How Hot is Cold Fusion? 1

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  1. I was a chemical-physics graduate student at the University of Utah — mostly physics — in 1989 when Fleischmann and Pons announced their iirc non-reviewed cold-fusion “discovery”. That it was controversial was the understatement of that decade. I certainly didn’t believe it.

    I’ve no issue with ongoing research, but would highlight Ms. Gardner’s somewhat conflicting statements that “Such caution is prudent for anyone prone to giving credence to any claim until repeatable energy production is demonstrated without question” and “…this conference established that informed investors do recognize that LENR exists.”

    I would urge caution. “LENR” (Low Energy Nuclear Reactions) or “Solid-State Fusion Energy” has not yet been shown to exist. Again, I’ve no problem with those wishing to fund or persue further research — I’ve engaged in “innovative investigation” myself. But the theoretical obstacles alone remain staggering, and I would not at this point suggest anyone gain any misimpression otherwise.

    1. I had a similar experience when studying effects of common atmospheric radon and its daughters, which includes a gamma emission at 2.2 MeV. Some workers attempting replication looked for evidence of free neutrons and thought they had found evidence of reforming deuterons, which give off its binding energy as a 2.2 MeV gamma. I tried to warn them that they were looking at false positives, but the chatter continued. It seemed that everybody just wanted to believe in cold fusion.

  2. Edward, the consensus from those working in this area with the most expertise and data is that the existence of the phenomenon has been established. It DOES exist. Additionally, progress has been made by virtue of the accumulation of data from decades of anomaly reports, which are pointing researchers in certain directions, such that even the theoretical underpinnings are coming into clearer focus. That much is clear.

    What’s not clear is how much of the process and controlling mechanisms are yet to be figured out. Is it 5% or 50%? That’s entirely unclear although it felt like many there believed that work on the theoretic obstacles remained but were not at the “staggering” level. Several of the attending ventures made the claim of having an implementation that worked but none was demonstrated.

    The good news is that no one need take my word on this weighty matter. You will be able to hear from the experts who presented at this conference youself. I am pleased to share that the Anthropocene Institute is working to make videos of the conference session available to the public. Keep an eye on the conference website,, to access them once posted.

    1. Thank you for your considered reply, Valerie. Suffice that I await the conference videos almost as eagerly as I anticipate discussion, description, and debate of a reproducible working demonstration in the peer-reviewed literature. I’m sure all the presenters look forward to that event as well, and are working their hardest to make it reality.

  3. “The consensus from those working in this area with the most expertise and data is that the existence of the phenomenon has been established. It DOES exist.”

    You will find descriptions of the unobservable neutrino in every college physics textbook because a group of theoreticians couldn’t balance their equations 80 years ago. Now, the little devils are ‘settled’ science. A Nobel prize was recently given for introducing a new confounding property of ‘oscillation’ when the latest equations didn’t balance again. Read about detecting these unobservable things, and you’ll find the ‘detectors’ rely on the least discerning counter in the toolkit: the photomultiplier tube, which will even respond to visible light or anything that has enough energy to eject the last electron from a cesium atom. Quack concepts can take root, especially when they have no practical use… like the neutrino or cold fusion. Conveniently, our reactors, and host star, etc., will continue to function with an energy balance that doesn’t ‘close’ per the accounting of “the consensus among those with the most expertise and data” (unless you include the neutrino that we cannot observe credibly).

    CF/SSF is another EM Drive/Salvatore Pais patent…. Fusion is simple: where’s the neutrons, alphas, gammas – forget sensible heat! I’m surprised to see an article about cold fusion on Atomic insights. Perhaps your fan base could supply some ideas for articles. A good article could be investigating deep load follow operations with metallic fueled light water reactors.

  4. You could ask your readers for content suggestions. I’ll go first: the potential for rapid, deep, load following operations in metallic fueled light water reactors. It’s very practical stuff — no science fiction. There’s a common belief that peaking (to back solar/wind) is best handled by idled fossil plants or vast battery storage, while rapid load following ability is intrinsic to the bwr

    1. Thanks @scaryjello. NuScale’s VOYGR is a PWR design intended to follow the Bonneville Power Authority’s wind profile, which is pretty ragged. Terrestrial Energy’s Natrium is as well, although Natrium is a liquid-metal cooled design with a molten salt thermal reservoir. Such thermal storage is becoming a popular feature in medium temperature power reactor designs. Moltex is another example.

      “The NuScale Power Module is capable of a ramp rate of 40% per hour in reactor power change, which aligns with specifications set by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). For even quicker responses to electricity demand, the NuScale SMR can rapidly lower its electric power output up to 10% per minute and return to full output at the same rate utilizing turbine bypass.” page 5.

      Example of NuScale module load-following to compensate for generation from the Horse Butte wind farm and daily demand variation:

    2. The reverse ask is why would you want to? The fuel cost is a rounding error and all the costs essentially remain unchanged; why then bother with wind at all to save nuclear fuel?

      1. @Soylent. Because that nuclear fuel cost “rounding error” is nonetheless non-zero, and must be accounted for in the marginal cost of operation that a nuclear plant bids into the grid balancing authority’s dispatch merit order function. Nuclear marginal cost is greater than wind marginal cost, and the BA must dispatch in order of increasing marginal cost. Therefore nuclear — and the BA — must either deal with the vagaries of wind, or go home.

        Whether this is any way to run a railroad is another question.

        Meredith Angwin explains all this in her wryly humorous if occasionally ascerbic Shorting the Grid.

