MSNBC Carries Story about the E-Cat — With Positive Slant

MSNBC has just posted a short story by Natalie Wolchover of Life’s Little Mysteries about the E-Cat entitled, “Italian cold fusion machine passes another test“. Interestingly, the article’s subtitle — “Despite a world of skepticism about E-Cat and other devices, proof is adding up” — indicates a positive spin we have not seen in other recent articles.

Walchover notes that the physicists who have attended demonstrations of the E-Cat put on by Rossi have all come away with a recognition that something unusual is happening in the energy catalyzer. She quotes the conclusion of the report of physicists Giuseppe Levi, David Bianchini, Carlo Leonardi, Hanno Essén, Sven Kullander, Andrea Rossi and Sergio Focardi who attended a demonstration in March 2009 who said that chemical processes could not account for the amount of heat coming from the E-Cat. “The only alternative explanation,” they wrote, “is that there is some kind of a nuclear process that gives rise to the measured energy production.”

The article includes comments by MIT’s Peter Hagelstein, a long-time researcher in the field of cold fusion who, again, seems guardedly positive. He says, “There is not sufficient reliable information available about the E-cat for a rational opinion to be made yet, in my view . . . I am of the view that Rossi’s claims probably should be taken seriously until such time as we have sufficient information that provides confirmation or refutation.”

Hagelstein’s concluding remarks are particularly interesting. He seems to be issuing a challenge to the scientific and governmental community when he says, “Are physicists generally, and DoE in particular, so sure that excess power in such experiments is impossible that the very large number of experimental results which show an excess heat effect clearly should continue to be ignored?”

This piece is another indication that people who have taken a careful and open-minded look at the evidence coming from Andrea Rossi and his associates are realizing that his claims cannot easily be dismissed.

  • Kim

    How does one find an E-mail adress
    to MSNBC to congradulate Natalie Wolchover
    on her courage.

    Very Very Good and Fair Article, well balanced


    • Sanjeev

      I agree, this is the most promising and positive article to date. Extraordinary thing is there is no ‘?’ in the headline.

      It is positive mainly because the reporter interviewed a CF researcher rather than an arm chair skeptic.

      Good news indeed.

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  • daniel maris

    Yes, this is another advance.

    The more journalists who start looking at this, the better. What are they going to find? Replication of fusion effects in experiments…genuine science…and a maverick who might just have produced the first commercial cold fusion device.

    • Robert

      So far I haven’t seen any genuine science. I have seen some “science theater” going on, but not any actual scientific inquiry.

      Rossi and Focardi certainly have been applying systematic scientific principles to come up with their device (or not, if you think they are frauds), but the real power of the scientific method is when you allow others to challenge your results and to find out if your theories might be wrong.

      So far, nobody has independently re-created whatever it is that Rossi has put into these devices, and the scientific method has also not been applied on the technology. Assuming that Rossi is not a fraud, I think over time such scientific inquiry will happen. I’m hoping that these devices are made available “to the general public” so outside investigators on their own dime can try to recreate the process for themselves and finally figure out what is going on.

      I’m not even convinced that what Rossi has accomplished here is “cold fusion”, LENR, or even fusion at all. There may be other explanations as to what is going on here. Previous attempts to re-create the Pons & Fleischmann devices have met with very mixed results, more often than not unsuccessful. That is the reason for extreme skepticism within the scientific community on an already controversial topic.

      The article I’m waiting for is somebody doing an independent analysis of one of these machines and then addressing the numbers that the honest skeptics are looking for. An honest skeptic is somebody who has an open mind that something could be happening, but wants to see for themselves what is going on and wants real independent proof before being committed. So far that hasn’t happened.

      • daniel maris

        Well I have read that CERN replicated the anomalous heat, having run an experiment in the same way as Focardi. So what is your view on that Robert?

        • Wes

          CERN replicated the temperature rise which occurs after molecular hydrogen dissociates into atomic hydrogen, however they also stated that they did not find any excess energy.

          • daniel maris

            Well, I guess i should have said partly replicated. This seems to be the best summary of the peer reviewed science behind the Rossi invention.


