Of all the interesting tidbits to come out of The Atom Unexplored conference in Turin, Italy in May 4, perhaps the account by Dr. Peter Hagelstein of MIT on how a prominent physicist actively worked to cut cold fusion funding was the most eye-opening. In the question and answer session held after the morning LENR portion of the proceedings, a member of the audience asked a rather poignant question regarding why scientists often fail to develop clear “road maps” from the laboratory to the “real world.” In responding to this question, Dr. Hagelstein gave a quite detailed and thoughtful answer regarding this problem as it relates to cold fusion/LENR. As the final part of his answer, he stated the following regarding his own recent personal experience regarding this issue:
“The other issue is how to get support for such work. In the United States at the moment, outside of a program under Dennis Bushnell at NASA, there is no currently, as far as I’m aware, there is no other government support for any work in this area for such experiments. I recently had the experience of working with a large company in the U.S. who was interested in pursuing experiments in this area and helping out. So we put in, we discussed with the technical people at this company of the possibility that they might put in some money for the support of the replication of the Piantelli experiment. So they got the agreement, they got the money, they got it to MIT, and we thought “good, now we can make some progress.” However, a very famous physicist at MIT, who is involved in the energy program, found out what we were trying to do, and he cancelled the program. And he called up the vice president of the company and said some things that weren’t very polite about the research. And not only did the funding not come and the experiments didn’t happen, but my colleagues at the company were very worried about where they’re going to work next. As you know, there are unemployment issues currently in our bad economy, so there’s a fundamental difficulty with respect to getting support for the experiments, and what that means is that the science can be expected to go very slowly for these reasons, until a solution is found to this problem.”
As many know, MIT was at the forefront in the effort to discredit cold fusion in 1989, and the report issued by that institution detailing a failed replication attempt carried an enormous amount of weight in forming the public perception that cold fusion was a hoax and “junk science.” The MIT report was the first document listed in the Department of Energy’s negative assessment of the technology in 1989. A story that appeared in the Boston Herald, with the headline MIT Bombshell Knocks Cold Fusion “Breakthrough” Cold is felt by many to have set off the feeding frenzy in the media that cold fusion was a hoax. However, in a report published by the late Dr. Eugene Mallove in 1999, he extensively detailed the efforts of some high-ranking individuals at MIT to falsify positive replication results in order to ensure that MIT continued to receive tens of millions of dollars in US government funding for its plasma fusion (“hot fusion”) program. You can read the detailed accounting here. This article is a first-hand account of what took place at MIT, since Dr. Mallove was the head of MIT’s Science Information Office at the time of these events. He subsequently resigned in protest over the alleged fraud of his colleagues.
Yet, over the many years since the alleged fraud perpetuated by the staff and administration at MIT, that institution has come a long way in distancing itself from this stain on its otherwise stellar reputation. MIT now holds regular cold fusion colloquium’s and just this year held a class detailing cold fusion history and current research. The class included a demonstration of the NANOR cold fusion device built by MIT graduate Dr. Mitchell Swartz. As Dr. Hagelstein pointed out in his lecture (see link below) at The Atom Unexplored, this device has run since January and demonstrated energy gains up to 14 times that of the input power. Most of Dr. Hagelstein’s presentation on May 4 covered the NANOR and included detailed technical data about the device. He even offered an open invitation to the public to visit MIT to witness the device function.
If any readers want to see a functioning cold fusion device first-hand, I would highly suggest you make a pilgrimage to MIT to see the NANOR sooner rather than later. I cannot imagine that the experimental NANOR device will run indefinitely, nor that its opponents in the physics department, who continue to receive generous grants from the US Government for competing energy research, will allow this demonstration to continue that much longer regardless.
Honestly, I really regret that the bulk of this article is about the efforts of some in the physics department at MIT to squash cold fusion research once again. I say this because The Atom Unexplored conference was really quite informative and the presentations quite good. If you have not taken the time to view the videos from the conference, I would highly recommend that you do so. All the presentations may be viewed here. I have also taken the liberty of posting the presentations of Dr. Hagelstein and Prof. Piantelli (given by his associate and Nichenergy executive Valerio Ciampoli) to You Tube. I have also posted the question and answer session that followed the LENR portion of the proceedings. It is also quite interesting. The last 2 minutes of the Q&A is Dr. Hagelstein’s account of the funding cancellation noted above.
Just a note about the Piantelli presentation. While the tone of the presentation emphasizes the research aspect of the work being done at Nichenergy, Mr. Ciampoli, speaking on behalf on PIantelli, seems to suggest industrial products “in a couple of months.” That statement is in the first couple of minutes of the presentation. Make of it what you will.
A special thanks to the organizers of The Atom Unexplored, not only for holding the conference but also for streaming it live and making the videos available to view. Also thanks to inventor/scientist/blogger Pekka Janhunenfor transcribing from the video of Dr. Hagelstein’s account of his recent experience with funding cancellation at MIT.