Cold and hot fusion: just hot air?

I just finished a very short paper recapping the basics of my model of the nuclear force. I wrote it a bit as a reaction to a rather disappointing exchange that is still going on between a few researchers who seem to firmly believe some crook who claims he can produce smaller hydrogen atoms (hydrinos) and get energy out of them. I wrote about my disappointment on one of my other blogs (I also write on politics and more general matters). Any case, the thing I want to do here, is to firmly state my position in regard to cold and hot fusion: I do not believe in either. Theoretically, yes. Of course. But, practically speaking, no. And that’s a resounding no!

The illustration below (from Wikimedia Commons) shows how fusion actually happens in our Sun (I wrote more about that in one of my early papers). As you can see, there are several pathways, and all of these pathways are related through critical masses of radiation and feedback loops. So it is not like nuclear fission, which (mainly) relies on cascaded neutron production. No. It is much more complicated, and you would have to create and contain a small star on Earth to recreate the conditions that are prevalent in the Sun. Containing a relatively small amount of hydrogen plasma in incredibly energy-intensive electromagnetic fields will not do the trick. First, the reaction will peter out. Second, the reaction will yield no net energy: the plasma and electromagnetic fields that are needed to contain the plasma will suck everything up, and much more than that. So, yes, The ITER project is a huge waste of taxpayers’ money.

As for cold fusion, I believe the small experiments showing anomalous heat reactions (or low-energy nuclear reactions as these phenomena are also referred to) are real (see my very first blog post on these) but (1) researchers have done a poor job at replicating these experiments consistently, (2) have failed to provide a firm theoretical basis for those reactions, and (3) whatever theory there is, also strongly hints we should not hope to ever get net energy out of it. This explains why public funding for cold fusion is very limited. Furthermore, scientists who continue to support frauds like Dr. Mills will soon erase whatever credibility smaller research labs in this field have painstakingly built up. So, no, it won’t happen. Too bad, because LENR research itself is quite interesting, and may yield more insights than the next mega-project of CERN, SLAC and what have you. :-/

Post scriptum: On the search for hydrinos (hypothetical small hydrogen), following exchange with a scientist working for a major accelerator lab in the US – part of a much longer one – is probably quite revealing. When one asks why it has not been discovered yet, the answer is invariably the same: we need a new accelerator project for that. I’ll hide the name of the researcher by calling him X.

Dear Jean Louis – They cannot be produced in the Sun, as electron has to be very relativistic. According to my present calculation one has to have a total energy of Etotal ~34.945 MeV. Proton of the same velocity has to have total energy Etotal ~64.165 GeV. One can get such energies in very energetic evens in Universe. On Earth, it would take building special modifications of existing accelerators. This is why it has not been discovered so far.

Best regards, [X]

From: Jean Louis Van Belle <>
Date: Wednesday, March 31, 2021 at 9:24 AM
To: [X]
Cc: [Two other LENR/CF researchers]
Subject: Calculations and observations…

Interesting work, but hydrino-like structures should show a spectrum with gross lines, split in finer lines and hyperfine lines (spin coupling between nucleon(s) and (deep) electron. If hydrinos exist, they should be produced en masse in the Sun. Is there any evidence from unusual spectral lines? Until then, I think of the deep electron as the negative charge in the neutron or in the deuteron nucleus. JL

How science works nowadays…

A few days ago, an honest researcher put me in cc of an email to a much higher-brow researcher. I won’t reveal names, but the latter – I will call him X – works at a prestigious accelerator lab in the US. The gist of the email was a question on an article of X: “I am still looking at the classical model for the deep orbits. But I have been having trouble trying to determine if the centrifugal and spin-orbit potentials have the same relativistic correction as the Coulomb potential. I have also been having trouble with the Ademko/Vysotski derivation of the Veff = V×E/mc2 – V2/2mc2 formula.”

I was greatly astonished to see X answer this: “Hello – What I know is that this term comes from the Bethe-Salpeter equation, which I am including (#1). The authors say in their book that this equation comes from the Pauli’s theory of spin. Reading from Bethe-Salpeter’s book [Quantum mechanics of one and two electron atoms]: “If we disregard all but the first three members of this equation, we obtain the ordinary Schroedinger equation. The next three terms are peculiar to the relativistic Schroedinger theory”. They say that they derived this equation from covariant Dirac equation, which I am also including (#2). They say that the last term in this equation is characteristic for the Dirac theory of spin ½ particles. I simplified the whole thing by choosing just the spin term, which is already used for hyperfine splitting of normal hydrogen lines. It is obviously approximation, but it gave me a hope to satisfy the virial theoremOf course, now I know that using your Veff potential does that also. That is all I know.” [I added the italics/bold in the quote.]

So I see this answer while browsing through my emails on my mobile phone, and I am disgusted – thinking: Seriously? You get to publish in high-brow journals, but so you do not understand the equations, and you just drop terms and pick the ones that suit you to make your theory fit what you want to find? And so I immediately reply to all, politely but firmly: “All I can say, is that I would not use equations which I do not fully understand. Dirac’s wave equation itself does not make much sense to me. I think Schroedinger’s original wave equation is relativistically correct. The 1/2 factor in it has nothing to do with the non-relativistic kinetic energy, but with the concept of effective mass and the fact that it models electron pairs (two electrons – neglect of spin). Andre Michaud referred to a variant of Schroedinger’s equation including spin factors.”

