I regret to announce that Coolescence has closed their doors. They never
were able to replicate excess heat. I think they ran out of money, and
perhaps they ran out of gumption. That would be understandable.

Over at CMNS, Ed Storms posted a melancholy comment about this. We are not
supposed to quote CMNS but in this case I will take the liberty of quoting
a short portion:


> The skeptics will say, "Obviously, the better and more carefully the
> studies are done, the less likely the false claims would result."  How can
> we respond to such a conclusion?
>


Since I can quote myself as much as I like, here is what I wrote in
response.


. . . That is a good question. I think the answer is as follows --

The most careful studies were done by people such as Mel Miles showed a
positive effect.

Coolescence tried to replicate Miles, but they failed. Miles says this is
because they made mistakes in the replication. You can ask him for details.

I conclude that they made mistakes in this replication, and in the other
replications they attempted. I assume the original studies were positive
and correct. Coolescence reported their results correctly, and these
results were negative. The disconnect is in the experimental materials or
procedures, not in the reporting.

Here is why I reached this conclusion and why I think it is plausible.


*Many Replications Fail Because This Experiment is Difficult*

There were many failed replications in 1989, including many done by
experienced scientists in well-equipped major laboratories. In most cases
these failures occured because the scientists were not electrochemists;
they did not consult with electrochemists, and they made elementary
mistakes. I described an example on p. 10 and 11 here:

http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/RothwellJlessonsfro.pdf

There were some failed experiments conducted by experienced
electrochemists. In a few cases it is likely these were false negatives.
Here is a well-known example, by Lewis:

http://lenr-canr.org/acrobat/RothwellJhownaturer.pdf

This failure was not due to lack of skill or attention. Lewis did excellent
work. His paper is good. It has many useful suggestions. His failure was in
his analysis.

Even people who succeeded from time to time in cold fusion often failed.
Mel Miles worked for months before getting positive results. As I wrote
here the other day, the research project at the University of Missouri has
not worked well:

Many techniques have been described in the literature that worked a few
times spectacularly, but most of the time they do not work. They are
irreproducible. The SuperWave technique once produced, "Excess Power of up
to 34 watts; Average ~20 watts for 17 h." (http://www.lenr-canr.org/acro
bat/DardikIexcessheat.pdf) I have heard that despite strenuous efforts, it
has never done that at U. Missouri.


I do not think these earlier results could be an error. 20 W is a lot of
heat. With no input power it seems unlikely to me anyone would confuse zero
watts with 20 W.

Richard Oriani told me that in his 50-year career in electrochemistry, the
Fleischmann Pons experiment was the most difficult one he did.

Experiments and technologies that fail drastically are not uncommon. As
Beaudette pointed out, to clone the first sheep, biologists had to make
hundreds of attempts before one finally worked. Billions of dollars have
been invested in rocket technology. Every rocket launch costs millions of
dollars. Rockets carry satellites worth millions more. Despite these high
stakes, rockets often explode. The technology is not reliable.

It makes no sense to say that cold may not exist because it is so difficult
to replicate. No one would claim that rockets do not exist because they are
unreliable.


*You Need A PhD in Electrochemistry*

As far as I know, everyone who replicated cold fusion had a PhD in
electrochemistry, or they worked with people who did. I am not sure about
Storms at Los Alamos, but Los Alamos is chock-full of experts in every
subject. Coolescence may have had first-class instruments but they probably
did not have the kind of expertise on tap that Storms did. I do not know
whether anyone at Coolescence has a PhD in electrochemistry. I do not think
so. That is my impression talking to Mel Miles. If professionals at a place
like Kamiokande failed for lack of electrochemical expertise, it would not
surprise me if the people at Coolescence also failed for this reason.

I do not know much about electrochemistry but I have spent a lot of time
editing papers about it and listening to people such as Mizuno, McKubre,
Miles, Bockris and Fleischman talk about it. They know a terrific amount
about the subject. Enough to write a textbook. Bockris *did* write an
authoritative textbook. Here is the point: you have to know thousands of
details about electrochemistry, if you get a single detail wrong the
experiment may not work. You will not know why.

According to Mizuno, McKubre and others, getting a PhD in electrochemistry
is like an apprenticeship. With Bockris it was like slavery, according to
Mizuno. It is something you do hands-on in a laboratory working
side-by-side with experts. It resembles surgery. You cannot learn it on
your own from a textbook.

McKubre and some others who replicated learned electrochemistry from
Fleischmann. That may have put them in a better position to replicate.
There may be details about electrochemistry that Fleischmann emphasized and
taught that were relevant to this experiment, including specifics that
Fleischmann and McKubre themselves may not realize were critical to
success. McKubre might be compared to an airplane pilot who had the good
fortune to be trained by the engineers at Boeing. He has inside knowledge
of the machine.

The other day Mizuno pointed out some errors in chemistry that he thinks
the people at Industrial Heat made when they tried to replicate his
experiment. Murray, at I.H., is an impressive guy. He has world-class
skills in calorimetry and thermal engineering. He designed and built
equipment for the US military and others, some of it costing millions of
dollars. If Mizuno were to explain these errors to him, and if the two of
them were to work side-by-side for several months, I suppose Murray could
master the chemistry. Unfortunately, Mizuno spent only a few weeks in the
I.H. lab. Murray knows a lot about chemistry and materials, but he probably
does not know the specifics needed to master this particular experiment,
because this is not his area of expertise. I may be mistaken, but I do not
think I.H. had an in-house electrochemist working on this project.

In short, people seldom master complicated science and technology without
direct, hands-on, in-person training by experts.

This is somewhat beyond the scope of the discussion, but it raises an
interesting question: How did we ever master these technologies in the
first place? For example, to learn to fly an airplane, you must train with
an experienced pilot. So how did people learn to fly in the first place?
The answer is that only two people learned without training: the Wright
brothers. They trained the first pilots, and these pilots trained others.
There is a direct line from pilot to pilot going back to the Wrights. Each
generation of pilots learns nearly everything from other pilots, and goes
on to master only a few new techniques and new equipment. Airplanes grew
bigger, more complex and took more training to master. Sometime around 1920
it became impossible for anyone to master an airplane without training. You
could no longer recapitulate the skills on your own, starting from scratch.
The process resembles the emergence of complexity in biological evolution.
No species emerges *de novo*.

- Jed

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