21st Century Science & Technology

Sobering Thoughts from a Beaker: Fusion Anomaly Reported in Non-{Science} Magazine

March 5 Evidence showing that nuclear fusion can occur in a beaker of liquid excited by sound waves, has produced a new flurry of press activity reminiscent of that around the 1989 announcement by Pons and Fleischmann that they had achieved fusion in an electrochemical cell. The new evidence, reporting on experiments by a team at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, is reported in an March 8, 2002 article in Science magazine that was released yesterday. As then, the prevailing popular delusions about what science is dominate the discussion, even by the scientists themselves.

As the announcment of the 1989 cold fusion anomaly came under attack from lying establishment physicists, discussion unfortunately, degenerated into practical arguments over whether or not, and how soon, a cold-fusion cell in every basement could replace the gas furnace or oil burner.

Whether the results announced in the 8 March Science article, ``Evidence for Nuclear Emissions During Acoustic Cavitation,'' prove sound or not, we are reminded again that scientific progress can result only from the posing and resolution of true paradoxes in the mind of an experimental investigator. The important subject in this case is sonoluminescence, the emission of pulses of blue light from the collapse of air bubbles in a liquid that has been excited by sound waves, first studied in Germany in 1934. How a light wave could be produced by a sound wave was the unsolved paradox.

In the Oak Ridge experiments, the hydrogen in acetone (C-3 H-6 O), the principal ingredient in nail polish remover, is replaced by the heavier deuterium isotope. Sound waves are passed through the liquid at the same time as a pulse of high energy neutrons. It is hypothesized that the acoustic bubbles which form, then collapse so fast that not only is light produced, but the deuterium is somehow caused to undergo nuclear fusion. The evidence for this is in the excess of neutrons and tritium, a heavier isotope of hydrogen, detected in the solution. The amounts are very small, however, and the existence of the effect is being challenged.

Work on the sonoluminescence anomaly was revived in the U.S. in the 1980s. As reported in the Winter 1991 issue of 21st Century Science & Technology it began when Prof. Tom Erber, a specialist in the Navier-Stokes and other nonlinear equations which are used to attempt to describe the the way fluids behave, was posed the question: Where does the light term come in in the Navier-Stokes equation? In other words, how does sonoluminescence occur? An interview with Erber's student, Seth Putterman, who had been researching sonoluminescence at UCLA, describes the process in the Winter 1991 issue of 21st Century.

The Navier-Stokes equations are one of a variety of attempts to model viscous liquids, somewhat in the way that James Clerk Maxwell attempted to describe an ether by a mechanical model. The underlying problem is that the questions connected with the paradoxical nature of light, which Fresnel had picked up from the work of Huygens and Leibniz, and the paradoxical nature of the interaction of the atom and electrodynamic propagation that arose out of the work of Ampére, Gauss, Weber, and Riemann, have not been solved, but rather swept under the rug. That is the real significance of the just reported work at Oak Ridge.
Laurence Hecht

LaRouche Comments on Sonoluminescence and the Fusion Anomaly

During a 2-hour interview with the Jack Stockwell radio program in Salt Lake City March 5, 2002, Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., Democratic pre-candidate for the 2004 Presidential election, and member of 21st Century magazine's scientific advisory board, was asked by two callers about the bubble fusion' announcement just reported that morning. Here is a transcript of this part of the radio interview.

The Stockwell show originates on KTKK-AM, and is also broadcast live on the Internet at www.k-talk.com.

QUESTION: I'm impressed with Lyndon's knowledge of history and economics. And I know he also knows a lot about fusion and physics and things like that. I used to read a magazine called Fusion magazine, and I think Lyndon was involved in that in some way. And I just heard a thing on the news at the top of the hour about fusion power, and I'm just wondering how he felt about fusion, and how it could fit in to rebuilding the infrastructure.

STOCKWELL: Good question.

LAROUCHE: Well, what was heard, which I just heard on this broadcast, on the news section here today, was not fusion, actually. It is a form of luminescence: This has been studied, this is not new, this has been studied for well over a decade, these phenomena, in water. The problem here is the fact that kind of physics which has been generally taught, or accepted, in most departments of physics teaches that this kind of luminescence should not occur.

Well, the point is, it should occur. And does. There's no question—those experiments are valid, in the sense they do produce the phenomenon. And the phenomenon has been repeated, and is rather faithful to honest repetition.

The question of whether this is truly fusion or not, is another question. And this goes into the matter of the fact that the Coulomb force question, which is the bugaboo, which has been sitting on the back of science, ever since fusion energy, or controlled fusion reactions, were discussed: The argument was that, because of a so-called Coulomb Law, of attraction/repulsion, that because of that, this would operate on the microphysical level, and therefore would present such Coulomb forces of such strength, that could you never effect fusion in a controlled way. And this thing also applies to this question of luminiscence.

When you get into effects which are generated on the microphysical level, according to the discoveries and experimental demonstration, made in the 1850s, by a scientist who was a collaborator of Gauss and Riemann and so forth, Wilhelm Weber, that scientific experiment, demonstrated implicitly, that when you get to the level of the electron orbit, at that point, The Coulomb force seems to be reversed. So, if you take into account that kind of physics, as opposed to what is sometimes the ordinary classroom physics, then this luminiscence thing does not pose any problem of comprehension. It simply is a physical fact.

Whether this pertains directly to controlled thermonuclear fusion, is questionable. Does the principle involved, apply to studies of nuclear fusion? Absolutely, it does. But the connection is rather remote, it's not a direct connection. It simply means that, it's another demonstration that the physics of Wilhelm Weber is valid, and the physics of the Coulomb tradition, which is the opponents of Fresnel, the opponents of Ampére and so forth, that the physics of Coulomb and Poisson, is false. And the physics of Ampére, Fresnel, Gauss, Weber, is correct. And that's what is demonstrated. It does have a relevance to the fusion question, but it's not a simple and direct one.


QUESTION: I was just wondering about the possibility of fusion-generated energy, and

STOCKWELL: As to whether or not they actually will develop it in a source that we can tap and light our homes with?


LAROUCHE: Oh, I think there's no question. The question is, we are several steps away from that, because we have not done the kind of experimental work which I've been campaigning for, for, now, 25 years, over 25 years. We have not done some of that crucial experimental work which must be done, to devise the means by which we can have an actually controlled thermonuclear reaction, as a continuing controlled thermonuclear reaction, as a commercial process. That, we have not done yet. If we do the work, there's no question we can achieve it. Can we take it off the drawing boards tomorrow and do it? I doubt it. I think we have to go through, maybe another 10 years, or 15 years, of serious experimental work, before we get there.

Note: Back issues of 21st Century magazine can be ordered online. For more on cold fusion, check the index, which includes issues from 1988 through 1999.

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