        1. Would it be fair to say that claims of wind or solar being ‘cheap’ depend *entirely* on the creative accounting of ignoring the cost of providing storage or backup to keep power available when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining? Or is there some other factor I should be aware of?

          1. @James Baerg: You might also be aware that wind’s production tax credit is set to increase from $23/MWh to $31/MWh with the new IRA. And that Renewable Energy Credits currently vary in value up to $60/MWh. So a wind farm can get paid up to $91/MWh just in subsidies, before any direct grid revenue paid by the BA.

            These are real dollars paid by real people for the generation power of wind. They are part of its cost. The wind itself is free.

            (Note: Rod is wont to observe that coal, gas, and uranium are “free” in exactly the same sense.)


          2. Would it be fair to say that claims of wind or solar being ‘cheap’ depend *entirely* on the creative accounting of ignoring the cost of providing storage or backup to keep power available when the wind isn’t blowing or the sun isn’t shining?

            It is not merely fair; if you do NOT state this, you are lying by omission.

            The cost of backup is an essential and unstated part of the cost of “renewable” power.  It must be rated on LACE (levelized avoided cost of energy, which can and does go negative), not LCOE.

        2. Marginal cost of wind is higher if wind has to bear its own cost for backup, grid inertia.

          Wind provides zero firm baseload capacity. If you require 1 GW and you chose to provide this with 1 GW of fission it will be cheaper than if you chose to provide this with 1 GW of fission + 1 GW of wind. Less land use, less powerlines, better grid stability. Marginal cost doesn’t enter into it when you reject wind already based on capital cost for the wind+nuclear system compared to the nuclear only system.

          Wind doesn’t add anything but cost and instability.

          1. To say nothing of the acreage required, material quantities required, and effect on local climate (warming), wind patterns, etc.

  5. “The consensus from those working in this area with the most expertise and data is that the existence of the phenomenon has been established. It DOES exist.”

    You will find descriptions of the unobservable neutrino in every college physics textbook because a group of theoreticians couldn’t balance their equations 80 years ago. Now, the little devils are ‘settled’ science. A Nobel prize was recently given for introducing a new confounding property of ‘oscillation’ when the latest equations didn’t balance again. Read about detecting these unobservable things, and you’ll find the ‘detectors’ rely on the least discerning counter in the toolkit: the photomultiplier tube, which will even respond to visible light or anything that has enough energy to eject the last electron from a cesium atom. Quack concepts can take root, especially when they have no practical use… like the neutrino or cold fusion. Conveniently, our reactors, and host star, etc., will continue to function with an energy balance that doesn’t ‘close’ per the accounting of “the consensus among those with the most expertise and data” (unless you include the neutrino that we cannot observe credibly).

    CF/SSF is another EM Drive/Salvatore Pais patent…. Fusion is simple: where’s the neutrons, alphas, gammas – forget sensible heat! An article about cold fusion doesn’t quite pass muster ’round here.

    1. @scaryjello: Not sure what your apparent denigration of neutrino detectors and photomultiplier tubes has to do with LENR. Unrelated, but have yourself any links to support your contention that “these things” (neutrinos) are unobservable? Becasue they apparently are regularly and repeatably observed, albeit at considerable expertise and expense:

      In contrast, Ms. Gardner has at least supplied a link to where videos of the recent ICCF Atherton conference will likely appear. Now, you or I might not give much credence to conference videos of fringe science, but that little and perhaps (remains to be seen) inconsequential link is nonetheless more than some commenters here supply.

      In the past some of us have occasionally contributed to discussions at Barry Brook’s
      Brave New Climate blog. His is an academic site and to decrease noise Prof Brook strongly encourages all participants to please supply supporting links within their comments.

      And to actually read them, discouraging as that endeavor might frequently be. 🙂

      At the risk of expanding our personal bubbles, we might at least acknowledge the spirit of Brook’s suggestion here.

      1. They’re actually not even that hard to observe if you have a concentrated source. A nuclear reactor being a potent source of antielectron-neutrinos from beta decay. Only if you are trying to find evidence of oscillation of antielectron-neutrinos or trying to detect an “illegal” reactor within tens of kilometers such as for a weapons programme do you run into problem as that necessitates puting a detector kilometers away from the reactor and weapons reactors are frequently only megawatts . Still, the energy spectrum has been measured easily for reactors from a km away with only a vat of some tens of tonnes of water and oil.

  6. @scaryjello, healthy skepticism and even utter rejection of the validity of scientific discoveries has been a hallmark of humanity’s progression, which tends to progress despite that. Even up to the last moment, austere experts rejected the possibility of the solid-state transistor, and you know how that worked out. My thesis for this post (largely inspired by the presentation made by Dr. Florian Metzler from MIT, who works closely with MIT’s chief LENR theorist, Dr. Peter Hagelstein) is that cold fusion is on that same trajectory—somewhere between utterly discredited and totally proven. But, based upon the combined reporting of the experts gathered, much closer to proven than has been generally recognized by the public. Your skepticism is perfectly understandable but I think this is news worthy of reporting here.

  7. To those posting disparaging remarks:

    It’s easy to make snarky comments when holding orthodox views (, especially under the veil of anonymity. But name-calling (“fringe science”, “quack concepts”, “science fiction”) is not a mature way of engaging in a debate ('s_Hierarchy_of_Disagreement-en.svg). Unfortunately, this kind of bullying has been tolerated for too long and it’s time to call it out for what it is.

    Please engage with the arguments in our paper ( — if your physics education goes far enough to constructively engage with scientific literatures across the the domains of atomic physics, nuclear physics, and quantum dynamics beyond the simplified perspectives in undergraduate textbooks.

