This Year's Nobel Week Topic — Exploring the Future of Energy

Nobel Media has announced the topic to be discussed at this year’s Nobel Week Dialogue — a day of lectures and panel discussions which will be held in Gothenburg, Sweden on December 9th. From the announcement on the Nobel web site:

The Nobel Week Dialogue is a cross-disciplinary meeting bringing together a unique constellation of Nobel Laureates, world-leading scientists, policy makers and thought leaders to discuss global issues that affect us all. A forum for scientists and non-scientists alike, the objective of the meeting is to deepen the dialogue between the scientific community and the rest of society around issues that concern us all. The Nobel Week Dialogue is free to attend and accessible to a worldwide audience online.

The choice of Energy as the topic for the 2013 meeting is partly inspired by three anniversaries occurring this year, signifying landmarks in the history of aspects of the science underpinning energy research. This year we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 1913 publication of Niels Bohr’s Model of the Atom, which is often described as perhaps the single most important event in the development of quantum physics, a field at the centre of our understanding of many processes, including solar energy capture. The same year, 1913, also saw the award of the Nobel Prize in Physics to Heike Kammerlingh Onnes for the liquification of Helium-3 and the discovery of superconductivity, a phenomenon which, once adequately harnessed, could hold great potential for more efficient energy transport and storage. And lastly 2013 marks the 75th anniversary of the award of the 1938 Nobel Prize in Physics to Enrico Fermi for his work on nuclear reactions, work which went on to underpin the development of nuclear power. The connections between such fundamental scientific discoveries as these and the prospects for society’s production and use of energy lie at the very heart of the meeting, and will form some of the strands running throughout the day’s discussions.

It sounds like it could be an interesting event — especially so because the events of the day are focusing on involving dialogue between meeting participants both in person and online: “The whole day will be streamed live over the internet, and Dialogue lies at the heart of each meeting: dialogue between the featured panelists, between the panelists and the audience and between members of the audience. So audiences, both those present and those following the proceedings online, will be invited to engage in the conversations throughout.”

Naturally I hope that some of the breakthroughs in LENR that we have been discussing here will be brought up at the meeting — but I feel it will take some big news between now and then for the distinguished guests to take the topic seriously. Unfortunately, cold fusion still seems to have a certain stigma attached to it, although there are signs that may be changing somewhat. If Rossi’s partner is revealed before this event, I think there could be a good chance that the E-Cat will be part of the conversation there.

  • fortyniner

    One for GreenWin (distributed energy generation systems) – if it hasn’t already been posted:

    Of course, it is not directly comparable to LENR, but it does look like fuel cells may be a real ‘household’ option in the near future, rather than a possible option in years to come. In many areas gas energy is far cheaper than electrical energy, so if this gadget has a reasonable efficiency (not specified in the article) Rossi’s potential domestic market may have disappeared by the time he is ready to offer the ‘home e-cat’. The article mentions CHP, so the ‘waste’ heat could probably go to central heating or a heat store, upping the overall efficiency.

    “every business or home should be able to safely generate its own energy. We currently rely upon a vulnerable electrical grid. The best way to decrease that vulnerability is through distributed energy, that is, by making your own energy on-site. We are building systems to do that, with an emphasis on efficiency and affordability. These should be common appliances.”

    • GreenWin

      fortyniner, thanks… Why do I sniff the hand of Robert L. Park here? Is it that this gadget from Eric Wachsman, the director of the University of Maryland’s Energy Research Centre where Bob is still Emeritus Prof Physics? Or that there’s simply nothing new in the Cube’s implementation of SOFCs?

      Whatever, it IS one of the many DER devices headed for home basements along with Stirling CHP and the extension of Fermi’s work called E-CatHT or New Fire. A few years ago, the Bloom Box captured lots of attention as the hot idea in SOFCs. Of course that’s one issue – high operating temps around 600C. Now down to 500C, but never-the-less hot, like the E-Cat.

      Good news is the more of these NG conversion devices (Cube requires CH4 to H2 via steam reformation) the better to establish the DER market. And by teaming with the local gasco, Cube, Bloom, Ceres, Acumetrics, Bosch, etc SOFC makers partner with established utility infrastructure. Maybe Bob knows we gotta wean the market off grid slowly.

      Is it any wonder the Rossi team has developed a CH4-heated E-Cat??

