Sunday, November 06, 2011

Cold fusion and serious scientists

Lubos gives again an excellent example of bad science writing. Already the earlier posting about cold fusion serves as a similar sad example about science journalism. What makes Lubos so irritated is that cold fusion seems to be real! So real that it is becoming commercial! This despite the fact that so called serious scientists declare that cold fusion is not possible. The text book nuclear physics simply does not allow it: Coulomb wall!

About serious science

The term "serious" used by a scientist about himself too often condenses to single word attributes like arrogance, intellectual laziness, and profound lack of imagination. Our luck is that there are also not so "serious" theoreticians. People with imagination. For the genuine explorers of the unknown anomalies like cold fusion represent fascinating intellectual challenges. What if the experimentalists are right? How the reality of cold fusion would force to modify nucler physics as it is represented in text books? For these scientists the text book nuclear physics does not represent laws of Moses carved in stone but a product of its own time - something manufactured by ordinary human beings from the restricted data that they had access to. These physicists do not start to rage like a maniac if a theory built for more than half century ago fails to explain all our experimental findings.

It is ironic that many of these "serious" scientists are ready believe even the silliest assertions of the hegemony. For instance, during the last year the claims of the hegemony about what will be seen at LHC have turned out to be wrong one after another. The outlandish predictions assigned to large extra dimensions, to mini black holes, to exotic dark matter particles with weird properties, to the standard view about super symmetry modified to allow baryon or lepton number non-conservation in desperate attempts to explain at least something, etc... have turned out to be wrong. Even the existence of the cherished Higgs is now highly questionable but again the courtly alternatives have been classified and listed: technicolor and non-perturbative efffects in standard model framework.

Another example: the possibility that neutrinos could move faster than photons suggested by the finding of the OPERA group, is dismissed by most colleagues. Again the lack of imagination is the banal reason: "serious" scientist is not able to imagine that the operationally defined maximal signal velocity itself varies if a simple modification of Einstein's theory solving the fundamental problem of General Relativity caused by the loss of Poincare symmetries is accepted. The "energy problem" of General Relativity is one of the dirty family secrets of theoretical physics community about which it is not polite to talk aloud although even second year physics student can understand that something is wrong: general relativity is not the whole story.

It is sad that too many influental bloggers including Tommaso Dorigo - whom I have regarded as a physicist taking more seriously experimental facts than text book theories- has chosen the side of the unimaginative establishment here. I understand that in a small secluded country like Finland those few physicists who have been chosen to act as the touters of the official science know that they must declare to the public that OPERA experimenters made an error. But why also Tommaso?

What if cold fusion is real?

I am happy to regard myself a member of the group of scientists for whom science is not a striking weapon or an instrument of personal career building. For me the anomalies of physics are a source of continual inspiration. There is nothing more stimulating than an unsolved problem and cold fusion is certainly such. This does not mean that I would believe or dis-believe in cold fusion: I am a scientist, not a priest or guru of any kind.

For more than decade ago I started to consider possible explanations for cold fusion in terms of many-sheeted space-time concept. The explanation that I take now most seriously rests on the hierarchy of Planck constants predicted by TGD providing an explanation of dark matter as a phase of ordinary matter with a value of Planck constant coming as integer multiple of the ordinary Planck constant. The scaling of Planck constant implies the upwards scaling of various quantum lengths - in particular the scaling of Compton length - making possible macroscopic quantum phases. The applications to biology are especially interesting.

Also zoomed up nuclei with the size scale of order atomic length scale are possible: this could make possible cold fusion like processes. There are books - written before the first reports about cold fusion - providing empirical and experimental evidence for the claim that cold fusion takes place in living matter (for references and TGD inspired model see this and this).

Needless to say, the reality of cold fusion could boost a profound technological revolution. Not only cheap energy but also the possibility to produce artificially technologically important elements such as metals, whose natural resources are rapidly waning. The alchemistic dream would become true.

To sum up: be very cautious when an aggressive theorists tells that something is theoretically impossible. What he is really expressing is that some theoreticians - quite too often those at the top of the power ladder - possess a very restricted gift of imagination.


At 5:12 AM, Blogger Ervin Goldfain said...


Cold Fusion is most likely real although we may not have a foolproof theoretical explanation to back it up. Research in this area goes by the name "low energy nuclear reactions" and there are already conferences organized on this topic.

My view on superluminal neutrinos is this:

It is important to recall that quantum mechanics allows for tiny excursions outside the light cone that are perfectly consistent with Relativity. This may provide the most natural interpretation of OPERA anomaly, see below:

It also may lend support to the idea that photons and long-range neutrinos having ultra-relativistic rest-frame masses (consistent with zero) can be described as components of the same gauge doublet:



At 7:21 AM, Anonymous said...