    And do it under your real name, so you allow yourself to be held accountable for the arguments that you present — like we do.

    If you are not willing or able to debate on that level, please refrain from disparaging those of us who are working hard on settling difficult questions rigorously and transparently. It’s perfectly fine if you are not interested in this area but there’s no need to make life harder for those of us who are.

    1. Because of how cold fusion field was introduced to the masses the high bar for evidence is to be expected. This linked paper is in ARXIV, but how about peer-review journal with reasonable Impact factor (I know this are not perfect metrics but we need filter to start looking at the thing).

      1. A variant of this paper will be published in a peer-reviewed journal. As you probably know, it is common today to post preprints for early circulation.

        That being said, I’m not here to garner your approval. If this does not trigger your interest (despite support from ARPA-E and the European Commission, and involvement of groups at NASA, the US Navy, the US Army, Google, LBNL, LANL, MIT, Stanford), then feel free to spend your time otherwise — just do not denigrate those who make other choices.

        There is a kind of machismo culture among older engineers and physicists which involves publicly showing off textbook knowledge and then acting as a kind of enforcer of orthodox views — I can only suspect that this results from the desire to signal to others and to oneself that one belongs to the in-group and find some self-assurance in that.

        It is quite sad, given that it should be clear at least since Kuhn and Feyerabend that such behavior has nothing to do with science as such.

        All we ask for is that the toxic bullying culture comes to an end and that scientists with different views are treated respectfully and with basic levels of politeness.

        1. Florian, thank you for coming forward. Perhaps you could articulate for us how particles in LNEP overcome the Coulomb barrier? Without a credible explanation, it is hard for impartial readers to take LNEP seriously. The barrier, due to electrostatic repulsion between nuclear, is measured in several MeV. One MeV would be the average energy E/k of a 12 GK plasma. Invoking the Boltzmann tail and quantum tunnelling can bring that billion degree temperature down somewhat, but not to room temperature.

          1. Hi Roger, thanks for your question. I’d be happy to provide a bit of an outline of the theoretical motivation.

            I originally attempted to address your concern right here in the comments section, but I got an error message from the website that my post was too long (1100 words).

            I therefore posted my response as a short article on my blog and would like to refer you to it there:

            My response includes quotes on cold fusion by Julian Schwinger and Edward Teller as well as relevant references.

            1. Florian, thank you for your article putting forward possible mechanisms for cold fusion. You mention coherence as a possible means to achieve the required particle energies. This makes sense, as a way of enabling small energies to be collected over a large population, enough to overcome the Coulomb barrier. Each explanation would predict a means of detecting the reaction.

              Phonons – The possibility of coherent acceleration in the crystal channels of the host (i.e., by phonons) could be tested by checking for high energy deuteron emissions.
              Electrons – There is no doubt that deuterons embedded in a metal crystal would be coupled by the electron sea, where any anomalous high energies might become detectable in the resistor noise.
              Photons – Energies as high as x-rays may become coherent at interatomic wavelengths with the possibility of sufficiently higher overtones. The x-rays could be sought for.
              Neutrons – Neutrons would not be barred by the Coulomb barrier, and with the right energy might relate deuterons directly with each other and the imminent alpha state. Neutrons might be sourced from the side reaction to He3. Having a low background, the tiny He3 signal might be sought. Neutron coupling seems more likely in neutron-rich beta-unstable materials, where coherent neutron amplification could become er, very exciting.

              Of course physics researchers would have investigated all of these avenues long ago, though not always with LNER in mind. It strikes me that any LENR discovery would at least initially have use as a research tool before application in power production – especially if it gives rise to a coherent emission.

              1. Roger, there are different types of effects associated with coherence. To understand the relevance of coherence in this context, you would want to familiarize yourself with this experimental result reported in Nature Physics: 

                Chumakov, A. I., Baron, A. Q. R., Sergueev, I., Strohm, C., Leupold, O., Shvyd’ko, Y., Smirnov, G. V., Rüffer, R., Inubushi, Y., Yabashi, M., Tono, K., Kudo, T., & Ishikawa, T. (2018). Superradiance of an ensemble of nuclei excited by a free electron laser. Nature Physics, 14(3), 261–264.

                Griffiths’ textbook on quantum mechanics can be a helpful resource:

                Griffiths, D. J., & Schroeter, D. F. (2018). Introduction to quantum mechanics. Cambridge University Press.

                Once it is clear how the nuclear decay of Fe-57 nuclei could be accelerated by a factor of 15 in this experiment, the possibility of accelerating nuclear reactions more generally emerges quite naturally. Happy to discuss this in more detail then.

                By the way, this kind of outcome was predicted as early as 1965, but it took many decades for progress to occur in this area. I think one needs to be careful not to overestimate the extent to which interesting questions have been comprehensively and exhaustively engaged with by past physicists. Physics opens up a vast parameter space, resources are limited, and dominant research campaigns are often impacted by specific trends that distract from other interesting areas.

                I do not believe that it is possible to accelerate a deuteron via coherent phonons along the lines you indicated. The effects under discussion here are more “quantum” and less “classical” than acceleration per se. Of course, if you have any thoughts on how such an acceleration might be possible, feel free to share more about it (I would probably want to see the corresponding Hamiltonian then).

                1. I was seeing if there were tests for the existing theories; not proposing theories themselves. After all, if a theory has failed its tests, the theory must be discarded. Mindful of the excessive enthusiasm when it was first announced, I remain chary of cold fusion.

