken out to make the resulting
power curves seem so similar. In fact, he agreed at the time that there
might be 20 milliwatts of excess power in the MIT group’s heavy water
cell, “but not the 80 milliwatts that Fleischmann was talking about.”
This litany continues of redefining the objectives of the Phase II
experiment to argue that no unwarranted data moving has occurred. In
the belated letter of explanation that I received from Professor Parker
(see Attachment #6) he writes: “The implicit assumption is that we were
looking for fast turn-on of the anomalous heat production and so it was
legitimate to subtract out a slow baseline drift caused by depletion of
the electrolyte.” It seems to me that technical papers cannot have
“implicit assumptions” as to their basic objectives. The basic objective
was to find out whether there was a difference between heavy water
and light water performance. There is no clearer evidence that such a
comparison was what was originally intended by the MIT group than
the paper’s remark about the comparison of the light water and heavy
water cell power output near the end of a 200 hour run (page 19 of
Attachment #1). There is no discussion there of looking for “fast turn
on” of power. I believe that this is a newly invented experimental objective
to justify any past juggling of data that the group might have done.
5. Public Renunciation in June 1991 by Professor Parker of the 1989
Calorimetry Work, Whereas the Work Was and Continues to be Promoted
as Sound and Definitive Regarding Excess Heat
On June 7, 1991, during the question and answer period following
the talk by Dr. Frank Close at the PFC, Professor Parker had this
exchange with me (transcribed from a tape of the meeting):
Parker: We at MIT looked very carefully at Fleischmann and Pons,
and this is what we came up with. [If we] think we ought to look at
another set of experiments and we think we have expertise, we will. But
just let it fall where it lies. We’re not going to come out one way or
another until we look at it.
Mallove: Would you consider re-evaluating your own experiment,
if I brought in experts to evaluate it? Would you consider that? Because
I’ve asked Dr. Luckhardt for several weeks now—and I know he’s not
here today. He told me at one point he would provide me with the
heater power curve for the light water experiment so that I could ascertain
what the heck was going on in that experiment. He then finally
ended up saying to me he would not give it to me—or that it would take
a week to do it.
Parker: I think, Gene, that what you showed up here earlier is completely
a surprise to me. [The Phase II comparison power tests of light
water versus heavy water, published and unpublished versions.] We
will give you every piece of data we ever took.
Parker: My personal. . .
Mallove: Fine.
Parker: I’ll tell you what my opinion is of that work, because I was
part of it. I don’t think it’s worth very much. Alright? And that’s why
it’s just published in a tech report. I don’t think it’s worth very much. I
think to do calorimetry is one of the hardest things I ever tried to do. I’d
rather stick to plasma physics.
Mallove: But, Ron, with all due respect, I agree with you, I agree
with you [that the work was not conclusive].
Parker: When you have an open system is where you can make big
errors, where you don’t know the overpotential, the electrode potential,
and so on. These things are unknown. I mean it’s really tough and that’s
why I don’t put any stock at all -- you can redraw those curves anyway
that you want. I don’t think that data is worth anything. Now you may be
able to find something in it. I did the experiment; I don’t think it’s physics.
Mallove: But what I’ve seen, because I certainly see it from Douglas
Morrison [of CERN] and I see it from people like Frank Close and
others, that your prestigious laboratory with its excellent resources is
being used in some respect as a standard which everyone else is supposed
to adhere to. . .
Professor Parker continues to insist in representing his data in two
different ways. Both before and after this remarkable June 7, 1991
renunciation we have statements that the work shows no evidence of
excess power. How is it that Professor Parker thinks he can disparage
his group’s own work in public and later claim that it has validity? This
is not a small point. The MIT work has been cited on numerous occasions
by people bent on attacking cold fusion researchers for their supposed
“delusions” and “incompetence.” We never before heard from
any member of the PFC team that the work was “worthless.” Quite the
opposite. Professor Parker’s colleague Professor Mark S. Wrighton in a
letter on October 10, 1990 ( to Dr. Vesco Noninski (see Attachment #9),
was quite firm that the MIT work was definitive.
6. Obstruction of Other Scientists’ Attempts to Access Data Critical to
Understanding the Group’s Experiments
It is clear that for about a year now the MIT group has been very
reluctant to release data that would allow other researchers, including
myself, to gain insight into their calorimetry work. I introduced an electrochemist
visiting from Bulgaria, Dr. Vesco Noninski, to Dr. Stanley
Luckhardt on August 15, 1990. Noninski had viewed the MIT work very
positively, because it was one of the few experiments in calorimetry in
which at least some raw data was published. He had begun to believe
that the MIT heater power data for the heavy water cell could be analyzed
to show evidence of excess power. There followed discussions
between Drs. Noninski and Dr. Luckhardt in which it became clear that
there was a difference of opinion between the two on how the experiment
should be analyzed. But in spite of Dr. Noninski’s completely
valid request to Dr. Luckhardt to receive the raw data corresponding to
the light water cell, he would not release this data. Both Dr. Luckhardt
and Professor Wrighton wrote letters to Dr. Noninski in which they dismissed
his analysis outright.
Much later, in early May 1991, I was attempting to write a paper for
Fusion Technology, to assess the MIT Phase-II calorimetry and to remark
about the relative points made by Drs. Noninski and Luckhardt. So I
asked Dr. Luckhardt if he could give me the light water heater power
curve. Initially he said he would do this at a pre-arranged meeting
between us. There followed over the next several weeks a series meetings
that were cancelled by him. Finally on May 29, 1991, in a lengthy
phone conversation with Dr. Luckhardt, he said that he would not turn
over the data to me. The reasons he offered were that it would take too
much time for him to explain to me how to correctly interpret the data.
He said it would take four or five days to interpret the data. He further
put me off by suggesting that I talk to another group “perhaps SRI” to
get advice on calorimetry. Even though he would not give me the data,
he said of the two heater power curves that they “looked pretty much
the same” but that “fluctuations” were different, and he could not recall
which one was unusual in which respect.
After I showed the apparently down-shifted intermediate
44 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
processed data at the seminar at the Plasma Fusion Center on June 7,
1991, Professor Parker publicly said, “We will give you every piece of
data we ever took.” So on June 14, 1991 I submitted a request to Professor
Parker for various data items that would help me clarify the issue
(Attachment #10). Another scientific colleague, Dr. Mitchell R. Swartz,
independently had made several phone calls to Professor Parker, in
which messages were left about requests for the data that Swartz had
heard Parker on June 7 offer to make available.
Not having received any communication from Parker regarding my
June 14 request, I submitted a reminder letter on July 30, 1991 (Attachment
#11). There was no response to this letter either. Nor were any of
Dr. Swartz’s calls returned by Professor Parker. The first response from
Professor Parker came in a faxed letter to me (Attachment #6) on the
evening before a WBUR radio program about cold fusion, in which
Parker and I were both pre-recorded participants. In this letter, he continued
to put obstacles in the way of getting the light water heater
power curve. None of the other data requests of June 14, 1991 were even
alluded to. In this letter he claims that Dr. Luckhardt “has been extremely
forthcoming in discussing them with you and would be willing to
assist you further.” He wrote, “However, he has major responsibility for
several PFC projects and I cannot allow him to take time away from
them for this purpose. I suggest that you negotiate directly with him to
see what arrangements could be made.”
Finally, to cap this absurd one-year history of evasion at every turn,
I received yet another fax letter from Professor Parker on August 13
(Attachment #12), in which inexplicably there has been some time for Dr.
Luckhardt to generate (or simply retrieve from his files) the light water
heater power curve. But the letter suggests that the accompanying
curves (both heavy water and light water) “should not be reproduced or
disseminated without our permission.” This statement is put forth even
though the heavy water heater power curve was already published by
the MIT group! For reasons unknown to me, Professor Parker wants the
light water power curve to remain out of the public domain.
I think that it is absolutely clear that there has been an unwarranted
withholding of data by the MIT group from people with a legitimate
need to access it. In fact, this withholding of data was the turning point
that prompted this request for an inquiry. I had considered making the
request earlier, but was very reluctant to make it. However, the final
evasions raised even greater suspicions in my mind about the nature of
this data and how it was handled.
7. Attacks on the Motives of Scientists Who Were Making Positive
Claims About Cold Fusion
The method of performance, representation, and access to the MIT
team’s research is the central issue of this request for an inquiry and
investigation. However, the MIT group’s work did not occur in an intellectual
vacuum. It is impossible to dissociate from the MIT group’s performance
the unethical behavior of some of the key organizers of that
research in view of their attacks on the motives of Professors Pons and
Fleischmann, whose work they apparently wished to discredit with
their own results. This raises questions about the integrity with which
the MIT group’s work was carried out.
On May 1, 1989, the MIT News Office issued a press release (see
Attachment #13) that was prepared by me in telephone consultation
with Professor Parker of the Plasma Fusion Center in the early morning
hours of May 1, 1989. The press release was crafted to deny statements
that Boston Herald reporter Nick Tate had attributed to Professor Parker,
which attacked Professors Pons and Fleischmann in the manner denied
in the press release. When I prepared that release, and for more than a
year afterward, I believed that the statement that the MIT News Office
had issued was valid, though I had some doubts. I simply trusted what
was being asked of me in preparing the release.
After having listened to the actual tape of the interview that Nick
Tate played for me in July 1990, I am certain that his story’s characterization
of what Professor Parker and Professor Ballinger had said in
their conversation with Tate the week before is substantially correct.
Professor Parker and Ballinger clearly were conducting a well-orchestrated
attempt to condemn the work of Pons and Fleischmann, not
merely to criticize it technically. In the taped interview, a copy of which
I obtained from Nick Tate in February 1991 (a partial transcript of which
appears in Attachment #14), Professor Parker used the word “fraud” no
less than five times and he does refer to the work of Pons and Fleischmann
as “scientific schlock,” despite his subsequent and continuing
denials. At one point in the interview Professor Parker says to Nick Tate,
“..what you’re hearing is that we think its a scam, right?” In my view,
virtually any other competent reporter would have written essentially
the same story that Tate wrote. In fact, the partial transcript published
by the Herald on May 2, 1989, should have been enough to convince me
of the soundness of Tate’s story, had I not been told by Professor Parker
that these remarks were “out of context,” and that reporter Tate was a
“viper.”
Professor Parker deceived me and other members of the MIT News
Office about what he had said, then in a press conference on May 1, 1989
he deceived the world about what he had said, and he continues to
deceive the world again and again (see transcript of recent WBUR radio
program, Attachment #15).
Remarkably, Professor Parker apparently deceived even former
MIT President Paul Gray about the nature of his effort to manipulate the
News Media. An April 17, 1989 letter from Boston Globe Reporter
Richard Saltus to President Gray (see Attachment #16) had complained
about the lack of access to Professor Parker. President Gray’s letter of
response to Richard Saltus on May 1, 1989 (Attachment #17) says, “He
[Parker] has tried to be as helpful as possible, consistent with his belief
that judgement should be reserved until the scientific facts are clarified.
That cautious stance has led him to discourage all media visits to the
Plasma Fusion Center, although his efforts have not always been successful.
I have been assured that there was no discrimination against the
Boston Globe and that, to the contrary, Professor Parker spoke five or six
times with your colleague, Mr. David Chandler.”
The truth about Professor Parker’s media manipulation is clear
from this interview with Nick Tate. At one point Parker says, “The reason
I stopped talking to the Globe for example is that I felt that they were
reporting irresponsibly...they were out there just leading the cheers
instead of being objective.” Then later, “. . .you know I can’t trust the
Globe, I’d like to trust you.”
This deception and compounded deception about what was said and
how it was arranged to be said to Nick Tate amounted to a direct attack
on the integrity of an honest reporter as well as the contrived involvement
of a number of MIT personnel, including the former President, in
that deception. But as important or more so was the effect that the intended
disparagement of Professor Pons and Fleischmann’s work had on the
future course of cold fusion research. The work was difficult enough to
assess without imputing the motive of possible fraud, which allegation at
that time and to the present day remains completely unfounded.
Professor Parker was not the only member of the MIT research team
to bring up allegations of fraud about Professors Pons and Fleischmann.
I am aware of at least two other authors of the MIT research paper who
have made such allegations publicly and privately.
I hope you will determine that the concerns I have raised about the
conduct of the MIT group’s work merit a prompt investigation. If carried
out objectively, such an investigation will, I am very confident,
reveal various levels of scientific misconduct.
