Sunday, July 14, 2013

RE-THINKING THE SCIENTIFIC METHOD.


Saturday morning’s e-post- a good friend calls my attention to some really new- a breakthrough: 

Individual Atoms Imaged in a Living Catalytic Reaction http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130712084341.htm

A triple opportunity, for me but for LENR even more, to be happy with this news: 

1) It is about catalysis- and catalysis is kind of uncle of LENR and I have told this quite clearly in my ancient Topology paper: http://www.lenr-canr.org/acrobat/GluckPunderstand.pdf 

Citing from that paper: 

In my opinion, the cold fusion phenomena are localized at active sites (similar to catalysis), and characterized by intense surface dynamics.

Cold fusion phenomena must be considered as sui-generis heterogeneous catalytic processes and the modern concepts regarding active sites have to be applied in order to understand and direct the reactions.

Surface mobility of metal atoms is the key both for heterogeneous catalysis and for cold fusion.

Actually, the study of catalytic surface phenomena in operating conditions is very difficult, given that the most modern analytical methods must work under high vacuum conditions.

What the nature, rise and dynamism of the active sites are, is an open question. A very rapid and massive information influx from the field of science and technology of catalysis could be useful to get the answer(s).

2) JEOL has achieved this breakthrough- and I had once a fine professional love affair with the JEOL Company. For JEOL please see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JEOL
In 1967 I started to work in research at the OLTCHIM Chemical Works and have decided to become a specialist in PVC-S, suspension polyvinyl chloride the “flagship” product of that industrial unit. I have collected books, papers, reports, patent, grey literature re the technology but for being able to manufacture really competitive products we needed more: samples of the best, most reputed, highest quality products from which we can learn about the products. Call it reverse engineering if you wish, but it is perfectly legal and everybody does it. I have asked samples from almost every known manufacturer but have also used any honest or at least legal means to get samples. PVC-S is a versatile product with a challenging complexity that was then produced using some 20 different basic technologies.
The samples were characterized by specific methods and it was concluded that there exist very complex correlations between the physical and chemical characteristics of the polymer and its processability in a diversity of products (think in terms of quality reputation, brand!) One of the most important is the morphology of the powder particles (50-250 microns). Here JEOL enters the equation and play – I was informed about the pioneer role of JEOL in scanning electron microscopy- an analytical method that= became commercial around 1968- and when a JEOL Stockholm specialist has visited my to install a gas chromatograph we bought from them, I have asked him to take SEM images of the most significant PVC samples. The JEOL man – a very smart and nice man (I regret that I have forgot his name- Japanese working at the Stockholm branch of JEOL has sent me fast the much desired imagines. I confess that this proved to be the best, most expressive analytical method – very, very helpful for understanding the samples a scientific revelation of high class.
SEM revelation!.
Now again JEOL helps us to understand the intimate principles of catalysis and, I bet this new microscopy will help us to understand LENR too… Bravissimo JEOL!

3- Perhaps the best reason to happiness is the fact that this new method helps me- and hopefully many other more important people to understand the real validity of the Scientific Method for
our field. This is a vital problem and I am very worried for having seemingly quite opposite views than the organizers-strategists of ICCF-18.The Scientific Method is based on putting smart questions to Nature and using, more smartly the answers for solving the problems. However in the case of LENR we still do not have the adequate vocabulary to ask well and then we have to combine science with technological methods, making the research more empirical and seemingly less intellectually elevated.
Take the method worked out now by JEOL it gives new possibilities for the catalysis experts to ask and to get better answers- to understand catalysis. It becomes obvious that the Scientific Method needs and is based on ever new and improved and more telling methods and on a permanent re-thinking and repeated re-understanding of the phenomena.
The slogan of ICCF-18 promotes the use of the Scientific Method
and promises understanding of the heat release being IMHO off target because the scientific method still lacks the best methods
(experimental, analytical) and considering that the seemingly incurable bad reproducibility problem is strong noise that destroys both questions and answers.

The genuine scientific method is based on new means to ask and new ideas in understanding and not on formal application of some tentative dialogs with Nature with non-optimal questions and inaudible quasi sibyllic answers. Scientific method has to be a creative process. It is also a high quality process that cannot tolerate chaotic unpredictable behavior and is incompatible with\ the catastrophic and seemingly occult lack of decent reproducibility. However this seems to be just my personal opinion, many of my colleagues are much more tolerant than me.

