Steven E. Jones may not know what cold fusion is, but he knows what it's not.
It's not something that consumers will be using to operate their water heaters within the next 30 years.With yet another storm cloud gathering over cold fusion experiments performed at the University of Utah by B. Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann - this time in the form of a book asserting that the two scientists invented data - the Brigham Young University physicist continues to plug away at his own experiments with the phenomenon.
Jones described his current work and commented on the controversy surrounding cold fusion as the guest speaker Thursday at the annual Sigma Xi awards lecture at Brigham Young University.
He is collaborating with several scientists on an experiment in Japan that will test findings of low-level cold fusion in experiments he conducted in Leadville, Colo., and Italy. Results of the Japanese experiment should be available this summer.
Jones, who has been conducting cold nuclear fusion research since 1986, is using two "working hypotheses" to explain the low-level cold fusion occurring in his experiments. Neither hypothesis, however, "fits the data all the way."
"It could be there are two different phenomena," Jones said.
He said it appears bursts of neutrons occur at minus 30 degrees Celsius when cracking peaks in a titanium alloy mixed with a small amount of hydrogen. The theory is called "fracto fusion."
"It is exciting scientifically, if true," he said.
Random production of neutrons seems to occur during "muon-catalyzed fusion."
While Jones has recorded nuclear particles in his experiments, he has never seen excess heat.
Nuclear fusion is what powers the sun - a process thought to require extreme heat. The ability to bind atoms together to produce energy at low temperatures is one of the holy grails of science.
Jones also continues to explain the distinctions between his work and that of Pons and Fleischmann - they are focusing on heat production, which "is not fusion," while he focuses on production of low-level nuclear particles produced in "some strange systematic" process, which may be low-level cold fusion.
And, he continues to explain why Pons' and Fleischmann's experiments don't work. It's basic: E\ mc2. In their experiments, E does not equal mc2.
Jones called the findings in the latest book to criticize the University of Utah experiments "sad."
Frank Close, author of a new book titled "Too Hot to Handle," says Pons and Fleischmann altered data presented in their original scientific paper. The scientists altered a figure for energy measured in their experiments, bringing it in line with what would be expected if fusion were occurring, according to Close.
Close is a physicist who holds positions at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and the Rutherford Laboratory in Britain.
According to the New York Times, Pons has not commented on Close's conclusions while Fleischmann denies them.
Jones attributed Pons' and Fleischmann's "fall from grace" to their decision to make an "end run around the (scientific) peer review system, which was to hold a press conference" to announce results of their experiments.
"Instead . . . there was funding by the state of Utah under enormous media pressure," Jones said. "That's not the normal way of doing science."
The $5 million invested by the Legislature in fusion work at the University of Utah probably will be expended by June.
It's in the equation
BYU professor Steven Jones explains the difference in cold fusion experiments:
In Jones' work, E=mc2. In Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann's prjoect