To conclude this formal request, I would like to make clear my
belief that however the data from the Phase-II calorimetry experiment
are interpreted, it is clear that it is impossible to use the raw data behind
these flawed results or the data of the cruder series discussed earlier in
the PFC paper to conclusively prove anything one way or another about
the reality of cold fusion. I do not believe that any member of the MIT
research group ever actually believed it had discovered evidence for
cold fusion and then “covered it up.” However, I do firmly believe that
they mishandled their data in a manner calculated not to leave any
room for doubt about the finality of their conclusions, when in fact there
was considerable room for such doubt. In my view, the data in this work
were not only improperly manipulated to emphasize an allegedly negative
result, but the significance of conclusions about that data were and
continue to be misrepresented and confused.
Even if this work had been done properly and offered a clear null
result, it would still have been far too limited a check. Other laboratories
that have obtained sporadic positive results for excess power—and by
now even reproducible excess power (SRI, Inc. in Palo Alto under EPRI
contract)—have generally spent much more time in their trials and
employed a larger series of electrodes, a possible requirement sometimes
to pick up the anomalous thermal effects. The body of evidence in support
of some if not all cold fusion claims, in fact continues to grow, as can
45 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
be seen in several reviews and compilations of many experiments:
* Edmund Storms (Los Alamos National Laboratory), “Review of
Experimental Observations About the Cold Fusion Effect,” accepted for
publication in Fusion Technology, 1991.
* M. Srinivasan (Bhabha Atomic Research Centre), “Nuclear Fusion in
an Atomic Lattice: Update on the International Status of Cold Fusion
Research,” Current Science, 25 April 1991.
* Steven E. Jones, Franco Scaramuzzi, and David Worledge (editors),
Anomalous Nuclear Effects in Deuterium/Solid Systems, American
Institute of Physics Conference Proceedings 228, 1991.
* Investigation of Cold Fusion Phenomena in Deuterated Metals (four volumes),
by the National Cold Fusion Institute, June 1991, now available from NTIS.
What is most disturbing, however, about the way in which the MIT
research was conducted was the arrogant dismissal of the work of other
scientists with the group’s insubstantial, manipulated, and flawed evidence.
It smacks of a rush to judgement by a group that had made up its
mind that it would never find anything positive nor would it report
such. Even before they had completed their experiments, members of
the MIT group made it quite clear to the world in so many ways that
they didn’t expect to find anything. The parallel effort to discredit the
motives of other scientists and the denial that such an effort was ever
made has had a lasting corrosive effect on the entire field. I hope that
when the inquiry and expected investigation of this matter is completed,
MIT will adopt guidelines to insure that this behavior is never repeated.
Sincerely, Eugene F. Mallove
List of Attachments (those with * can be found in this issue)
1. Plasma Fusion Center Report, PFC/JA-89-34, “Measurement and Analysis of
Neutron and Gamma Ray Emission Rates, Other Fusion Products, and Power in
Electrochemical Cells Having Pd Cathodes”
2. The corresponding paper in the Journal of Fusion Energy, Vol.9, No.2, 1990,
pp.133-148.
*3. Four figures, two of which were obtained from the MIT team’s draft material
and two of which were published. These have been adjusted in size by me from
their original form for easier comparison.
4. Draft report of calorimetry section, July 13, 1989.
5. Draft report of calorimetry section, July 10, 1989.
*6. Letter from Professor Ronald R. Parker to Eugene Mallove, August 8, 1991.
*7. Letter to Dr. Stanley C. Luckhardt from Eugene Mallove, April 29, 1991.
8. Atechnical letter to the editor in Fusion Technology , Vol. 19, May 1991, pp. 579-580.
*9. Letter to Dr. Vesco C. Noninski from Professor Mark S. Wrighton, October 10,
1990.
*10. Letter (June 14, 1991) from Eugene Mallove to Professor Ronald R. Parker,
requesting data that was promised at an open public meeting.
*11. Letter to Professor Parker from Eugene Mallove, July 30, 1991.
*12. Letter to Eugene Mallove from Professor Parker, August 13, 1991.
*13. MIT News Office press release, May 1, 1989.
*14. Partial transcript of April 28, 1989 interview by Boston Herald reporter Nick
Tate with Professor Ronald R. Parker and Associate Professor Ronald Ballinger.
*15. Transcript of David Baron’s WBUR radio program (August 9, 1991) about the
cold fusion controversy.
*16. Letter from Richard Saltus of the Boston Globe (April 17, 1989) to President
Paul E. Gray.
*17. Letter from President Paul E. Gray to Richard Saltus (May 1, 1989).
Exhibit S
Permission Given to Transmit Request to Dr. Vest
September 9, 1991
It was necessary for Dr. Rowe to have my formal permission to
submit my request for an investigation to President Vest.—EFM
Dr. Eugene F. Mallove
The Writing program, 14N-316, Department of Humanities
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Dr. Mary P. Rowe
Special Assistant to the President, Room 10-213
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Dear Dr. Rowe:
As per our telephone conversation of last week and earlier telephone
message exchanges, I agree with you that my formal request for an
inquiry and investigation of possible scientific misconduct at MIT (letter
and attachments dated August 18, 1991) should be redirected by
your office to President Vest. Though I am assuming that you have
already made this transfer, I hereby formally give you permission to
direct the request to Dr. Vest.
Sincerely, Eugene F. Mallove
Exhibit T
Eugene Mallove's Response to a Statement on Cold Fusion
Issued by the MIT News Office 8/30/91
Received by Mallove only on 9/16/91
The MIT PFC had put out an outrageous “Press Release” on
August 30, 1991, which I did not get wind of until mid-September.
Here is my rebuttal of its various claims. —EFM
Dr. Eugene F. Mallove
Bow, New Hampshire, September 17, 1991
On August 30, 1991, the MIT News Office issued a disgraceful
and misleading statement about the cold fusion controversy
(see attached). What follows is my point-by-point response to
this statement. Bold type are quotations from the August 30,
1991 MIT News Office statement.
• “MIT scientists intensely investigated the phenomenon called ‘cold
fusion’ for two months in 1989. Like other scientists around the
world, they were unable to duplicate the Pons and Fleischmann
experiment They have concluded that, while the reaction termed
cold fusion is scientifically interesting, it is not one which is valuable
for them to pursue at this time.”
Note the implication that all scientists at MIT who had anything
to do with cold fusion investigated it for only two months
and then dropped it after being unable to duplicate the Pons and
Fleischmann experiment. This is not true. To my knowledge, at
least five MIT professors continue to be actively interested in
cold fusion experiments and theories. Numerous other professors,
researchers, and students at MIT, not directly engaged in
cold fusion, have expressed intense curiosity about the status of
current cold fusion research. At least two MIT professors have
applied for patents on cold fusion concepts. The cold fusion theory
of one MIT professor is highly regarded in the field. Moreover,
cold fusion research is right now being actively pursued at
dozens of laboratories in the U.S. and abroad.
I challenge the term “intensely investigated for two months.”
The MIT professors who influenced this statement arrogantly
suggest that it is possible to perform two months of experiments
and come to definitive conclusions about so difficult a
phenomenon as cold fusion. They are wrong about this and
they know it, as the phrase “scientifically interesting” so clearly
reveals. The preparers of this statement are well aware that they
do not understand this “scientifically interesting reaction,” nor
is it likely that they have they kept current on what is really
happening in this field, yet they claim to be able to determine
that “it is not one which is valuable for them to pursue at this
time.” This is an indictment of the appalling lack of scientific
curiosity manifested by these individuals. If this is supposed to
be an example to MIT students about how deeply scientific
curiosity should be followed, the Institute is in grave trouble.
The statement also incorrectly implies that other scientists
have not been able to duplicate the Pons Fleischmann experiment.
The phrase used was, “like other scientists around the
world.” Again, the statement preparers are engaging in smokescreen
tactics. Numerous other investigators have to their own
satisfaction and to the satisfaction of other objective evaluators
replicated cold fusion phenomena, including excess energy evolution
in excess of what can be explained by conventionally
understood chemical or mechanical energy release, the production
of tritium, the production of neutron bursts, low-level neutron
emissions, and charged particle emissions.
• “They note that the University of Utah, where ‘cold fusion’
46 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
began, has closed its cold fusion institute.”
What a pathetic bit of innuendo—to imply that scientific,
budgetary and programmatic difficulties at one research laboratory
somehow validates the statement preparers’ lack of interest
in cold fusion research. For less than $5 million, the National
Cold Fusion Institute generated a large body of impressive
scientific data in a research program that was favorably critiqued
by four outside scientists in the spring of 1991, some of
whom were and continue to be skeptical of cold fusion. However,
the reason that NCFI was mothballed had to due only with
the inability to attract private funding for the Institute after
state funding expired, as was the agreement from the outset.
Since when do funding successes or failures reflect on the scientific
and technological merits of a new area of research—as
implied by the News Office statement?
• “He [Eugene Mallove] says that MIT scientists should be
conducting further investigations into cold fusion. The question
he raises is basically a matter of who should set MIT’s
research priorities. It is the role of the individual MIT professor
to set those priorities. Research into this phenomenon is
low on their priority list at this point.”
Indeed, I have suggested to the President of MIT that
research into cold fusion should be re-evaluated in view of
mounting laboratory evidence. My letter of April 12, 1991, in
which this opinion was brought to Dr. Vest’s attention was
never answered and remains unanswered to this day. I believe
that it is the responsibility of the administration of MIT to be
watchful for new scientific opportunities and to encourage, not
enforce, various research directions. MIT presidents have advocated
increased efforts in nuclear reactor safety, scientific literacy,
molecular biological research, and the like.
Again we see an attempt to lump all MIT professors into the
category of those who put a low priority on cold fusion research.
While drawing attention to the issue of research priorities,
the preparers of the News Office statement have neglected to
mention that in a letter dated August 18, 1991, I have requested
a formal investigation of possible scientific misconduct on the
part of some MIT researchers in their handling and representation
of scientific data in their spring of 1989 cold fusion experiments.
I have also asked for an investigation into the likelihood
that certain researchers at MIT orchestrated an unethical attack
on the work of Pons and Fleischmann. My concerns about cold
fusion research at MIT are more comprehensive than matters of
research priorities.
• “MIT scientists have reviewed their paper that contains the
data about which Mallove raised questions. Following the
review, Professor Ronald R. Parker said, the conclusions of
the study stand as published.”
The latter statement is completely untenable in view of the
June 7, 1991 statement made by Professor Ronald R. Parker at
an open seminar at the Plasma Fusion Center. On this occasion
(when he no doubt thought no one outside the room would
ever hear his words), Professor Parker severely deprecated the
experiment that I have questioned, but now he wants the world
to believe that it was a good experiment and that his group’s
negative conclusions stand. This is, in part, what Professor
Parker said on June 7, 1991 about the experiment for which I
have requested an investigation:
“I’ll tell you what my opinion is of that work, because I was
part of it. I don’t think it’s worth very much. Alright? And
that’s why it’s just published in a tech report.*
“ I don’t think it’s worth very much. I think to do calorimetry
is one of the hardest things I ever tried to do. I’d rather stick
to plasma physics. . . When you have an open system is where
you can make big errors, where you don’t know the overpotential,
the electrode potential, and so on. These things are
unknown. I mean it’s really tough and that’s why I don’t put
any stock at all—you can redraw those curves anyway that you
want. I don’t think that data is worth anything. Now you may
be able to find something in it. I did the experiment; I don’t
think it’s physics.”
[*The research was published not only in a “tech report,” but also in the
Journal of Fusion Energy.]
Exhibit U
President Charles Vest’s Letter to Prof. Morrison
October 9, 1991
CHARLES M. VEST, PRESIDENT, ROOM 3-208
In President Vest’s request to Prof. Morrison to assess my
request for a full investigation, there were already some disquieting
signs. He was deferring consideration of the MIT PFC’s “ulterior
purposes.” The press deception, as it turned out, was never
addressed after an opinion of Vest’s “legal counsel.”—EFM.
Dr. Philip Morrison
Institute Professor Emeritus, Rm 6-205
Dear Philip:
Dr. Eugene F. Mallove has written to my office to bring to my attention
“a serious matter of possible scientific misconduct, which has to do
with the mishandling, analysis, and representation of scientific data by
a group of researchers at MIT.” Our normal procedure would be to turn
to the Provost to make judgment whether and how to proceed to consider
a matter of this type. In the present instance, however, the Provost
is one of a number of authors of a paper referred to in Dr. Mallove's
statement of concern. Therefore, I am turning to you, as a distinguished
member of the community, to assist the Institute in formulating the initial
judgments and/or actions that should be taken in response to Dr.
