MIT Physicist Nixes Cold Fusion Funding

Of all the interesting tidbits to come out of The Atom Unexplored conference in Turin, Italy in May 4, perhaps the account by Dr. Peter Hagelstein of MIT on how a prominent physicist actively worked to cut cold fusion funding was the most eye-opening. In the question and answer session held after the morning LENR portion of the proceedings, a member of the audience asked a rather poignant question regarding why scientists often fail to develop clear “road maps”  from the laboratory to the “real world.”  In responding to this question, Dr. Hagelstein gave a quite detailed and thoughtful answer regarding this problem as it relates to cold fusion/LENR. As the final part of his answer, he stated the following regarding his own recent personal experience regarding this issue:

The other issue is how to get support for such work. In the United States at the moment, outside of a program under Dennis Bushnell at NASA, there is no currently, as far as I’m aware, there is no other government support for any work in this area for such experiments. I recently had the experience of working with a large company in the U.S. who was interested in pursuing experiments in this area and helping out. So we put in, we discussed with the technical people at this company of the possibility that they might put in some money for the support of the replication of the Piantelli experiment. So they got the agreement, they got the money, they got it to MIT, and we thought “good, now we can make some progress.”  However, a very famous physicist at MIT, who is involved in the energy program, found out what we were trying to do, and he cancelled the program. And he called up the vice president of the company and said some things that weren’t very polite about the research. And not only did the funding not come and the experiments didn’t happen, but my colleagues at the company were very worried about where they’re going to work next. As you know, there are unemployment issues currently in our bad economy, so there’s a fundamental difficulty with respect to getting support for the experiments, and what that means is that the science can be expected to go very slowly for these reasons, until a solution is found to this problem.

As many know, MIT was at the forefront in the effort to discredit cold fusion in 1989, and the report issued by that institution detailing a failed replication attempt carried an enormous amount of weight in forming the public perception that cold fusion was a hoax and “junk science.” The MIT report was the first document listed in the Department of Energy’s negative assessment of the technology in 1989.  A story that appeared in the Boston Herald, with the headline MIT Bombshell Knocks Cold Fusion “Breakthrough” Cold is felt by many to have set off the feeding frenzy in the media that cold fusion was a hoax.  However, in a report published by the late Dr. Eugene Mallove in 1999, he extensively detailed the efforts of some high-ranking individuals at MIT to falsify positive replication results in order to ensure that MIT continued to receive tens of millions of dollars in US government funding for its plasma fusion (“hot fusion”) program.  You can read the detailed accounting here.  This article is a first-hand account of what took place at MIT, since Dr. Mallove was the head of MIT’s Science Information Office at the time of these events. He subsequently resigned in protest over the alleged fraud of his colleagues.

Yet, over the many years since the alleged fraud perpetuated by the staff and administration at MIT, that institution has come a long way in distancing itself from this stain on its otherwise stellar reputation.  MIT now holds regular cold fusion colloquium’s and just this year held a class detailing cold fusion history and current research.  The class included a demonstration of the NANOR cold fusion device built by MIT graduate Dr. Mitchell Swartz.  As Dr. Hagelstein pointed out in his lecture (see link below) at The Atom Unexplored, this device has run since January and demonstrated energy gains up to 14 times that of the input power.  Most of Dr. Hagelstein’s presentation on May 4 covered the NANOR and included detailed technical data about the device.  He even offered an open invitation to the public to visit MIT to witness the device function.

If any readers want to see a functioning cold fusion device first-hand, I would highly suggest you make a pilgrimage to MIT to see the NANOR sooner rather than later. I cannot imagine that the experimental NANOR device will run indefinitely, nor that its opponents in the physics department, who continue to receive generous grants from the US Government for competing energy research, will allow this demonstration to continue that much longer regardless.

Honestly, I really regret that the bulk of this article is about the efforts of some in the physics department at MIT to squash cold fusion research once again.  I say this because The Atom Unexplored conference was really quite informative and the presentations quite good.  If you have not taken the time to view the videos from the conference, I would highly recommend that you do so.  All the presentations may be viewed here. I have also taken the liberty of posting the presentations of Dr. Hagelstein and Prof. Piantelli (given by his associate and Nichenergy executive Valerio Ciampoli)  to You Tube.  I have also posted the question and answer session that followed the LENR portion of the proceedings.  It is also quite interesting. The last 2 minutes of the Q&A is Dr. Hagelstein’s account of the funding cancellation noted above.

Just a note about the Piantelli presentation. While the tone of the presentation emphasizes the research aspect of the work being done at Nichenergy, Mr. Ciampoli, speaking on behalf on PIantelli, seems to suggest industrial products “in a couple of months.” That statement is in the first couple of minutes of the presentation. Make of it what you will.

