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401) A Refutation and a Replication

Ludwik Kowalski, <kowalskiL@mail.montclair.edu>
Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, N.J. 07043


Introduction

In closing sections of Chapter 4 (1), Ed Storms focuses on various aspects of replication experiments. Let me address some of these issues, in the context of two projects: our Curie Project and SPAWAR project.

Curie Project
Our purpose (2) was not to either accept or reject Oriani’s claim; it was to either confirm or not confirm it. The so called “burden of proof,” as always, is on the author of a claim. The burden of rejection, on the other hand, is on all of us, not on authors of individual reports. I agree with Storms that “deciding whether sufficient replication has been achieved to justify accepting the effect as real phenomena is a complex problem.” That is why a decision about accepting or not accepting belongs to the entire scientific community, in any given discipline. Unfortunately, a large fraction of nuclear scientists have already decided that all CMNS claims are pseudoscientific. That conclusion, accepted in the early 1990’s, prevents constructive evaluation of new experimental data.

As stated in the Introduction, our goal was to either confirm or refute the claimed reproducibility of the Oriani effect. According to Storms, “repetitive failure [to replicate results] generally means the parameter space in which critical conditions fall is too small to be entered very often by accident using the available methods.” This is certainly a possibility; our individual conditions were not exactly the same as in Oriani’s lab. What exactly was responsible for our failure to replicate the originally reported results? That question can be answered, at least in principle, via a very complex investigation. I am thinking about changing places, for example, Oriani performing experiments in our laboratories using distilled water and us performing experiments in his laboratory, using tap water. I am also thinking about the use of teflon by Richard, about the use of spot-welded contacts by each of us, etc. A systematic investigation of this type would be practically impossible, under our working conditions.

SPAWAR project
The idea of organizing a collective attempt to replicate Oriani’s results, The Curie Project, was a logical consequence of my participation in The Galileo Project, an attempt to confirm the effect discovered by SPAWAR team. Like other participants I observed the same copious pits as those observed by scientists who discovered them. After confirming their experimental results I addressed the issue of interpretation. Are the observed pits due to alpha particles, as claimed by SPAWAR scientists, or are they due to something else, as suspected by Richard Oriani? My answer to this question, based on measured sizes of copious pits, was that they cannot be due to common alpha particles, as described in (3). This conclusion was rebutted in (4). The issue the interpretation of reproducible results remains unresolved (5).

Unfortunately, this line of research--investigation of copious pits, on both CR-39 surfaces--was apparently abandoned in favor of the investigation of rare triple tracks (6), presumably due to fast neutrons. Why unfortunately? Because spectacular results whose reproducibility has been independently confirmed are rare. Such results should be studied, not abandoned. The first task should be to identify parameters, or combinations of parameters on which the effect depends or does not depend, as described in (1). For example, what happens when the magnetic field is either increased or decreased, when different cathodes, codeposition rates and laser illuminations are used, when ... etc. etc. Changing one parameter at a time, and publishing the results, preferably in different journals, would be highly desirable.

Conclusion
As stated in (7), each of us “is a citizen of the community of science. Each shares responsibility for the welfare of this community,” and for the society at large. Attempting to objectively confirm or refute various scientific claims is our professional obligation.

References:
1) Edmund Storms, “The Science of Low Energy Nuclear Reaction: a Comprehensive Compilation of Evidence and Explanations about Cold Fusion.,” 2008 (see page 117)

2) Jeff Driscoll et al. “Issues Related to Reproducibility in a CMNS Experiment,” “Journal of Condensed Matter Nuclear Science,” vol. 5, June 2011, page 34-41. (it can be downloaded from http://www.iscmns.org/CMNS/JCMNS-Vol5.pdf )

3) Ludwik Kowalski, Comment on “The use of CR-39 in Pd/D co-deposition
experiments,” Eur. Phys. J. Appl. Phys. 44, 287–290 (2008). The article can be downloaded from the library at http://lenr-canr.org

4) Mosier-Boss, P.A., et al., “Reply to Comment on 'The Use of CR-39 in Pd/D Co-deposition Experiments': A Response to Kowalski.” Eur. Phys. J. Appl. Phys., 2008. 44: p. 291-295. The article can be downloaded from the library at http://lenr-canr.org

5) Matt McConnell et al. at: http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/CantwellRsearchforc.pdf

6) Mosier-Boss, P.A., et al., “Triple tracks in CR-39 as the result of Pd/D Co-deposition: evidence of energetic neutrons,” Naturwiss., 2008. doi:10.1007/s00114-008-0449-x(96): p. 135-142.

7) APS Guidelines For Professional Conduct at: http://www.aps.org/policy/statements/02_2.cfm

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