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If they have fusion, then they have high-energy particles. High-energy neutrons, gamma rays, hard x-rays, high-energy electrons, that kind of stuff. The most obvious would be to look for those, because many of them don't come from a lot of other terrestrial sources (gamma rays excepted, but if you energy-resolve those, it should be possible to remove the background unless you're fatally unlucky and the radiation is in the same energy interval as the potassium background).

That they have helium is good. That they have excess heat... well, I'm less impressed by that. Heat just proves that Something Happens, not necessarily that it is fusion.

To "catalyse" fusion... Well, Conventional Wisdom says that chemical processes are several orders of magnitude too small in terms of the energy involved to perceptibly change the interaction potential between nuclei. I'd have to read their actual technical description in some detail to know whether they have a convincing case against the Conventional Wisdom. And I have neither the time nor the inclination (nor, I think, the competence) to do that, so I will leave it to the professionals.

I wish them luck, by all means, but I won't be betting money on it...

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Thu May 29th, 2008 at 03:38:06 AM EST
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And I have neither the time nor the inclination (nor, I think, the competence) to do that, so I will leave it to the professionals.

Ditto here.  I don't even know how to start calculating the energy yeild for D + D --> He4, but it is at least to my 45+ year old undergrad physics brain, conceivable that , were it to occur in a lattice, that said energy could be released as heat via vibratory excitement of the lattice.  That is what they seem to be describing.  In their medium even large numbers of photons would be absorbed and likely release heat.

Since reading Thomas Kuhn in 1964 I have considered that my suspicions were confirmed regarding the power of preconception and the "not invented here" syndrome.   This makes me concerned in this case.

"It is not necessary to have hope in order to persevere."

by ARGeezer (ARGeezer a in a circle eurotrib daught com) on Fri May 30th, 2008 at 01:47:18 AM EST
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Most substances are fairly transparent to gamma rays and high-energy neutrons.

A quick back-of-the-envelope calculation gives a total energy release for 2D->He on the order of 25 MeV. Even if it happens in two or three steps, we are still talking fairly hard gamma rays. Some will be absorbed, of course, but absorbing a 25 MeV photon just gives you a 25 MeV electron instead (the electron mass times c^2 is about half a MeV, so the electrons in question are going to be the next best thing to super-relativistic).

I seriously doubt that a perceptible fraction is released as vibrations in the lattice - at least initially: Ionisation energies are on the order of tens of eV, binding energies typically an order of magnitude less and excitation energies are maybe half that. If even one percent of the released energy is absorbed directly by the six nearest atomic bonds, there is a better than even chance that you no longer have a lattice.

Modelling what happens when you kick stuff that hard can get kinda messy, and nuclear physics was never really my thing, but I would definitely say that if they have fusion, then they will have more convincing indicators than heat.

Then again, I never much cared for the Kuhnian notion of paradigms either, although that may have more to do with overzealous disciples than the original, since I haven't found time to read it yet.

- Jake

Friends come and go. Enemies accumulate.

by JakeS (JangoSierra 'at' gmail 'dot' com) on Sun Jun 1st, 2008 at 11:23:34 AM EST
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