The Atom Unexplored: Hagelstein Part 1

The Atom Unexplored: Hagelstein Part 2

The Atom Unexplored: Hagelstein Part 3 (funding cut at MIT)

The Atom Unexplored: Ciampoli/Piantelli Part 1

The Atom Unexplored: Ciampoli/Piantelli Part 2

The Atom Unexplored: Question and Answer Session

A special thanks to the organizers of The Atom Unexplored, not only for holding the conference but also for streaming it live and making the videos available to view. Also thanks to inventor/scientist/blogger Pekka Janhunen for transcribing from the video of Dr. Hagelstein’s account of his recent experience with funding cancellation at MIT.


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29 Responses to MIT Physicist Nixes Cold Fusion Funding

  1. Pingback: News: | Pitts Report

  2. Ben says:

    The LENR presentation that was scheduled for April 26 at La Sapienza University in Rome, but canceled at the last minute due to pressure from the director of the department of physics and a high-ranking university official, has now been rescheduled for May 31. Let us hope for a similar reversal from MIT. (translated from Italian).

  3. Ben says:

    Rossi claims the 1MW has been delivered. Next delivery set for July.

  4. Pingback: MIT Physicist Nixes Cold Fusion Funding | e-Cat Site

  5. Ben says:

    A Visit to MIT

    E-Cat World

    Kudos to Barry Simon for getting away the computer and actually taking the opportunity to go to MIT to witness the NANOR and speak with Prof. Hagelstein, who was gracious enough to host him.

  6. Ben says:

    The History of MIT’s Blatant Suppression of Cold Fusion

    Veterans Today

    This is a re-post of an article from PESN back in December and covers much of the same material covered in the above article. However, this re-post was on a military veteran’s website by an accomplished academic and there are also some interesting comments to the article below it.

    Poster for the MIT Plasma Fusion Center’s “Wake for Cold Fusion”

  7. I see that the video by The alien Scientist is running on the site. Since then I wrote a book on the subject, “Elementary Antigravity II”. Its at Amazon.

  8. Ben says:

    ExxonMobil’s Sinister Kingdom and ‘Private Empire’

    The Daily Beast

  9. Ruby Carat says:

    Let’s find out who that physicist is, and ask him why felt the need to insert himself into this important research.

    • Ruby Carat says:

      …. to nix it.

    • Ben says:

      Ruby, see my comment to Richard below. Yes, I would like to find out who this person is. Hagelstein may not be at liberty to name names but somebody knows and the name will surface eventually. When it does, I would be happy to join with you, and other blog masters and bloggers to write and e-mail university representatives, state representatives and members of congress to have this incident investigated. The actions by this individual were highly inappropriate, possibly unethical and perhaps even illegal. This type of behavior needs to be nixed in the bud.

  10. I appreciate Prof. Hagelstein’s candor, and his very positive participation in the present, but the reference to those who “nixed” the research was vague and nebulous. I’m assuming there are “names” that can be attached to the comments. What are “they” doing now and where are they doing it? You know what they say about “not studying history”…

    • Ben says:

      I think Prof. Hagelstein went out on a limb to just recount this incident. I would expect there will be a backlash at some level for him just for saying what he has said. But, yes, it would be helpful at some point if someone named names. People need to be held accountable. Depending on how this cold fusion antagonist went about cancelling this promised funding, there may be criminal charges involved, or at least a review by a university ethics committee. However, given the reluctance in the United States of the powerful and influential to bring charges against colleagues, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

      • Alan DeAngelis says:

        I really wonder what makes the “very famous physicist” tick. Does he still need the exclusive attention his mommy gave him when she taped his finger-paintings to the refrigerator door?

        • Ben says:

          It is probably that, coupled with the need to be right, and the need to be in control. All those things one would expect from a narcissist.

          I can understand someone opposing funding that would have otherwise gone to this person or his department. I don’t agree with it but I understand it. But to go out of your way to oppose private funding that would not have otherwise gone to you is a whole other pathology.

        • Ben says:

          I think I found the culprit.

          Very Famous Physicist

          Dr. Sheldon Cooper, “very famous physicist.”

        • Alan DeAngelis says:

          This video that was filmed in the 1990s may help new readers understand why some of us are so angry about what this “famous physicist” is alleged to have said and done. I must admit to having some déjà vu feelings of anger myself.

  11. Brad Arnold says:

    I am disappointed at the way this article pulled it punches on MIT personnel deliberately discrediting “cold fusion,” just to preserve funding for hot fusion research. I’m not sure the author is cognizant of the number of deaths and misery in the world due to “cold fusion” not getting becoming mature quicker. I can make a really good case that this has caused more deaths than the Holocaust (and this isn’t rhetoric, I really mean it). It will take more than MIT boosting “cold fusion” now for this stain to be scrubbed clean. Shame on them, and shame on you for not taking their virtual cover up more seriously, and instead being an apologist for MIT.

