tisdag 9 december 2014

How often does one have to kill the Cat?

Will a new report help to finally close the strange case of the so-called Energy Catalyzer, the E-Cat, of Andrea Rossi?
The E-cat has been around for almost four years now. Claims have been made but were never proven. Promises have been made but were never fulfilled. A report by Levi et al. has been written and heavily criticized in 2013. And instead of answering [1, see also edit below] to the critique and questions raised, new measurements with yet another version of "the" E-cat have been made and a new report, the so called Lugano report by Levi et al., was spread 2014 on the internet [2]. What was "indications" in 2013 was now claimed with certainty [3]. Still, of course, some call for further studies [4].

Use Google and you will find several places on the internet where critical reviews of the current (or any of the previous) claims in the E-Cat story have been published. Here, I just want to mention the recent critique by Christian Schumacher (Part 1 and Part 2) and the excellent comments by Ethan Siegel here and here [5]. 

On this blog I have raised the issue of isotope abundance claimed by Levi et al. [6]. I have commented on Rossis extraordinary capability to, despite his changing and contradictory claims, keep his followers happy. And I have written a bit more broadly about the role of science and critical thinking in relation to this case.

For me as a nuclear physicist the claimed very drastic change of the isotopic abundances alone is a smoking gun. And the the cat is dead. For people more focusing on the electrical side and wondering how things might really be connected the new, very well-written and well-argued report by Per Rutquist is even hotter. The kind of analysis Rutquist delivers is what is called for when discussing the E-Cat, but which is - surprisingly - lacking in the work by Levi et al.

I bet believers will continue to trust in Rossi and continue to find excuses [7] but the many critical points found and raised show that Levi et al. - although they must have been well aware of both the public attendance and scrutinization that their report will receive - have shown rather poor craftsmanship and, again, delivered a report that has too many blind-spots to be taken seriously.

So, well, maybe the Cat is actually a vampire. Certainly sunlight into some still closed boxes would help. But even without sunlight, the report by Rutquist is the wooden stake that really finishes the Cat off.

[Edit 2014-12-09 20:55: And yes, concerning not giving answers: It is noteworthy that two of the authors of the Lugano report, Hanno Essén and Bo Höistad, have been contacted by Rutquist five weeks ago, i.e., November 3. But, he has still not received any answer.]


[1] I do not count this interview on ecatnews.com as an answer were Bo Höistad expresses his opinion about the critiques ...
[2] Financed by e.g. Elforsk. Elforsk also published a strange and pretty low-level report on the LENR here[3] Just read the title "Observations of abundant heat production from a reactor device and of isotopic changes in the fuel".
[4] See statement by Elforsk here and a critical comment on Elforsks uncritical attitude here.
[5] A brief critical piece has recently been published on Spiegel online (in German).
[6] Or, as Rossi in true marketing spirit likes to refer to the authors: "the professors".
[7] This is all to natural. Read about the mechanism here.