by Steven B. Krivit
Editor, New Energy Times
July 21, 2008
[This article is Copyleft 2008 New Energy Times. Permission is
granted to reproduce this article as long as the article, this notice
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In a comment to one of my recent blog postings, CMNS/LENR/”Cold Fusion” Journalist Silenced,
Albert Alberts of The Netherlands, a LENR enthusiast, offered some kind
comments about me. He also called my efforts “examples of unmitigated
Alberts’ description of my scientific journalism is largely accurate.
I spoke before some members of India’s Atomic Energy Commission
earlier this year. I told them that I’ve learned enough about LENR
research to know its strengths - and its weaknesses.
By “audaciously” discussing weaknesses as well as the strengths of
LENR research, I demonstrated that I was not afraid to tell the truth
and report all the facts that I discover. Unless someone takes drastic
action to interfere with New Energy Institute’s funding - or silence me
- my truth telling will not change. Gene Mallove, editor of Infinite
Energy, was murdered. Cause of death: crushed trachea. I do not take
the right to freedom of speech lightly.
Alberts refers to unseen dark forces - massive research cartels and
knowledge monopolies - working in the background to block progress in
and acceptance of LENR research. However, the field itself may have
room for improvement to make it stronger, more resilient to scientific
criticism and attractive to industries, government agencies, or other
groups that may have an incentive to profit from the field.
I suggested such improvements in September 2007 in an e-mail to
David Nagel and Michael Melich, organizers of the 14th International
Conference on Condensed Matter Nuclear Science. I urged them to demand
a higher level of scientific integrity in work presented by some LENR
researchers at conferences. Several months earlier, I had attended, as
did they, the 13th International Conference on Condensed Matter Nuclear
Science in Sochi, Russia. Among generally good work, I observed two
cases of what I can most charitably call “significant sloppiness.”
“Folks in the CMNS community better get their act together,” I
wrote. “I don’t know how to get this across. But there is rampant
sloppiness that will not go over well for the gaining of public respect
for the subject.”
By rampant, I did not mean widespread; I meant unchecked, condoned
and, most important, uncorrected by presenters themselves, other
participants, or conference organizers. I pointed out an example of
this to Nagel and Melich that involved a relatively dramatic claim made
at the Russian conference of an experiment that one group claimed had
produced 5 Watts of excess heat.
The group’s presentation concerned an experiment that appeared to be
credible; it was detailed, thorough and clear. The audience was
enthusiastic and supportive. But in my follow-up with the researchers
involved in the claim, and after some obvious reluctance on their part
to discuss it with me, I learned that the data indicated only 2.5 Watts
of excess heat, which is still not trivial. The researchers told me
that they had made an interpretation error, and I simply reported that
fact in the following issue of New Energy Times without criticizing
I told Nagel and Melich about another researcher at the Russian
conference who represented that he had produced 300 Watts of excess
heat. When I interviewed this researcher, it became clear to me that he
was making, at a minimum, a gross misrepresentation of the experimental
results. In this particular case, I did not report on the results
because his claims were so weak that most people in the audience
completely disregarded them. I strongly encouraged Nagel and Melich to
set higher standards, and I cautioned them that continued incidents of
sloppiness like this would hamper the progress of the field,
particularly if mainstream reporters began to develop an interest in it.
“If any other reporters cover ICCMNS-14,” I wrote, “you can bet they
won’t be as forgiving as me. And if I end up looking the other way at
these sorts of things, then I will blow my credibility, so I’m not
going to be able to cut people as much slack. If CMNS researchers do
crap like this, the Washington, D.C., conference will make us all look
I now realize that some LENR researchers have become uncomfortable
with the knowledge and expertise I have gained about the field. Some of
them also do not appreciate my public reporting of information that may
relate to the field’s weaknesses or factual inconsistencies or
exaggerated claims made by certain researchers.
In my presentations to India’s science leaders,
I contradicted Mike McKubre (SRI International), who was in the
audience, on one or two points. Quite audacious of me, I suppose.
McKubre, of course, is a well-known LENR scientist, I am not. McKubre
has advanced science degrees, I do not. But he and I are slowly,
diplomatically and respectfully working out our disagreements.
I recently heard from some people involved with the LENR field that
it would be best served by a unified representation of work in the
field. Their idea was that hiding or ignoring any weakness in the field
is the best strategy to achieve respect and credibility for the field
in the media and mainstream science.
I disagree with that approach; I believe that full, forthright,
fact-based reporting and exposure of the truth about LENR research will
only enhance the overall credibility of the results. Honest reporting
and “audacious” journalism will build outsiders’ trust and confidence
that solid scientific research does in fact form the foundation of the
field. LENR research which does not meet basic standards of science,
lacks rigor, or is based simply on wishful thinking should not be
For example, LENR researcher Ed Storms, retired from Los Alamos
National Laboratory, recently discouraged me from reporting all of the
key facts of LENR research. He wrote this to me in an e-mail recently:
“You need to be more careful in how you reveal the truth about the
field. Eventually, the field will be big enough and so well-accepted
that a little plainly spoken truth would not cause you any problem.”
A minority of prominent researchers in the LENR field may have their
own pet theories and may prefer to maintain the status quo. But after
19 years, perhaps it’s time to try something new; perhaps its time to
have a more open mind, as I wrote in my recent editorial.
Maintaining the status quo inside the field is not likely to change the status quo outside
the field - that is, the still-common perception of LENR research as
pariah science. Perhaps the way to growth, acceptance and progress is
to consider pursuing other paths.
A schism within the field, which Alberts would hope to avoid, seems
inevitable, but it may well bring the benefits the researchers and
their supporters seek.
Despite the fact that I choose to report all the facts, good and
bad, I remain convinced that the results seen in this field may
represent one of the most important science discoveries for future
generations: a new source of clean nuclear energy.