Mallove’s letter.
I am enclosing Dr. Mallove’s letter, dated August 18, 1989 and a
subsequent letter dated September 9, 1991. Both of these letters are
addressed to Dr. Mary P. Rowe, and the second one asks that the initial
letter be redirected by her to me. All background materials that were
supplied by Dr. Mallove, together with his August 18 letter, are also
enclosed.
I would ask that you review Dr. Mallove’s letter and the attached
materials, and give me your specific advice as to how the Institute
should proceed. I would suggest that there are three options that you
might consider:
1. Should an inquiry be conducted, and, if so, what mechanisms and
individuals might serve this function well?
2. Should a formal investigation occur at this time, and, if so, what
mechanisms and individuals might be appropriate?
3. Is there an alternative course of action to 1 or 2 above, which you
believe is preferable?
It seems appropriate to me that consideration, at this stage, should
focus on the criticisms of the science and methodology which are raised
in Dr. Mallove’s letter and not on the questions of motives or ulterior
purposes attributed by Dr. Mallove to various MIT scientists. In my
view, these questions are not appropriate to consider until after the scientific
issues are addressed.
I very much appreciate your willingness to carry out this
important task.
Sincerely yours, Charles M. Vest
CMV: cbb Enclosures
cc: Dr. Mary Rowe
bcc: Constantine Simonides
47 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
Mark Wrighton
Exhibit V
Prof. Morrison’s Report to President Charles Vest
October 14, 1991
Professor Morrison’s conclusion that the MIT PFC paper “does
not mislead” is completely untenable. It does not square with
the facts and it never will.—EFM
MIT Department of Physics, Room 6-205
To: Charles Vest, President
From: Philip Morrison, Institute Professor (emeritus)
Assessing the Request for an Inquiry by Dr. Eugene Mallove, made
August 18, 1991
I. My Standing in the Matter
In the presence of clear concern for equity in treatment, I begin by
stating my own qualifications and limitations as an assessor.
A theorist with considerable experimental experience--though to be
sure, most of it gained long ago—I think I am qualified as a referee of
the overall methods and content of a paper on cold fusion, denoted
Plasma Fusion Center PFC/JA-89-34, prepared and published by an
MIT team from PFC and three other MIT departments, with sixteen coauthors
(Journal of Fusion Energy, 9, 133-148, 1990). It is this paper that is
the focus of the substantive issues here, issues that grew in interest well
after the summer of 1990.
I shall not comment on the relationships between PFC research people
and the media during the heated summer of 1989, though that is
also part of the request for inquiry. Others may consider them.
The topic crosses disciplines; indeed, that is one of the sources of
trouble. My background in nuclear physics is strong, but I am not an
electrochemist. Much of my general grasp of that specialty has been
gathered during the cold fusion controversy itself within the last two
years. I regard my task as that of an interested scientific reader, but not
one who could propose detailed improvements in the entire experiment
design. The editors who found referees for the paper would probably
seek more than one referee. That understood, I shall support my opinions
with inferences drawn from the paper and the criticism of it offered
in Dr. Mallove’s submission.
I know several of the participants in this dispute, none of them better
than I know Dr. Mallove himself. His astronomical specialization and
interest in science education and science journalism have brought us
together over perhaps a decade, before and during his stay at MIT. Dr.
R. Petrasso of the PFC, a nuclear experimenter, is the second person
involved whom I know rather well. Our interaction extends over a few
years, about a year longer than the cold fusion era. Of course I know the
Provost and other more senior members of the team, but not with so
much contact as with Mallove and Petrasso. I do not think I hold any
sort of animus for any of these colleagues.
Toward the idea of cold fusion itself I was rather more tolerant and
optimistic than most physicists. I still believe that there may be a germ
of novelty in some electrochemical phenomenon that is caught up in
this complex system; it is very unlikely, though logically
possible, that new findings, if established,
would turn out to have high economic importance.
They would at most open some way to build a new
battery, possibly a fuel cell.
II. The Substantive Issues
The papers before me are somewhat tangled. The
core of the topic is the publication in the JFE. It is
here, at least in part, in four distinct versions: the
published paper, the MS finally submitted to the JFE
and dated July 1990, and two partial drafts of that
MS, both by S. Luckhardt of PFC, with signs of much
comment by co-authors. The drafts are dated July 10
and July 13, 1989.
With 16 authors, no paper will have a simple history.
This one shows that to be true; the published
version itself is not the same as the MS submitted,
but bears strong mark of editorial changes, in text and in figures. All of
this is entirely to be expected.
Two distinct experiments are reported. Phase I was “hastily assembled,”
within days after the initial TV show from Utah. It sought both
real-time nuclear radiation and excess electrochemical power. Phase II
was more ambitious, designed as a much more sensitive test of all Utah
claims by rough replication, and extended over a couple of months.
All MIT results were negative: real-time radiations, atomic products
of fusion within the cells, and excess electrochemical power. In addition,
a telling technical criticism of the published Utah-gamma-ray data is
included. I could find no claim by the MIT authors that was not well
supported by the data they include.
III. The Ground for Complaint
What then is the ground of complaint? It is not without a logical
basis. The sensitivity of the MIT tests for nuclear radiations is improved
by two or three orders of magnitude over the Utah experiments. Even
stronger limits follow from the search for certain fusion product atoms.
In mid-1989 the Utah [people] claimed such products in ample amount,
easy to find. For the most part by 1991 those side effects were no longer
claimed, and the main evidence cited was excess power during electrolysis
of heavy water. It is perceived that a new form of fusion might
escape all side branches to deliver energy as lattice heat alone, making
helium as the only product. Even this seems limited by this experiment
to a power down from the Utah claim by a thousand or so.
But the Utah investigators are electrochemists, and skilled in
calorimetry. In that domain—if not in gamma-ray or neutron detection
—they worked closer to the state of the art. The MIT team claimed
an intrinsic sensitivity of their own calorimetry no better than 10 mW,
from the noise visible in all their power measurements. They claimed
overall only a conservative 40 milliwatt sensitivity, about 3% of total
power, allowing for cumulative systematic changes as the open cells ran
for a week or more, losing water and gas. (Uncontrolled catalytic recombination
of the oxygen and hydrogen produced gas is a source of possible
excess power in the right range.)
The MIT estimate of the excess power expected using the scaling methods
of Utah applied to the MIT electrodes and current was 80 milliwatts.
The point is clear: the expected nuclear products are excluded by the MIT
paper at a level down from the Utah claims by several orders of magnitude.
But MIT could limit the excess calorimetric power only by less than
one order of magnitude, a factor somewhere between two and five. That
entails much closer scrutiny of the much less precise results of calorimetry.
The hope of the optimists—Mallove is not the only one—is that the
assumptions, plausible as they are, that fusion has to proceed at least in
part along known channels, is somehow wrong. Heat is the most general
(and desired) product. (Helium appears to me almost equally
robust; if it is not made, the process is hardly fusion. It is possible that
helium is lost from the cells.)
IV. The Two Drafts Differ
The focus of Mallove’s criticism is on a difference between the two
partial MIT draft manuscripts. In the earlier one (Attachment 5) the
excess power is corrected by a simple linear fit for long-term drift and
plotted, with many points, both for heavy water and the light water
control cell. I measured on the MS graphs the mean
excess power over time for both cells, using for each
the area of the region between the locus of zero
power and the noisy data.
The mean power excess: heavy water cell +15 milliwatts;
light water cell + 4 milliwatts
Neither result is significant, for the claimed power
error is 40 mW, and even a less stringent definition
would put the error at 20 or 30 mW.
The 13 July draft fits a less simple, least square correction
to eliminate the drift, and ends up with a value
I did not measure, but one visibly close to zero for both
cells. The claimed error is not reduced; such small variations
in the mean are simply not significant, whether
they turn out zero or not.
The first hint of a small positive excess power in the
heavy water cell is a source of encouragement for
From Philip Morrison’s PBS Television Series
48 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
those who expect power from fusion, and its disappearance between
drafts is the burden of Mallove's concern. But it might well have been that
the new correction would have shown the other sign. After all, the light
water cell also indicated an excess power at first, if smaller still. These are
matters of chance at this level of power.
Objectively, one has to say that the published paper does not mislead;
the change in power between drafts is rather smaller than the clearly
stated and plausible overall error, at most a little outside of random
error alone. The disappointment of a hopeful reader is understandable,
but hard to defend in reason. The open possibility might support an
effort to do experiments with more precise calorimetry; they have gone
on apace since, though not at MIT or at PFC.
V. My Recommendations
I close with an explicit answer to your questions about options for
action in your letter of 9 October 91.
1) I do not believe an inquiry needs to be conducted.
2) I do not believe any formal investigation is needed.
Both of these recommendations apply only to the scientific paper,
and not to the media interactions.
3) On the other hand, I recommend that PFC should spend a person-day
or two of work to compute the mean excess power for all four cases, the
light and heavy water cells under the two protocols of drift correction.
They should also describe the two approaches to correction in more
detail than the by-name-only account in the letter by Dr. Parker to Dr.
Mallove of 8 August 1991. (Notice that in Figure 6 of the MS submitted
from MIT, but not in the published version, one fit to the declining
heater power curve is drawn.) The work need not even invoke much
ado about old records; it can probably be done from the curves already
published or at hand and the algorithms used.
Making these few numbers publicly available, first of all to Dr.
Mallove—they are probably not important enough to publish—would
for me fairly and helpfully clear the record. Anyone is then free to make
what use he can of data that are clearly below the level of significance,
if possibly suggestive to the hopeful.
Sincerely, Philip Morrison
Exhibit W
President Charles Vest’s Letter to Eugene
Mallove
October 17, 1991
President Vest tries to settle the matter with the
Morrison memo. Nice try, but no cigar.—EFM
Dr. Eugene F. Mallove, Bow, New Hampshire
Dear Dr. Mallove:
As you know from my letter of October 15, 1991, I have asked Institute
Professor Emeritus Philip Morrison to review the materials you
sent me, in light of your concerns about the scientific content of investigations
by MIT scientists into possible cold fusion phenomena. Professor
Morrison has now done so and has submitted to me a thoughtful
memorandum stating the issues as he views them and presenting his
recommendations regarding an appropriate response for the Institute. I
am sure that you join me in appreciating Professor Morrison’s careful
work in this regard.
Enclosed is a copy of Professor Morrison’s memorandum, dated
October 14, 1991. Before any further actions are taken by the Institute, I
would like to have your reactions to his recommendations. Professor
Morrison has kindly agreed to make himself available to discuss the
content of his memorandum with you, if you so desire.
I hope that this represents a constructive step toward resolving your
concerns.
Sincerely yours, Charles M. Vest
Enclosure
cc: Philip Morrison, Mary P. Rowe
Exhibit X: Eugene Mallove’s Letter to
President Charles Vest, October 24, 1991
I opposed the conclusions of the Morrison memo in
very strong terms, asking again for a full-scale investigation. —
EFM
President Charles M. Vest
MIT Room 3-208
Dear Dr. Vest:
Thank you for sending me Professor Philip Morrison’s memorandum
of 14 October to you regarding my 18 August request for an
inquiry into scientific misconduct at MIT.
First, let me say that I have the highest regard for Professor Morrison
as a gifted scientist and educator, a man of impeccable character,
and one of the finest human beings I know. I also count him as a friend
and a person who made an honest attempt to be fair to all sides in his
letter to you. I deeply appreciate the time and effort he made on your
and my behalf. With that said, I regret to tell you that I am in substantial
disagreement with Dr. Morrison’s conclusions about the technical
matters that he discussed. These disagreements I detail below.
At your request, Professor Morrison did not concern himself with
the substantial issues of motivation and dealings with the press by Professors
Parker and Ballinger. That was a significant part of my request
for an inquiry and investigation. Not only is it absolutely clear to me
that these individuals engaged in reprehensible conduct in the manner
that I have described and documented, but their behavior significantly
illuminates the handling and representation of the technical aspects of
their experiments. The PFC cold fusion experiments of 1989 were by no
means conducted in an intellectual vacuum. There was a clear rush to
judgement by that group and a calculated attempt by at least two of its
members to besmirch the scientific work of Drs. Fleischmann and Pons.
I urge you to immediately turn over this aspect of my allegations of misconduct
to a panel of individuals who will assess these concerns fairly
and make recommendations.
Now let me return to Professor Morrison’s memorandum to you. I
do not agree with his conclusions that there is no need for an inquiry
and no need for an investigation. I have read Professor Morrison’s comments
carefully. With due respect for his prodigious scientific talent and
respected judgement, I come to very different conclusions, for reasons
that will become clear.
