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235) It was only one year ago

Ludwik Kowalski (7/9/05)
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ, 07043



Due to collaboration with Dennis Lett (and his team) I was highly excited one year ago. I was convinced that their results, reported by me at the 11’th cold fusion conference in Marseilles, were the beginning of something that should turn the controversial field into just another area of mainstream science research. My findings were described in units #182, #183 and #184; they will also be described in the ICCF11 proceedings. What I did not know one year ago was the footnote that had to be added to my report at the stage of its galley proofing. Here is the footnote:

On May 2005 Ludwik Kowalski sent an e-mail message to Dennis Letts. He wrote: “I am going to galley proof our ICCF11 presentation in Marseilles. This puts me in an awkward situation. If I were reporting on my own work I would add a short paragraphs, something like this: ‘No additional experiments were conducted to confirm observations reported 6 months ago. The unexpected delay is due to . . .’ But in this case I was only a messenger; you are real players. A reader is likely to be interested in the current status of our investigation. I think that it is not right to report positive results only and keep negative results hidden. Do you agree? . . . The following reply was received several hours later.

“No additional experiments were conducted to confirm observations reported 6 months ago. The unexpected delay is due to the fact that experiments seldom work on a schedule. The MOAC had to be modified slightly to re-store design stability and precision. Also, we have not observed laser-triggered excess power since August 2003. Of course I agree [with your last statement] – since changing metals at the end of 2004, my success rate has been zero. This is compared to a success rate of 87% during the years of 2000–2004. Other than changing Palladium stock, I don’t know what has caused the sudden loss of the laser effect. Experiments have been conducted in a high quality calorimeter (MOAC), in a moderate quality calorimeter (my Avanti) and on the open bench. The laser effect has not re-appeared under any of the above calorimetric conditions.

Experiments are being conducted now to re-establish the laser effect or to explain why it stopped working. You may use this information in any way you wish, including an addendum. With regard to reporting negative results, consider this: Cravens and Letts discovered the laser effect in September 2000 and reported the positive results publicly in August 2003. We spent 3 years testing the credibility of our result before reporting publicly. We anticipate behaving in a consistent manner now – we have negative results but we’re not in a rush to report until we’re sure that we have negative results and try to provide some reasons why the results are negative. I believe that reporting results formally by 2007 will be consistent with our previous work and should not be considered ‘keeping negative results hidden’.”

I agree that one should not jump to conclusions too rapidly, and that negative results should be investigated as thoroughly as positive results. And I admire his courage to continue researching. Let me share another piece of disappointing information. On June 20, 2005 a reader wrote to me: “As far as I know, the only Japanese CF laboratory still in operation is Mizuno's lab. . . . Iwamura is closed down because of the opposition and because the company is in a crisis. Spring8 and some others are supposedly working to verify Iwamura, but I do not think this involves experiments. The other researchers have all retired as far as I know.” Another line of cold fusion research, supported by Toyota -- Fleischmann’s laboratory in Southern France -- also ended suddenly two years ago, in spite of presumably positive results. This was said to due to death of the supporter.

Iwamura’s findings (see unit #123) dominated last two cold fusion conferences; they were said to be confirmed in other places (see unit #105), but not independently. Why did two automobile industries stop productive scientific research? Probably because they are more interested in short-term benefits from research than in its long-term scientific significance. Let me also mention Oriani effects. I started investigating them after the 11th cold fusion conference, as reported in unit #188. This work was also described in units #189, 192 and 197. Unfortunately, what was highly reproducible is no longer reproducible, as reported to me by Oriani three months ago. Like Dennis Letts, Oriani is not giving up; he believes that the cause of irreproducibility can be found. Somebody hinted that fluctuating solar activity might be correlated with negative results of some cold fusion experiments on earth. That is an interesting idea but its validation would be even more difficult than validation of cold fusion claims.

I have no doubt that researchers with whom collaborated in the last year (Jones, Letts and Oriani) are component and honest. That is why I am not yet discouraged by negative results. I still want to find somebody who can help me to produce a student-oriented cold fusion demonstration on the basis of a scientific research claim. Please contact me if you have something feasible, and not very expensive, to suggest. Keep in mind that my background is nuclear physics, not chemistry and not calorimetry. But I would be willing to work on an excess heat demo, provided the rate of generation of excess heat, at least 10 W, is significantly higher than the rate at which energy is supplied to the unit. Aside of this pedagogical project I would like to have a chance to observe an interesting research work and write about it at this website. My email address is <kowalskil@mail.montclair.edu>.

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