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New Discovery Disproves Quantum Theory? 933

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the physics-riots-for-1000-alex dept.
An anonymous reader writes to tell us the Guardian is running a story that has quite a few physicists up in arms. From the article: "Randell Mills, a Harvard University medic who also studied electrical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, claims to have built a prototype power source that generates up to 1,000 times more heat than conventional fuel. Independent scientists claim to have verified the experiments and Dr Mills says that his company, Blacklight Power, has tens of millions of dollars in investment lined up to bring the idea to market. And he claims to be just months away from unveiling his creation." The only problem is Mills' theory is supposed to be impossible when using current rules of quantum mechanics.
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New Discovery Disproves Quantum Theory?

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 06, 2005 @07:31PM (#13965492)
    "Imagination is more important than knowledge."
    • by munpfazy (694689) * on Sunday November 06, 2005 @08:47PM (#13965971)
      "Knowledge isn't important."

      There's a big difference.

      And, it's one that will bite the ass of anyone dumb enough to invest in hydrinos. (As it has everyone who has done so since Mills first floated ths idea way back in 1991, at which time he announced that commercial applications of his theory were, oddly enough, just a couple years off.)
      • by Mr. Underbridge (666784) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @10:35PM (#13966480)
        (As it has everyone who has done so since Mills first floated ths idea way back in 1991, at which time he announced that commercial applications of his theory were, oddly enough, just a couple years off.)

        Wait...he's selling gallium arsenide semiconductor devices? *ducks*

    • Extraordinary Claims require Extraordinary Proof.

      Einstein provided mathematical proofs in his groundbreaking articles IIRC.

      I believe this new discovery when I see the conceptual proofs, namely this mystery device in action with 3rd parties able to test it. Till then, I'll nod my head and smile.
    • by mikael (484) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @10:35PM (#13966484)
      That brings to mind the following web page on the great airship UFO flap of 1897. []

      We are looking into the Dellschau manuscripts and further researches on this mysterious N.B. gas. From the work of Walter Russell and his development of the Octave Periodic Progression of elements, there would appear to be somewhere on the order of 26 elements BELOW HYDROGEN. This is TOTALLY CONTRARY to any modern understanding of chemistry.

      Airship inventors originally tried pumping all of the air out of their balloons figuring the vacuum would be lighter than air, but then they realized they had to fill it with something other than air otherwise the container would just collapse. So they had to start looking for different types of lighter than air gas (Hydrogen, Helium, etc...).
  • Like They Say... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by stuffman64 (208233) <stuffman AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday November 06, 2005 @07:32PM (#13965499) Homepage
    Like they say: "I'll believe it when I see it."

    Still, it would be nice to have some major shakeup in physics... there really haven't been any in my lifetime.
    • by Buran (150348)
      I noticed they claim to have peer-reviewed journal articles, but don't cite any of them. I'd like to be able to verify that they exist before I believe any of this crap ...
      • Re:Like They Say... (Score:5, Informative)

        by QuantumG (50515) <> on Sunday November 06, 2005 @07:39PM (#13965548) Homepage Journal
        effort. []

        None of it matters. If they release a product and it works then people have to take them seriously. Sure, they'll probably come up with an explaination that is completely different and fits with current physics theory, but whatever floats your boat. What matters is the technology.
        • by Buran (150348) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @07:56PM (#13965662)
          Which they've reportedly had "just around the corner" (it's in one of the other comments in this story) for a while, hence the skepticism I showed. Sure, if they have something that works it will have to be explained by new theories, but always being "a few months away" or whatever doesn't really add to their credibility.
      • Re:Like They Say... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Rei (128717) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @07:50PM (#13965625) Homepage
        From the wikipedia article on the hydrino []:

        In May 2005 Andreas Rathke of the European Space Agency has written an evaluation [1] to appear in New Journal of Physics. He concludes:

        We found that CQM is inconsistent and has several serious deficiencies. Amongst these are the failure to reproduce the energy levels of the excited states of the hydrogen atom, and the absence of Lorentz invariance []. Most importantly, we found that CQM does not predict the existence of hydrino states!