Fermion propagator allows small excursions but how probable they are and whey they would correspond to single super-luminal velocity rather than continuum. OPERA sees well-defined unique super-luminal (to my belief only apparently) velocity.

What bothers me in neutrino-photon SUSY is following. Suppose that neutrino and photon form a supermultiplet and also neutrino and charged lepton and neutrino form the usual multiplet. This SUSY should apply also to charged leptons. Charged leptons should have super partners which would be charged analogs of photon. They cannot be W bosons since each lepton family would correspond to its own W boson like state. They should be also very heavy.

At 7:36 AM, Blogger Rockinghorse said...

Matti, thanks for your informative post.

This neutrino anomaly is weird. People think that it is against special theory of relativity, but they do not realize that no serious scientist does use special theory of relativity for calculating. But relativity corrected Quantum mechanics, the clock speed corrections for GPS-satellites and muons are calculated using (neo-) lorentzian theory of relativity.

When we choose Earth's gravity field as fixed frame of reference, Lorentz's theory of relativity explains all the empirical evidence even better than special theory of relativity.

Also Lorentz's theory of relativity is philosophically congruent with general theory of relativity, because both of them are Aether theories.

Therefore I am pondering, why people have completely ignored Lorentz's contribution, although they use it every day?

At 7:49 AM, Blogger Ervin Goldfain said...


In order to form a SUSY-like supermultiplet there are several strict requirements for its components: equal masses, same number of degrees of freedom and same quantum charges. This is why a photon-neutrino doublet is possible only under certain circumstances that I discussed in my paper. Nearly massless neutrinos due to suppression of flavor oscillations in Earth matter and distance scales much larger than the inverse of the electroweak range favor these conditions .It is ONLY then that an unbroken SUSY-like doublet becomes possible.

At 8:02 AM, Blogger Ervin Goldfain said...

"Fermion propagator allows small excursions but how probable they are and whey they would correspond to single super-luminal velocity rather than continuum. OPERA sees well-defined unique super-luminal (to my belief only apparently) velocity."

What OPERA sees is a statistical spread of arrival times that is then fit to a probability distribution function and to a corresponding average value.

At 9:22 AM, Blogger Ulla said...

This is not so good?
1. Rossi's first customer who is now the proud owner of their very own 1 megawatt fusion reactor looks almost certainly military in origin, and could well be SPAWAR. Space And Naval Warfare Systems Command

The US Navy has a long history and association with cold fusion going back to the Pons and Fleischmann era, even studying cold fusion in secret for over a decade while mainstream science shrugged at it's very mention.

At 9:25 AM, Blogger Ulla said...

Coloumb wall and quasichrystals? They were also imossible because the broke the boundary of atoms.

At 3:42 PM, Anonymous Orwin O'Dowd said...

Cold fusion promises stellar returns on Helium3 mined on the Moon, so think freebooting space pirates.

As I was saying about monadic physics, Born and Infeld found Moie-style equations for fields with point sources as in GR. There's a constant b, coupling constant for the aether or vacuum that's never been determined. Now two hydrodynamicists (!) show that the solutions are hyperbolic (!!!). This is far too serious for arXiv or the Web:

Serre, D. Hyperbolicity of the nonlinear models of Maxwell's equations, Arch. Rat. Mech. Anal. 172 309-331, 2004.
Brenier, Y. Hydrodynamic structure of the augmented Born-Infeld equations, Arch Rat. Mech. Anal. 172 65-91, 2004.

Also probably unphysical, in the sense that they don't seem to do.....Coulomb stuff!

More insight can hardly be expected from duffers who move from relativistic point-models to tacky Bohr atoms. They certainly won't look at non-Archimedean points, or irrational polarity. But Mie lives on in scattering theory, now in the atmosphere where neutreno anomalies appear.

This aint going to get any easier.

At 6:55 PM, Anonymous said...

To Erwin:

The statistical spread of the arrival times has the same form as the proton pulse at CERN. This is the main argument for arguing unique arrival time and therefore neutrino velocity. If this were not the case one would obtain a convolution for the velocity distribution and proton pulse and the distribution of arrival times would be wider at Gran Sasso than proton pulse distribution. This has not been observed.

The restriction of SUSY to just neutrino and photon is not satisfactory to me. Which neutrino would be the spartner of photon? Shouldn't the other two neutrinos have photon like spartners? Why we have not observed them? Are they heavy by SUSY breakin?

The extension of SUSY to entire electroweak multiplets creates also problems. Strong breaking of SUSY is needed to give to the spartners of W and Z bosons a large mass.