First, let me begin by noting Professor Morrison’s initially stated
bias, a term that I hasten to characterize precisely in imputing such to
Dr. Morrison. It is certainly not a bias that arises from any animus, but
it is a bias nonetheless. He writes, “I still believe that there may be a
germ of novelty in some electrochemical phenomenon that is caught up
in this complex system; it is very unlikely, though logically possible,
that new findings, if established, would turn out to have high economic
importance. They would at most open some way to build a new battery,
possibly a fuel cell.” I suggest to you and to Dr. Morrison that this
flies in the face of the work of hundreds of researchers around the world
—many working right now and getting remarkable results—scientists
who have done experiments that clearly reveal nuclear processes at
work where none should be, by conventional reckoning.
If Professor Morrison relies mainly on what he has read in Nature
about cold fusion or what the people at the Plasma Fusion Center have
told him, then that may explain his missing a host of phenomena that
many observers, who did not reject cold fusion in the spring of 1989, see
as firmly established. There are two classes of phenomena that in my
view have been experimentally confirmed in deuterated metal systems:
(1) Calorimetrically measured excess energies that exceed megajoules
per mole (tens of MJ/mole has been reliably found) and (2) Nuclear
anomalies that may well be linked to the excess heat, albeit not in naive
or one-to-one correspondence to nuclear products that have been measured
(there may be others not yet measured). Among the byproducts
that have been found are tritium, neutron emissions (both burst and
continuous), helium-4, and charged particles with MeV energies. There
is a steadily growing literature of such findings, both thermal and
nuclear effects. This cannot be brushed away. It must be evaluated and
studied carefully, without the preconceptions that have plagued this
controversy. The phrase, “They would at most open some way to build
a new battery . . .,” I have heard before. It was made by Dr. Frank Close,
whose assessment of cold fusion deliberately did not include the vast
bulk of supporting data.
In evaluating the MIT experiment, Professor Morrison repeats the
49 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
canard used by those who have tried to “wish away” many cases of
experimentally determined excess heat: “Uncontrolled catalytic recombination
of the oxygen and hydrogen produced gas is a source of possible
excess power in the right range.” Anumber of excellent experiments
have thoroughly investigated this “explanation” and have rejected it.
Recombination is not a significant factor in open cell work. (In closedcell,
deliberate recombination work, it is no factor at all, and there are
excellent positive experiments of that kind too.) On the other hand and
to his great credit, Professor Morrison correctly notes, “It is possible that
helium is lost from the cells.” Indeed, this is precisely the result that
researchers at the Naval Weapons Center have recently reported in connection
with their calorimetric work.
There is a significant omission in Professor Morrison’s critique.
Nowhere do I find an assessment of the validity of subtracting a “somewhat
arbitrary linear function” from the raw heater power data to get
net excess power. Dr. Morrison assumes a priori that the group
employed a correct algorithm. But as my 18 August letter suggests, that
methodology is completely incorrect.
Professor Morrison accepts what I believe to be a gratuitous statement
in Professor Parker’s hastily prepared letter to me of August 8,
1991—the one I received on the eve of the WBUR radio broadcast—in
which he tries to explain the apparent curve shift between July 10 and
July 13. Parker’s statement is: “In one, the drift was fitted with a somewhat
arbitrary linear function. . . in the other, the drift was fitted with a
different linear function, this time a least squares fit, and the data
appearing in the final version of the paper were produced.” I do not
think it is possible to accept this statement on its face. The light water
curve has not been moved down by any new form of mathematical
adjustment, but the heavy water curve most certainly has been moved.
In fact, I believe that this statement about two methods of fitting the drift
to be a complete fabrication on the part of Parker, much as his statements
about what he did or did not say to Nick Tate are completely false.
Professor Morrison is certainly correct that the July 13 draft results
in an excess heat that is “visibly close to zero for both cells.” I do not
contest that, for that is precisely what this curve shift was apparently
intended to bring about. So, I must strenuously disagree with Professor
Morrison’s statement, “Objectively, one has to say that the published
paper does not mislead.” I believe to the contrary. The paper misleads
most egregiously. Professor Morrison’s polite recommendation #3
directly governs this matter: “They should also describe the two
approaches to correction in more detail than the by-name-only account
in the letter by Dr. Parker to Dr. Mallove of 8 August 1991.” In my view,
there is very strong evidence that the alleged “two approaches” is really
only one method of fitting the data and performing the forementioned
inappropriate subtraction of the resulting fitted line. The second
“approach” is merely data-averaging into one-hour samples and subsequent
shifting of the curve down to give the impression of a null result.
More evidence for my contention: If there really had been two methods
of analysis applied to the data that would instantly explain the curve
shift, why would not Professor Parker et al. have immediately shown
me the two computer source codes or the notebook-written algorithms.
This would have immediately cleared up at least the matter of the origin
of the shift. Such was not done, I am quite certain, because two distinct
approaches to the data processing did not exist.
I do not believe that Professor Parker et al. can be trusted at this
time to give forth a complete account of how that curve adjustment
occurred. If asked to do so, they might contrive some kind of algorithm
with a convenient free parameter or parameters that will show how
they processed the data to get the two sets of results.
In conclusion, and in regretted disagreement with the recommendations
of Professor Morrison, I must again ask you to convene an
appropriate panel to thoroughly explore scientific misconduct on the
part of the MIT research group. When this panel renders its opinion, I
am confident that it will reach the very conclusion about this experiment
that Professor Parker publicly announced on June 7, 1991, and
later implicitly rejected, namely that it not “worth anything.” This is
what he said and he will be held to his word that he believes the curves
can be redrawn “anyway that you want”:
“I’ll tell you what my opinion is of that work, because I was part of
it. I don’t think it’s worth very much. Alright? And that’s why it’s just
published in a tech report. I don’t think it’s worth very much. I think to
do calorimetry is one of the hardest things I ever tried to do. I’d rather
stick to plasma physics. . . When you have an open system is where you
can make big errors, where you don’t know the overpotential, the electrode
potential, and so on. These things are unknown. I mean it’s really
tough and that’s why I don’t put any stock at all—you can redraw those
curves anyway that you want. I don’t think that data is worth anything.”
Rather than allow the PFC team members further opportunities to
fiddle with their data, I recommend that all notebooks, computer files,
and printed records relating to their experiment be immediately
impounded and turned over to an investigative team for thorough
analysis. I requested this inquiry in late August. It is now late October.
Your letter to me in early September said that my material would be
“appropriately reviewed during the coming several days.” Time
enough has gone by in deliberations over what to do. It was a good, but
not a sufficient course to ask Professor Morrison’s opinion, which he
rendered the day after he received the material from you. However, it
is now time to appoint a panel that will probe to the core of what I
steadfastly believe to be evident scientific misconduct.
Both you and others, especially Professor Morrison, should be
under no illusion that my hope for cold fusion lies in extracting some
evidence of excess heat from the PFC data. You should know that positive
conclusions about cold fusion are based on a preponderance of evidence
from elsewhere. After the results that will likely be discussed at
the third annual conference on cold fusion in Nagoya, Japan, in the fall
of 1992, no one will need the PFC’s ancient and discredited data. It will
be past history, and, indeed, a very sorry history for MIT.
The case of the PFC data concerns scientific ethics: Is it permissible
to massage data to one’s taste—to artificially present a strong negative
impression rather than an ambiguous and possibly positive one? I think
not. I do not deny the PFC group the right to discuss the sensitivity of
their experimental measurement and then to suggest that because of that
sensitivity their result should be read as null. But it was clearly inappropriate
to arbitrarily shift processed data to contrive a “desired appearance”
and not let the viewers of their report form their own judgements.
And do not forget my contention that the very basis for arriving at the
original processed data (before the shift) is, in any event, not correct. At
the very least, the paper requires substantial revision on that account.
Until I am persuaded by strong technical arguments that deliberate
curve-shifting has not occurred, and that an appropriate processing of
the data has been applied, I will continue to believe in the need for a
thorough investigation. I appreciate Professor Morrison’s offer to discuss
the content of his memorandum with me, however at this time I do
not feel a need for that kind of discussion. The discussion I and several
of my colleagues would respectfully like to have with him would be to
discuss the overwhelming ancillary evidence for cold fusion, not the
PFC paper. I understand his contentions about the PFC work very well
and do not need clarification. I look forward to your reply about the
next steps that you will take.
Sincerely, Eugene F. Mallove
Exhibit Y
Eugene Mallove’s Letter to President Charles Vest
December 31, 1991
Over two months have gone by and still no action has been
taken on my request for a full investigation.—EFM
President Charles M. Vest, MIT Room 3-208
Dear Dr. Vest:
My last letter to you regarding the progress of the MIT misconduct
investigation was on 24 October. With the exception of a subsequent
telephone message from Ms. Laura Mersky stating that you considered
the investigation to be a matter of high priority, which you would
attend to upon returning from a foreign trip, I have received no communication
from you. Would you kindly let me know what actions
have been taken?
I can assure you that in 1992 there will be many developments
regarding cold fusion, both scientific and governmental. It will accordingly
be imperative to resolve the MIT misconduct matter as soon as
possible. I look forward to your early reply.
Sincerely, Eugene F. Mallove
50 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
Exhibit Z
President Charles Vest’s Letter to Eugene Mallove
January 6, 1992
President Vest’s penultimate brush-off letter, which suggests no
need to do anything further. He checked with his legal counsel
regarding the matter of unethical press deception, which he
calls “bias in dealing with the media.”—EFM
CHARLES M. VEST, PRESIDENT, Room 3-208
Dr. Eugene F. Mallove, Bow, New
Dear Dr. Mallove:
In your letter of October 24, 1991 commenting upon Professor Philip
Morrison's report on his inquiry into your concern about possible scientific
misconduct in the paper by Albagli et al., you acknowledge Professor
Morrison as:
a gifted scientist and educator, a man of impeccable character and
one of the finest human beings I know. I also count him as a friend
and a person who made an honest attempt to be fair to all sides in
his letter to you. I deeply appreciate the time and effort he made on
your and my behalf. With that said, I regret to tell you that I am in
substantial disagreement with Dr. Morrison's conclusions about
the technical matters that he discussed.
I agree with all you have to say about Professor Morrison and am left
with the question of whether I should ignore his conclusions and order
the additional investigation which you requested in your October 24 letter.
Since receiving your letter, I have sought an additional independent
review by Professor J. David Litster, our interim Associate Provost and
Vice President for Research, and he has confirmed Professor Morrison’s
conclusion that there is no basis for further investigation of the charges
of scientific misconduct. I have also considered, and sought advice from
legal counsel, on whether it was necessary or appropriate for me to
investigate your charges of bias in dealing with the media, and I have
concluded that is neither necessary nor appropriate for me to do so.
You will recall that Professor Morrison did recommend “that PFC
should spend a personal day or two of work to compute the mean
excess power for all four cases, the light and heavy water cells under the
two protocols of drift correction.” However, your letter of October 24,
1991 rejects this suggestion, so I am not requesting that it be done.
In closing, I do wish to express my regret for the length of time that
it has taken to respond to your letter of October 24. Because the Provost
had participated in the Albagli paper, I thought it best if I dealt with
your concerns personally, and between a long trip in November and the
holidays, this is the first opportunity I have had to respond.
Sincerely yours, Charles M. Vest
CMV:cbb
Exhibit Z-1
Eugene Mallove’s Letter to President Charles Vest
February 9, 1992
New evidence in the form of Dr. Mitchell R. Swartz’s analysis of the
MIT PFC data manipulation had come to my attention. My request
for a thorough investigation became more emphatic.—EFM
President Charles M. Vest, MIT Room 3-208
Dear Dr. Vest:
I had intended to reply promptly to your letter of 6 January 1992, but
new information was unexpectedly brought to my attention, which
delayed my response. I am referring to the substance of the draft report,
“Semiquantitative Analysis and Examination of MIT PFC Phase-II Cold
Fusion Data,” which MIT graduate Dr. Mitchell R. Swartz submitted to
you on 28 January after a lengthy period of very careful consideration.
He has discussed his analysis with me and given me a copy of the
report that he submitted to you and to Professor Ronald R. Parker. Let
me assure you that Dr. Swartz initiated his investigation independently.
I was surprised—shocked would be a better word—to see what he
found. I was given a copy of his report to verify the accuracy of Dr.
Swartz's use of quotations from correspondence that I had allowed him
to see. Later, I requested and received a copy of his draft report.