                    1. Also worth just making the philosophical point that there is an unhelpful and unproductive persuasion in science to quickly “discard” theories that don’t immediately jive with experiment. Perhaps the instantiation of such a theory doesn’t align with experiment or the theory merely needs some tweaking. Such is the work of theory. The reverse of this, when experiment cannot be explained by existing theory, is certainly another example of overly confident and strident ‘debunking.’ Cold fusion is a perfect example of this. That shouldn’t be how the culture of science functions. It’s not constructive, it’s not productive, and it’s not collegial.

                    2. Florian says – “what theories?”.

                      I was being tactful. The theories were in the link *you* sent us. Since any enthusiast can throw up theories, they are worthless distractions unless they can be tested, and test positive. In the 40 years since the cold fusion rush, there have been exhaustive attempts to get positive results and replicate claims of positive results. All failed. Nowadays, I don’t want to be party to starry eyed investors being sucked in on a doomed promise. Cold fusion should be relegated to a backroom activity between consenting postgrad students, behind closed doors.

                    3. Roger, the predominant theory that applies here is quantum field theory (QFT). QFT is well established for decades but many of its implications are still unexplored (also in many other areas such as in biology for instance). A generic effect of QFT is Dicke enhancement, also known as superradiance, which has been predicted to apply to nuclei and affect nuclear reaction parameters since at least 1965. See this PRL:

                      Terhune, J. H., & Baldwin, G. C. (1965). Nuclear Superradiance in Solids. Physical Review Letters, 14(15), 589–591.

                      The acceleration of nuclear decay through Dicke enhancement was then first experimentally demonstrated in 2018 — that’s more than 50 years in between. Sometimes these things take time. It would have been unwise in 2015 to dismiss Dicke enhancement of nuclear decay just because it had not been demonstrated yet.

                      Your point about developing dedicated experiments that test predictions is well taken. That is of course an integral part of doing science and that is what is being done. Whether one puts the label of LENR on this or not is not important in my view. We are already seeing more and more papers in top-tier journals on the application of quantum engineering principles to systems of nuclei — and I expect that trend to continue to grow (I’m happy to list more examples).

                      It is not true that all attempts to replicate claims of positive results failed (although ideally one ought to first define what constitutes a “positive result” — see below). If that were the case, then I agree with you, there would be less motivation to do research in this general direction. I have listed further below several publications in peer-reviewed journals that report the observation of unexpectedly high fusion rates, or of high-energy neutrons/charged particles (>3 MeV), from systems where those would not be expected — or, as ARPA-E defines LENR, where “system energy outputs [are] characteristic of nuclear physics (>>1 keV/amu/reaction) and energy inputs characteristic of chemistry (1 eV/atom).” Here is my selection again: Schenkel et al (2019). Mosier-Boss et al (2009). Beltyukov et al (1991). Chambers et al (1991). Jones et al (1990).

                      Note that the US Department of Energy now has an official program on LENR (announced this week):
                      So this topic is not relegated to backroom discussions between students. But of course if it does not match your interests, it is a perfectly fine choice to not further engage with it.

                      As for your comments on investors, I’d prefer to limit the discussion here on science. Investors can make their own decisions, based on the risk profile of their funds. I don’t think it’s our job to tell them what to do. There are many risky propositions in what is today called the “deep tech” sector and if that does not fit your personal risk profile, then just make sure to keep your money away from it — that’s totally understandable.

        2. Proper Peer-Review as is done by reputable Journals will serve well for your message. Reviewers can actually improve the content of an article, and the phrase “we wish to thank anonymous reviewer for valuable comments” is sometimes very true (and sometimes made in gist after long back and forth using harsh, but based on merits discussion moderated by editor). I don’t think that it is helping You to use similar note to what infamous Elizabeth Holmes used in TV interview, after first exposing publications in WSJ were made. Namely “First they think you’re crazy, then they fight you, then all of a sudden you change the world.”

          If there is truth to LENR it must be proved by rigorous experiments that can be repeated, published, checked and moved forward with more development.

          1. Of course we know of the value (and also of the shortcomings) of peer review and we’re navigating these processes accordingly.

            Thanks for your comments but we’re not really looking for generic advice from anonymous commentators. It turns out that we are already getting plenty of interest and support from the right places. If you are genuinely interested in these topics, then post (or reach out) under your real name and we can have an actual discussion. If not, no problem — then let’s all move on.

            PS: The implicit comparison with Elisabeth Holmes is rude, unfounded, and indicative of the kind of machismo culture I referred to above. Also, your refusal to check your message for grammatical and spelling errors is indicative of a lack of empathy with your readers.

            1. There are several red flags in Your posting which motivated me to write anything in the first place:
              -playing a victim card when not one person actually attacked You. I’ve heard it many times, always in quite bad context.
              -what You call “machismo” in natural sciences is demanding that there is proof behind the claim which can be tracked, judged, and repeated either as an experiment or mathematical sound hypothesis. It is exactly the same “machismo” that went from discovery of neutrons to working nuclear reactors in about 10 years. I want to get the best peer reviewed experimental confirmation that LENR is real and not another set of videos about fishing in experimental noise. There has been some 30 years to go beyond it and to devise a creative setups for good quality of experiments.
              -Lots of references to reputable institutions, among them NASA, EU and some others. Readers of this page know that for example Stanford reputation is used as a badge of honor by Mark Z Jacobsen and his peer reviewed(sic!) very questionable publications. The EU does lots of good, but it is also throwing lots of money on Solar&wind and roadblocks on existing and planned future nuclear power.