At 7:20 PM, Anonymous said...

To Orwin O'Dowd:

The connection with hydrodynamics is interesting also from TGD point of view.

a) The field equations in TGD are for Kahler action which is Maxwell action but with Maxwell field identified as Kahler form of CP_2 projected to space-time surface. The field equations are just conservation laws for four-momentum and color charges and by definition therefore have a hydrodynamic character.

The topological half of Maxwell's equations is identically satisfied: no magnetic charges and Faraday's induction law. The non-topological half involving current at other side are replaced with conservation laws.

Field equations are hyperbolic in Minkowskian regions of space-time surface. In Euclidian regions representing the lines of generalized Feynman diagrams situation is of course different.

b) What is new is that the solutions are very "quantal": Bohr orbitology for classical fields instead of point like particles. Minkowskian regions of space-time with 4-D M^4 projection (4-D: this is important) decompose very generally to regions characterized by local directions of light-like momentum and polarization. One could say that one has decomposition to massless bosons but in given region only the modes moving in parallel and having the same local polarization can interfere.

In Maxwell's theory one can have superposition of modes moving in different direction and having different polarizations. Now the situation is analogous to that in QED after state function reduction which has selected photons with definite momenta and polarizations.

c) A further fascinating aspect of field equations is that preferred extremals define very special kind of hydrodynamics. The coordinate associated with the flow lines extends to a global coordinate. This is highly non-trivial and is known as Beltrami flow property requiring condition j wedge dj =0 for the vector field parallel to the flow lines.

vx(nablaxv) would be the counterpart in hydrodynamics. In super-conductivity this condition would allow to assign a global phase varying along the lines of supra current and is a condition for the existence of supra current. jxB=0 would be the 3-D counterpart for Maxwellian situation and state that magnetic forces on current vanishes.

The basic implication in TGD is that Coulomb term j cdot A in Kaehler action vanishes and Kaehler action reduces to 3-D term reducing to Chern-Simons term. TGD reduces to almost topological QFT. This means a gigantic calculational simplification since the value of Kaehler action can be calculated without detailed knowledge of the interior of space-time.

At 7:23 PM, Anonymous said...

To Ulla:

It tells much about human kind that when military projects are in question, rational attitudes win. Remote mental interactions, cold fusion, maybe even water memory can be studied seriously if there is a hope about killing people more effectively!

At 7:42 PM, Anonymous said...

To Rockinhhorse:

The issue of classical conservation laws is very delicate in GRT and also in TGD.

a) Consider first GRT. There is strange schizophrenic split concerning special and general relativities. Special relativity is used with success to calculate local processes. When one works in astrophysical scales general relativity is introduced but pretending that it is consistent with Poincare invariance.

One can certainly argue that gravitation is extremely weak interaction and can be forgotten in good approximation. My view point is different: the theory must be such that it allows precise mathematical existence of the counterparts of the basic conserved quantities (even if they are not conserved). GR does not allow this.

And surprise-surprise: the identification of space-time as 4-surface leads to a unification of fundamental interactions with basic ideas requiring just one page of paper. Conceptual rigor pays always itself back.

b) One can argue also against TGD.

In cosmology energy is not certainly conserved and one might argue that this is against the predictions of TGD.

This would be true in standard ontology. in zero energy states are zero energy states with positive and negative energy parts at the light-like boundaries of causal diamond(s). The energy assignable to positive (or negative) energy part is conserved but is its possible to generate any zero energy state from vacuum with some probability so that cosmological non-conservation of energy can be understood.

Also age old problems related to second law in cosmological context find resolution since entropy is now characterizer of zero energy state assignable to the entire 4-D causal diamond with cosmological size rather than 3-D section of cosmic space-time evolution. Each quantum jump replaces zero energy state with a new one so that also the geometric past of the quantum state changes: it is this entropy which increases rather than entropy associated with 3-D section of cosmology. Universe is recreated again and again and the entropy paradox of cosmology is an empirical proof for this!

At 8:07 PM, Anonymous said...

To Rockinghorse:

Thank you for an interesting comment. I did not comment about Lorentz's theory of relativity.

I did not bother to check Wikipedia but I believe that it means special relativity but without translations as symmetries. Just Lorentz invariance so that space-time could be future or past light-cone or their union in Lorentz 's theory of relativity.

