Infinite Energy Magazine
The 7th International Workshop on Anomalies in Hydrogen/Deuterium Loaded Metals: A Personal Perspective by the Organizer
The 7th International Workshop on Anomalies in Hydrogen/Deuterium Loaded Metals was held from September 23-25 at the Ristorante Reale in Asti, Italy.
Historically, overviews of technical meetings have tended to concentrate on summarizing important papers presented. I don’t intend to follow this precedent for two reasons. Firstly, a workshop organizer is usually far too busy doing administrative chores to concentrate sufficiently on all the presentations! More importantly though, by the time this article is published, all the presentations will be online at http://www.iscmns.org/asti06/program.htm (the list of presenters is noted at the end of this article). The papers will also be forwarded to Jean Paul Biberian for peer review and possible publication in the electronic Journal of Condensed Matter Nuclear Science.
The remarkable speed with which an entire workshop can be published online is a tribute to the hard work of the presenters. I like to think, however, that it is also due to the incentive that a bronze medal was to be awarded to the best poster paper. The participants voted Andrei Lipson the winner for his oral presentation entitled, “Edge Plasma Effects in ITER-Type Tokamak Caused by an Enhancement of DD/DT Reaction in Metals at High Current Low Energy Deuteron Bombardment.” Dr. Lipson caused some merriment by introducing his paper in this way: “The purpose of this work is to scare hot fusion people and force E.U. governments to give money to C.F. science instead of ITER.” Lipson’s thesis is that unexpected enhancements in nuclear reaction cross sections at low energy involving hydrogen in metals may well cause structural problems for ITER.
Somehow I doubt if hot fusion’s billions will be redirected towards cold fusion anytime soon. However, that didn’t stop Prof. Xing-zhong Li proposing that China together with three other partners in different countries of the European Union should submit a funding request under the EU’s Framework Program 7. If anyone is interested in participating in this initiative they should contact Li.
As I say, I’m not going to review all the papers. But we all know that many participants value the personal discussion and networking just as much as the formal presentations. To this end, as organizer I arranged for long coffee breaks. I encouraged participants to remain on the premises by including dinner in the evening (as well as lunch). The hotel allowed me to choose the wine myself, which I bought directly from the producers where the quality and price is better. One wit said ISCMNS should be renamed the Cold Fusion Wining and Dining Club! But I take that as a tribute to the superb cuisine prepared by the hotel. I want participants to appreciate good food as well as good science. Keep the customer satisfied and he’ll return again.
Dinners are a good opportunity to make a little ceremony. At the banquet on Sunday, the Giuliano Preparata Medal was awarded to Akira Kitamura by Francesco Celani (on behalf of the ISCMNS Executive Committee). As many of you already know from ICCF12, Kitamura has verified the apparent transmutations pioneered by Iwamura using a different experimental set-up. At the Monday dinner, five minutes was spent on an Extraordinary General Meeting to alter the ISCMNS constitution to be compatible with charitable status. The appropriate resolution was passed unanimously, the new constitutional documents were signed in front of members, and we toasted its success with local spumante.
You may well ask how such an important decision could be made in such a short time. However, as ISCMNS Secretary, I had already outlined the reasons for the changes in my report made to members as part of the ISCMNS Annual General Meeting. The major change is that the Society must be managed exclusively for the benefit of the public rather than for members. I stated that this probably meant no significant real changes at all. At question time however, I was asked, semi-seriously, as a charity if we would be able to eat and drink so well! Well the answer is yes, because it is not a benefit—participants pay workshop fees which pay for their board. But even if there were no fees, it would be only a reasonable and incidental benefit to promoting CMNS.
The participants were very pleased to see the return of Fausto Lanfranco to the workshop after an absence of nine years. Old hands will remember how Lanfranco, when a vice president of Fiat, initiated the series of workshops at Asti starting in 1993. Without him these workshops would not exist. Lanfranco kindly agreed to host the round-table discussions which continued from a similar round-table in 1995. Quoting from notes made at that time, Lanfranco reminded us how optimistic we were in the early 1990s. Of course, we now know that achieving “excess heat” is much more complicated than simply loading palladium to a specific level of deuterium. In those days we thought that d-d fusion producing 4He was the major reaction. We conveniently forgot that there was already considerable evidence that heat and transmutations were generated in light hydrogen systems.
In retrospect, we should have paid more attention to the critics of cold fusion. Instead of trying to verify “excess heat” and prove d-d fusion, we would have done better to examine the situation with an open mind and look for unexpected nuclear products. One participant emphasized how calorimetry could have been improved. Another said how we need to understand the basic science before we proceed to prototype devices. But how will we understand the basic science unless we identify and quantify the fuels and products of the reactions? If you only look for what you expect, you will miss the unexpected.
This was a theme repeated by many, both as part of formal presentations and informal chat. In my opening address to the workshop, I compared the physics of neutron capture by uranium which eventually led to Fermi’s atomic pile with cold fusion. In the 1930s, nobody expected uranium to fission. When Hahn and Strassman detected a radioactive alkali metal after neutron bombardment of uranium, it was thought to be radium when all the tests showed it to be barium. Once again the science establishment was strangulating innovative science by saying that fission was impossible. Once again chemists and physicists were at war. Finance to investigate a possible self-sustaining chain reaction was difficult to find. This was solved much later by asking Albert Einstein to intervene.
It’s interesting to note that Fermi successfully demonstrated the atomic pile without doing any calorimetry. How could he measure half a watt of power in a system weighing 400 tons? I can’t help feeling that maybe we’re paying far too much attention to measuring power and not nearly enough to identifying the underlying reactions. It is as if we are stumbling in the dark not realizing that we need to throw the switch.
