In Memory of Yoshiaki Arata, 1924-2018
Dr. Yoshiaki Arata passed away on June 5 at the age of 94. He was an esteemed Japanese hot fusion scientist and Professor Emeritus of Osaka University. He was so instrumental in the founding and development of Osaka University’s Welding Research Institute that in 1988 the university honored Arata with the building of Arata Hall.
Arata published nearly 700 papers in his career. His work was highly recognized outside Japan. The American Society for Metals published about 60 of Arata’s papers in the 1986 book Plasma, Electron and Laser Beam Technology: Development and Use in Materials Processing.
Arata received numerous prizes and was honored by the Emperor of Japan on two occasions, including in 2006 when he received Japan’s highest award, The Order of Culture (also known as Order of Cultural Merit). He received scientific medals from all over the world, and was honored with the cold fusion field’s Preparata Medal in 2005. Numerous international scientific societies have prizes named after Arata.
The late Dr. Talbot Chubb, a steadfast supporter of Arata’s work (and, in particular, the experimental work of Arata and Y.C. Zhang), wrote for Infinite Energy #80 about a May 22, 2008 presentation and demonstration at Osaka University and discussed earlier high temperature plasma work done by Arata: “At the time there was no deuterium gas available in Japan, but there was heavy water D2O. He built his own electrochemical deuterium production cell in which D2O was electrolyzed onto a Pd separator-wall cathode producing pure deuterium on its gas-collecting side. He used the very high purity deuterium gas product in high current density plasma devices in which condenser bank discharges created conditions approaching plasma fusion temperatures...For a period of time his arc discharges held a world record...”
Chubb noted that while Arata’s career was in classical physics and engineering, much of his work created a foundation for Arata to pursue cold fusion work after 1989. Chubb wrote that Arata “came to the cold fusion field in 1989 with unusual skills, but with the cold fusion skepticism possessed by most scientists. But he was also determined to find out whether cold fusion is real.” Chubb’s article provides an analysis of various Arata-Zhang experiments/papers from 1994 to 2005.
Chubb led an honorary session for Arata at the 14th International Conference on Cold Fusion (ICCF14, 2008). He wrote a summary of the life and work of Arata.
Infinite Energy published numerous other articles about the Arata-Zhang work, including the 1998 piece by Mike Carrell, “Arata and Zhang’s Cold Fusion: Excess Heat and Helium Production.” In it, Carrell writes, “This work unambiguously links the production of substantial, robustly generated excess heat with the production of helium in a system involving electrolytic loading of deuterium into palladium metal.” Carrell also interestingly noted, “In Japan, it is acceptable and not unusual to work on both hot and cold fusion processes.”
In March 2007, Osaka University held a celebration of Arata’s receipt of the Order of Culture from the Japanese Emperor in 2006, and put together a book commemorating the impressive career of Arata, titled Toward the Establishment of Solid Fusion as a Perpetual Energy for Humankind (copies are still available from Infinite Energy’s book marketplace). It includes Arata’s acceptance lecture, with details about his important work, copies of awards, etc. About one-third of this publication focuses on Arata’s post-retirement years and solid state plasma nuclear fusion (cold fusion) experiments conducted by Arata and Zhang, including descriptions of most experiments and many figures. In the book, Arata notes that he was an outspoken critic of Martin Fleischmann’s experimental results in cold fusion and that “thirty years before, I carried out the same electrolysis as Fleischmann did with bulk Pd thin wire as a cathode.” He refers to 1958 tests which are touted as the first thermonuclear reaction in Japan.
Many of Arata’s papers are downloadable from the library of lenr-canr.org. The magazine 21st Century Science & Technology published an interesting review of Arata’s life and work (“From Hot to Cold Fusion: A Look at the Life of Yoshiaki Arata,” Summer 1995, Vol. 8, No. 2).