[Vo]:A few comments by Celani about the demonstration
Sun, 06 Feb 2011 02:37:36 -0800
I spoke with Celani about the Rossi demonstration. He attended the demo, as you see in the video. He will describe it formally but I asked for an informal sense of it, and whether he found it "convincing." He said a few things which I describe here along with some of my comments:
The demonstration and presentation were somewhat chaotic, with many people asking questions and a spirited discussion underway (as you see in the video even if you do not speak Italian). It was hard to concentrate on the actual test that was underway. [My comment: that's not anyone's fault. You cannot do a definitive test in front of 50 physicists, nor should you try.]
They had difficulty starting up the reaction.
Celani was personally disappointed and I think upset that they prevented him from using the particle detector he brought along. He said, "what is the point of calling in scientists if you don't let them do independent testing."
He said the vapor regime is complicated and difficult to judge. I pointed out that with the power input the water should only be 20 deg C warmer, so even if there was wet steam that is still evidence of considerable excess heat. He agreed. He said the ability to generate steam means the temperature is high which is very important from a technological point of view. But for a demonstration of this nature it would be easier to evaluate the result if they would increase the flow rate and keep the water temperature below 90 deg C. The calorimetry becomes much more complicated above that temperature.
[My comment: good point, and that is what they plan to do with the 1 MW reactor test.]
I wouldn't say Celani considers that a reason to doubt so much as a reason to say the results may be a large approximation. You need to know more before you can conclude it was 4 kW excess or 12 kW excess. [True. I am not qualified to determine if steam is wet or dry, but I think a reasonable default position is to assume that Dr. Galantini knows what he is doing, and he picked the right instrument. If it turns out he does not know what he is doing, I have committed a Fallacious Appeal to Authority, and the excess is much lower than 12 kW, but still significant.]
He said he did not look at the end of the hose in the sink in the bathroom, but he did note that it was making a lot of noise from steam. I think any noise rules out the "diverted water stream" hypothesis. It is a distinct noise, after all, and a flow of 0.3 L per minute of warm water makes no noise at all at the end of the hose.
We will know a lot more tomorrow, but took the opportunity to ask him a few questions about issues that have been discussed here.
Regarding the academic caution expressed by Levi, David Nagel, and now Celani in his conversation with me, let me put myself in their positions. I know how to speak academese even though I am not a member of that tribe. I might tell a reporter "it is not fully convincing." I would have some specifics in mind:
* They have not proved beyond any conceivable doubt that it is far beyond the limits of chemistry.
* They have not allowed independent experts to look at the transmuted copper.
* They have not allowed many independent tests yet.
* There are still a few plausible hypotheses floating around about how it might be faked. I do not take them seriously, but any plausible hypothesis deserves to be tested. It would be unreasonable to test every silly notion that pops into the minds of pathological skeptics, such as the idea that hundreds of rats drank the water in Mizuno's heat-after-death event, or the notion that Rossi has invisible hidden wires or chemical fuel in the cell.
You have to draw the line at plausible, grown-up hypotheses.
Those are not complaints. Rossi, Levi and the others did a lot. They are doing more. All in good time these others steps can be done, and I think they will be done. But it would be wise to reserve a small slice of doubt until then. Why should we jump to the conclusion this is real? I can't see any benefit to that. I would not jump to the opposite conclusion that it can't be real, so it must be fraud. There is no harm in saying: "It looks good so far, and I cannot think of any reason to doubt it, but let's go through a series of steps that will confirm it beyond any doubt."