        Robert L Park, a professor of physics, former chair of the Department of Physics at the University of Maryland, and professional skeptic writes in his "what's new" [2] web page

        Mills has written a 1000 page tome, entitled,"The Grand Unified Theory of Classical Quantum Mechanics," that takes the reader all the way from hydrinos to antigravity (WN 9 May 97). Fortunately, Aaron Barth...has taken upon himself to look through it, checking for accuracy. Barth is a post doctoral researcher at the Harvard-Smithsonian Institute, and holds a PhD in Astronomy, 1998, from UC, Berkeley. What he found initially were mathematical blunders and unjustified assumptions.

        Douglas Osheroff, Nobel Prize winner and professor of physics at Stanford University, has said that [3]

        [Mills] may be creating compounds with unusual properties. This is obviously a rather clever guy, and he may be onto something, but he seems to think it's more fundamental than it really is.

        Osheroff claims that hydrinos are a "crackpot idea."

        James Viccaro editor of the Journal of Applied Physics defends the decision to publish Mills' paper.[4]

        His paper underwent formal review and was accepted for publication based on review. The findings are quite interesting and the reviewers found them relevant to the field, ... I'm actually kind of interested to see what happens now, when the news hits.

        Michael Jacox, assistant director of Texas A&M's Commercial Space Center for Engineering and a nuclear engineer, quoted by Erik Baard in the Village Voice [5]:

        Researchers at other well-known government labs also say they are afraid to speak on record about their interest in Mills's work. One said that he plans to visit BlackLight Power on his vacation time. Jacox says his team found in the materials 'an anomaly that we could not explain with conventional theory but that we could explain with Randy Mills's theory. That does not necessarily validate the Mills theory, but gosh. '
    • by chazR (41002) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @09:16PM (#13966119) Homepage
      Still, it would be nice to have some major shakeup in physics... there really haven't been any in my lifetime.

      How old are you?
      Inflation as a solution to cosmic microwave anisotropy []

      Problems with General Relativity: Dark Matter? []

      Dark Energy. 90% of everything. []

      Pioneer anomaly. []

      Every year, in every field, we answer more and more questions. However, every answer raises many more questions. We are still exploring our ignorance, but we know more about it every day. What are you doing to help?
  • by MrLizard (95131) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @07:33PM (#13965509)
    " almost certainly is."

    IIRC, this "company" has shown up on /. before, and it has always been "a few months away" from unveiling its secret power source.

    This seems to be the week for bad slashdot science reporting (and falling for new 'free energy' con jobs).
    • by romka1 (891990) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @07:39PM (#13965551) Homepage
      Old Story [] They had a ground braking discovery in December of 1999 :) and then they got 25 million for it as the story claims
    • Keeping Score (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Paul the Bold (264588) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @08:18PM (#13965809)
      While we are on this trip down memory lane, I will point you to a very old "What's New" piece. [] To quote Bob Park, "there is no claim so preposterous that a Ph.D. can't be found to vouch for it." When reading claims that "will turn physics on its head!", I like to think of all of the devices in our modern world that verify basic principles of quantum mechanics with their reliable operation. What follows is a very incomplete list of things whose invention relied upon the very principles of quantum mechanics that Mills claims to disprove with his power generator. These are technologies or devices that are very common.

      transistors (FET, BJT, etc.)
      giant magnetoresistive (GMR) heads (read heads in your hard drive)
      atomic clocks
      nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

      This list is not complete. Please feel free to add to it. If I were keeping score, quantum mechanics is ahead 6-0 (remember, Blacklight has yet to market a product).
      • Re:Keeping Score (Score:5, Informative)

        by cbr2702 (750255) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @09:07PM (#13966080) Homepage
        If Mills' theory actually predicts that these devices would act differently, then yes, his theory is clearly flawed. But if his generator does something different than quantum theory would predict, then quantum theory is also flawed. You don't compare two theories by counting the things each explains; you take the simplest one that explains all the data, and if niether Mills' theory nor quantum theory does that then you make a new one.

        The important thing here is to first make sure of two premises:

        1. That Mills has really got device that does what he says it does.
        2. That the actions of Mills device cannot be explained by quantum theory.

        As we know that the devices you listed work, we then need to look for a theory that accounts for both, acknowledging that it may be niether Mills' nor quantum theory.

