Thursday, February 2, 2012

Cold Fusion 101: Short Course at MIT

Photo: Veterans Today

Beginning on January 23, 2012, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Electrical Engineering Prof. Peter Hagelstein will teach an Independent Activities Period (IAP) course titled “Cold Fusion 101: Introduction to Excess Power in Fleischmann-Pons Experiments.” IAP is a special four-week MIT term (between fall and spring terms) that takes place in January each year, during which students can take credit or non-credit short courses on a variety of subjects.

The non-credit cold fusion course will meet from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. daily on January 23-27 and 30-31 (see
While Hagelstein expects attendance in the course to be small (based on the historical lack of interest in cold fusion at MIT), he plans to pack a lot of information into the available 10.5 hours. He noted, “There will be a lot of discussion about experiments and ideas that have been chewed on over the years in the field.”

Some of the lecture material includes: observation of excess power in Fleischmann and Pons’ early experiments; claim of energy production without chemical or nuclear products; important negative experiments from 1989; theoretical difficulties; Huizenga’s “three miracles” (lack of strong neutron emissions and gamma rays or X-rays, Coulomb barrier penetration); hydrogen/deuterium evolution reactions and electrochemical models; excess power as a function of loading; vacancies and codeposition; the nuclear ash problem; correlation of He-4 with excess power in Fleischmann-Pons experiments; overview of theoretical approaches; ideas for coherent energy exchange between mismatched quantum systems; excess power in the NiH system; the Piantelli experiment; prospects for a new, small-scale, clean nuclear energy technology.

On January 30-31, Dr. Mitchell Swartz, of JET Energy, will present experimental results showing excess power in PdD and NiH systems, with a particular focus on experiments he has conducted.
When asked if his presentation of the Francesco Piantelli NiH work would include much discussion of developments set forth by Andrea Rossi, Hagelstein noted, “I would expect to mention Rossi briefly. But my part of this is intended to be scientific, and there is very little available from Rossi that is of scientific value. For example, there is no useful description of the experiment. There is no reliable data. There is no reliable assay of samples before and after. There are no scientific papers of high quality that I can direct people interested to. On the other hand, Piantelli’s group discovered the excess heat effect in the NiH gas loaded system, and they have described their experiment, measurements and some of their data in publications. So, my focus will be on the best available scientific work.”

In 1995, the late Dr. Eugene Mallove conducted a one-day MIT IAP course on cold fusion that he called “Cold Fusion Day at MIT,” but this is the first time since then that the subject has been presented during the IAP session.

“Mitchell has encouraged me for years to arrange for a course on cold fusion at MIT. I have put in requests to the department several times, but the department has not had any interest in a course on this topic,” Hagelstein commented. Perhaps the fact that cold fusion is in the news daily right now, in conjunction with a well-attended IAP course, will change this.

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