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393) My note (see below) was rejected


Ludwik Kowalski

Montclair State University, New Jersey, USA

August 23, 2010



This unit is the follow-up of what was described in unit 395. I am being prompted to compose it because of the e-mail message received today. I was informed that my short note has been rejected by European Physics Journal, Applied Physics.

1) My rejected note is shown first:

Four questions and a comment

Ludwik Kowalski
Montclair State University
kowalskiL@mail.montclair.edu



I read the paper by P. A. Mosier-Boss et al, [1] with great interest. Can a chemical effect, such as electrolysis, trigger a nuclear effect? This question has been debated since 1989, when the discovery of the so-called “cold fusion” was announced by Fleischmann and Pons [2]. Great progress toward answering this question has been made, as summarized in [3]. But the world is still waiting for a reproducible-on-demand, and convincing, demonstration of a chemically-induced nuclear reaction. The name “cold fusion,” by the way, has recently been replaced by CMNS (Condense Matter Nuclear Science). According to [1], triple tracks discovered in CR-39 detectors are due to neutrons, with energies higher than 9.6 MeV emitted during electrolysis, rather than, for example, to cosmic rays.

I have four questions and a comment. The first question is about the phrase “neutron flux of 107 n/s" (in the last paragraph in Section 2). The phrase seems to be contradictory. If the number 10^7 refer to “flux” then the unit should be (n/(cm^2 *s); if the unit is correct then the term “neutron flux” is not appropriate. I suspect that 10^7refers to the neutron source intensity (strength). If this is true then to estimate the flux one would have to divide the 10^7 by 4*PI*r^2, where r is the distance between the center of the source and the CR-39 detector.” My second question is about r; how large was it?

My first comment has to do with the number of tracks. As stated in Subsection 3.3, codeposition experiments “typically last two weeks.” The number of triple tracks per detector was “at most 5 to 10, including both the front and back surfaces.” That is indeed a very small number. It is reassuring that no triple tracks “have been observed in background monitoring detectors.” That rules out the “cosmic rays” interpretation. This argument would be stronger if the total numbers of experiments were reported.

Suppose that ten detectors are used in all codeposition experiments, and that the mean number of tracks per detector is 5. Then the total would be about 50 triple tracks. Suppose that only five triple tracks were found on ten background monitoring detectors. The difference between 50 and 5 would certainly be more significant than the difference between 10 and 3.

My third question has to do with the neutron source exposure time of 4.5 hours. Was this time chosen to produce about as many triple tracks as during a typical codeposition experiment (lasting two weeks)? What was a typical number of triple tracks found after 4.5 hours of DT irradiation?

My last set of related questions has to do with the overall strategy. What to do next? The world is waiting for a reproducible-on-demand, and convincing, demonstration of a chemically-induced nuclear reaction. What kind of codepositionon experiment is more likely to lead us to that end? The last SPAWAR paper [1], focusing on rare events, can be contrasted with earlier codeposition papers [4,5], where the reported racks were much more abundant.

References

1. P. A. Mosier-Boss, J. Y. Dea, L. P.G. Forsley, M. S. Morey, J. R. Tinsley,
J. P. Hurley and F. E. Gordon Eur. Phys. J. Appl. Phys. 51, 20901 (2010).
2. M. Fleischmann, B.S. Pons and M. Hawkins, J. Electroanal. Chem.,
261, 301, 1989.
3. E. Storms, The Science of low energy nuclear reactions: A comprehensive
Compilation of Evidence and Explanations about cold fusion,
World Scientific,
Hackensack, NJ, (2007)
4. P. A. Mosier-Boss, S. Szpak, F. E. Gordon, L. P.G. Forsley
Eur. Phys. J. Appl. Phys. 40, 293 (2007).
5. P. A. Mosier-Boss, S. Szpak, F. E. Gordon, L. P.G. Forsley
Eur. Phys. J. Appl. Phys. 46, 30901 (2009).


2) The rejection note:

Your manuscript, “Four questions and a comment,” has been carefully considered by the referees of The European Physical Journal-AP. As you can see on the enclosed reports, the referees have raised serious concerns regarding its suitability for publication.

I therefore regret to inform you that your manuscript has not been accepted for publication. Thank you very much for having submitted your article to our journal and I hope that you will nevertheless consider EPJ-AP for the publication of your future articles.


3) Comments made by three referees (sent to me by the editor):

Referee 1:

In 2009, we reported on the observation of triple tracks in CR-39 detectors used in Pd-D co-deposition experiments [1]. A search of the literature indicated that triple tracks are diagnostic of the 12C(n,n')3alphas carbon breakup reaction in the detector with an energy threshold of 9.6 MeV [2-5]. At the time, it was only possible to compare images of triple tracks observed in CR-39 detectors used in the Pd/D co-deposition experiments with those reported in the literature and it was found that the Pd/D co-deposition generated triple tracks were similar to nuclear-generated triple tracks. The intent of this effort was to expose CR-39 detectors to a DT neutron source and to compare the resultant triple tracks with those we have observed in our Pd/D co-deposition experiments. Figures 3 and 4 of our paper [6] show side-by-side comparisons of symmetric and asymmetric triple tracks in CR-39 detectors used in Pd/D co-deposition experiments and exposed to DT neutrons. The two sets of tracks are indistinguishable.

