35) Another nuclear signature
Ludwik Kowalski (January 12, 2003)
Department of Mathematical Sciences
Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ, 07043
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Another unique nuclear signature of the so-called cold fusion, able to prove the reality of CANR, is emission of gamma rays, as reported by many researchers. According to Karabut, for example, gamma rays can be observed from a gas discharge tube filled with deuterium and equipped with a palladium cathode. Presence of gamma rays should be relatively easy to either confirm or to deny. The low level gamma radiation takes place during the discharge, and up to height days after the discharge. Looking for gamma rays after the discharge can first be conducted by using a common Geiger counter (with appropriate filters) and then with a more sophisticated detector able to identify numerous peaks presumably due to specific transmutation products.
The methodology for trying to establish reality CANR (chemically assisted nuclear events) should be similar to that used in statistics. Start with the so-called null hypothesis, that is assume that an observed phenomenon is not due to a nuclear process. Do everything possible to show that it can be explained by a non-nuclear effect. Failure to show this, (not only by me but also by knowledgeable scientists investigating the results), would be an acceptable argument in favor of CANR. In the case of the low level gamma rays, for example, one would have to rule out a possibility that they come from a contamination of some kind or that what is believed to be gamma rays is actually noise, etc.
The opposite approach would be to take seriously all indications which can possibly be interpreted in terms of what one wants to demonstrate. Let me give an illustrations of this. A claim is made that the operation a TV is associated with nuclear reactions. A person who believes in this claim sets up a demonstration. Two identical TV sets are placed in a room. One of them is on while another off. After a month or so a paper tissue is used to remove the dust accumulated on each screen. The tissue used to clean the operating TV turns out to be radioactive (about five times above the background level, as in my home) while the other tissue is not radioactive. This reproducible fact, however, has nothing to do with nuclear processes being activated by the operation of a TV set. It has to do with ions of radon (and its daughters) in the air, and with their natural migration along the electric field lines toward the charged surface of the operating TV set.
I am assuming that honest scientists conducting research in the area of cold fusion are objective and that they do not fall into a trap of ignoring possibilities of alternative explanations. But suppose that this assumption is contradicted and that the apparently nuclear signatures, claimed to be highly significant by hundreds of specialists, are finally shown to be either nonexistent or misinterpreted. This would indicate that a phenomenon of large scale self-deception, and mutual support, is a real possibility in any area of science. I wander if criticism of other people work is common within the cold fusion community. How does this community deal with real fraud and deception likely to occur in any area? I suspect that there may be a tendency not to publicize disagreements, and fraudulent data, in order to protect the field from possible bad publicity. But who knows, perhaps I am wrong on this.
Let me end with an interesting observation; it was influenced by Jacques Dufours paper which I summarized as item # 29. He asked: why is it that CANR are so difficult to prove? And the answer was: [because] trace amounts of byproducts are expected. To eliminate all problems of initial impurities present in the metal, and to be well above the detection limits of the instruments, will require to further increase the energy production and to run experiments on very long periods. It is well known that detection limits for radioactive substances are usually by many orders of magnitude lower than for stable substances. But the reaction products of cold fusion are mostly stable. This presents experimental difficulties. On the other hand, nuclear reactions generating energy without producing radioactive waste are highly desirable. According to Dufour, this is a drawback to convince of the reality of the phenomenon, but a considerable advantage when uses are envisaged.
Here are simple numerical illustration for an introductory science course. Suppose that excess heat is generated at the rate of 10 W, as in some cold fusion experiments. Also suppose that each nuclear event produces 6 MeV of energy; this translates into about 10-12 joules per event. How many events would occur in each second? The answer is: 10/10-12 or 1013. Suppose that X is the only byproduct of a nuclear event. In that case the amount of X accumulated in each second would be 1013 atoms. The number of atoms accumulated in ten hours would be 3.6*1017 (or 2.4 micrograms, if X were 4He). If X were a radioactive product, characterized by the half-life of ten thousand years, then the disintegration rate would be 7.88*105 per second.
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