        • Robert

          Since Rossi hasn’t disclosed how his process works, I highly doubt that CERN has replicated the results. If you are talking about CERN attempting to replicate the Pons & Fleischmann experiment, I’ll have to take your word for it. I suppose we are talking about two different things.

          I have seen bona fide “cold fusion” experiments on a first hand basis, and I have strong reasons to accept that fusion is taking place. The experiments that I saw involved Deutron fusion and did produce neutron radiation… something Rossi claims is not happening with his process. On that basis alone, I am inclined to suspect that whatever he is doing is something very different, so I don’t accept anybody’s statements that this process has been reproduced elsewhere.

          In terms of a temperature rise, that can be explained through a number of ways, and not all of those have been adequately accounted for in my opinion.

          BTW, if you want to convince me on something like this, cite the report or the paper which produced this result. Generally I won’t believe a mere claim to such a result.

      • daniel maris

        But it’s amazing what people like you will accept as “science” – all that mathematical modelling of the cosmos and fundamental particles in physics gets called “science” even though there are a 101 mutually exclusive theories and no way to test most of what they claim. Nevertheless, you are happy for the guys to round with label of “physicist” and make their claims without benefit of repeat experimentation or even peer review in many cases.

        But when one guy makes some claims about anomalous heat production, you start raising the “science” bar tremendously high. For what reason?

        • Kim

          Please read the work of pantelli,
          Patterson,miley ect…


        • Robert

          If you are asking me to defend scientific inquiry into cosmology, I won’t even begin. Some of the theories have equations and functions where the order of magnitude on some of the variables is unknown, much less getting any sort of real precision. The only thing amazing about that discipline is that there might be some legitimate scientific theories to even test at all, as until the past 50 or so years it has been the exclusive domain of theologians instead of scientists.

          It really isn’t a place to criticize here, and note that these physicists you are ridiculing here openly admit they don’t know much about that topic even when they are the leading experts on that subject. The reason there are “101 mutually exclusive theories” is in part because it is a new discipline and there isn’t consensus on the topic. BTW, I think the “101 theories” is being generous, as I think there are a great many more theories on the topic.

          I am not setting the bar high in terms of somebody claiming to have fusion in some degree or another. What I have a problem with is a demonstration that there is a net energy gain from the input energy used to initiate the reaction. I’m willing to be open minded about the topic and if the results are clear as is being claimed, I’m willing to accept the results. In that case, the “bar” I wish to see passed is that this actually works as advertised.

          Learn about science if you think I’m being critical of what is going on here. Also learn about the scientific method and how it applies.

          I don’t consider myself a scientist as I’m more an engineer… somebody who builds stuff and isn’t too worried about the underlying science other than as a way to improve the product. Still, I know professional scientists and I appreciate their work, and I rely upon the work of scientists to do my job in the end because of that insight they can provide.

          I’m also trying to say that what you’ve seen so far in these demonstrations isn’t science either. Sadly, most schools don’t teach what real science is about, but instead simply give a bunch of demonstrations like is seen with the eCat device and pass that off to school kids as if it was real science. That you are confusing those kind of public demonstrations for real science is more of a sad condemnation of the various school systems and how they teach science. Then again, many teachers who instruct kids about science don’t understand science either so it isn’t that surprising.

          My requests for genuine independent tests are not really a very high bar, at least from my perspective. Eventually it will have to be done, and if this stuff is genuine it will be done… done so much that it will be considered an accepted “fact” in mainstream scientific circles. That hasn’t happened, so don’t be too surprised that there is some resistance to the concept here. Their message and mine is essentially: Put up or shut up. Give me one of these reactors and I’ll beat it up like a good engineer can. I know how to do that. I’ll also let a real physicist (I know several) help me out with setting the parameters for inquiry as well.

          • daniel maris

            Well I think if you are excluding cosmology from the fold of science, then you are wrapping yourself up in all sorts of contradictions.

            Science is a pretty wide phenomenon, from weird cosmologies through well understood sciences like chemistry and geology through to economics and sociology.

            Rossi isn’t following the modern orthodoxy of what constitutes science, but his methodology sounds very close to that of many 19th century pioneers of science who made huge advances in undertstanding and capability.