            2. In response to Marcin’s comment from 3:32 AM:

              What I am criticizing is your coming from a place of entitlement and then being snarky and disparaging of others on top of that.

              The point is exactly that the type of evidence that you are demanding does not seem to exist at this time. Otherwise, there would not be ARPA-E efforts to obtain exactly that. Does that mean that scientists should carry out no investigations in this area whatsoever? If that were the case, then there would be little fundamental progress in science. There would be no transistors if all scientists in the 1930s would have said (as some did): “Semiconductor physics seems too messy, the claimed anomalous amplification effects are not highly reproducible, and perhaps there are prosaic explanations for them. Let’s wait until everything is sorted out, until someone delivers the definite paper on this issue.” Who would that someone be if everyone thought that way?

              You are mistaking science for what Thomas Kuhn called “normal science.” That is one way of doing science and perhaps the mode that you got socialized into. But the history of science shows us that there is another way of doing science, and that is carrying out investigations even in spaces where ambiguity and imperfect experiments prevail for the time being, obviously with the goal of sorting things out as soon as possible.

              This is either your kind of thing or it isn’t. If it is, feel free to constructively join in that process and help sort things out, with a critical eye and in a rigorous manner, yet without falling victim to biases associated with pseudoskepticism ( If it is not, then feel free to spend your time doing something else. Not a problem for me at all.

              What is not helpful is standing on the sidelines, demanding things that cannot be delivered at this time, and insulting people who are working hard to sort things out.

            3. In Response to Florian Metzler, PhD August 25 note:
              I don’t think that there is any entitlement in asking about clear examples of experiments that went through basic review by experts in physics/chemistry with experience close to the field in question. You have written now that such an example is not yet available, but from this blog post and comments it looks like You have managed to convince Valerie Gardner that this is quite much available. This peer-review process is just the most basic confirmation that the author’s claims are consistent with the planned and performed experiment and obtained results. It is a checkup for simple errors, biases but not even confirmation of everything being correct(it is important to remember). It is a process very insensitive to potential deceptions, just the basic filter for the fact if proposed results are worth reading. On your blog I couldn’t find the title of your PhD thesis nor list of publications(relevant because these things explain the experience of a researcher) but I assume that You have gone through these processes in the field of physics/chemistry/mathematics. The LENR field is full of colorful people and I think that it is in everyone’s best interest to distinguish themself from, for example, Andrea Rossi and his ECAT.
              There is no “normal science” and science. There are just things that work or not.
              The description of Enrico Fermi et al(recalling from memory of reading R. Rhodes book, so forgive if I’m making errors) experiments in which observation that neutrons interact with nuclei differently when executed on wooden desks vs granite one may sound quite like the “observations by Fleischman and Pons”. Except Fermi observed the fact, likely got extremely puzzled, confirmed it still, improved the setup and then published it so that we became closer to limitless energy. Discovery of many phenomena we take for granted may look quite the same.

              1. [System limits exceeded. The following response from Dr. Metzler to this comment has been located as a new comment.]

  8. Marcin, it is surprising to me that you are not familiar with Thomas Kuhn’s distinctions of different kinds of science, given that you claim to be a scientist and that his book is one of the most widely cited books of the 20th century ( How can one engage in science responsibly (especially when relying on other people’s money such as in the case of public funding) without awareness of the social dynamics that underlie science? In the US, this book is part of the curriculum of many PhD level science programs.

    Nobody “convinced” Valerie. This is exactly the kind of patronizing language I have been referring to. You should trust that other people can look at the world and form their own opinions.

    I don’t question the value of peer review. I have served as a reviewer myself. The only thing I’m saying is that sometimes it can be worthwhile to look at writings that are not yet peer reviewed. There are enough reasons to be paying attention to this area. At the very least, if Julian Schwinger and Edward Teller got interested, how could there be any shame for Valerie Gardner or Florian Metzler to be interested? Even if some unknown Marcin says that they shouldn’t.

    You are asking for my dissertation and publications to judge my experience — but you yourself do not even reveal your name. Currently there’s clearly an asymmetry here. If you have faith in your arguments, and want us to have the same, then start to become accountable for them. Either walk your talk and write under your full name, or let’s stop the asymmetric discussion here.

    PS: While the single concise top-tier journal paper that you requested does not exist at this point in time, there are plenty of papers published in peer-reviewed journals with experimental results that have defied textbook explanations to date. Below is a small selection. The researchers involved here are reputable scientists from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, UBC, MIT, the US Navy’s Naval Research Laboratory and Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific, Brigham Young University, University of Arizona, etc.

    Each of these papers reports substantially higher fusion rates and, in some cases, also higher-energy fusion products than expected based on textbook physics. No prosaic explanation for these results has been put forth by the scientific community to date. In an ambitious scientist, this may trigger some curiosity. If you can show what’s wrong with these experiments, or if you can explain the production of neutrons/charged particles with energies >3 MeV from systems operating at <1000 K and with input energies <1 keV, then please come forward and explain it to us. You might say: I don't even need to read the papers. If these results were real anomalies, why would they not have received more attention? But that assumes that science is a process driven by rational agents, when clearly it is not (again, refer to Kuhn, or any major sociologist of science of the past half century). You may have an overly idealized view of how science works. That view may even hold when looking at certain entrenched areas of specialization, but it may break down when stepping out of them.

    Schenkel et al (2019). Investigation of light ion fusion reactions with plasma discharges. J. Appl. Phys., 126(20), 203302.

