NASA, Widom-Larsen and LENR Infighting

In a rambling article about low energy nuclear reaction politics and infighting, New Energy Times Publisher and Senior Editor Steven Krivit discussed the PR video by NASA physicist Joe Zawodny, the possible involvement of the Naval Research Laboratories and interviewed Lewis Larsen, the entrepreneur whose name is on the Widom-Larsen version of LENR theories.

“[NASA] weren’t interested in doing transmutations; they were only interested in commercially relevant information related to heat production.” “What proves that is that NASA filed a competing patent on top of ours in March 2010, with Zawodny as the inventor.” …  “NASA is not behaving like a government agency that is trying to pursue basic science research for the public good. They’re acting like a commercial competitor,”

NASA Mechanical Engineer Dennis Bushnell has also written in support of Widom-Larsen theory, and had obliquely mentioned some accidents, with few details:

“Several labs have blown up studying LENR, and windows have melted, indicating that, when the conditions are ‘right,’ prodigious amounts of energy can be produced and released,” …

I thought LENR was supposed to be very low power and safe, and had never heard mention of accidents. Krivit challenges the melted windows, but confirms that people have been injured and killed:

The explosions are difficult to keep secret. Most people who have been around the field know of them: Fleischmann and Pons in Utah, unidentified researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a group at SRI International, Tadahiko Mizuno in Japan, Jean-Paul Biberian in France, and another situation in a Russian lab a few years ago.

The only lab that may have blown up was the one in Russia. In the other situations, the experiment, not the lab, blew up. SRI International researcher Andy Riley was killed, and Michael McKubre was wounded. Mizuno lost his hearing for a week and came very close to sustaining severe injuries.

Krivit himself wrote a report on accidents for SciScoop in 2005, and gives credit to Jed Rothwell for assistance with the article. Rothwell seems to be banned from Wikipedia for wielding an array of sock puppets in defense of LENR. Krivit, for his part, has tangled with Cambridge Professor Brian Josephson, who shows interest in LENR and parapsychology, but has little use for New Energy Times. So I wonder.

This amusing sort of fighting and character assassination is certainly not unknown in science and technology. At least no one has electrocuted any stray dogs or cats (or elephants) yet, as happened when companies run by Edison and Westinghouse were competing over whether America would adopt DC or AC electric power.

Update 2013.03.07: I searched on Youtube for LENR Nasa, and ran across this eight minute conference clip in which James Martinez, a cold fusion promoter among many other pursuits, claims that he called NASA’s Dennis Bushnell expecting to talk to a fellow enthusiast, but was threatened instead. Martinez goes on to talk about meeting a man connected with film version of The Saint. That was significant to him because the MacGuffin in the plot was a formula for cold fusion. I went to Martinez’ website, and the lead story was How To Get More Traffic & Leads For Your MLM Network Marketing business.

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3 responses to “NASA, Widom-Larsen and LENR Infighting”

  1. cmaukonen says :

    Edison did not like AC because he did not understand it. Edison was a small minded profiteer more than anything else. It was his lab personnel that perfected the light bulb and a German inventor who perfected the record player as we know it. The disk used for talking dolls, actually.

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  2. Donal says :

    I see a few LENR sites have linked to this article. Krivit commented with the same link to his article that I already posted. Jed and Abd commented at almost the same time to deny they are the same person. Alain sent a supercilious comment, “… the facts, that probably you don’t know, are so numerous, so cross checked, that one have to be delusioned not to believe LENR is a fact.” and so on.

    In order to not waste readers’ time, I only publish comments that further courteous discussion.

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  3. Donal says :

    I have an enormous amount of hits and have been browsing sites where this article is linked. A lot of LENR folk are upset to find that they can’t make their own rules in my comments section. I found an amusing forum post trying to make fun of me:
    http://www.mail-archive.com/vortex-l@eskimo.com/msg77477.html

    “Kinda reminds me of the real Donald Fagan

    “Well, I don’t know why I came here tonight
    I got a feelin’ that something ain’t right

    Clowns to left of me, jokers to the right
    Here am I stuck in the middle with you

    And I’m wonderin’ what it is I should do
    It’s so hard to keep this smile from my face…”

    … with apologies”

    Well, he should apologize, because the real Donald Fagen (not Fagan) plays for Steely Dan, while Gerry Rafferty wrote Stuck in the Middle while he was with Stealers Wheel.

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