        • Re:Keeping Score (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Paul the Bold (264588) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @11:30PM (#13966704)
          You are absolutely right, you need a theory that can explain all observed effects. My argument was intended to dissuade people from jumping on the Hydrino bandwagon because there is a great deal of evidence supporting quantum mechanics. Most people have not made measurements of quantum phenomena, but we rely daily upon devices that are only explained by quantum phenomena. Some of those devices (FET, MRI, LASER) were predicted by quantum mechanics long before their invention. Quantum mechanics has a remarkable record. I was trying to give people evidence supporting quantum mechanics without requiring that they step into a laboratory.

          You make a great point when you say, "If Mills' theory actually predicts that these devices would act differently, then yes, his theory is clearly flawed." Quantum mechanics already explains these things. If Mills wants to replace quantum mechanics, then the burden of proof is on Mills.

          If we were to observe something that cannot be explained by quantum mechanics, then I would eagerly study this new thing. I would be thankful to live in such an exciting time. However, I am not convinced that Mills has something new. When he opens his lab to the world, when he allows everybody access to his methods, when he stops making claims that it will be ready in just a few months, when he ships a working product, then I will be convinced.
      • by Quadraginta (902985) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @10:16PM (#13966400)
        I think this guy has focussed on the big and sexy issue of QM and whether it's the Last Word because it's a dazzling distraction. The real hard-to-swallow issue here is thermodynamic. Namely, how is that almost every atom in the Universe has, from the Big Bang right up until 2005 and Dr. Mills' clever insight, remained conveniently "stuck" in a high-energy state?

        Frankly, I would more easily believe QM is rubbish than believe that. He's asking us to believe nearly every atom in the universe is not in its lowest energy state. Well, why not? What pushed all of them up there? Why have they stayed up there for umpty billion years, and, for that matter, continue to stay up there everywhere in the Cosmos except for the environs of 493 Old Trenton Road, Cranbury, NJ, 08512?

        It's not that it would be hard to know if atoms occasionally fell down into states lower than the "lowest" predicted by QM. When they did, if they did, then as Doc Mills says they would emit visible photons. That is, they'd broadcast their activity far and wide: "Yoo hoo! Here I am! Falling to a lower orbit than you thought existed! Whee.....!" The light from this process could hardly be missed by all those folks with giant telescopes peering into the heavens.

        I'm perfectly willing to believe that Doc Mills has stolen a march on Wolfgang Pauli and assorted quantum mechanics. They're only human. But...believe he's discovered a natural process that just happens to not occur anywhere else in the Universe, and just happens to have not happened here on Earth any time from 4,500,000 BC right up until Mills filed his patent? Erg, that's a bit much to swallow.

        My recommendation on Blacklight stock would be Hold, at best.
        • by outback_jack (929056) on Monday November 07, 2005 @02:01AM (#13967379)
          Actually, the Mills theory is quite clear that achieving lower hydrogen energy states is not by emission of photons but by using a catalytic transfer, as is common in many chemical reactions. The core of his argument is that the electron energy levels are non-radiative states, as defined by a Maxwell equation boundary condition. Ground state and above are able to radiate/absorb via phtons as per Planck's laws, thus the dogmatic doctrine of quantum mechanics was formed. Non-radiative energy transfers (via good old particle collision) are old hat and left behind by the physicists for the chemists around 1915, but they do still happen and obey well-defined, indeed intuitive even, laws.

          Mills claims to access lower energy electron levels of hydrogen by collison interaction with ions of other elements that have correctly sized energy holes. Such lowered electron level hydrogens, if they were to occur in nature, would be lighter than hydrogen and rarer even than hydrogen at sea level. If they do exist, they will probably have some pretty funky chemistry since the electron about determines that for most elements. And who knows about toxicity, plutonium doesn't occur naturally but is the product of fission heat release of uranium, and is notoriously stable.
        • by arminw (717974) on Monday November 07, 2005 @02:07AM (#13967397)
          .....He's asking us to believe nearly every atom in the universe is not in its lowest energy state. Well, why not?....