Lorentz relativity would fit nicely with many aspects of Big Bang understood in terms of sub-manifold gravity. The light-like boundary of future light-cone indeed becomes the moment of Big Bang in TGD inspired cosmologies.

a) To me the first problem is following. Mass squared is a well defined notion also in Lorentz relativity but the mere Lorentz invariance does not give four-momentum as conserved Noether charge. Even the mathematical existence of four-momentum as possibly non-conserved charge becomes questionable since in quantum theory four-momentum by Uncertainty Principle characterizes state globally rather than locally.

b) Another difficulty: in quantum Lorentz theory infinite-D unitary representations of Lorentz group would replace the representations of Poincare group. This would give multiplets with infinite number of increasing spins. This has not been observed.

In TGD framework I have actually spent two decades pondering single question. Special or Lorentz relativity? Minkowski space or its light-cone? Zero energy ontology and extension of Poincare symmetry to Kac-Moody type symmetry finally resolved the puzzle in favor of Lorenz relativity.

a) In TGD framework the notion of causal diamond (intersection of future and past directed light-cones xCP_2) is the basic object. It has position, and size, and shape affected by Lorentz boosts. Poincare transformations create from given CD new ones and they are allowed so that one has Poincare invariance. At the light-like boundary of given CD one indeed might expect just Lorentz relativity rather than special relativity.

b) Now I must be very honest and attack against myself;-)! I must make clear that I encounter actually the objections against quantum version of Poincare invariance in case of CD too. The resolution relies on extension of translations to Kac-Moody algebra.

To a given translation one can add a local part annihilating the physical state by the basic property of Kac-Moody invariance. This takes care that the translation is trivial at the light-like boundaries of CD so that one has Poincare invariance remains true and four-momentum is well-defined.

At 4:21 AM, Blogger Ervin Goldfain said...

"The statistical spread of the arrival times has the same form as the proton pulse at CERN. This is the main argument for arguing unique arrival time and therefore neutrino velocity. If this were not the case one would obtain a convolution for the velocity distribution and proton pulse and the distribution of arrival times would be wider at Gran Sasso than proton pulse distribution. This has not been observed."

It does not matter if the statistical distribution is the same or not at both ends of the process. It is STILL a continuum of values on or below the Compton wavelength of single-flavor neutrinos. This is why the arxiv preprint argues that the OPERA anomaly is a direct consequence of quantum mechanics associated with nearly-zero neutrino masses.

"The restriction of SUSY to just neutrino and photon is not satisfactory to me. Which neutrino would be the spartner of photon? Shouldn't the other two neutrinos have photon like spartners? Why we have not observed them? Are they heavy by SUSY breakin?

The extension of SUSY to entire electroweak multiplets creates also problems. Strong breaking of SUSY is needed to give to the spartners of W and Z bosons a large mass."

My paper refers esclusively to single-flavor neutrinos whose oscillations are suppressed by propagation in Earth. The point is that, if flavor mixing is suppressed, Lorentz invariance demands vanishing neutrino masses.It follows that the other two neutrinos can be placed inside SUSY-like doublets with the photon, if and only if neutrinos have nearly zero masses and propagate at large distances compared to the inverse of the EW scale.

The extension of SUSY to entire EW multiplets has NOTHING to do with the proposal advanced in my paper. I am not discussing SUSY and SUSY breaking in connection with BSM physics. I only use the idea of supersymmetry to construct a SUSY-like doublet containing nearly massless Weyl fermions and photons under conditions that suppress the neutrino weak isospin.

At 3:20 AM, Anonymous said...

Ok. I am used to think that SUSY -if it is there- is universal. I still do not properly understand how several neutrino types can simultaneously form a double with one and same photon.

At 3:23 PM, Blogger Ervin Goldfain said...

Lorentz invariance requires that single-flavor neutrinos whose oscillations are suppressed by propagation in matter are necessarily massless. These may form three separate photon-neutrino doublets.

At 10:44 PM, Anonymous said...

Suppose that these photons are different. Wouldn't this give to energy density of black body radiation an additional factor 3 when all neutrino species and photons are in thermal equilibrium. How this would affect cosmology?

At 12:44 AM, Blogger Ervin Goldfain said...

The argument about photon-neutrino symmetry makes sense ONLY in the strict context of comparing suppressed oscillations of ultra-relativistic neutrinos propagating in Earth with photons propagating in vacuum. In this sense, an unbroken gauge doublet containing massless photons and nearly massless neutrinos would make no distinction between the two. The argument does not apply to a situation in which ALL three neutrino flavors coexist with photons in thermal equilibrium.

At 1:02 AM, Blogger Ervin Goldfain said...

Let me elaborate a bit on my last reply: in any space-time region where all three neutrino species exist, neutrinos can no longer be considered massless since they necessarily oscillate and mix flavors. In such a scenario, the postulated SUSY-like photon-neutrino doublet breaks down because neutrinos are massive and photons are massless.


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