Of course, during the last 17 years some researchers have managed to throw the switch. By patient observation and refinement of their protocols, they have noticed tantalizing signs that metals loaded with isotopic hydrogen can become self-sustaining. I don’t mean to imply a perpetual motion machine, but merely that such systems can remain hot without any external energy. Fleischmann called this “Heat after Death.” This phenomenon has been observed by many others. In fact, I was phoned by one Italian researcher in August whose system remained hot, producing 34 watts for some two days without any apparent energy source—no input energy. Obviously more work needs to be done to verify, control, and replicate these results. But if verified, who needs calorimetry? Can we now expect non-specialists to accept the reality of anomalous heat production? Can we expect that the door will open to new funding and commercial interest? Time will tell. In the meantime we should feel encouraged.
But we also need to be patient. For safety reasons, if nothing else, the world will not be in any hurry to accept a technology whose basic operation is unknown. When that operation does become known, no doubt a race will arise to patent it, causing further delay and uncertainty. Lanfranco suggested it will be a small company that will initially exploit this technology, drawing upon the analogy of Microsoft. Many suspect that exploiting and engineering a new energy technology may prove to be rather more difficult than buying in software and reselling it.
The round-table discussion was the last technical item on the workshop program. At the close, there was a lively discussion regarding the frequency, timing, and venue for the next workshop. Naturally as organizer I don’t have the same perspective as a participant. Although organization actually went remarkably smoothly thanks to Antonio Spallone and the organizing committee, a major problem arose in July when a local sponsor unexpectedly informed us that this year they were not going to finance us due to lack of funds. That was just two months before the workshop was due to begin! Several participants had already paid and booked their flights!
The workshop was rapidly restructured to take account of the new financial constraints, and although no substitute sponsor was found, I managed nevertheless to assist the attendance of six participants and still make a small surplus for ISCMNS. Having said that, workshop fees were somewhat higher this year compared with 2004 although hotel costs were not increased. There were only 31 participants (compared with 40 at previous workshops) and I was worried that increased costs might be a deterrent. However, many participants confided that they thought the workshops were very good value for the money. In any case, I proposed to the meeting that the next workshop should be 2008, not 2007.
However, the meeting thought we should continue with annual workshops, so I’m open to proposals for 2007! However, I do need a written undertaking that some financial sponsorship will be forthcoming! So far, possible venues are Siena (again), Lombardia, Sicily, Frascati, or Marseilles (France). I look forward to seeing you next year!
Conference Program (Posters/Presentations)
—Xingliu Jiang, “Anomalous Nuclear Phenomena Associated with Ultrafast Processes”
—Li Jing and Zheng ShuXin, “Study on the Abnormal Heat of Pd-D2 System”
—Jacques Dufour, “The Ice Calorimeter: A Dedicated Tool to Study Anomalous Heat Effects in Metal/Hydrogen Systems”
—Antonio Spallone, “Experimental Studies on H/Pd Over-loading with Thin Pd Wires and Measurements of Resistance Temperature Coefficient”
—R.C. Bourgoin, “Reciprocal Quantum States of Hydrogen”
—J. Brown, “Collective Dipole Oscillations in Hydrogenated Metals”
—Jacques Dufour, “Very Sizeable Increase of Gravitation at Picometer Distance: A Novel Working Hypothesis to Explain Anomalous Heat Effects in Certain Metal/Hydrogen Systems”
—Akira Kitamura, “In situ Accelerator-Based Characterization of CaO/Sr/Pd Samples under Deuterium Permeation”
—Xing-zhong Li, “The Conjecture of Neutrino Emission from Metal Hydrides”
—John Fisher, “Palladium Fission Triggered by Polyneutrons”
—Akito Takahashi, “Fusion Rates of Bosonized Condensate”
—Akito Takahashi, “Condensation Force of TSC”
—Francesco Celani, “Toward the Use of Nanoparticles for Stable Excess Heat in Pd-D System: Progress Report at INFN-LNF”
—Tetsuo Sawada, “Brief Review of the Magnetic Monopole”
—Rick Cantwell, “Activities at Coolescence, Inc.”
—Francesco Celani, “Latest Results on Arata’s D2 Reactor”
—Jean Paul Biberian, “Activity at Marseilles University Replicating Arata’s Experiment”
—Vittorio Violante, “Progress at ENEA, Frascati”
—Fulvio Frisone, “Theoretical Study of Cold Fusion in Condensed Matter and Analysis of Phases (a, b, g)”
—Andrei Lipson, “Edge Plasma Effects in ITER-type TOKAMAK Caused by an Enhancement of DD/DT Reaction in Metals at High Current Low Energy Deuteron Bombardment”
—Jean Paul Biberian, “Search for Isotopic Anomalies in Alchemical Silver Coins from the Nuremberg Museum”
—Tetsuo Sawada, “A Prototype Nuclear Cold Fusion Reaction Discovered by Theoretical Particle Physicist”
—Alexander Karabut, “Experimental Substantiation of Possibility for Nuclear Reactions Triggered by Low-Energy Excitation to Proceed in Condensed Matter Medium with Production of Excess Heat, Impurity Nuclides Yield and Penetrating Radiation”
—Alexader Karabut, “Experimental Research on 0.5 - 10.0 keV High-Energy Processes Resulting from the Cathode Solid Exposure to the Effect of H2 and D2 Ions Flux in Electrical Discharge”