In your one-page letter of 6 January, you mention consultations with
your colleagues, Professor J. David Litster and legal counsel. Based on
these consultations and the previous memorandum submitted to you by
Professor Philip Morrison, you presumed that you had dealt appropriately
with my request for a misconduct investigation. I am sure that it will
not surprise you to hear now that I emphatically disagree. I am extremely
disappointed that you chose to sweep this serious matter under the rug
with what I consider to be a totally inadequate response. I trust, however,
that what Dr. Swartz’s analysis has revealed about the MIT PFC
“Phase-II” data will have dismayed you and your colleagues and will
lead you to quickly reverse your dismissal of my charges. It seems that
Dr. Swartz has performed a major part of the investigation that I believe
should have been your business to require, but which you did not.
To summarize what I understand Dr. Swartz has discovered about
the PFC data from his computer processing of the electro-optically
scanned published and unpublished PFC results:
(1) Extra data points have been arbitrarily and inexplicably added to
the published heavy water curve. These may amount to between 10 and
20 percent of the data points.
(2) The addition of two more “data points” at the portion of
the curve, which in the July 10 pre-publication data exists as a
time-calibration mark. These points were clearly arbitrarily
placed in their vertical positions. They should not have been
published as data points if they were mere time-calibration
points. (This is not a small matter, see comment below.)
(3) Conclusive evidence that the light water data and the heavy water
data were “processed” differently. The light water data that was finalized
on July 13, 1989 is a direct and appropriate hourly average of the
July 10th pre-publication data. By contrast, the finalized heavy water
data of July 13 cannot be obtained from the July 10 prepublication data
in a similar manner. Furthermore, Dr. Swartz has shown that no linear
transformation exists that successfully maps the July 10 heavy water
data into the final published data. This means that whatever technique
was used to create the final published data set was highly contrived,
that is, was manipulated to give the curve its final appearance. This is
in contrast to the impression that Professor Parker has given all along,
that the two data sets were treated either identically or in some kind of
equivalent manner.
Dr. Swartz uses “polite language” to characterize these findings. He
writes, “There appear to be the possibility that some of the data points in
the published heavy water curves are most likely artifact, rather than a
result of the original experimental data.” He states, “. .there does appear
to have been an asymmetric algorithm used when the July manuscripts
are examined. The light water curve was published essentially intact,
whereas the heavy water does appear shifted without any clear explanation
for the difference.” He writes of the heavy water data, “. . .the possibility
of additional superimposed components cannot be excluded. . .” and
“. . .much would be clarified by the marking of incidental, questionable,
or less clearly derived data points.”
I will not be so polite. To be blunt: Dr. Swartz’s findings mean that it
is absolutely certain that the heavy water experiment data have been
manipulated, adulterated, and presented in a way that is completely
misleading. I no longer characterize as scientific misconduct what I formerly
believed to be an unwarranted shifting down of a data curve,
which was a serious enough charge itself. I now consider that an individual
or individuals responsible for the preparation of that data are
guilty of scientific fraud. I am using the term fraud, which connotes in
my mind a deliberate attempt to mislead, to correspond with the definition
of “misconduct” in “Section 50.102 Definitions of Sub-Part A, Section
493 of the Public Health Service Act.” Furthermore, I would consider
any significant delay in dealing appropriately and severely with
these findings to be an attempt to cover up scientific fraud.
Some further conclusions that one can reasonably infer from Dr.
Swartz’s findings: The artifactual time-calibration mark is alluded to in
the PFC Journal of Fusion Energy paper in Figure 6— in the context of the
description of the declining heater power curve. There is no such
description in the previous figure in which the data is presented, Figure
5, nor could there have been, since it would obviously have been ludicrous
to insert points that look like data and then say, “by the way, they
are not really data, they are calibration points.” I suggest that these
points seem to enhance the impression of a wider y-axis data spread—
51 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
a useful impression to give if one is trying to show that any possible
excess power is within error bounds. It is inconceivable to me that these
points were “inadvertently” put in. The only way that could have happened
would have been if the time-calibration “data” were included
erroneously in the purported algorithm that processed this data (which
would then invalidate the entire purported “least squares” fit that Professor
Parker has mentioned in one of his letters). These are dramatic
outlying points that I believe may have been intentionally introduced.
I hope that in view of the seriousness of Dr. Swartz’s findings, my
assertions about them, and in the context of other major faults that I and
others have alleged about the MIT PFC publication, you will now act
immediately. You could put in place a formal investigation of the entire
matter with a panel of experts from both inside and outside MIT, which
should include people both favorably disposed to cold fusion, and
those either not so disposed or neutral. But let me suggest that based
on the facts that now appear so crystal clear, you should ask Professors
Parker and Wrighton, who were the leaders of the research in question,
to formally withdraw the entire “Phase-II” part of the Journal of Fusion
Energy published paper, and the corresponding part of the PFC/JA-89-
34 report, and all conclusions that derive therefrom.
I note that in the January 1992 issue of Physics Today, there is a news
item (see attached) about the Council of the American Physical Society
voting last November to adopt a set of guidelines “outlining professional
conduct by physicists.” The text of the guidelines is printed and
contains several statements that I think are very pertinent to the PFC
matter. One statement is: “Following publication the data should be
retained for a reasonable period in order to be available promptly and
completely to responsible scientists. Exceptions may be appropriate in
certain circumstances in order to preserve privacy, to assure patent protection,
or for similar reasons.” The response of Professor Parker
throughout this affair egregiously violates this guideline. For example,
he has deliberately determined not to reveal the method of generating
the heavy water curve of the “Phase-II” results.
In my 24 October 1991 letter to you I specifically suggested that
obtaining the algorithms that processed the data would be important.
So did Professor Morrison in his 14 October 1991 memo to you: “They
should also describe the two approaches to correction in more detail
than the by-name-only account in the letter by Dr. Parker to Dr. Mallove
of 8 August 1991.” In your 6 January letter to me you did not mention
this key suggestion by Dr. Morrison, which I most certainly did not
reject. Nor, as you stated in that letter, did I reject Professor Morrison’s
suggestion “that [the] PFC should spend a personal day or two of work
to compute the mean excess power for all four cases...” I must say, you
have inadvertently twisted the interpretation of one brief phrase that I
wrote, “..in regretted disagreement with the recommendations of Professor
Morrison..”, which was made in the context of a request for a
much more complete investigation, to imply that I did not want to see
those alleged PFC algorithms or have the means computed.
Another guideline that the APS Council put forth also has direct
application to the matter at hand: “Fabrication of data or selective
reporting of data with the intent to mislead or deceive is an egregious
departure from the expected norms of scientific conduct, as is the theft
of data or research results from others.”
In the issue of Tech Talk dated 5 February 1992 is published the MIT
procedures for dealing with “Academic Fraud in Research and Scholarship.”
The statement is made: “In addition, the Provost has the authority
to mitigate the effects of the fraud by withdrawing MIT’s name and
sponsorship from pending abstracts and papers and by notifying persons
known to have relied upon any work affected by fraud.” I expect
that this will be carried out for the matter at hand once the final determination
has been made.
I note further in the MIT-published statement: “An inquiry must be
initiated immediately after an allegation has been made and must be
completed within 60 calendar days of its initiation unless circumstances
clearly warrant a longer period. If the inquiry takes longer than 60 days,
the record of the inquiry shall include documentation of the reasons for
exceeding the 60 day period.” My initial request for an inquiry and possible
investigation was submitted on 18 August 1991. There have been
a number of written exchanges between us, including my 31 December
1991 letter in which I asked about the status of your inquiry, following
my earlier letter of 24 October. Your letter of 8 January 1992 seemed to
terminate the matter as far as you were concerned. Thus, more than 140
days have gone by in which only one MIT faculty member, Professor
Morrison, spent part of October 13 and October 14 reviewing (incompletely)
my requests. After October 24, but perhaps as late as the first
week of January 1992, Professor Litster, the Associate Provost to Provost
Mark Wrighton (one of the authors of the questioned research) “independently”
reviewed the matter and “confirmed Professor Morrison’s
conclusion that there is no basis for further investigation of the charges
of scientific misconduct.”
In your 8 January 1992 letter you wrote, “I have considered, and
sought advice from legal counsel, on whether it was necessary or appropriate
for me to investigate your charges of bias in dealing with the
media, and I have concluded that it is neither necessary nor appropriate
for me to do so.” Please go back and read my 18 August request for an
investigation, because you have again inadvertently twisted my position.
I was not and am not concerned about “bias in dealing with the
media.” Bias in dealing with the news media (such as selecting which
newspaper one wants to favor with an interview) is precisely the objective
and accepted (if not altogether proper!) role of a news office; I have
no objection to such “bias.” What I was talking about in my request was
the investigation of giving false information in matters that are not
small—giving false information to me to prepare an erroneous new
release, giving false information to others in the News Office, and giving
false information to the greater world about what was said to a
reporter. In other words, a calculated attempt to discredit that reporter
and newspaper by giving false information. Moreover, a denial of giving
this false information persists. Do you not think it is time to do
something about that? Is this level of expected personal integrity no
longer important at MIT?
In summary, I consider that the inordinately extended inquiry up to
this point has not met MIT’s own proclaimed standards. I hope that in
light of the newly developed information, this time you will understand
my points quite clearly. This is a very grave matter which has in my
view, I regret to say, already damaged MIT. You cannot sweep research
fraud under the rug -- even if it is in the context of a claimed phenomenon
with which you, Provost Wrighton, and several others at MIT have
little patience. If you do not do the necessary investigative job yourself,
I am convinced that others inevitably will.
I am also sending a copy of this letter to my former associate, Kenneth
Campbell of the MIT News Office, because I know he is familiar
with the ramifications of this type of situation, having witnessed, as did
I, another well-known controversy that did not help the image of MIT.
Sincerely, Eugene F. Mallove
cc: Kenneth Campbell
Exhibit Z-2
Eugene Mallove’s Letter to President Charles Vest
February 21, 1992
President Charles M. Vest, MIT Room 3-208
Dear Dr. Vest:
On February 10 you received a letter from me that discussed a serious
issue connected with research at MIT. Have you initiated any
actions on this matter? When might I expect a reply from your office?
Sincerely, Eugene F. Mallove
cc: Kenneth Campbell [MIT News Office]
Exhibit Z-3
Dr. Stanley Luckhardt’s Letter to Professor Morrison
March 10, 1992
While President Vest continues to stonewall, a congenial
memo is passed between Dr. Luckhardt (who
still has control of the contested data) and Prof. Morrison
—some “investigation”! Of course, this concerns
the “discredited” cold fusion, so it is not important
for MIT to observe the usual standards.—EFM
Plasma Fusion Center
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MEMO
Dr. Luckhardt
MIT News Photo
52 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
TO: Prof. Phil Morrison
FROM: Dr. Stan Luckhardt
MIT Plasma Fusion Center, NW16-266
DATE: 3/10/92
SUBJECT: ANALYSIS OF CALORIMETRY DATA IN
THE PAPER: D. Albagii et al., Journal of Fusion Energy, 9, 133, (1990).
In this memo, I will go through the analysis of the calorimeter data
from our 1989 experiment, and show how we arrived at the reduced data
presented in our paper. As explained in our paper, the calorimeter used a
feedback controlled heating element to maintain a constant temperature
in the electrolytic cells. Any production of “excess heat” would show up
as a reduction in the heater power level. The heater power level could be
accurately measured by monitoring the current and voltage applied to
the resistive heating element. The signal of interest is then the heater
power (Ph = Ih x Vh). The level of excess heat claimed by Fleischmann &
Pons for our conditions is ~79 mW, this excess was claimed to appear
after an initial “loading period” of some hours or days. Thus, to reproduce
the claimed effect, we would expect the heater power to undergo a
change of the claimed magnitude after some days of “loading.”
In our experiments, and those of others using the open cell type
calorimeters, the heater power undergoes a steady drift caused by the
loss of solvent from the cell. This loss is caused mainly by electrolytic
decomposition and evaporation. As solvent is lost, the level of solvent
in the cell drops, this causes the thermal conduction path from the solvent
to the top of the cell to increase, thus increasing the thermal “resistance”
of the cell and reducing the rate of heat flow out of the cell. To
maintain constant cell temperature, the heater power must also
decrease slowly. This base line drift trend can be seen in the raw heater
power plots attached.