This writing is just a preamble for my coming Open Letter to ICCF-18 telling the organizers that the Scientific Method has to be re-understood; Scientific Method hybridized with technology is the most adequate and even most scientific form of it.

The story of a story about Scientific Congresses.

One thing more about congresses. There are 4 places in this world
where I feel well like a fish in water: water pools, libraries, restaurants and scientific congresses. Perhaps my most disappointing experience was with scientific congresses and restaurants- but I will speak only about the former.

Because I am just reading about this remarkable book- just published
I will tell you a story; it is about how I think that congresses are.

Its 1989, autumn- Cold Fusion was already discovered and I was enthusiastic about it, a lot of strange things happen. Our dictator Ceausescu is stronger and more confident than ever knowing he
and his regime of terror are invincible and eternal. The Chemical Works Ramnicu Valcea OLTCHIM is organizing its yearly Chemistry and Chemical Industry Congress and as a founder I am invited. As the PVC guru (modesty ignored) I am speaking about the ways of technological progress for this polymer- but I feel that I want to tell more to the participants. One evening after dinner we organize a special lecture beyond any official program\
and I tell the strange story of a special PVC congress. It is my most successful speech ever. It is well known that at congresses
the most important and relevant things happen always outside
the so called program.

“A few years ago the deputy minister of Chemistry has called me to Bucharest and has told me: “Tovarish Gluck, a company from New Zeeland is asking us to send a Romanian specialist to heir PVC Congress. The good boys cannot go X is ill, Y has better things to do, so we have taken the risks and send you. They pay for travel and expenses so even if you get lost, it will not be a disaster. But take care and behave yourself and do not drink too much!’ Bureaucracies and autocracies are more unpredictable than a palladium cathode. I have received the tickets, some money
(US and NZdollars) and a nice badge “VII-th PVC congress”

A very long travel; at the Ankara airport I have met a 61/2 feet tall Nigerian guy who was wearing a badge like mine. In 5 minutes we were good friends, after half hour and a few glasses of my tzuika and his ogogoro premium we were friends for ever. He had a long Nigerian name but has asked me to call him just Joe, I was Peter as usual. Suddenly Joe asks me:
“When have you abandoned the Freudian teachings?”
I was perplexed what has polyvinyl chloride to do with this?
Then I realized then that this PVC congress is about Psychological Vigor & Creativity is made for psychologists and I, the reputed Expert in Polyvinyl Chloride had been  degraded to a total Ignorant nobody who can tell only stupid and false things, a non-professional, a pariah! I am in dead trouble- cannot go back or communicate with the bosses in Bucharest- I have to play. I have confessed to Joe my real identity and he has started to lead me toward a decent solution of my surprising nightmare like problem:

(Acronyms can define very different things, I knew then PVC
also as Peripheral Vasoconstriction in medicine and PVC as Pigment Volume Content in the paint industry; now here: http://www.acronymfinder.com/PVC.html you can find 47 different definitions)


Joe speaks:
“Peter, do not make you any illusions regarding Psychological Vigor and Creativity! It is a strange field and many mainstream psychologists do not care for it and even deny its existence or want its name changed in positive psychology, soul’s antifragility, mental resilience or something else like this... Every personality in PVC has his very own definition and a pet theory.
There are two great Leaders and geniuses, Professor B and Dr. M each having a lot of followers and fanatic fans and these two megaguys are continuously fighting like Ormuzd and Ahriman
or like two old bald men for a comb.
You will see how parallel the monologs can be, how strong the conflicts can be! The experimental part is for enhancing the vigor in thinking of different categories of people and the same sad story repeats itself: a group of researchers obtains some great success with a new vigor enhancing procedure. Triumphal music can be heard, the press is happy, the future of PVC seems bright and glorious. But then the new wonderful method is applied to a different group of subjects- and nothing happens. Or sometimes worse a lot of them become depressed. Professor B himself had once three successful attempts of suicide in such a test but this case is kept secret, you know! \
So get rid of any complexes and fear- just read these papers and reports and try to learn the jargon of PVC, find the most frequent and popular words, the MEMES of this discipline, my friend!
And never forget to refer as much often as you can to the great authorities. Say “Ted has advised me” re Professor B and “Dick thinks so” re Dr. M and you will be accepted by the gang even if considered not a high intelligence. Do not smile too much and refrain your annoying East European politeness!”