      • fortyniner

        Interesting background, thanks. It appears that things are rarely what they seem in this area (and indeed in many others).

  • GreenWin

    This is a great topic as it establishes an overview of atomic science and possibly a look ahead. What’s interesting about Fermi is he is often claimed to be U.S. Nobel laureate, but in fact won his Nobel for work done at University Rome between 1934-1938. The 1938 Nobel Prize was his key to escape Mussolini’s Italy, leading to his work on the atomic pile in 1942.

    When the history of LENR is written, it will look like an evolution of Fermi’s work, via Pons & Fleischmann, Piantelli, Focardi and Ing Rossi. The Prize model of incentive-to-innovation appears to have worked well past and present. Should the promise of Rossi’s E-Cat follow that of Enrico Fermi, not only will we have a new model of the atom (or how energy works) – there will also be reason for several Nobel Prizes.

    • Bernie Koppenhofer


    • AlainCo

      A nobel will only be given for creating a theory which works on LENR.

      It cannot be Rossi, Defkalion, Celani, Piantelli, F&P, Iwamura…
      At most Yeong Kim, W-L, Takahashi, if they adjust their theory for it to work.

      I would bet on Kim, because he have access to Defkalion’s data.
      The most important in theories it the resources to drop them quickly.

      • georgehants

        Don’t hold one’s breath, as after Einsteins miracle year 1905, it took 17 years to be awarded the single Nobel that he received..
        Not one but five papers changing science and our knowledge of the World.
        Not bad for a student working in a patent office that had not yet managed to gain a Doctorate.
        Would like to see somebody like him get his theoretical papers published in one of the premier science comics today.
        “The mind that opens to a new idea never returns to its original size.”
        ― Albert Einstein

      • Hoiytre

        Nobody ever talks about the Robert Godes theory of a controlled electron capture reaction. It is beautifully simple and mathematically accurate. Brillouin is strategically flying under the radar, but for how long?

  • Jim
  • eernie1

    Ladies and gentlemen,
    At the risk of being repetitious and boring, I would like to ask the following question. Why do the majority of LENR investigators insist on trying to manipulate the most difficult atomic particles? I ask this because in my experience, manipulating the lowly electron has allowed people(chemists) throughout history to create usable materials and energy(soap, acids, dynamite etc.)It has a relatively large charge(attractive to the nucleus)and a relatively small mass. The proton on the other hand, has a repulsive force(coulomb barrier) and a relatively huge mass. The neutron has no charge but again a huge mass and its energy must be tailored for it to enter the nucleus(see atomic fission). My point is experimental evidence(published in peer review journals(Google conversion electrons) has shown examples of how electrons can be made to enter the nucleus. Once there it becomes a disruptive force(again reported in the accepted journals). No need to rile up the established physicists. Perhaps this is why no rebuttal to my posted theory has been seen. Maybe they think it is too trivial to respond.

    • Alan DeAngelis

      Is this something like electron capture where a proton-rich nuclide absorbs an inner atomic electron?

      • eernie1

        Exactly. 1S orbit electrons are not that hard to move into a nucleus.
        Another biological example which should be investigated is coral growth factors. Here the multitude of colors(electron activity), the wide variety of mineral and metal elements and the vast energy requirements necessary for its growth all point to the generation of extraordinary effects.

        • eernie1

          By the way Alan,
          I still like to call nuclides isotopes. Call me old fashioned.

          • eernie1

            One other factor I should mention is that when the ratio of N to Z exceeds 1.25 the nucleus becomes more unstable and electron capture becomes more disruptive in those atoms or isotopes.

    • Ted-X

      We had a discussion about this with Pekka. In some compounds (nickel semi-carbonyls, hybridization sp3, I think) the electrons are actually “passing” through the nucleus. The resonance structures could also contribute to this electron capture effect. It would be “electron capture” and “some transformations” after this. It seems that we are getting close to approaching the understanding of the effect. The enhancement of heat generation after addition of acetone in Celani’s experiment seems to confirm the theory of electron capture (acetone would form carbon monoxide under the LENR conditions, carbon monoxide easily forms Ni-carbonyls and Ni-semi-carbonyls) – this could contribute to the crack-active sites and the gaseous phase LENR reactions. Most likely, multiple mechanisms are involved.