To analyze our heater power data, we first subtract the baseline drift,
then any onset of anomalous heating would appear as an excursion
from zero. In particular, in the attached Figs. 2&3 I show the raw heater
power data PH for the D20 cell and the linear regression fit yH to the
raw data. In Fig. 4 the difference
PX = YH - PH is shown. To remove the high frequency fluctuations, the
data is time averaged, Fig. 5. We believe these rapid fluctuations are
caused by the trapping and escape of gas bubbles from under the Teflon
supports for the cell electrodes, (see drawing of the cell in our paper) and
by condensation in the cell which causes water droplets to occasionally
fall back into the cell. These effects cause fluctuations in the level of liquid
and as explained above result in heater power fluctuations.
The time averaged data has one main feature, a slow variation having
a 24 hour period. We believe this is caused by daily room temperature
variations and/or some sunlight hitting the cells. Both the D2O and
H2O cells exhibit this feature. Aside from this 24 hour period variation,
the data is quite close to zero with some residual fluctuations of order
10-20mW. There does not appear to be any evidence of the claimed
anomalous heating event of magnitude 79mW in Fig. 5. This conclusion
was stated in our paper.
Sampling rate: As noted in the caption of Fig. 6 in our paper, the data
sampling rate for the D2O cell power was reduced at t=30hours. This
was done to save disk space on the data acquisition computer. The
regression analysis described above tends to weight the initial data
more heavily because of its higher sampling rate. In the attached pages,
I show a further analysis in which a uniform sampling rate is used
throughout. In the attached Figs. 6-9 the data analysis is carried out
again using the uniform sampling rate data and the final time averaged
signal is plotted in Fig. 9. This signal is almost indistinguishable
from the results of the original analysis shown in Fig. 5. So our conclusion
from this analysis is the same as before.
The analysis of the H2O cell data is shown in Figs. 10-14. Note the in Fig.
14 there is a residual, 24 hour period variation in the heater power. As discussed
above we believe this is an error signal caused by the daily variation
of the room temperature and/or variation in sunlight hitting the cells.
I hope this brief summary is of use to you, please feel free to contact
me at 3-8606 if you need further information.
Exhibit Z-4
Dr. Charles McCutchen’s Letter to
MIT President Dr. Charles Vest
March 19, 1992
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH, EDUCATION,
AND WELFARE
PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICE,
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
BETHESDA, MARYLAND 20892 Bldg. 8, Room 403
I had asked NIH physicist Dr. Charles McCutchen to give me his
opinion of the MIT PFC experiment and my interchanges with
MIT. Dr. McCutchen, who with MIT Professor Robert Mann had
had his own battles with unethical establishments, obliged and
wrote to President Vest supporting my position.—EFM
Charles M. Vest, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Dear Dr. Vest,
Eugene Mallove has sent me material about the MIT cold
fusion experiment. Mallove contends that calorimeter data were
manipulated to suppress experimental evidence that excess
heat was generated when heavy water was electrolyzed. I can
see why he is disturbed.
The experiment was not a gem. Of the 1.8 to 2.1 watts that
went into each electrolysis cell, 1.25 to 1.55 watts were supplied
by the heater. Over two thirds of the power entering the cell did
not go into electrolysis. Any signal from excess power would
have been diluted by more than a factor three.
Worse was the variability of the total power input. Over an interval
of 80 hours, the heater power declined progressively by almost
20%. The experimenters ascribe this to the steady fall in level of the
solution ln the cell. This reduced the working area of the heat-loss
path through the insulation surrounding the cell, and lowered the
power needed to keep the cell at constant temperature.
Power generation by cold fusion, if lt happened, would likewise
be revealed by a reduction in heater power. The potential
for confusion is obvious.
In his letter of August 8, 1991 to Eugene Mallove, Ronald
Parker wrote, “The implicit assumption was that we were looking
for a fast turnon of the anomalous heat production and so it
was legitimate to subtract out a slow baseline drift caused by
depletion of the electrolyte.” This would have been a reasonable
position, had the experimenters stated it in the paper. They
did not do so. The ordinates of their figures are labeled Px, elsewhere
defined as unknown (i.e. excess) power, zero is marked
on the ordinates, and nowhere is it stated that the height and
slope of the curves mean nothing.
Had they wanted to be able to detect constant or slowly varying
excess power the experimenters should have improved
their calorimeters to get rid of the baseline slope. Their
calorimeter depends on the constancy of the thermal conductance
of its insulation, and steps should have been taken to
make it constant. They could have put a thermally conductive
sleeve between the cell and its insulation so as to keep the area
of the heat path constant. They could have kept the solution at
a constant level in the cell. Better, they could have done both.
They did neither. Instead, they say they subtracted a linear
ramp from the data for apparent excess power in each cell. How
they picked the height and slope of the ramp is not stated.
Because I took their graphs of excess power to mean what they
said, I assumed that they thought their procedure would not
have concealed constant or slowly varying excess power, had
such occurred.
Dr. Charles McCutchen
MIT Photo
53 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
Like me, Philip Morrison took the paper’s results at face
value. He calculated for himself the mean excess power shown
in the heavy and light water data in the draft of July 10, 1989. A
little average excess power came from the light water cell and
more from the heavy water cell, which suggests that the height
of the curves was not intended to be meaningless. Had the procedure
simply subtracted the best-fit ramp from each curve,
both of these averages would have been close to zero.
The published paper shows negligible average excess power
from either cell. The change between draft and published version
is what would have happened had the ramps been adjusted
to yield the result that hot fusion experimenters preferred.
I understand that the experimenters have been unwilling to
explain their procedure when asked, and have refused to give
others their data.
Another piece of apparent a posteriori adjustment in the paper
concerns the calibrating procedure. The draft said that dry
nitrogen was bubbled through the electrolyte to stir it. Nitrogen
from from a gas cylinder or from evaporating liquid is dry. But
dry nitrogen would cool the cell by evaporation. The nitrogen
should have been bubbled through water at cell temperature on
its way to the cell. In the published paper, “dry” was missing.
For its own good, and to restore some civility to a contentious
field, MIT should look into ( 1 ) how its scientists came to perform
and publish such a poor experiment, (2) why they either
misdescrlbed their results, making them seem more meaningful
than they were or used a subtle correcting procedure without
describing exactly what it was, (3) how lt came about that data
from calorimeters with a claimed sensitivity of 40 mw converged,
between drafts, after completion of the experiments, to
within perhaps 5 mw of the result that hot fusion people would
prefer to see. It might have been chance, but it might not.
I think all parties would agree that if the experimenters thought
their method of baseline correction would not conceal constant or
slowly varying excess power they should have explained it in
detail. If, on the other hand, both the height and the slope of their
records were meaningless, they should have said so. I believe this
information, whichever it is, should now be published.
Sincerely yours, Charles W. McCutchen
cc: Dr. Eugene F. Mallove, Professor Philip Morrison
Hand-written note attached in copy to Eugene Mallove:
Dear Gene,
Here it is. I hope MIT does something other than stonewall. I
think my request is reasonable. If the height and slope of the curves
mean nothing, the experimenters should say so in
a corrigendum. If the slope subtraction scheme
somehow left meaningful slope and height, they
should explain why this is so in a corrigendum.
You have my permission to copy and distribute
my letter if you think it would help to get
the matter straightened out.
Sincerely yours, Charles
McCutchen
Exhibit Z-5
Prof. Morrison’s Report to President Charles
Vest
March 20, 1992
Yet another letter from Prof. Morrison to President
Vest, concerning the MIT PFC experiment
controversy and the new analysis by Dr. Mitchell
Swartz. Morrison’s conclusion that “though the
procedure was described in only a few lines, a
technically-prepared reader who uses the entire paper can work
out the missing details to a good degree,” is patently not true. The
MIT PFC paper on the Phase-II calorimetry is fraudulently deceptive.
—EFM
Department of Physics,
MIT, Cambridge, MA 02139
From: Philip Morrison, Institute Professor
(emeritus)
To: Charles Vest, President
Response to Your Letter of 10 March 1992
I. Question and Answer
Your letter put to me a specific, rather narrow question, whose background
is a recent painstaking study of a particular research paper (and
two draft manuscripts) from MIT. The critical study, largely directed at
a few specific graphs and their captions, was carried out by Dr. Mitchell
Swartz, Weston, MA; its final date is 27 Jan 1992. The research paper
itself, by Albagli et al., with 16 co-authors, came from the MIT Plasma
Fusion Center, and was published in the Journal of Fusion Energy, vol. 9,
no. 2, p. 133, 1990.
You wrote me: “The question I wish you to examine is: Is the data
reduction method that was used. . . [to produce certain curves in the
published paper referenced above] satisfactorily described? “
My reply is this: though the procedure was described in only a few
lines, a technically-prepared reader who uses the entire paper can work
out the missing details to a good degree.
That reader would certainly be reassured by having for comparison
the data for the heater power of the light water comparison cell. Those
data were not in the published paper, though they were made available
by Dr. Luckhardt in a letter of August 13,1991, sent by Director Parker
of the Plasma Fusion Center to Dr. Mallove (Mallove Attachment #12).
But I do not think I should stop abruptly. As a physicist, I want to outline
the logic of the procedure, address the results, and even add a little
new matter. Dr. Swartz’s study seems to me to warrant a fuller explanation
for your records (to augment my first response) and for possible
transmission to others you may wish to inform.
II. Source Documents Used
The letter and manuscript from Dr. Swartz are the direct basis for my
comments. But it was valuable as well to use the August 18,1991 letter
of Dr. Eugene Mallove to you, with its many attachments, and my letter
of last October (harmlessly misdated in Dr. Swartz’s study). Both of
these were available also to Dr. Swartz, and cited in his Appendix.
I was also supplied through your office with a new and fuller account
of the data treatment procedures, an account prepared by Dr. Stan Luckhardt
of the Plasma Fusion Center, who carried out the original calculation
(Luckhardt MEMO, 3/10/92). Dr. Luckhardt and I have spoken by
phone as well.
I return all those documents for your files. I have destapled and restapled
some of the papers, and made a few tick marks.
For its own good, and to restore some civility to a contentious
field, MIT should look into ( 1 ) how its scientists
came to perform and publish such a poor experiment, (2)
why they either misdescribed their results, making them
seem more meaningful than they were or used a subtle correcting
procedure without describing exactly what it was,
(3) how it came about that data from calorimeters with a
claimed sensitivity of 40 mw converged, between drafts,
after completion of the experiments, to within perhaps
5 mw of the result that hot fusion people would prefer to see.
It might have been chance, but it might not.
—Dr. Charles McCutchen
54 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
III. My Standing
I refer to my earlier letter for a full statement of my own “limitations
and qualifications” as an assessor. I still believe that there may be a
germ of electrochemical novelty in this complex system, though perhaps
independent of deuterium and palladium.
IV. The Substantial Issue: A Shifting Thermal Baseline
The research paper dealt with the comparative release of various energies
during the electrolysis of light and heavy water using cells with Pd
cathodes. All interest here centers on only one product of the process,
thermal power release, although most of the research, and three-fourths
of the paper, was devoted to a search for a variety of other products, on
which limits were set at much greater sensitivity than for heat.
The center of attention is one calorimetric result: a light-water cell
and a matched heavy-water cell are followed over 60 to 80 hours. The
calorimetry is not absolute; both cells were open for the release of
gaseous products, possibly carrying a small liquid entrainment. The
necessarily changing level of electrolyte meant a changing internal cell
resistance, and a changing heat flow from the cell. That heat flow was
monitored by a feedback system, which controlled the current to a thermal
heater inside the cell, acting to keep a constant cell temperature
within. The electrical inputs were monitored as well.
Anoisy, fast-fluctuating heater current records what happened in the
gassy, bubble-stirred, perhaps transiently bubble-blocked, system. The
signal noise sets a statistical limit to the accuracy of any thermal power
measurement at about plus or minus 40 milliwatts; this result is stated
clearly, though not in detail quantitatively supported. The graphs do
show the eye just the rough amount expected, the usual more or less
two-sigma band of plausible uncertainty.
But the cell fluid level slowly changes, and with it the observed
heater power. One plot is given, (Figure 6), for the total heater power in
the heavy-water cell. Plainly the heater power declines over the run of
more than a week by several times the width of its noise band. The noise
is reduced both by digital filtering (the data were mainly sampled every
two minutes for some 80 hours), and then by binning those data points.
The sloping mean baseline observed is then adjusted to form a new horizontal
axis, the mean zero line, for excess cell power, “by fitting the
drift with a linear function and subtracting from the signal.” The procedure
cannot disclose any constant power difference between the two
cells, since the initial value of the baseline is set at zero within the visible
noise. But any chance in power yield between the two cells over
time would appear. No significant change appears during the long run
to break the linear fall.