    • Ben says:

      The only public demonstration of a cold fusion cell is now going on at MIT. I don’t think a long-running, public demonstration of this sort has ever been carried out in the history of the technology. It is being conducted by a tenured MIT professor and the device was built by an MIT grad. No doubt this demo is being carried out with the permission of the MIT administration. MIT has held regular colloquiums on cold fusion, as I pointed out in the article. MIT grad Dr. Brian Ahern was doing some fine LENR work before he went underground. Last I heard he was giving more low-key demonstrations at various locations around the country. I was very critical of Ahern for making unfounded calls of fraud against Rossi, but that does not mean he has not made and will continue to make important contributions to the field.

      I understand you want to extract your pound of flesh from MIT Mr. Arnold, but give credit where credit is due. MIT is not a monolithic institution in any sense of the word and I am sure that debate is being carried out there about what course to take in regards to both allowing this demo to continue, how much credence and publicity to give it etc. There are obviously people there that support the research and those who want to see it go away, like the “very famous” physicist Hagelstein spoke about. Even back in 1989 when the alleged fraud and conspiracy to discredit cold fusion, not every member of that institution was aware of the misdeeds of a few, even those these deeds had far-reaching consequences. There is no need to throw everyone at MIT, who has attended MIT or has supported MIT under the bus. Not all are guilty.

      As an institution, whether MIT can pay enough penance to pay for past sins in regards to discrediting the technology remains to be seen. The powers that be at that institution can either support the work of Hagelstein and Swartz or they can once again give in to the tantrums of its physics department and energy labs who continue to receive tens of millions of dollars in federal funding. The final chapter has not been written. Time will tell. I hope all associated with MIT who read this will raise their voices and protest those at that institution what wish to sweep cold fusion under the rug once again. I applaud all those at MIT who continue to support this technology in the face of fierce opposition.

      • Brad Arnold says:

        No, not a pound of flesh, but several million pounds of flesh. Again, you simply understate the damage MIT did – and I fully understand that MIT is composed on of individuals, and is not a monolithic thing. I want a mia culpa, not apologists trying to gloss over the past so they can seamlessly go into the future. Damn, I’m talking about millions of lives that live in desperate poverty thanks to people who under the MIT flag discredited “cold fusion” so their jobs in “hot fusion” were safe.

        • Ben says:

          I would surmise not an ounce of flesh will be extracted from those who perpetrated scientific fraud 2 decades ago, not by any one of us anyway. They will get their comeuppance in due time. There may be a mia culpa of some sort in another two decades, maybe not. As for me, I just want my cup of tea, and if I have to go to MIT to get it I can live with that. If you chose to be consumed by thoughts of retribution and assigning blame and punishment for deeds committed 20 years ago, that is your business, but it is not your place to make it mine. History will be the judge.

          However, I have no problem highlighting current misdeeds and attempts at obscuration…and worse. I cannot change history but I can take steps to ensure that history does not repeat itself. We all can.

          • Brad Arnold says:

            No, you are getting me wrong. I don’t want revenge, retribution, or blame. I am simply saying that responsibility ought to be reasonably assessed, like South Africa did. It is a false choice to either get it all into the open and assess it in the light of day, or ignore and minimize it so we can go forward. Do you understand that a partial reason why it is so hard to get any traction with the Paradigm of “Cold Fusion” is what transpired at MIT? I really don’t think history is going to repeat itself, instead I think we are now still living with the false notion that the Paradigm of “Cold Fusion” was disproved in history. This isn’t a blame game, it is a deadly serious attempt to set the record straight by finding out what went wrong and why.

            • Alan DeAngelis says:

              And another thing I hear on the few occasions when they’re trapped and have to admit that there may be something to what F&P did is that F&P didn’t go through the peer review process (the smug twerp gauntlet) first and it’s somehow F&P fault that cold fusion was disparaged. Thank goodness that they did hold that March 23, 1989 press conference or we never would have heard about it.

            • Ben says:

              Comparisons between institutional oppression in the case of S. Africa and the untold consequences in the case of a small group selfish scientists at MIT are not valid. Some would even find attempts to draw such a parallel offensive.

              Yet, for the sake of this discussion, let me point out no accountability was exacted in S. Africa until there was revolution and the old regime fell. This came only after years of protests internally and worldwide, and much strife and even bloodshed. Until the LENR energy revolution is complete (which is far from a given), there will no reasonable assessment of responsibility. You are trying to put the cart before the horse. And make no mistake, if and when such a revolution occurs, there will not only be retribution, there will be a tremendous backlash against the entire scientific community, even to excess. Be careful what you wish for because things could get uglier than you can imagine when the time comes.

              If you want to jump the gun and begin the tribunals before the revolution even occurs, go on ahead and spin your wheels. I have no desire to be a part of that.

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