    Mosier-Boss et al (2009). Triple tracks in CR-39 as the result of Pd–D Co-deposition: Evidence of energetic neutrons. Naturwissenschaften, 96(1), 135–142.

    Beltyukov et al (1991). Laser-Induced Cold Nuclear Fusion in Ti-H2-D2-T2 Compositions. Fusion Technology, 20(2), 234–238.

    Chambers et al (1991). Search for energetic charged particle reaction products during deuterium charging of metal lattices. AIP Conference Proceedings, 228(1), 383–396.

    Jones et al (1990). Anomalous nuclear reactions in condensed matter: Recent results and open questions. Journal of Fusion Energy, 9(2), 199–208.

    1. Dear Dr. Metzler,

      You wrote:
      You are asking for my dissertation and publications to
      judge my experience — but you yourself do not even reveal
      your name. Currently there’s clearly an asymmetry here. If
      you have faith in your arguments, and want us to have the
      same, then start to become accountable for them. Either
      walk your talk and write under your full name, or let’s stop
      the asymmetric discussion here.

      I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but this is a blog + discussion group,
      not published letters in a peer reviewed journal. So I don’t see why
      supplying one’s full name and degree level should be required. For
      that matter, telling someone to desist from all discussion based on
      unwritten rules of conduct might well be considered “bullying”.

      FWIW, it seems that nearly all of what the participants write
      about is science-oriented reporting, so it is quite common and
      expected of commenters to request facts and repeatable evidence,
      even when the degree level of the person asking the question is less
      than that of the addressed writer.

      Aside: On interactions among people living in hierarchical societies
      that are based on strict social classes, I read a interesting book
      this year titled “There Is Nothing For You Here: Finding Opportunity
      In The 21st Century”, by Fiona Hill, a a coal miner’s daughter from
      northern UK who has grown to become a recognized expert on
      international affairs, particularly dealing with Russia. I would
      highly recommend it for the author’s insights into both the former
      Soviet Union and the closed, defensive society of Oxford and
      Cambridge Universities. End Aside.

      Best Regards,
      Chris Aoki
      BA in Computer Science, UC Berkeley

      1. To clarify: I did not ask anyone to desist from discussion. I just indicated that it might not be worth my time to discuss further if the criteria applied to evaluating arguments are one-sided. This was after Marcin shifted from discussing the topics at hand toward questioning my qualifications, which represents several steps down in Graham’s hierarchy of disagreement: (from “refuting the central point” to “ad hominem”). I keep bringing this up here because it is important and apparently relevant. As for when a discussion comes to its natural end, of course everyone is free to withdraw from a discussion if they consider it no longer productive.

    2. Dear Florian,
      Philosophy of science is interesting and I will, if time permits, have a look at Thomas Kuhn’s book. Thank You for the recommendations. Until now I just used utilitarian advice by Carl Sagan “But the fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.”
      The soft bullying You are applying here is noticed, and I don’t think it is justified or that it helps to legitimize LENR. It doesn’t matter who I am, nor my degrees. I didn’t say that I’m a scientist either. It matters more if there is enough progress in LENR to warrant for interested readers of this page to spend precious time with it- and maybe consider investing money into it. I came to this blog and then comment section to find it out with an open mind, i think.
      You are using your Ph.D as a shield of quality and thus the question about details matter a lot. Good doctoral student gets very familiar with just the methods he/she uses and becomes an expert in a usually tiny subset of some field of science. Folks outside of academia may not fully appreciate that and not realize that for example PhD Chemists in inorganic chemistry may not know anything really about work of biochemist, and that it would take considerable intellectual effort to read each other’s work with understanding. That’s why I bubble so much about it- for the benefit of someone less familiar, experts in the finance world for example.

      But then a more practical thing. I’ve asked about the claims of Andrae Rossi and his ECAT (I’ve heard about LENR a few years ago because of him). Do You consider him a peer, a fellow researcher? If not then what criteria do you use to reject him, but not others? Did his claims help LENR researchers, or did they cause damage to the field?

      1. Marcin, Rossi is not a scientist and has never written a single scientific paper as far as I know. I have never interacted with him in any form and you probably know more about him than I do. I don’t understand why you would consider him to have a place in a (any) discussion about science. Bringing him up strikes me as a typical case of the association fallacy ( One would hardly discredit all cancer researchers just because some people exist that advertise unscientific and infective cancer treatments.

        I am simply a researcher who is interested in the modification of nuclear reaction parameters (which has been shown to be a possibility, see the Nature Physics paper Chumakov et al. 2018 and in the application of quantum engineering principles to nuclear science. There is a lively community around these topics at MIT. For reasons that are not clear to me such interests appear to be offensive to some people in this forum which did not make for a good discussion climate from the beginning. 

        The intensity of responses seems to be driven by some sense of stewardship over not violating laws of physics, scientific norms or so. But that’s not what anyone is trying to do here. Nobody here questions, for instance, conservation laws. But nuclear reaction rates, as predicted by the Gamow model, are not laws of nature. The Gamow model is a very simple semi-classical model that originated in the 1920s and is based on a bunch of assumptions that can be easily shown to not apply in many contexts. A more accurate prediction of reaction rates in a variety of contexts requires a fuller quantum treatment from first principles, which in turn results in many more variables that impact the predicted rates. So there’s no magic involved whatsoever, this is all known physics applied in rigorous ways. A problem is that many nuclear engineers are rather uncomfortable with quantum mechanics beyond introductory courses. The folks with the strongest relevant QM backgrounds are in quantum optics but they, in turn, tend to pay little attention to nuclei (which is understandable given how much interesting work there is to be done at the atomic scale alone). 