          Perhaps a related question to this is: Why don't the orbiting electrons of the atoms radiate all their energy away and the electrons "fall" into the nucleus and the atom self destructs? When an electron from an accelerator is subject to acceleration by deflecting it by a magnetic or electric field from a non-linear path, it radiates energy called Cerenkov radiation. This does not happen when the electrons travel nonlinearly around a nucleus. It is not known how electrons "know" they are traveling in a curved path as required by the electric fields of an atoms vs when they are deflected by a magnetic or electric field in a vacuum. Some theories posit that this energy loss does happen, but that the energy the electrons lose this way is made up by an exactly equal energy input from the "zero point energy" of space itself. Zero point energy is the energy left in space that has been cooled to absolute zero temperature.

          The amount of energy needed to keep the electrons of all atoms in orbit has been calculated to be truly astronomical. So far, in all our technology, we have only managed to exploit DIFFERENCES in energy. In a heat engine for example it is the difference in pressure and temperature that enables it to do useful work. In a hydroelectric station it is the difference in the potential energy of the water at the two elevations that is utilized by the turbine to do useful work. It is the difference in voltage that drives electrons through a circuit that provides power.

          This zero point energy is rather evenly distributed in all of space. It is not easily available to be used as an energy source. However, if a way could be found to utilize even some tiny differences in this unfathomably huge energy, the results would be amazing. Perhaps changing or re-arranging the energy of the orbital electrons of atoms may be a way to extract some this energy in a useful form without violating any well established quantum physics.
  • by Dr. Zowie (109983) < minus city> on Sunday November 06, 2005 @07:33PM (#13965510)
    These guys (energy crackpots) are always around on the sidelines; they pop up every once in a while when they need a new sucker^H^H^H^H^H^Hventure capitalist to invest. The fractional-quantum-number chestnut has been around since at least the USENET days; I remember folks trying to use fractional quantum numbers to justify cold fusion among other things.

    Hot fusion is always 50 years away; tabletop fusion is always 4 years away. Nothing to see here, move along.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 06, 2005 @07:34PM (#13965514) []

    Article was probably submitted by somebody who stood to gain from the publicity. You Have Been Used (YHBU).

    But hay, let's keep running pseudoscience stories on slashdot!
    • by dirtsurfer (595452) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @08:05PM (#13965719) Journal
      This article has recently been linked from Slashdot. Please keep an eye on the page history for errors or vandalism.

      Wow. Apparently our reputation precedes us.
    • by MillionthMonkey (240664) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @08:45PM (#13965961)
      This is a variant on the zero-point-energy scam that TLC and the Discovery Channel always cover in breathless interviews with crackpots. Basically this guy is saying you can make your electrons fall further into the nucleus from their ground state and pocket the energy as they go in. And all these billions of years, these electrons haven't bothered to make this energy transition until you came along because...?

      This is actually related to a legitimate, clever idea that would be really cool if it actually worked: muon catalyzed fusion. You introduce muons into cold hydrogen and get them into covalent bonds between hydrogen nuclei. Muons are 200 times heavier than electrons so this means the orbital is small and tight, placing the nuclei so close to each other that they tunnel through a barrier and fuse into helium, releasing the muon to take part in further reactions. It isn't economical because muons are expensive to make (about 100 MeV) and decay in two microseconds into an electron and two neutrinos (which are notorious energy sinks- their energy is not even recoverable via thermalization, it's just gone). To become economical, the muon has to catalyze over a hundred reactions before it decays, but its lifetime is only a few percent of what is needed. Fusion is one bummer after another.
    • by div_B (781086) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @08:47PM (#13965970)
      From the wiki: Mills' hydrino theory was inspired by a physics paper by MIT electrical engineering professor, Herman Haus. This paper used classical physics to model radiation arising from the free electron laser. Mills reasoned that if classical physics could model radiation of the free electron it should be able to model radiation and non-radiation of the bound electron in an atom.

      OK, so essentially, because the classical approximation to the quantum mechanical model largely reproduces the observed experimental results in the free electron laser, it must apply to a bound electron also. This guy is fucking clue-repellent. You can model atomic radiation classically (certain aspects of, up to a point), but the quantum mechanical description is much more accurate, ridiculously accurate in fact, and there are inherently quantum mechanical effects that arise only in a formal QED treatment, and are commonly observable.

