Saturday, May 3, 2008

"Hydrinos" energy source????

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Peter Rodgers wrote at PhysicsWeb on August 5th, 2005:

When is the ground state of a hydrogen atom not the ground state? When it is a "hydrino" state, according to Randy Mills and co-workers at BlackLight Power, a company based in Cranbury, New Jersey. In a series of papers Mills and co-workers have argued that the results of a variety of experiments on hydrogen plasmas can only be explained by the existence of a new state in which the electron has less energy than the n=1 ground state. Mills argues that the hydrino state could be used as a new source of energy -- a claim that has led to a predictably negative response from other researchers -- and may even have some connection to the problem of "dark" matter. Now two theoretical physicists in Europe have joined the debate, with one opposing the hydrino hypothesis and the other supporting it.

Hydrogen is the simplest of all the atoms, containing just an electron and a proton. It normally takes 13.6 eV of energy to separate the electron and proton when the atom is in the ground state. Similarly, if an electron and proton combine to form a hydrogen atom in the ground state, 13.6 eV of energy is released in the process. However, if there is a new energy state below the ground state it could be possible to release even more energy.

The ground state of hydrogen is stable in the sense that it cannot emit photons. However, Mills argues that it can undergo a non-radiative transition to a lower state with the help of a catalyst, releasing the additional energy in the process. "In layman's terms, a catalytic process causes the latent energy stored in the hydrogen atom to be released by allowing the electron that is otherwise in a stable orbit to move closer to the nucleus to generate power as heat, light and the formation of a plasma," Mills told PhysicsWeb. Similar non-radiative transitions occur in fluorescent lights and in the formation of chemical bonds in cases where the excess energy is carried away by a third particle.

Mills, who has a medical degree from Harvard, started working on the electronic structure of hydrogen in the late 1980s and has published more than 60 papers on the hydrino state since then. "This research represents a new primary energy source and a new field of hydrogen chemistry," he says. "It may also explain or lead to explanations to many important scientific questions such as the identity of dark matter and a physical rather than mathematical theory of atomic physics."

Earlier this year, however, Andreas Rathke of the European Space Agency published a paper in which he argued that the theory for the hydrino state put forward by Mills was "the result of a mathematical mistake" (New J. Phys. 7 127).

Now another theorist has joined the debate with a different point of view. Jan Naudts of the University of Antwerp in Belgium argues that the Klein-Gordon equation of relativistic quantum mechanics does indeed permit the existence of a low-lying hydrino state, although he stops short of claiming that hydrino states really exist (physics/0507193). "In physics the experiment decides," says Naudts. "Either the hydrino exists, in which case we have to accept a small correction to the textbooks on quantum mechanics, or it does not exist, in which case we have to find better arguments to explain why it does not exist." Naudts says that results of Mills and co-workers have recently been confirmed by a group at the Technical University of Eindhoven. "Nothing is decided yet, but I think it is time to fill the holes in our theoretical understanding of the hydrogen atom."

However, Rathke remains sceptical, claiming that the solution found by Naudts "is known in the literature and had previously been discarded as unphysical." He also says that Naudts has found evidence for just one new state, whereas Mills claims to have found 137, and that the binding energy calculated by Naudts does not correspond to any of these states.

Mills, not surprisingly, welcomes the results of Naudts: "It is a very good sign that he has initiated the work in the quantum physics community to reconcile quantum theory with the enormous amount of data that confirms the existence of new states of hydrogen."

This is one of those curious anomalies of science that generates considerable interest, draws reputable and well-educated personalities, upsets current cosmological hypotheses, casts doubts on certain aspects of physics, stimulates the prospect of hope for a better and prosperous future of unlimited energy. These types of individualistic claims are common, but this one is getting considerable attention for the above reasons and the fact that big bucks are being funneled into the project. I get a bit suspicious when one size fits all, but here are the salient points briefly. Is a well-established model of physics [Quantum Mechanics] to be debunked by Randell Mills's 1,000 page/$100+ book The Grand Unified Theory of Classical Quantum Mechanics and revolutionary experimental claims at his laboratory?

This proposal that Randell Mills makes is akin to the old "cold fusion" observations several years ago. If you remember "cold fusion" was a serendipitous event discovered by Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons [University of Utah] and initially and falsely determined to be a heat producing model and the result of nuclear fusion--star fuel. What a deal: Huge thermal energy releases and the absence of massive harmful radiation. All accomplished with a platinum electrode and heavy water at room temperature. Too good to believe and it was. Most physicists consider this phenomena an unexplained anomaly--"...highly reproducible excess heat phenomenon in gas plasma systems...."

But now, Randell Mills has come along and rekindled the quest for unlimited energy not by fusion but "chemically" and something quite brazen regarding the physics of the hydrogen atom and the formation of the "hydrino". Quantum mechanics claim that for hydrogen the lowest possible energy state is 13.6eV bound with the single proton and nothing lower has ever been discovered. Mills claims that there is a lower state and that what happens is that an electron somehow is pushed further into the nucleus releasing energy--abundant and clean energy. Well, there goes the history and heuristic values of quantum mechanics right out of the window. No wonder so many authoritative notables such as Steven Weinberg are skeptical. Argh--is it a sham, voodoo science, P. T. Barnum in disguise? Maybe not, for there has been a tremendous interest and influx of revenue into this proposed technology from the private sector and government: Mid-Atlantic utility Conectiv. and a proposal by Morgan Stanley Dean Witter recommending a public stock offering. And such a theoretical claim would certainly change cosmological hypotheses.

I question the burst of this new approach being attributed to a single person's evaluation of the experiments and data and extrapolated to a new physics and cosmology. It took Einstein some time to formulate the "Theory of Relativity" and he was not alone--much background material had been presented. It just appears that Randell Mills is the "sole" proprietor of this revolutionary discovery. He alone gleans credit and will reap, if correct, the rewards: Monetary wise and as "the man who challenged Quantum Mechanics and won". Science is not comprised of the Dr. Baron von Frankenstein types creating the monster himself...there must be many Igors. I emphasize this for Randell Mills is basically a physician with no credentials in the realms of physics. I am confident he is familiar with his statements and it is a pity that I am too ignorant to challenge his tome for I am overwhelmed by his barrage of formulas and this in itself may be a motive save the very elect.

Dr. Mills's ideas propose a deep change in many areas of physics that must be carefully researched to confirm or dump his hypothesis. It is a fact that Quantum Mechanics and Cosmology still remain "mysterious" sciences in the sense that many things aren't well understood -- maybe because of our human nature that will never allow us to understand all -- who knows. QM has worked fine for almost a century, one can't just throw it away. However, as science has proven over the years, new theories overcome and are added to older ones, making the body of knowledge larger and more general, explaining what was obscure when looked from the eyes of older ideas. A new theory that expands our knowledge of Quantum Mechanics will of course generate way too much controversy until it's proven right; and if it's right, obviously it will be quite exciting to learn about . Only the passing of many years will lead us to a conclusion about Dr. Mills's hypothesis.

Of course we will all have egg on our faces if Randell Mills is like Prometheus without punishment or Herculean release and gives mankind a new source of fire.

Black Light Power, Inc.


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1 comment:

Timray said...

Dr. Frankenstein and many Igors....brilliant and funny analogy!!!