Rumor Mill: US Navy Has Shut Down Cold Fusion Research

The United States Navy’s cold fusion research program may have been halted. Jed Rothwell who operates the LENR-CANR.org website has posted a blog entry stating the cold fusion research efforts at the Navy’s Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command have been shut down.

Unfortunately Rothwell provided no evidence for this claim so it is impossible to verify. Rothwell blames mass media exposure and cold fusion critics for pressuring authorities to shut down the program. He points his finger at Robert Park a retired physics professor from the University of Maryland who was formerly the Director of Public Information at the American Physical Society and Mary Yugo who has accused Andrea Rossi of running a scam. Note Rothwell does not say how Park and Yugo affected Navy policy he just assumes they can. So his allegations against them are just that allegations.

Rothwell believes the critics were able to pressure the Navy into shutting down the project. He notes that politicians or bureaucrats were afraid of embarrassment. This is certainly plausible bureaucrats and politicians that have wasted untold billions of the taxpayers’ dollars on “alternative energy” research don’t want to be seen to be wrong.

 

This may or may not be the case. Since the work is done in secret it might be continuing under another name. Or the Navy may have concluded the work is no longer necessary because it has been proven.

 

Another interesting possibility is that the US military’s real cold fusion project is being run by Andrea Rossi. IE military authorities cannot publicly be seen as supporting low energy nuclear reaction research so they are quietly funding Rossi’s work. This would square with the mysterious customer that purchased the first 1MW e-cat unit.

 

I for one cannot believe the Navy would abandon research into something as promising as cold fusion because it disturbs the neat little world views of a few physics professors. A more likely scenario is that the research is continuing through another venue.

 

Rothwell also makes a few points that are worth reading:

 

Like most cold fusion projects, this was a shoestring or "bootlegged"
operation. It was done by retired researchers such as Szpak, and others
working nights and weekends. The equipment was scavenged or bought by
private individuals. But, as we all know, people opposed to cold fusion
will not tolerate any project, even if it costs essentially nothing.
Academic freedom means nothing to them. It never occurs to them they might be wrong,
because -- Like Park and Yugo -- they have read nothing and they know nothing.
They make no distinction between cold fusion and a perpetual motion machines or
water memory. Any research they disagree with *must not be allowed*, period.

 

If LENR is developed as a viable technology it will have to be in the private sector. That seems to be happening right now. The good news is that if low energy nuclear reaction becomes a commercially viable technology the critics will be shown up. They will be exposed as simple minded fools or worse.

Rothwell also speculates about some of Andrea Rossi’s motivations. He writes:

“ Rossi is well aware of how academic politics work in the U.S.

That is one of the reasons he has not made much of an effort to work with universities and national labs.”

This could be why Rossi is working with Swedish and Italian universities which are outside the orbit of established US science.

Andrea Rossi and the other commercial cold fusion researchers are in good company here. Establishment science has long dismissed new technology as humbug until it has been proven. Brian Josephson has noted the similarities between the treatment of the Wright Brothers’ airplane experiments and Rossi’s claims.

Another pioneer who received similar treatment was Karl Benz the inventor of the automobile. When Benz demonstrated his first car in 1888 his work was dismissed by the German Yearbook of Natural Science as an idea with no future.* 123 years later Mercedes-Benz is still in business. Nobody remembers the name of author the German Yearbook of Natural Science.

 

*Source: The World of Automobiles an Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Motor Car
 volume 2. Orbis Publishing London 1974/Columbia House New York 1974.

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One Response to Rumor Mill: US Navy Has Shut Down Cold Fusion Research

  • James Wensel says:

    I love to see all this commotion about something I read in 1956 . Before my unit blew up and filled my eyes with lye and aluminum and zinc dust . Thanks Scientific American Magazine for the idea. I feel sure mister Rossi has got it together. I swithed over to nuclear science and built a diffusion cloud chamber in a 100 gauss magnetic field. It was much safer. I won several prizes with that. Thanks again to Scientific Americam Magazine. Jim