      Making crude approximations to the complete quantum mechanical description and getting a reasonable description of the system is what a whole lot of theoretical physics is about. Finding exactly how truthful the model must be to predict the correct (experimental) results is half the game.

      Here's a clue: a free electron is often essentially particulate in behaviour, and quantum mechanics (largely) provides no correction to the classical calculations. When you bind an electron in a potential, is when it starts to behave quantum mechanically (i.e., wavefunction wrapped around the nucleus). That's why it's OK to model it classically in the one regime, but not the other, geddit?
  • by Gothmolly (148874) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @07:36PM (#13965529)
    Covered here [].

    Something that NASA is going to get involved with, per TFA(s). Basically, if you can get the electron to "orbit" the proton nucleus of a hydrogen atom at a lower level, you've produced a lot of energy.
    • And then? 5000 years from now these atoms collapse; the electrons' charge cancel out against the protons', and you release so much energy that the earth gets cooked?

      I'd want to have at least some idea what we're doing before we go messing with atoms - we all know how nuclear fission was touted to be the energy source of the future and what became of that.
      • by Tim C (15259) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @08:15PM (#13965787)
        You asked for correction... (your sig)

        If enticing the electrons to move to a lower orbit releases energy, it's going to require energy input to make them return to a normal orbit. If and when the atoms "collapse", the reaction will be endothermic, not exothermic - you'll cool the surrounding matter, not cook it.
        • by NitsujTPU (19263) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @08:45PM (#13965963)
          Not to mention that nuclear fission is the cleanest, safest, most abundant practical source of energy on the planet at the moment.

          All that the environmental nuts caused was for us to burn MORE fossil fuels at diesel plants. So much for saving the planet.
          • by nathanh (1214) on Monday November 07, 2005 @04:27AM (#13967864) Homepage

            Not to mention that nuclear fission is the cleanest, safest, most abundant practical source of energy on the planet at the moment.

            Solar energy is the cleanest, safest and most abundant. As someone commented in an earlier Slashdot article, 1 million terawatt hours of solar energy falls on the Earth's surface each day. The problem is that we can't capture it economically. However the plants seem to be absorbing it quite efficiently. Perhaps we should take a leaf out of their book (!).

            Even harnessing a small fraction of the world's wind power could produce 72 terawatts [] - the equivalent of 35,000 nuclear reactors - which is more than enough for the world's energy needs. I think you'd have an uphill battle arguing that nuclear power is cleaner or safer than wind power. I'm not saying wind power is entirely without problems, but they are small potatoes compared to the problems with nuclear power.

            Yes, nuclear is cleaner than coal. Unfortunately that's faint praise. It's still pretty dirty.

            The 2nd key point is that the amount of energy it takes to build and run nuclear energy plants and all the processes that go with it, means that it takes 7-10 years before nuclear power plants achieve net CO2 reductions (compared to wind power that takes 3-6 months). -- ear.aspx []

            As for the claim that nuclear fuel is abundant...

            TNEP contributor and co-author Senior Lecturer at UNSW and Adjunct Professor at Murdoch University Mark Diesendorf wrote recently in the Canberra Times that "Nuclear power stations themselves do not emit CO2. But the nuclear fuel cycle is a complex process with many steps, some of which are large users of fossil fuels. The corresponding CO2 emissions have been calculated by several authors who are independent of the nuclear industry, most recently by Jan Willem Storm Van Leeuwin, a senior consultant in energy systems, together with Philip Smith, a nuclear physicist. As we might expect, they find that the energy inputs, especially to mining, milling and enrichment, depend sensitively on the grade of uranium used. For high-grade ores (i.e. those with at least 0.2% uranium oxide) the energy inputs are indeed much less than the electricity generated. But, the quantity of known uranium reserves with ore grades richer than this level is so small, that it would only last for a few decades at the current usage rate. For the more common low-grade ores (i.e. 10-20 times less concentrated than the high-grade ores), Van Leeuwin and Smith find that the total fossil energy consumption in uranium mining, milling, enrichment and power station construction becomes so large that nuclear power emits more CO2 than an equivalent gas-fired power station." -- ear.aspx []

            In any event, it is a non-renewable fuel, so it's hardly worth getting excited over.