Since the on-line publication of our paper [6] comparing DT and Pd/D co-deposition generated triple tracks in CR-39, Kowalski has asked why the CR-39 detectors were exposed to the DT neutron source for 4.5 hours. There is no significance in the exposure time used to irradiate the CR-39 detectors. Our intent was to obtain a large sampling of DT-generated triple tracks to compare with those triple tracks observed in the Pd/D co-deposition experiments. This is particularly important given that the carbon break-up reaction can proceed to the four-body final state through one or more of the following reaction mechanisms [7] ..... The observed shape of the triple track in the CR-39 detector is, consequently, dependent upon the reaction mechanism that occurred.

Kowalski has also asked why the neutron flux was reported in units of n s^-1 as opposed to n cm^-2 s^-1. That was because nine CR-39 detectors were placed on the neutron tube. The position of those detectors relative to the target was not known. Therefore, the distance between the detectors and the target, r, was not known. Consequently it was not possible to report the flux in n cm^-2 s^-1. Furthermore, the purpose of the experiment was to see what DT neutron tracks look like and to compare them with the tracks observed in our Pd/D co-deposition experiments. Those goals were met. As this was a qualitative comparison between DT-generated triple tracks and Pd/D co-deposition triple tracks, Kowalski’s comments on flux units and exposure time are not relevant. We also note that Kowalski does not dispute the fact that one cannot differentiate DT-generated triple tracks and Pd/D co-deposition triple tracks.

Kowalski has asked ?What was a typical number of triple tracks found after 4.5 hours of DT irradiation of CR-39.? That was not the goal of this effort and again his question is not relevant to the results presented in our paper [6]. However, Kowalski's question was addressed by both Abdel-Moneim and Abdel-Naby [3] and Phillips et al. [8].

Kowalski has indicated that the observation of “at most 5 to 10 triple tracks” in CR-39 detectors used in Pd/D co-deposition experiments is a very small number and suggests that it would be more significant to list the total number of triple tracks found in all co-deposition experiments. Again Kowalski’s statement is not relevant. We would like to point out that we only look for triple tracks in areas where the track density is low. Consequently, the number of triple tracks is, in all likelihood, under-reported. Also we have conducted over a hundred experiments using CR-39 detectors. This includes Pd/D co-deposition experiments as well as control experiments. As we noted in our papers [1,6], triple tracks have only been observed in experiments involving the use of palladium and deuterated water. They have not been observed in copper electroplating experiments nor in Ni-screen electrolysis experiments in either D2O or H2O. Nor have triple tracks been observed in blank detectors.

Kowalski states that “the world is waiting for a reproducible-on-demand and convincing demonstration of a chemically-induced nuclear reaction.? He then asks ?what kind of co-deposition experiment is more likely to lead us to that end” The intent of our research is not to provide the world with such an experiment.  Our intent is to conduct experiments to gain a better understanding of the phenomenon. CR-39 is simply one tool we are using to gain that understanding.

Kowalski’s last sentence “The last SPAWAR paper focusing on rare events, can be contrasted with earlier co-deposition papers were the reported tracks were much more abundant” is puzzling. Presumably this statement is meant to discourage us from reporting on the existence of triple tracks by disparagingly saying that they are too few to warrant further attention. It should be noted that the discovery of new subatomic particles and CP symmetry violations in physics have been the result of “rare” events. The rarity of such events does not invalidate them. There are other such examples in nature. Clearly Kowalski does not appreciate the significance of triple tracks in CR-39 detectors used in Pd/D co-deposition experiments. Nor does he appreciate the fact that the Pd/D co-deposition triple tracks are indistinguishable from DT neutron generated triple tracks. For us to not report on the existence of triple tracks in our Pd/D co-deposition experiments would have been scientifically negligent.

