Self-Interest and LENR (Edmund Storms)

Thanks to Georgehants for pointing out this comment from Edmund Storms on Peter Gluck’s Ego Out site regarding the initial reception of LENR/Cold Fusion when Dr. Storms was working at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, USA.

The comment can be found here, along with Peter’s usual excellent roundup of news and comment on the current status of LENR:

I watched how the attitude toward LENR changed at LANL. I watched as tolerance changed to hostility. The change was not based on lack of reproducibility. I and many other people were able to cause the effect. Besides, many phenomenon are initially difficult to control and are not rejected for this reason. The rejectors only used this claim as a fig leaf to hide another reason. I believe the rejection had a more sinter reason. The real reason was simply protection of self interest, initially by people funded by the hot fusion program.

In 1989, hot fusion was in trouble because Congress was getting increasingly impatient with the slow progress. I believe certain very powerful people realized that LENR would siphon funds away from hot fusion and eventually kill it. They could not make this fear public so they set about convincing the public that LENR was bad science, which was easy to do. This was power politics at its worst. This worked because Fleischmann and the rest of us were playing the honest game of understanding nature for everyone’s benefit. In contrast, a few powerful people were only protecting themselves using any dishonest tool they could find. We and they were not playing by the same rules and we still aren’t.

We see this process unfolding every day in Congress and being applied to a range of issues. Facts and what is real do not count in government these days. Self-interest rules. We in LENR have not created a self-interest for anyone of importance outside of a few groups having special needs, such as NASA. Even these groups have to hide their work to avoid being tarred by the bad science claim. In short, no one of importance needs LENR. Once the need is demonstrated, the attitude will change instantly. Perhaps Rossi will show that need or perhaps another country will create the need for the US to take an interest. We have to wait and see where the need is revealed before we can expect acceptance.

Looking back through the history of science and technological development, I suppose there has always been an element of self-interest behind the innovations that have had major impacts on the world. Many of the inventors and industrialists were people of great ambition who wanted to make their mark on the world, and get ahead of the competition. Probably cold fusion is not the only casualty of self-interest getting in the way of an important idea — but Storms seems optimistic that at some point some important person or country’s self-interest will cause them to latch on to LENR and bring it out into the light of day.