            All that the environmental nuts caused was for us to burn MORE fossil fuels at diesel plants. So much for saving the planet.

            The environmental "nuts" want you to walk to the local shops instead of driving an SUV, to turn off the lights when you're not home, to wear a jumper instead of turning up the thermostat, to invest R&D in renewable energy sources rather than fossil or nuclear fuels, and to stop falsely claiming that opposition to nuclear is the same as support for diesel.

            I personally oppose nuclear on economic grounds. Once again, from my favourite environmental scientist, because he writes some interesting stuff, Mark Diesendorf.

            Mark Diesendorf again writes that "Nucle

    • He's always "months away" from revealing this invention. Can't he come up with a newer scam?? Even what he's found is real, I don't like his secretive methods.

      Link to the 1999 story.. 5.shtml?tid=14 []

      Look the fact is, it's very easy to come up with a non disprovable theory in physics. If I say that "I have just found that Eintein's theory is wrong .. it is possible to create a wormhole by boiling a carrot in cat piss and one other secret ingredient ...without
  • Disproves? (Score:5, Funny)

    by rxmd (205533) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @07:37PM (#13965533) Homepage
    New Discovery Disproves Quantum Theory
    No way, it's just Intelligent Redesign.
  • by MouseR (3264) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @07:37PM (#13965536) Homepage
    Harvard University medic who also studied electrical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, claims to have built a prototype power source that generates up to 1,000 times more heat than conventional fuel

    So... was he a gynecologist?
  • Target date (Score:5, Funny)

    by Mononoke (88668) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @07:39PM (#13965552) Homepage Journal
    And he claims to be just months away from unveiling his creation.
    This is your advance invitation. Be sure to join them on the first day of April in 2006.
  • Abstract (Score:5, Informative)

    by brian0918 (638904) <> on Sunday November 06, 2005 @07:42PM (#13965570)
    Here is the abstract of his original paper submitted to Physics Essays in 2003. This was copied from the full text PDF [], so there may be some typos.

    "Despite its successes, quantum mechanics (QM) has remained mysterious to all who have encountered it. Starting with Bohr and progressing into the present, the departure from intuitive, physical reality has widened. The connection between QM and reality is more than just a "philosophical" issue. It reveals that QM is not a correct or complete theory of the physical world and that inescapable internal inconsistencies and incongruities arise when attempts are made to treat it as physical as opposed to a purely mathematical "tool." Some of these issues are discussed in a review by F. Laloë [Am. J. Phys. 69, 655 (2001)]. In an attempt to provide some physical insight into atomic problems and starting with the same essential physics as Bohr of e- moving in the Coulombic field of the proton and the wave equation as modified by Schrödinger, a classical approach is explored that yields a remarkably accurate model and provides insight into physics on the atomic level. The proverbial view, deeply seated in the wave-particle duality notion, that there is no large-scale physical counterpart to the nature of the electron may not be correct. Physical laws and intuition may be restored when dealing with the wave equation and quantum-mechanical problems. Specifically, a theory of classical quantum mechanics (CQM) is derived from first principles that successfully applies physical laws on all scales. Rather than using the postulated Schrödinger boundary condition "Psi -> 0 as r -> infinity," which leads to a purely mathematical model of the electron, the constraint is based on experimental observation. Using Maxwell's equations, the classical wave equation is solved with the constraint that the bound (n = 1)-state electron cannot radiate energy. By further application of Maxwell's equations to electromagnetic and gravitational fields at particle production, the Schwarzschild metric is derived from the classical wave equation, which modifies general relativity to include conservation of space-time in addition to momentum and matter/energy. The result gives a natural relationship among Maxwell's equations, special relativity, and general relativity. CQM holds over a scale of space-time of 85 orders of magnitude -- it correctly predicts the nature of the universe from the scale of the quarks to that of the cosmos. A review is given by G. Landvogt [Internat. J. Hydrogen Energy 28, 1155 (2003)]."
  • by jjeffries (17675) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @07:42PM (#13965572)
    I've already got an old Fleishman Electronics Fusion@Home Jr. (TM) power plant... non-polluting and nearly cost-free, just have to remember to top off the reservoir now and then... so what does this new thingie do better?
  • by Private Taco (808864) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @07:42PM (#13965577)
    It's a dead/alive hampster in a box, on a little wheel attached to a little generator...
  • "Cautious optimism" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by quanminoan (812306) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @07:44PM (#13965586)
    I've actually been following Dr. Mills for some time now. This theory of his, as well as his claims of energy production have been around for quite some time. Slashdot even covered it before: 59.shtml?tid=126 [] 10.shtml?tid=134 []