        If you feel a need to judge my qualifications in this area, as you seemed to have expressed a desire for above, the best thing you can do is to read what I wrote on the topic and engage with it critically. Any honest feedback is highly welcome. I choose my words carefully and responsibly and I stand by everything I say and write. I doubt that there is anything in my talks or in my writings that cannot be thoroughly backed up — but feel free to doublecheck and I’ll be happy to respond to any substantive comments (and make amends if necessary). I agree that focusing on personal credentials should be of no import in a discussion like this. I mentioned several reputable researchers and organizations above because you expressed a need for credibility being signaled, as you considered it not worth your time to look at an arXiv paper.

        I have now listed multiple peer-reviewed papers that you can look at and respond to in substantive ways. These papers aim to explain why some people are paying attention to this area and consider it promising.

        Again, if this is not your thing, let’s all move on. All I’m asking is to stop denigrating those who show an interest in this research area (and yes, calling something “fringe science”, “quack concepts”, “science fiction” as well as unfounded comparisons with Elizabeth Holmes and Andrea Rossi are forms of denigration). Let’s stop trying to harm other people and their reputations through undue associations.

        I would prefer to end the discussion here unless there is actual technical interest in any one of the papers I have posted on your request, with direct engagement of the main points. Again, I refer to Graham’s hierarchy of disagreement:

        1. Hi Florian. Let me go to the beginning. I’ve simply asked about going to the peer-review process with for example your paper (so that some quality stamp is applied) and You have given responses about planning to “navigate” the process and about the “machismo” of science and problems with academia(that is playing uncalled for victim card and raises red flags IMHO). There are problems with academia and scientific publishing for sure, but please don’t start with softish bullying of all the brilliant people involved in the process that, in general works(Fermi, Feyman, Teller, were all part of it). New and controversial things are published all the time(really!), and saying about “machismo” is a poor excuse for not trying or avoiding the process(red flag). The problem with Cold fusion is that it started with big controversy (Pons&Fleishman), and somehow cannot enter the mainstream 30ish years after that (with likely quacks like Rossi who are damaging all the genuine interest). Entering through the “machismo” is the only way forward IMHO. There surely are brilliant and genuine people in the conference videos, but how can I or anyone judge validity of the claims if not by the results being published/=checked for basic errors, simpler explanations for observations/. PhD diplomas? Gray hairs? Convincing voices, charisma of speakers and nice slides?

          If there are Helium or Tritium atoms detected in controlled experiments where there were none before, then there is no controversy- there are some nuclear reactions happening with ~room temperature experiments. Then there is a need for better experiments, theory and then perhaps practical application in the future(and high rewards for all who will work it out). All the power for people involved. If all these claimed observations are experimental noise/errors/misinterpretations or even some cheating(like Rossi likely is) then talents of people could be used better. Going through “machismo”, designing experiments so that there are publishable, repeatable, theoretical works that go through basic scrutiny is the way forward (for the betterment of genuine involved folks). That is my whole and very simple point.

          1. As for the general process I agree with you in principle. I told you that our paper is going through the peer review process and will be published in a peer-reviewed journal. I’m not sure what bothers you about the word “navigating” which applies to any sufficiently complex process. Any peer-reviewed paper was not yet peer-reviewed at some earlier point in time. Some people still choose to look at some such papers, others don’t — of course that is your personal choice.

            You’re setting up a straw man by equaling machismo with due scientific process. We do agree on the latter. However, the former is still a problem that’s worth addressing. Machismo refers to the way in which Valerie and others got attacked by people who apparently hold prejudices about a specific domain of science while knowing very little about it. And in particular, it refers to the patronizing and denigrating language that has been unquestionably (and unnecessarily) used by some commenters above. Again, it’s completely fine to not be interested in this domain and move on. But to on the one hand be rude and on the other hand refuse to look at what actually is the work that she has referred to is not a good choice in my view. Every person should be judged on their own merits — by what they write and say — and not by some association that someone else is projecting onto them. And I think that is pretty widely accepted today, at least among younger people. It would be nice if you could acknowledge that and acknowledge that people who do good work should not be harmed by construing negative associations around them. So this is not about playing victim, it is about basic levels of politeness and respect for others. But of course ultimately that’s everyone’s free choice too.

            About how long it takes for a research area to form into a coherent field, it can easily take decades — as it often has. I’ve studied many cases in the history of science carefully and there are plenty of examples where science doesn’t seem to work the way you described. Just look at the work of Paul Feyerabend, or, for instance, this paper:

            Coming back to the specific case, controlled experiments and publication of their results in peer-reviewed journals has been done (again, see the articles above). But there were two issues: (1) reproducibility, which is a challenging issue in many areas of science, unless you limit yourself to the simplest and best understood of experiments. See the following ACS published article describing this issue in much detail: Currently the folks at the National Ignition Facility are facing reproducibility issues too, for instance (see And (2) the lack of a fully developed theoretical explanation that quantitatively matches reported results. Now, for both issues to be properly addressed requires decent levels of funding. But to get the necessary funding, these issues were required to be resolved first. This is exactly the kind of stalemate that ARPA-E recognized and seeks to overcome — as is explicitly described here: Look at the papers I posted. These are peer-reviewed experimental papers that provide strong evidence for anomalies (high-energy energetic particles measured with well-established detection methods). But without a detailed theoretical picture, progress was hard to come by toward increasing the reliability and strength of such signals — again, note the parallels to the semiconductor case. And with a lack of funding and the threat of damaged reputations that was hardly going to change. In short: This is a complex field with subtle scientific and social issues, which I think you are underestimating. 