Acouple of very modest but eye-catching peaks do appear at 24 hour
intervals: they may imply an ambient temperature minimum around
midnight.
The binned data comprise some eighty numbers, each plotted as a
dot. An exact dot count, as expected, does not work. The binning--”time
averaged over 1-hour blocks”--is subject to the usual inclusive or exclusive
decisions, especially because the digital sampling rate was changed
at one time, as stated in the caption to Figure 6. Whether there are 45 or
43 dots in one forty-hour period is not material; these statistics cannot
show such a nicety.
Another point seems important to flag. The heater power measured
goes to supply most of the heat loss from the constant temperature cell.
The more power supplied, the less power comes from internal cell
processes. Now, the steady downward drift in the heater-power baseline
for the heavy-water cell is slower than the similar drift seen for the
light water cell, at only about 60% of the light-water rate. If no correction
were made for that linear power decline, there would appear to be
a higher “excess power” developed by the light water comparison cell,
not by the one with heavy water. (I believe the Noninski paper
(Mallove, Attachment 8) omits all evaporative effects.)
Greater fluid loss takes place in light water, presumably by evaporation,
as expected because of its higher vapor pressure.- I have not been
able to make a reasonably simple model to fit the presumed evaporative
losses, but a crude estimate shows that evaporation of a water mass comparable
to the electrolytic loss is not excluded either by cell power or by
plausible gas-flow rate, estimated from saturation water vapor that may
be carried both by gas bubbles and from the free cell surface. The data are
not complete enough to allow a simple theory to include both the heat
flow changes and any resistive effects of water loss and level change. The
authors also did not offer any quantitative model for the empirically quite
linear drift in power, though they outline the issues clearly. (The high-frequency
heater power noise differs markedly between the two cells as
well. There is a UROP study to be done here some day.)
V. Short-Time Confirmation
The week-long runs have attracted all the comment. But the published
paper also presents full data for a short-time test that directly
compared the measured heat production in light and heavy water cells
over a time so short that the slow change in water level can be neglected.
In Figure 3 the noise power is again about 40 milliwatts; the lightand
heavy-water cell powers agree to well within that limit. The effect
expected on scaling the Utah results would be double that, and should
be visible if present.
This single test takes on a special interest because it was made at the
end of the long run, after about 200 hours of electrolysis. If slow gas
charging of the palladium electrode is a determining parameter, this was
the likely optimum for the experiment reported. The hydrogen content
of the Pd electrodes was measured after the experiment by degassing;
the loading factor found was 75 to 80 %. If higher loading still is a necessary
condition for excess heat, this early negative result could not in
itself be final. That objection remains true for any negative test result
until a necessary state of the electrode has been fully characterized!
VI. Recommendations
1. The full file I have seen (i.e, the papers of Mallove, Swartz, and the
Luckhardt memo), including your queries to me and my own two
responses, should be available to interested persons on request. True,
that is a lot of paper; they could be given a listing and offered a choice.
2. Dr. Luckhardt should be encouraged to prepare an account of the
drift correction based on his March 10, 1992 memo to me, perhaps
adding a brief introduction, and Dr. Parker asked if he would issue it as
a brief amplifying note from the Plasma Fusion Center. That can be sent
by you to anyone who has written for more information, including of
course the people who have already done so.
3. I hope that everyone will cool his comments: enough of acrimony.
There are plenty of data from this powerful early experiment, though
puzzles about the complex system remain even after two more years of
widespread reports.
Exhibit Z-6
MIT President Dr. Charles Vest’s Letter to Eugene Mallove
April 1, 1992
President Vest’s final brush-off of my request for a full investigation
appropriately fell on April 1. Note how he conveniently
puts Dr. Swartz’s analysis off limits for discussion.—EFM
CHARLES M. VEST, PRESIDENT, Room 3-208
Dr. Eugene F. Mallove, Bow, New Hampshire
Dear Dr. Mallove:
I write in response to your letter of February 9, 1992. Earlier, by letter
dated January 6,1992. I had responded to your letters of August 18 and
October 24, 1991. I believe the issues raised by your earlier letters have
been addressed, and I will not repeat that response here.
As for your comments and requests related to the letter and manuscript
of Dr. Mitchell R. Swartz, it is not appropriate for me to comment
to you on Dr. Swartz’s work.
Sincerely yours, Charles M. Vest
CMV/mmd
Exhibit Z-7
Prof. Widnall’s Letter to Dr. Charles McCutchen
April 2, 1992
Now Charles Vest begins to act through subordinates,
such as the new Associate Provost, Prof.
Widnall, who would later become U.S. Secretary
of the Air Force. She tells Dr. McCutchen, “the
experimenters have been extremely forthcoming
with Dr. Mallove,” which clearly does not square
with the facts as is evident by all previous
Courtesy U.S. Air Force
55 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
exhibits.—EFM
OFFICE OF THE PROVOST
SHEILA E. WIDNALL, ASSOCIATE PROVOST
ABBY ROCKEFELLER MAUZE PROFESSOR
OF AERONAUTICS AND ASTRONAUTICS
ROOM3-234
Mr. Charles W. McCutchen
Department of Health, Education, and Welfare
Public Health Service, National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, Maryland
Dear Dr. McCutchen:
President Vest has passed your letter regarding the experiment
reported in Albagli et al. on to
me as falling within my
responsibilities as Associate
Provost. I assume that you
have written as an interested
scientist and not as an official
of NIH, which as far as I
know, has no official interest
in this topic nor any role in
the sponsorship of the work.
As you are no doubt aware,
the paper in question has been the subject of some scientific debate and
media attention. And that is entirely proper since the nature and importance
of scientific contributions are quite properly dealt with through open
debate in the scientific literature, through peer review, in open scientific
meetings and through the media. Disputes are part of the scientific process
and scientific results are always provisional, based on the data and theories
developed to date. The paper you questioned was a contribution to this
debate but clearly not the last word.
I believe that most of the issues raised in your letter are more appropriate
for a letter to the editor of the journal in question or for a communication
directly to the authors rather than a subject for action by
MIT. MIT has separately considered the issues raised by Dr. Mallove.
Contrary to the viewpoint expressed in your letter, the experimenters
have been extremely forthcoming with Dr. Mallove. He has been given
data from the calorimeter experiment and several opportunities to discuss
the procedure used with the investigators.
In the near future, a memo will be prepared by the experimenters
giving more details regarding the analysis of calorimetric data than
were available in the manuscript.
I shall see that you receive a copy of this when it becomes available.
Sincerely, Sheila Widnall
Exhibit Z-8
Dr. Charles McCutchen’s Letter to Prof. Sheila Widnall
July 26, 1992
Dr. McCutchen has not been impressed with Prof. Widnall’s letter.
He makes a simple request for an ethical clarification by the
MIT PFC of its results. This suggestion was never carried out by
MIT, thus maintaining the fiction, to this date, that the MIT PFC
results of 1989 were definite and null for excess heat.—EFM
Sheila E. Widnall, Associate Provost
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Room 3-234
Dear Dr. Widnall
Thank you for your letters and for talking with me on the telephone.
I took your advice and telephoned Stanley Luckhardt.
As you probably know, because of the change in the thermal resistance
between interior and exterior of its cell with time, the MIT cold
fusion experiment could not have detected small, steady power production
or small power production that varied linearly with time. However,
Luckhardt says that the experiment specifically looked for a sudden
onset of power production by the cell. Given this limited purpose,
it was legitimate for the experimenters to subtract the the best-fit ramp
from the data. So far, so good.
But the description of the experiment does not say that a sudden onset
was all the experimenters were looking for. And it never says that ramp
subtraction renders meaningless the height and slope of the resulting
curve. Someone as sharp as Philip Morrison integrated the excess power
signal numerically over the entire length of the experimental runs in the
apparent expectation that the result meant something.
To the experimenters, a reduction in the integrated power between
one draft and the next would mean only that their ramp subtraction had
improved. To a reader who thought the absolute height of the curve was
significant, this same reduction could look like data-cooking.
I therefore suggested to Luckhardt that science and civility would be
served if the experimenters published a correction explaining that the
height and slope of their final data meant nothing, and apologizing for
not saying so in the original article. To my great surprise, he objected
strongly to this proposal. For one thing, he said, in one part of their
experiment, absolute signal height was significant. They had compared
the excess power before and
after fluid was electrolysed
and then replaced. Somehow
this was a reason for not
explaining that, for most of
the data, absolute height was
not significant. More surprisingly,
reference to the
article shows that this
absolute-height part of the
experiment failed. The data were discrepant, though the experimenters
thought that the discrepancy would be smaller if more care were taken
to refill the cell to its original level.
I talked to Eugene Mallove, and found him unwilling to concede that
the MIT experimenters’ sin might be only misdescribing their experiment.
He and Mitchell Swartz insist that comparison of the experimenters
data before and after reduction shows that the reduction was
not done properly, and that the effect was to suppress evidence of excess
power that had a sudden onset. I think the experimenters had such a
low opinion of both cold fusion and their own experiment that they
would not have gone to the trouble of subtly cooking the results. Still,
Luckhardt’s adamant and puzzling refusal to clear up the confusion in
their description make me wonder if they are keeping everything closed
because there are things in their data reduction that will not stand
examination.
So what should MIT do? Leaving the experimenters and the doubters
to resolve the matter is creating a festering sore and a suspicion of
coverup. The groups are not communicating effectively. Each accuses
the other of non-cooperation.
I think MIT management should take a hand. In the end, this would
waste less of its time than trying to stay out of the matter. It should ask
the experimenters to publish a corrigendum saying that their original
description obscured the fact that they were looking for an abrupt turnon
of power generation by the cell. I see no respectable reason for them
not to comply. At the same time, they should be asked to give their original
data, data reduction formulae and algorithms to the doubters, who
should, in turn, be asked to give their objections, in writing, to the
experimenters. Out of this head-knocking, truth should emerge.
These requests could not reasonably be refused. They are impolite, but
both sides have broken social conventions (the doubters said the experimenters
were crooks; the experimenters ran a party celebrating the death
of cold fusion), so neither can expect the protections of politeness.
Sincerely yours, Charles W. McCutchen
Exhibit Z-9
Prof. Widnall’s Letter to Dr. Charles McCutchen
August 3, 1992
Provost Windall’s final stonewall letter to Dr. McCutchen.—EFM
Mr. Charles W. McCutchen
Princeton, New Jersey
Dear Dr. McCutchen:
I'm responding to your letter of July 26. I'm glad that you took the
opportunity to speak with Dr. Luckhardt regarding his memo and the
earlier paper. I recognize that this area remains controversial and the
issue you raised is: Is there anything that MIT as an institution should
do in response to the controversy?
I think MIT management should take a hand. In the end, this would
waste less of its time than trying to stay out of the matter. It should
ask the experimenters to publish a corrigendum saying that their original
description obscured the fact that they were looking for an abrupt
turn-on of power generation by the cell. I see no respectable reason for
them not to comply. —Dr. Charles McCutchen
56 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
MIT, along with all other universities that I know anything about,
does not often intrude between its faculty members and their professional
actions as scientists. We don't, for example, review the manuscripts
of our faculty prior to publication, as do many corporations and
government organizations. We are used to a high level of controversy,
often between members of our own faculty. Disputes about scientific
data, methods and results are common and play a positive role in
advancing science. When MIT faculty take public positions as scientists
or citizens, it is assumed that they are acting as individuals and not as
official spokesman for the institution.
Criteria for institutional involvement in such matters derive from our
contractual and institutional responsibilities. Alleged violations of institutional
policies by members of our community will bring forth an institutional
response. As you undoubtedly know, at our request Prof. Philip
Morrison undertook a detailed examination of the issues raised by two
individuals concerning the manuscript in question and determined that
there was no tangible basis for further institutional action.
I hope that the various groups on our campus who are involved in
this research will continue to have collegial, scientific dialogues but I
see no basis to direct any of the groups to take specific actions.
Sincerely,
Sheila Widnall
Associate Provost and
Abby Rockefeller Mauze Professor of
Aeronautics and Astronautics
Exhibit Z-10
Dr. Charles McCutchen’s Letter to Eugene Mallove
August 18, 1992
Eugene F. Mallove, Bow, NH
Dear Dr. Mallove,
As you can see from the enclosures, I did not get far with Sheila Widnall.
I was surprised she did not respond to my point that Philip Morrison,
their own expert, had been misled by the paper. I had previously
been surprised when Stanley Luckhardt irritatedly refused to consider
publishing a full description of the way the experimenters interpreted
their calorimetry experiment. I thought this would be a good way to
remove some confusion and lower the anger level.