REFERENCES

1. P.A. Mosier-Boss, S. Szpak, F.E. Gordon, L.P.G. Forsley, Naturwissenschaften 96, 135 (2009).
2. S.A.R. Al-Najjar, A. Abdel-Naby, S.A. Durrani, Nuclear Tracks 12, 611 (1986).
3. A.M. Abdel-Moneim, A. Abdel-Naby, Radiat. Meas. 37, 15 (2003).
4. J.K. Pálfalvi, J. Szabό, Y. Akatov, L. Sajό-Bohus, I. Eördögh, Radiat. Meas. 40, 428 (2005).
5. L. Sajό-Bohus, J.K. Pálfalvi, Y. Akatov, O. Arevalo, E.D. Greaves, P. Németh, D. Palacios, J. Szabό, I. Eördögh, Radiat. Meas. 40, 442 (2005).
6. P.A. Mosier-Boss et al., Eur. Phys. J. Appl. Phys., in press (2010).
7. B. Antolković, Z. Dolenec, Nucl. Phys. A 237, 235 (1975).
G.W. Phillips, J.E. Spann. J.S. Bogard, T. Vo-Dinh, D. Emfietzoglou, R.T. Devine, M. Moscovitch, Radiat. Prot. Dosim. 120, 457 (2006).

Referee 2:

The SPAWAR group has been researching particle emission from Pd codeposition experiments for several years, and they have published a variety of remarkable results.  Kowalski has now for years played the role of the critic, skeptic, or questioner. In the present manuscript, Kowalski is continuing this role.

Two of his comments/questions refer to the exposure of CR-39 plates by a neutron source; he wants to know why a 4.5 hour exposure was used; he points out the 10 million neutrons/sec is not a flux, and he wants to know the flux.

One of his comments has to do with the statistical significance of the triple tracks.

The final comment seems to have to do with strategy, but is in actuality a criticism.

It is the case that the SPAWAR group should probably have given an integrated flux number as neutrons per unit area.  We presume that they picked the exposure time in order to get a useful signal.  This issue of how many such tracks have been seen is important, and readers would benefit if SPAWAR could shed light on this.  The final comment/criticism is not as helpful or interesting.

There is no physics contribution in this manuscript. It would be appropriate for a simpler version of this comment to be published, along with a short response from SPAWAR immediately following.

However, given the negative history of the interaction between Kowlaski and the SPAWAR group, we need to be mindful to minimize the nontechnical content of the comment.  It should be revised to a few sentences that request

(1) clarification of the integrated neutron flux in units of neutron per unit area; and

(2) additional information about how many triple tracks have been seen total in how many experiments, and perhaps additionally how many hours of run time.

Referee 3:

This paper does not contain any scientific advance, nor any improvement on earlier work.

3) Quick comment (I will probably write more later).

a) I agree with the Referee 3; the purpose of my short note was to ask for clarifications, not to publish new information. I expected my note to be published in the same issue in which the three questions would be answered by one of the SPAWAR authors.

b) Referee 2 wrote “given the negative history of the interaction between Kowlaski and the SPAWAR group ...” That hurts; I am trying my best to be useful. Do not forget that I was among the first CMNS researchers who published results that were identical to those published by the SPAWAR team. I started using solid state track detectors in 1961 (using mica, not CR-39). A year later I wrote a review article on the subject (in a Polish journal “Postempy Fizyki,” volume 13, page 463). I summarized what I learned from an American, R. Walker, in France. He brought this new method of detection to Europe; I was probably the first European to observe fission fragments with them.

Offering constructive criticism should not be called “negative interactions.” I would be very happy to have friendly interactions with SPAWAR people; I admire their work. Their results are reproducible on demand and that is very important.

c) Referee 3 wrote Kowalski has indicated that the observation of “at most 5 to 10 triple tracks” in CR-39 detectors used in Pd/D co-deposition experiments is a very small number and suggests that it would be more significant to list the total number of triple tracks found in all co-deposition experiments. Again Kowalski’s statement is not relevant.”

I disagree, it is very relevant, considering the context in which this observation was made. Here is that context again :

My first comment has to do with the number of tracks. As stated in Subsection 3.3, codeposition experiments “typically last two weeks.” The number of triple tracks per detector was “at most 5 to 10, including both the front and back surfaces.” That is indeed a very small number. It is reassuring that no triple tracks “have been observed in background monitoring detectors.” That rules out the “cosmic rays” interpretation. This argument would be stronger if the total numbers of experiments were reported.

Suppose that ten detectors are used in all codeposition experiments, and that the mean number of tracks per detector is 5. Then the total would be about 50 triple tracks. Suppose that only five triple tracks were found on ten background monitoring detectors. The difference between 50 and 5 would certainly be more significant than the difference between 10 and 3.

I was a little surprised that not a single triple track was observed in background detectors. My expectation would by about 3 or 5, in ten such detectors. That is why seeing 50 would be more reassuring than seeing only 10. But I do understand practical difficulties mentioned by Referee 3. (By the way, my guess about ten chips exposed to neutrons was actually very close to reality. The actual number was nine, as written by the Referee 3 above.)

Yes, the final comment was not necessary. It was not an attempt to “discourage” anything; it was a statement about the strategy I would prefer. I would focus on what has already been shown to be reproducible on demand and would start “playing with parameters.” But, as they say in Russia, “na wkus i na cviet towarishchej niet.” Or “in matters of taste there are no friends.”

4) Additional comments and observations (to be added)

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