            One might say: But if there are real anomalies here, surely scientists all over would be curious to explore them? Well, that’s another idealization of science. As Thomas Kuhn writes:

            “Normal science, the activity in which most scientists inevitably spend almost all their time, is predicated on the assumption that the scientific community knows what the world is like. Much of the success of the enterprise derives from the community’s willingness to defend that assumption, if necessary at considerable cost. Normal science, for example, often suppresses fundamental novelties because they are necessarily subversive of its basic commitments. [..] In science [..] novelty emerges only with difficulty, manifested by resistance, against a background provided by expectation. Initially, only the anticipated and usual are experienced even under circumstances where anomaly is later to be observed. Further acquaintance, however, does result in awareness of something wrong or does relate the effect to something that has gone wrong before. That awareness of anomaly opens a period in which conceptual categories are adjusted until the initially anomalous has become the anticipated.”

            Or let’s hear it from Emilio Segre: 

            “The discovery of fission has an uncommonly complicated history; many errors beset it. Nature had, however, truly complicated the problem. One had to contend with the radioactivity of natural uranium and the presence of two long-lived isotopes—U-235 and U-238. The heavier isotope, as is well known, does not undergo fission when bombarded by slow neutrons. The lighter isotope, which makes up only 0.7% of natural uranium, is responsible for all slow-neutron fission. This is a tricky setup. Above all, it seems to me that the human mind sees only what it expects.”

            Anyways, I would suggest putting this meta discussion behind us and discussing the technical issues at hand if you care. Perhaps you can point out what’s wrong with the reports of neutron measurements in Jones at al. or the 5 MeV charged particles in Chambers et al.

            1. Hi Florian. It would be great fun to learn about all of this with a glass of Beer and same location with some laughing, since writing over the internet makes everything sounding like an argument way too easy, when it is not meant to be. I don’t share your pessimistic (IMHO) view on science. Every scientist’s dream (I know a few) is to discover new and groundbreaking things. Something that not one person has seen before, or saw but missed to appreciate. Even better if it is reflected later on by others with comments like “why haven’t we thought about it, it is so elegant and should have been done a long time ago”. Or with snarky/jealous: “I have seen these in my laboratory 10 years ago, just didn’t bother to publish”. Discovery of the Graphene comes to mind as neat example (breakthrough material produced first with the use of a “Scotch tape”).

              Breaking “the rules” is the way to get publications in Nature and alike, Nobel Prize, grants, great collaborators and all the fame and recognition that likely anyone secretly hopes for. Life is hard, real breakthroughs are rare and frequently people settle within their field, still producing valuable data/theories for everyone to use. With the silent hope that these will add up to breakthroughs in the future. C’est la vie.

              Within the Cold Fusion/LENR field there is a possible illustration of the big problem with publishing (IMHO). This is the fact that many well thought out but unsuccessful attempts on tackling these ideas were not published(because as silly rules-negative results are not really published in scientific journals). What about, perhaps the best and brightest, who during the last 30ish years looked at the topic, went through literature to find if there is something to be done with their expertise and tooling, tried some new approaches and left the field disappointed without much trace? These experiences could add up to helping finding better experiments to confirm or reject phenomena. Lack of good evidence is indicating something too IMHO. 30years is a very long period of time, especially with general progress with measurements, new techniques, theories etc.

              I’m looking forward to seeing the final version of Your article (no sarcasm here, I’m honestly interested even though I cannot really contribute to discussing details), once it goes through peer review and all the corrections and improvements that come with it(it is possible nowadays to include reviews too to be accessible). I would be grateful for any update on the best experiments to come from the insider with a filter (in this comment section?).

              1. Marcin, thanks for your comment — I’m glad we were able to find some common ground.

                What you proposed is, in essence, what ARPA-E seeks to do with respect to experiments. And it’s also what our paper seeks to do with respect to the cumulative theoretical understanding that has been gained over the years. I’d be happy to keep you posted as to how these things proceed.

              2. Many people does not know that there are peer reviewed papers that confirm the so called Fleischmann Pons Effect (FPE) but invoke either conventional or other unknown effects to explain the observations. As a person that has devoted many man hours to the topic I think most people that just read consensus opinions are missing most of what this field has been able to prove. ICCF 24 was a very important event, but there’s much more to be discovered. I congratulate Valerie for writing this article and Florian for coming to debate with passion in opposition to people that have a superficial idea of what LENR may be.

  9. Hey all, musical interlude break time! I am delighted to be able to share these links to the Cold Fusion rap videos posted by Baba Brinkman, a rap music virtuoso who created and performed these songs live at the ICCF24 conference. Here’s “You Must LENR” ( and “Cold Fusion Renaissance” ( Plus a bonus, a little article about Baba’s appearance at ICCF and brush with Cold Fusion:

  10. Julian Schwinger, who shared the Nobel Prize in physics with Richard Feynman for quantum electric dynamics took an interest in cold fusion that sidetracked his career. About a paper he had rejected:

    “Cold Fusion: A Hypothesis’ was written to suggest several critical experiments, which is the function of hypothesis. The masked reviewers, to a person, ignored that, and complained that I had not proved the underlying assumptions. Has the knowledge that physics is an experimental science been totally lost?”

  11. It is hoped that some of the information in “Bridging the Gaps: An Anthology on Nuclear Cold Fusion” will be of help in the ARPA-E program.

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