    What makes this case interesting is the length of time this "hoax" has persisted. The funding means nothing; a company with a large budget doesn't care to gamble with the amounts claimed. The validations of his energy claims are the most significant. Many laboratories have found anomalies in reproduced experiments (and some have failed). His theory does not have nearly as much support - nearly every qualified physicist I have given his book to has politely said he's wrong. His derivations just don't make sense.

    Some of the more open minded physicists then said that doesn't mean he's wrong. There may be energy produced that current physics can account for, and at worst QM would need amends. This speculation is really irrelevant if he is claiming a product- all we have to do is wait a while and see how it pans out.

    Company website: [] (download theory book for free)

  • by 1199200 (922424) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @07:47PM (#13965602)

    "In this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!"

    Superb hosting [] 2400MB Storage, 120GB bandwidth, ssh, $7.95
  • by Pendersempai (625351) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @07:53PM (#13965637)
    Can we PLEASE have the editors do at least a cursory background check on these "scientists" before posting their pyramid scheme crackpot press releases? We've had five or more stories in the past TWO DAYS about how the rules of science were about to be rewritten by someone who can pull heat out of nothing for free, or extend wifi coverage for TEN MILLION MILES on a watch battery, or fly to the moon with a tablespoon of vinegar, or extend a battery's shelf life by nine million percent by putting a sticker on it.

    Seriously, WTF? It's embarrassing. This place reads like the fucking National Enquirer when it comes to science. There are legitimate breakthroughs happening all the time in science; why do we have to cover these retard con men? Is it that pseudoscience is more FLASHY AND EXCITING than real science, or is it that our editors are too fucking brain dead to tell the difference?
    • by Angostura (703910) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @08:16PM (#13965792)

      Pop quiz. Can you come up with an IT equivalent of a typical slashdot psueudo-science headline? Let's have a go:

      1. Intel claims infinite number of transisters available on new chip
      2. Latest Linux release boots before PC is switched on
      3. Researcher claims open source licensing causes random memory corruption.

      I mean, come on guys.
    • Did you ever stop to wonder if the /. editors don't post these things just to get the activity level a little higher around here? There is always a lot more posts on flamebait political subjects and quack science then for for most of the other things that appear around here... And besides, it's a lot of fun to listen to the collective intelligence of the /. community go ballistic on some crackpot, almost as much fun as it is to watch the more gullible parts of the same community defend those crackpots! In
  • by Viadd (173388) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @07:54PM (#13965650)
    The 'Physics Essays' journal that is mentioned in TFA has this to say about its peer review process:

    Articles submitted for publication will be reviewed by scientific peers. Realizing the interchangeable roles of authors and reviewers, the positive aspect of the reviewing process will be retained by providing the authors with the reviewers' comments. Authors should judge which part of the reviewers' suggestions are appropriate to improve the quality of his or her paper. The editor, who is responsible for the Journal, will allow a large degree of freedom to the authors in this process.

    So basically the article is reviewed by peers, but if the review says 'this is garbage from beginning to end', it still can get published.

  • by drgonzo59 (747139) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @07:55PM (#13965654)
    Yesterday some inventor had plans for H-B fusion in a "coffee can" now energy from water. What is next? Time travel, UFO's and Zombies?

    This guy if full of shit. Just because he graduated from MIT, deosn't mean he is that good. Remember the Unabomber graduated from Harvard, for all that's worth.

    To all those "But, wait what if it is true! He is the other other Einstein" comments I would just have to say that this guy doesn't know quantum mechanics. He is a medic and an electrical engineer, what the fuck is he doing publishing papers on "The Fallacy of Feynman's Argument on the Stability of the Hydrogen Atom According to Quantum Mechanics". He has two or three equations and the rest is bullshit in "essay format". Check out his website []. He might as well be selling tin foil hats to prevent damage from space death rays.