Now X replies this, also from his iPhone: “For me the argument was simple. I was desperate trying to satisfy the virial theorem after I realized that ordinary Coulomb potential will not do it. I decided to try the spin potential, which is in every undergraduate quantum mechanical book, starting with Feynman or Tippler, to explain the hyperfine hydrogen splitting. They, however, evaluate it at large radius. I said, what happens if I evaluate it at small radius. And to my surprise, I could satisfy the virial theorem. None of this will be recognized as valid until one finds the small hydrogen experimentally. That is my main aim. To use theory only as a approximate guidance. After it is found, there will be an explosion of “correct” theories.” A few hours later, he makes things even worse by adding: “I forgot to mention another motivation for the spin potential. I was hoping that a spin flip will create an equivalent to the famous “21cm line” for normal hydrogen, which can then be used to detect the small hydrogen in astrophysics. Unfortunately, flipping spin makes it unstable in all potential configurations I tried so far.”

I have never come across a more blatant case of making a theory fit whatever you want to prove (apparently, X believes Mills’ hydrinos (hypothetical small hydrogen) are not a fraud), and it saddens me deeply. Of course, I do understand one will want to fiddle and modify equations when working on something, but you don’t do that when these things are going to get published by serious journals. Just goes to show how physicists effectively got lost in math, and how ‘peer reviews’ actually work: they don’t. The reviewers check if you are part of the in-crowd. If you are not, you are out. If you are in, you are in. :-/ And this is physics: the king of science? It is a whore.

The implosion of the EU

The Russian Foreign Minister pronounced the EU officially dead – as far as Russia is concerned, at least: ““There are no relations with the European Union as an organization. […] Moscow only has relations with individual EU nations now.” Similarly, China finds the EU also increasingly difficult to deal with, and may also decide to just treat the EU for what it has become: a wasteful international bureaucracy. Brexit, the mismanagement of the COVID-crisis, and the increasingly diverging politics and political views within the EU only exposed the deep-rooted rot.

The Russian and Chinese Foreign Minister both want to strengthen the UN Security Council, which is probably a good thing – because the UNSC embodies the kind of nasty but effective realist deal-making our brave new multi-polar world desperately needs – especially now that all trust in the US as a ‘global policeman’ has been eroded. Biden calling Putin a ‘killer’ has not helped matters in this regard.

The UNSC might work – especially with Germany playing a more active role now as non-permanent member, probably seeking to reform it so as to achieve permanent member status. Enlargement of the UNSC should not be based on the preferences of the current permanent members, but on real power-projecting capabilities and other assets that may help to stabilize an increasingly volatile world. We may criticize Russia and China but – unlike democracies such as India – these are societies – or social systems – which have managed to define and, more importantly, implement medium- and long-term political and economic objectives. The numbers of 20 years of Putin, and a rapid comparison of China’s growth versus that of India (similarly endowed with natural and human resources) speak for themselves. Measured against Bentham’s utilitarian moral rule (what produces the greatest good for the greatest number?), Russia and China have surely done better than any other (large) society over the past 20 years.

As for Europe, I am not sure it has much future. Even as a name, it does not work very well: Europa was just a consort of Zeus, and she came from a region which is currently referred to as Turkey. So what message were ‘European’ politicians trying to convey with the idea of Europe anyway? :-/

Ursula von der Leyen still has another four years to go, and does much better than inebriated Juncker (but then he was, without any doubt, the weakest EUC President ever), but she faces an uphill (impossible?) housecleaning task. Perhaps she should speak more German than French? With Brexit, a return to either is good. Let’s see what Germany’s voters say in September. Their vote is more important than others’. That is not a racial prejudice, but just fact: some people matter more than others, and some countries matter more than others, too!

[…] So what makes sense, then – in terms of international order? Perhaps the idea of weighted voting in the larger UN system should be re-considered. It may well be the only rational alternative to a return to the 19th-century international system, which was based on rivalry between nation-states. The only difference is that the world population will soon reach the staggering 8 billion mark, up from less than 2 billion in 1900: it more than doubled since I was born (which is 50 years ago). Doomsday thinking is not warranted, however. 🙂 And the nation-states are different. Two of them (China and India) now account for 36% of the world’s population. Asia as a whole will account for about 55% of the total in 2050, Africa 25% share. Europe and North America? Probably about 10% only, but this projection is based on healthy (overoptimistic?) demographics for the US and Canada.

The US alone still accounts for about 40% of the world’s spending on arms and the military. To protect whom against whom? Europe from Russia? The Middle East, Central Asia or Africa from fundamentalists? Democracies against dictatorships? And with what mandate, really? The US bypassing the UN Security Council in 2003 (the invasion of Iraq), as well as on numerous other occasions and related matters (including the first Gulf War) damaged its international credibility beyond repair. I worked for about 10 years in Afghanistan – about half of that time I was paid out of US taxpayers’ money – and I understand the appeal of the Yankee, go home idea very much. I believe that, since Trump, more Americans start to understand it too.

What about NATO? It served two purposes: one was to prevent war between its members, the other was to protect Europe against the Russians. The latter threat is no longer relevant in this interdependent world, so NATO should (also) scale down its xenophobic rhetoric, and focus on the first: reduce tensions between Greece and Turkey, focus on stability in the Balkans, reduce tension in former Eastern Europe (please stop expanding, NATO!), etcetera). Unfortunately, rational decision-making and international institutions are difficult to marry. :-/