How about taking the advice Dr. Widnall offered in her letter of April
2, 1992, and submitting a letter to Journal of Fusion Energy. You might get
your points out ln the open for the experimenters to answer. Perhaps
the hot fusioneers will stop the Journal from publishing your letter. This
would be objective evidence that they are brass-knuckle types, evidence
you could take to Sheila Widnall to show what happens when one tries
to have an “open debate in the scientific literature, through peer
review,” with MIT scientists.
Sincerely yours, Charles W. McCutchen
Exhibit Z-11
Dr. Charles McCutchen’s Letter to Prof. Sheila Widnall
August 18, 1992
Dr. McCutchen’s final word to Provost Widnall fell on deaf
ears.—EFM
Sheila E. Widnall, Associate Provost
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Room 3-234
Dear Dr. Widnall,
Thank you for your letter of Aug. 3, 1992. I do not envy you in having
to deal with matters that take time away from the constructive business
of the university. But consider, it is the enforcement of decency
among scientists that makes collegiality possible. Without sanctions for
bad behavior, science becomes a jungle. Like it or not, you knuckle-rappers
are keepers of the flame.
MIT is using formal procedures to evade responsibility. You and I
agree, I think, that bad scientific ethics are a university's business. So far,
so good. But MIT thinks that getting Philip Morrison to give the matter
a once-over-lightly discharges its responsibility. (Substitute '”Eisen” for
“Morrison” and you have the beginning of the Baltimore affair.) I
explained that Morrison was misled by the inaccurate description of the
experiment, the very thing that I object to. That he was thus misled
shows that a correction should be published. You did not respond. This
is stonewalling.
Collegial mechanisms will not resolve the issue. They work when all
parties play fair. The MIT hot fusion people are not playing fair. They
published a misleading description of an experiment. The errors ln the
description were important. The collegial rules require that they publish
a clarification. They refuse to do so.
What can the cold fusion people do now? If they submit a complaining
letter to the journal that carried the original paper, the hot fusion
people will probably try to prevent it from being published, and likely
succeed. There will be more anger on both sides, and a lot less collegiality
—all because MIT management cannot bring itself to make the
hot fusion people, its own employees, behave like gentlemen. (Remember
that what they refuse to publish is their own, verbal description of
the way the major part of the experiment worked.)
I am sorry that MIT continues to tough it out. Apparently
the university feels it need not be fair to cold fusion people.
Perhaps it is afraid to be fair. Luckhardt’s negative response
to my proposal that a correction be published suggests that
hot fusion patriotism requires one to be unfair to cold fusion
people. Why else (unless there is real data faking that they are
trying to hide) will the hot fusion people not publish a correction
that would blunt some of the
anger, and enhance their own reputation
for honesty?
Sincerely yours, Charles W.
McCutchen
cc: Dr. Eugene F. Mallove
“MIT Professor
Has a Theory
to Explain ‘Cold Fusion’”
MIT Provost John Deutch said, “MIT is a place where creative
individuals are encouraged to address scientific subjects of
the greatest significance. We are pleased to see Professor
Hagelstein proposing an explanation for ‘cold fusion’ and we
are encouraging investigators both here and at other research
institutions to continue their work on this most surprising
phenomenon, which may have enormous consequences.”
[Later, Dr. Deutch became Director of the CIA in the Clinton
Press Release
MIT News Office
April 12, 1989
Ponder the unthinkable. Question the status quo. Live in the world as
well as in your own nation. Dream of a better future, but
contribute to the present. Share your talents. Commune with all people.
Be steady friends and bold companions. Be honest in all that you do.
—MIT President Charles Vest’s Commencement Address June, 1998.
Photo: Courtesy CIA
57 Infinite Energy • ISSUE 24, 1999 • MIT Special Report
Key Cold Fusion Publications of MIT
Graduate, MIT Professor Peter L.
Hagelstein
• “Coherent Fusion Theory,” presented at the ASME Winter Meeting,
San Francisco, Dec. 1989, paper TS-4.
• “Coherent Fusion Theory,” Journal of Fusion Energy, Vol. 9, No. 4,
1990. pp. 451-463.
• “Status of Coherent Fusion,” DoE Annual Report, January 1990.
• “Status of Coherent Fusion Theory,” Proceedings of The First Annual
Conference on Cold Fusion, March 28-31, 1990, Salt Lake City, pp. 99-
118.
• “Coherent Fusion Mechanisms,” AIP (American Institute of Physics)
Conference Proceedings #228, Anomalous Nuclear Effects in
Deuterium/Solid Systems, Provo, Utah, 1990, Editors: Steven E. Jones,
Franco Scaramuzzi, and David Worledge, pp. 734-781.
• “Coherent and Semi-Coherent Neutron Transfer Reactions,” Conference
Proceedings, Vol. 33, The Science of Cold Fusion, Ed: T. Bressani, E.
DelGiudice, and G. Preparata, SIF Bologna, 1991, pp. 205-209.
• “Coherent and Semi-Coherent Neutron Transfer Reactions,”Proceedings
of the Third International Conference on Cold Fusion (October 21-
25, 1992), Frontiers of Cold Fusion, Ed., Hideo Ikegami, Universal Academy
Press, Inc., Tokyo, pp. 297-306.
• “Coherent and Semi-Coherent Neutron Transfer Reactions I: The
Interaction Hamiltonian,” Fusion Technology, Vol. 22, 1992, pp. 172-180.
• “Coherent and Semi-Coherent Neutron Transfer Reactions III:
Phonon Generation, ”Fusion Technology, Vol. 23, 1993, p. 353-361.
• “Coherent and Semi-Coherent Neutron Transfer Reactions II: Dipole
Operators,” submitted toFusion Technology, 1993.
• “Coherent and Semi-Coherent Neutron Transfer Reactions IV: Two-Step
Reactions and Virtual Neutrons ” submitted to Fusion Technology, 1993.
• “Lattice-Induced Atomic and Nuclear Reactions,” Transactions of
Fusion Technology, Proceedings of the Fourth International Conference on
Cold Fusion (Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii, December 6-9, 1993, Vol. 26, No.
4T, December 1994, pp. xi-xii.
• “In Memory of Julian Schwinger,” Transactions of Fusion Technology, Proceedings
of the Fourth International Conference on Cold Fusion (Lahaina,
Maui, Hawaii, December 6-9, 1993, Vol. 26, No. 4T, December 1994, pp.
xi-xii.
• “A Possible Mössbauer Effect in Neutron Capture,” Hyperfine Interactions,
Vol. 92, 1994, p. 1059-.
• “Update on Neutron Transfer Reactions,” Proceedings of the Fifth
International Conference on Cold Fusion (9-13 April 1995, Monte Carlo,
Monaco), pp. 327-337.
• “Proposed Novel Optical Phonon Laser Pumped by Exothermic
Desorption,” Bull. APS, Vol. 40, 1995, p. 808.
• “Anomalous Energy Transfer Between Nuclei and the Lattice,”
Progress in New Hydrogen Energy: Proceedings of the Sixth International
Conference on Cold Fusion, October 13-18, 1996, Japan, pp. 382-386.
• “Models for Anomalous Energy Transfer,”Proceedings of the Seventh
Key Cold Fusion Publications of
MIT Professor Keith H. Johnson
• “Hydrogen-Hydrogen/Deuterium-Deuterium Bonding in Palladium
and the Superconducting/Electrochemical Properties of PdH/-
PdD,” K.H. Johnson and D.P. Clougherty, Mod. Phys. Lett. B, Vol. 3,
1989, p. 795-.
• “Jahn-Teller Symmetry Breaking and Hydrogen Energy in ?-PdD
‘Cold Fusion’ as Storage of the Latent Heat of Water,” K.H. Johnson,
Transactions of Fusion Technology, Proceedings of the Fourth International
Conference on Cold Fusion (Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii, December 6-9, 1993,
Vol. 26, No. 4T, December 1994, pp. 427-430.
• “Method of Maximizing Anharmonic Oscillations in Deuterated
Alloys,” U.S. Patent 5,411,654, Brian S. Ahern, Keith H. Johnson, and
Harry R. Clark, Jr., Filed July 2, 1993, Date of Patent, May 2, 1995.
• “Water Clusters and Uses Therefore,” K.H. Johnson, Bin Zhang, and
Harry C. Clarke, US Patent 5,800,576, Filed, November 13, 1996, Date
of Patent, September 1, 1998.
Cold Fusion Publications of
MIT Graduate Dr. Mitchell R. Swartz
JET Energy Technology has contributed through
our R&D, high standards, and quality control.
Publications on Research and Q/C
• Swartz, M. 1993. “Some Lessons from Optical Examination of the
PFC Phase-II Calorimetric Curves,” Vol. 2, Proceedings: Fourth International
Conference on Cold Fusion, 19-1, op. cit.
• Swartz, M. 1994. “A Method To Improve Algorithms Used To Detect
Steady State Excess Enthalpy,” Transactions of Fusion Technology, 26, 156-159.
• Swartz, M. 1996. “Relative Impact of Thermal Stratification of the Air
Surrounding a Calorimeter,” Journal of New Energy, 2, 219-221 (1996)
• Swartz, M. 1996. “Improved Calculations Involving Energy Release
Using a Buoyancy Transport Correction,” Journal of New Energy, 1, 3,
219-221.
•Swartz, M. 1996. “Potential for Positional Variation in Flow Calorimetric
Systems,” Journal of New Energy, 1, 126-130.
•Swartz, M. 1996. “Definitions of Power Amplification Factor,” J. New
Energy, 2, 54-59.
• Swartz, M. 1997. "Consistency of the Biphasic Nature of Excess
Enthalpy in Solid State Anomalous Phenomena with the Quasi-1-
Dimensional Model of Isotope Loading into a Material,” Fusion Technology,
31, 63-74.
• Swartz, M. 1997. “Noise Measurement in Cold Fusion Systems,”
Journal of New Energy, 2, 2, 58-61.
• Swartz, M. 1997. “Biphasic Behavior in Thermal Electrolytic Generators
Using Nickel Cathodes,” ECEC 1997 Proceedings, paper #97009
• Swartz, M. 1998. “Patterns of Failure in Cold Fusion Experiments,”
Proceedings of the 33rd Intersociety Engineering Conference on Energy
Conversion, IECEC-98-1229, Colorado Springs, CO, August 2-6,1998.
• Swartz, M. 1998. “Optimal Operating Point Characteristics of Nickel
Light Water Experiments,” Proceedings of ICCF-7.
• Swartz, M. 1998. “Improved Electrolytic Reactor Performance Using
p-Notch System Operation and Gold Anodes,” Transactions of the American
Nuclear Society, Nashville, TN 1998 Meeting, (ISSN:0003-018X publisher
LaGrange, IL) 78, 84-85.
Publications on Quasi-1-dimensional Isotope Loading, and
Optimal Operating Point Behavior
• Swartz, M. 1992. “Quasi-One-Dimensional Model of Electrochemical
Loading of Isotopic Fuel into a Metal,” Fusion Technology, 22, 2, 296-300.
• Swartz, M. 1994. “Isotopic Fuel Loading Coupled to Reactions at an
Electrode,” Fusion Technology, 96, 4T, 74-77
• Swartz. M. 1994. “Generalized Isotopic Fuel Loading Equations,”
Cold Fusion Source Book, International Symposium on Cold Fusion and
Advanced Energy Systems, Ed. Hal Fox, Minsk, Belarus,
• Swartz. M. 1997. “Codeposition of Palladium and Deuterium,”
Fusion Technology, 32,126-130
Publications on Catastrophic Desorption and Nuclear Theory
• Swartz. M. 1994. “Catastrophic Active Medium Hypothesis of Cold
Fusion,” Vol. 4. Proceedings: Fourth International Conference on Cold
Fusion, sponsored by EPRI and the Office of Naval Research.
• Swartz, M. 1996. “Possible Deuterium Production from Light Water
Excess Enthalpy Experiments Using Nickel Cathodes,” Journal of New
Energy, 3, 68-80 (1996).
• Swartz, M. 1997. “Hydrogen Redistribution by Catastrophic Desorption
in Select Transition Metals,” Journal of New Energy, 1, 4, 26-33.
• Swartz, M. 1997. “Phusons in Nuclear Reactions in Solids,” Fusion
Technology, 31, 228-236 (March 1997).




cold fusion (Spirituality, New-Age - Free energy)    -    Author : JP - France


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Zen-Blogs >> Spirituality, New-Age >> Blog #54