        • Sanjeev


          You are probably confusing apples with oranges. Cosmology has no direct influence on ordinary people’s life at present. So if some scientist says there is a huge black hole some billion light years from here, no ones gives a damn. It’s only a curiosity raiser for nerds. And such claims seem as if ‘accepted’ because no one cares to reject them usually.

          When someone claims that a black box can change the world within years, he suddenly get a lot of attention and everybody is pressing him hard to prove it. That’s because your life depends on it.

          You will find a lot of hard skeptics pop up and try to falsify such claims because they have made some investments (material or mental) which they must protect. Even the press won’t touch these things because a common man would soon find out the truth and it may affect their readership/income.

          Cosmology/philosophy/metaphysics cannot be compared with applied sciences, technology and engineering.

          • Robert

            You also have a whole lot of “free energy” folks who think they can build a “zero point module” (or some other nonsense) from a couple of paperclips, a roll of duct tape, and a spool of bailing twine with a piece of bubble gum thrown in for good measure.

            Please, there are reasons people are being skeptical here, and Rossi is hardly the first person to claim that he has the solution to the world’s energy problems. If his claims are proven to be false, Rossi will only be one of a long string of other scammers who have done this kind of thing. At the moment, claims like this are so frequent that most university professors won’t even take the time to answer a phone call or respond to an e-mail about things like this, much less take the idea seriously to see what is going on. Too many nuts (literally crazy people) are throwing stuff like this around to take any of them seriously unless they have very strong proof of what they are doing is actually happening.

          • daniel maris

            I think your average cosmologist would be rather offended if you said he wasn’t a scientist.

            I believe you are confusing technique with both methodology and subject area.

            Cosmology does affect everyday life (sat nav time keeping for instance).

          • Sanjeev

            I did not say that a cosmologist is not a scientist.

            IMHO, cosmology is mostly theoretical branch of science, dealing with cosmos as a whole, its origin, evolution, cycles and death. Sat nav, GPS etc should come under applied physics.

            GPS works even though no one knows what is time or whether time is real or when did the time start etc. It works and general public doesn’t care much about deeper questions.

            My point was – the closer a scientific discovery is to peoples everyday life, the more skeptical and interested they become.

  • Roberto

    I wonder how we are looking at the meaning of ‘scientific’. Usually ‘scientific’ would include being ‘positive’ with a guy claiming for a certain result.
    Somebody in the last days said Rossi would have disappeared after ‘playing tennis’; this was not the case. Somebody else (italian Wikipedia) jokes on the size of output pipes of the plant, telling that the real discover was the pipe itself. This wasn’t the case.
    Is this kind (and others) of skepticism somehow ‘scientific’?

    • Roberto

      I’m sorry for often citing WP but I’m convinced that this story has a side effect and will tell us also a lot about WP reliability. I do not think that a modern, public, free, open, interactive encyclopedia must be as conservative as the classic concept would suggest.
      They do not have to choose between true or false, they just could near-real-time-report some interesting events in the scientific field, in a ‘balanced’ (controversial) way.

      Hope they (at least english WP) success with this.

  • Gray Champion

    The cave-man didn’t care whether or not the fire he made passed the scrutiny of Scientists. He could keep his tribe warm with it. He could cook his meat with it. He could keep animals away in the night. Pish-posh! – if it works, — IT WORKS!

    Rossi is worth watching.

    • Elenilson

      You’re right. During thousands of years, human technology didn’t required “scientific explanation”. If the technology worked, there was no need for “scientific explanation”. Technology was always ahead of science. There is no reason to think that science needs to be ahead of technology.

      • Kim

        Just a good balance with science
        and safety issues, the theories can
        and will come later.


  • Given the lack of real, critical scientific validation and the lack of open access to the device and the tech…i start to think that Rossi and the Ecat got already *way* too much media coverage…more than he actually deserves. The problem, this media coverage is all nothing but speculation and repeating of claims and citing other people’s speculation…we could as well debate about UFOs or Atlantis…and would have the same facts. This is actually sad.