Joe has helped me to understand the normality of that congress,
Being restless I have participated at discussion regarding the psychology of research and of innovation- a very broad spectrum of opinions about me has developed and everything went well.
I was not debunked as alien. I have understood that it is something very bad and harmful with PVC and that some really
radical changes are necessary, but words like paradigm shift or renewal are rarely welcome- anywhere.

And then something great has happened.
The last day the participants could visit industrial units in order to test the newest methods of improving the psychological vigor and creativity of the staffs. Joe and I have chosen a brand new PVC factory (polyvinyl chloride!) near to Auckland. We have visited that technological jewel, had free access and the engineers, foremen and workers have tried very hard to explain to those naïve psychologists all the details of the process. Lots of new valuable technological information.
I wrote a good report about the polymer factory and “forgot”
to tell about psychology.

The PVC/PVC story is not real, but it is true.


Peter

5 comments:

  1. Every instrument or experimental procedure has a range of applicability. For example, a mercury thermometer can measure the temperature of water between freezing and boiling. But an infrared camera must be used to measure the temperature of molten steel.


    Atomic resolution in-situ aberration corrected environmental scanning transmission electron microscopy is unlikely to be applicable to directly penetrating the intense electromagnetic maelstroms that tare the atoms apart in a LENR reaction.


    However, processes going into the reaction and coming out of the LENR reaction could be subjected to the eye to this new experimental procedure.


    I suspect that a neutron based procedure would be the most probable probe technology to image the activity of the LENR reaction directly.




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  2. www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2013-07/uoy-ynr071213.php

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  3. Concerned scientistJuly 15, 2013 at 8:03 AM

    Peter,
    I enjoyed your article. I'm planning to attend ICCF18 and like you, I hope that this conference sheds more light on this fascinating subject. I agree that reproducibility is key. One thing that concerns me is that after 24 years, I'm still hearing too many premature claims of success, as well as premature but incomplete "theoretical" claims (either "divorced" from experimental reality, or sometimes the converse - supposedly "in line" with experimental literature but not well-grounded theoretically). Equally and even perhaps more troubling is the apparent secrecy by all supposedly successful researchers regarding revealing all of the details of their experiments. This works against any form of scientific verification or understanding. I just watched The Believers DVD (about Pons & Fleischmann). While I did not really like the overall tone which was misleading (for example, they interviewed some leading LENR researchers regarding P&F but did not even mention the successful replications of these researchers) this documentary highlighted one of the original problems with P&F's claims, which was that they witheld information helpful for replication - due to U. of Utah's lawyers. The other problem of course was that they did not know themselves all of the detailed conditions necessary to replicate. Apparently, 24 years later we still don't know these conditions, or the mechanisms, and researchers are still claiming secrecy! Let's hope that this excess of secrecy (which will hopefully be remedied at the conference) is a sign of impending success, and not just a narrow continuation of the same failed pattern of the last 24 years.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you!I think your comment deserves a special answer an editorial, However for this I have to know how do you define SUCCESS for the CF experiments.
      And what do you think, the reproducibility problem is intrinsic to the classical PdD based systems or is something foreign to them, introduced by "errors"?
      If you wish to contribute more to the answer, please write me to peter.gluck@gmail.com

      "Dialog with a Concerned Scientist"

      Peter

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  4. Electron spectroscopy: Not just snapshots, real movies

    http://phys.org/news/2013-07-electron-spectroscopy-snapshots-real-movies.html

    Electrons are no slouches. In fact, they move so fast that they are hard to pin down. Nowadays these elementary particles can indeed be imaged, but what one gets are single, isolated snapshots. So the dispersion of free electrons over time has so far been impossible to observe directly. But now research groups based at LMU's Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (LAP) and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics (MPQ) in Garching, in collaboration with colleagues at Friedrich Schiller University in Jena have come up with a laser configuration that will make it possible to follow the dynamics of electrons essentially by filming them. The team has used a high-power laser to produce trains of attosecond pulses at a rate of 78 million per second, with each train containing around 20 individual flashes, each lasting less than a femtosecond. With this high repetition rate, it should be possible to characterize the behavior of electrons, whose quantum states fluctuate extremely rapidly, with greater efficiency than ever before. The breakthrough thus heralds a new era in the observation of this type of elementary particle.

    I seems like a new and useful technology for exploring LENR is released every day now.

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