LENR Poses a Challenge and a Problem for Big Science
Low Energy Nuclear Reaction or cold fusion poses a huge problem for what we might call Big Science. Big Science is large-scale institutionalized research funded by governments and carried out through large institutions such as universities. Big Science consumes vast amounts of money yet in recent decades it seems to have produced nothing but rationale for more taxpayer funding.
The problem with Big Science is that it is controlled by a small cadre of researchers and academics. These people are not the most brilliant or capable individuals instead they are usually the best at academic and institutional politics. They are those who know how to work the system to get what they want rather than researchers or thinkers. Their skills include knowing how to lose at golf to the university president and how to kiss up to whatever politician is in office this week.
These people serve as gatekeepers that decide what science receives funding and what science does not. They have effectively shut LENR out of mainstream research because it does not fit their world view. Part of the reason for this is that LENR is a fairly small kind of research that does not require big funding. One of the worst aspects about Big Science is that it concentrates on those areas of research that bring in the most grant money. IE they concentrate on hot fusion because they can receive more dollars for it.
Big Science particularly in the arena of physics seems to be a miserable failure. Seventy years of big scientific research in the field since the end of World War II have yielded nuclear reactors that aren’t much better than those used in the 1950s. Giant nuclear power plants like that at Fukushima use about the same level of technology as a tube television set. The old cassette recorder you pitched in the dumpster a few years ago employed far more advanced technology than today’s nuclear reactors.
In a recent op-ed piece in the Foreign Policy Journal Canadian physicist Dr. Stoyan Sarg (a veteran of Big Science at NASA and elsewhere) states that science is stagnated. He notes no major discoveries have been made in the field of physics in decades despite the publication of lots of interesting and exciting research.
Sarg blames the scientific establishment with its bureaucratic style of management for this stagnation. In particular he accuses them of deliberately misinforming decision makers in an effort to protect their income streams.
Sarg also does a good job of laying out how the scientific elite uses its’ control over peer reviewed journals to determine what is and what is not mainstream science. He uses Cold Fusion a prime example of a promising area of research that was essentially shut out of mainstream science by this process. Persons that write what the mainstream scientists want get published those that write something else don’t get published even if it has scientific merit.
Persons who cannot get published cannot receive research funds or good paying jobs. They get no money for international conferences or collaboration. To make matters worse the scientific establishment uses debunking by misinformation to destroy anybody that tries to take an alternative to the mass media. He cites Pons and Fleischman as classic victims of such a smear campaign.
Sarg’s op-ed piece is well worth reading for everybody in light of the tactics used against LENR promoters including Andrea Rossi. He makes a good case that our civilization is facing challenges that can only be solved by new scientific and technological advances yet such breakthroughs are stymied by the scientific bureaucracy and its allies in the mass media.
There is some hope that Sarg fails to mention, first the scientific establishment at least in the US sees that the federal gravy train of big grant money that has been pouring out since World War II is about to end. So they’re taking a look at smaller more visionary science that might attract a few dollars from private donors. This includes LENR which has recently received attention from both MIT and the University of Missouri.
Second many physicists and researchers fed up with big science’s restrictions have moved into the private sector. There some of them have been able to do the research organized science tried to suppress and are coming up with breakthroughs. Almost all the LENR breakthroughs in recent years have come from private labs or workshops not Big Science’s institutions.
Big Science’s days are numbered. Taxpayers and politicians are sick and tired of paying for it and many scientists are openly revolting against it. More importantly private researchers are doing what Big Science has failed to do solving our civilization’s critical problems.