Ethan Siegel on Why he Thinks Lugano test is Suspect

Astrophysicist Ethan Siegel has published an article on the web site titled “The E-cat: cold fusion or scientific fraud?” in which he give his own critique of the Lugano test report, and comes to his own conclusions about the validity of the test, and the E-Cat itself.

Siegel is upfront about the fact that he is suspicious of the results of this test, and is clearly trying to caution his readers regarding taking the E-Cat report at face value. He warns them not to be the “mark” — i.e. the ones to fall for the trickery of a charlatan. In his conclusion he writes:

I don’t want any of you to be the “mark”, fleeced out of your money by a charlatan, and so in the absence of anyone else exposing Rossi, I will stand up as “the one to knock ‘em”, meaning I will hold up the torch of what scrupulous science would look like, and challenge the participants to live up to it.

He sums up his suspicions about the test with five major objections

1. The E-Cat was plugged into an external power source throughout the test. That would be necessary to verify that the E-Cat was producing its own energy.
2. The test used an ‘open’ rather than a ‘closed’ calorimetry measurement system, leaving heat measurements questionable.
3. No gamma radiation was measured coming from the E-Cat, which would be expected if a nuclear reaction was taking place.
4. If nuclear fusion of nickel is occurring, there is no copper reported in the ash, which should be expected according to known reactions.
5. The test was not independent. Rossi participated, and the team was known to him, and friendly.

Ethan Siegel posted an article on the science blog following the first independent test, and his response was widely circulated. Siegel is seen as quite an expert when it comes to physics, especially astrophysics, and his thoughts here I think will carry some weight with his readers.

Siegel is not willing to take the report at face value, and he is urging that we should not either. In order to reject the paper, we have to believe that it was a deliberate attempt at smoke and mirrors — and that Rossi was somehow involved in some kind of sleight of hand in tampering with the powder.

As we know, this is not an untypical response when it comes to things connected with the E–Cat. The fraud label, I think, will be around for a while. It’s a comfortable belief for those who are not able to accept that something like the E-Cat could be possible. And some people do have genuine concerns and questions regarding this and other tests. For now the mystery of the E-Cat is still unresolved for many and more information will need to be forthcoming for widespread acceptance to take place.