  • James

    The airline industry uses O2 generator canisters that generate heat and O2 when triggered and can last up to 30 min. or several hours. H2 will self combine with O2 and release heat and water. Put all this together with a little hype and secrecy and you have a possible E Cat. Add a 500 KW generator and a Resistance heater and your going to get a lot of hot water. We don’t know what is in the e-cat when started, It may be nothing but nickle and a trace amount of copper.

    • Kim

      Given a volume mass.

      and limits of Chemical Exothermic Reactions.

      The energy that this device exhibits is way
      beyond a simple chemical reaction.

      Nickel to Copper Transmutation


  • david

    I have to say I don’t really care if those who are skeptical believe or not. They don’t need to believe. If it is real then soon one of the corporations that bought one will say so. If not then one of the corporations that bought one will say so. Either way we will know.
    I hope it does work because of the great things it could do but I’m willing to wait to find out. Arguing about it won’t solve or prove anything.

    • bob

      Boom goes the dynamite.

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  • arian
  • arian
  • phinniethewoo

    the science: well we know from one of the foremost institutes that matter can run faster than light so mb in the e-cat the atoms catch up with oneselves ?

  • Matt Smart

    Just seen this article from the Daily Mail online in the UK ( considered a rather poor quality newspaper in this country but it has a high readership),
    It is along the lines of the fox news article, claiming that physicists think cold fusion is impossible! I have certainly sent my comments to the writer of this article, will have to see if they are published..

    • daniel maris

      Well compared with two days ago, it seems like the dyke of media indifference has been breached…let’s hope the trickle of interest becomes a flood.

    • Adam

      Thanks Matt. Have left some comments as well.

  • Sanjeev

    Why is this link missing from the list on right ?

  • Sanjeev

    It turns out that Paul Swanson was present on the 6th Oct demo, as per Rossi’s post here:

    So now we know that Rossi was talking about 6th Oct demo and not the 28th Oct one, when interviewed by Fox news.

    Which means that SPAWAR is not the customer.

    Thanks to the commentator at ecatnews for digging this out:

  • arian
  • arian
  • arian

    Cold Fusion Experiment: Major Success or Complex Hoax?

  • Francesco CH
  • jfab

    man none of these “journalists” can get the facts straight. “COP of 10”, while Rossi always said 6, “tested at University of Bologna” huh WTF?! “1MW plant made up of more than 100 small e-cats”, Rossi said 52 or something like that… It just shows what kind of cheap journalists are willing to talk about this eCat crap fraud!

  • Ron

    I think there may be one thing that (indirectly) may help confirm the validity of the 1MW test and sale. What it seems AR needs (and has gotten) is cash flow to continue building more devices. So if we see evidence that in fact he does seem to have more cash (i.e he funds universities, buklds more devices, buys a big house, or whatever) that implies that the customer did in fact pay hardcash for their 1MW E-cat. That doesn’t prove it is not a scam, but it woould indicate that if it is a scam it is being funded by someone with deep pockets. Also, it would raise the question why would anyone with deep pockets be scamming to begin with. A footnote to this is that if AR builds a second unit it would be nice to be able to prove that tghis is not just the first unit being sold over again. That might be hard to prove one way or another unless the first customer surfaces.

    • Robert

      The only thing I care about is if I plug this device into my home and use it for power generation, which way will the electrical power meter be turning? I could care less about theory or the fine details. I do care about radiation, but even that isn’t nearly so big of a deal if it is shielded properly and in conformance to established guidelines for radioactive substances. Size matters, as does cost, although I’m optimistic that economies of scale can be found to make this work.

      On the other hand, if this ends up consuming more electricity than it is producing, I will certainly feel like I’ve been scammed. Rossi claims that the power meter is going to be turning “backward” if you run this device. That remains to be seen.

  • Sanjeev

    It turns out that Paul Swanson was present on the 6th Oct demo, as per Rossi’s post here:

    So now we know that Rossi was talking about 6th Oct demo and not the 28th Oct one, when interviewed by Fox news.

    Which means that SPAWAR is not the customer.

    Thanks to the commentator at ecatnews for digging this out.