  • by failedlogic (627314) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @08:11PM (#13965766)
    Simple actually, and I've never studied Quantum mechanics:

    1) Post a great story/discovery on the Net.
    2) Wait a few days.
    3) Get story posted on Slashdot
    4) Wait a few minutes.
    5) Hard drives will metl, AC will fail withing minutes.
    6) ?????
    7) Profit!!!
    (Sorry, I didn't mean for 6 and 7, but by now are obligatory).

    This "Slashdotting" as a source of power is more powerful force than anything. I am sure this is the source of this discovery. And as long as there are Slashdot readers, there will always be power.

    Can someone at the (source of this article) concur?
  • Wonderful (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mensa Babe (675349) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @08:26PM (#13965857) Homepage Journal
    First the perpetuum mobile [] sticker and now this? A medic [sic] claims to have built a 1,000 times better power source which also happens to contradict quantum mechanics, ergo an anonymous reader considers the whole fucking theory of quantum mechanics disproved and this is a front page news on Slashdot Science? Can we finally have the [] section please?
  • Occam's Razor (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chris Snook (872473) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @08:26PM (#13965859)
    Okay, we have two choices:

    a) An MIT EE dropout who advertises his irrelevant association with Harvard turns physics on his head and has a working prototype that generates incredibly cheap energy.

    b) Yet another cheap energy fraud/error/delusion.

    I'd be thrilled if Occam's razor was wrong this time around, but this whole thing reads exactly like every other cheap energy scam/hoax/error in history.
  • by ETEQ (519425) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @08:37PM (#13965924)
    If you look carefully, you'll find Dr. Mills is the only person to publish any results supporting Hydrino theory. This is VERY suspicious, seeing as how science is founded on the idea that other people doing the same experiment reproduce your results. This doesn't mean he's overtly lying, but it could mean that some part of his experiment, he makes a mistake that his team doesn't catch because he's been doing it so long. The moral is: I'll believe when other people can reproduce the results.
  • by Danathar (267989) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @08:51PM (#13965995) Journal
    Just because you believe in something (or don't) does NOT mean it IS or IS'NT true
  • by cinnamon colbert (732724) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @08:55PM (#13966015) Journal
    The Geek journal has an article about a poet with a degree in computer science who claims to have invented a video card that outperforms the most advanced offerings from Nvidia, and the card can be mass produced for a dollar.
    The inventor claims to have millions of dollars in backing,a nd indpendent graphics artists have tested the board.

    "we plan to produce 20 million cards a year soon, say CEO J Anklsy"
  • by Belseth (835595) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @09:01PM (#13966047)
    Why do all these stories seem to have a rubber stamp quality? Always has something revolutionary that breaks physical laws, they have millions availible from investors and they aren't quite ready to unviel but they have already had independent verification. It's like saying I have CU photos of Bigfoot but it'll take a few weeks to get them back from the one hour photo shop. There's always a delay in providing the goods to drag things out. Inspite of their "investors" I'm sure in the meantime they are willing to take additional investment dollars. 'Never mind the cord plugged into the wall we are actually pumping electricity back into the grid'. I thought Snake Oil went out in the 1800s?
  • by Oink (33510) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @09:04PM (#13966063)
    Ha! He mentions that he has 65 peer-reviewed citing and discussing his theory. Search for RL Mills. The second entry is his book. Click on the Cited link, and you'll notice that there are indeed many papers citing his work. And sir Mills himself is first author on just about all of them.

  • by GameMaster (148118) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @09:57PM (#13966312)
    There seems to be a lot of confusion regarding exactly what Mills is claiming. I'm not saying he's necessarily correct in his theory, but if you read his site and the Hydrino Study Group (HSG), both linked to by the Wikipedia article, they are much clearer about it.

    After reading through the company page, the Wikipedia article, and the HSG last nigh (I found it linked to by a forum I frequent) I'll try to cover some of the most basic issues that are in dispute:

    • The article says he is a medic

      The Wiki article, his company site, and the HSG all agree that he received a full Doctor of Medicine degree from Harvard and that he spent time at MIT doing graduate Electrical Engineering work.

    • The Guardian article says he is claiming a 1000x increase in energy output over traditional fuel.

      At some point while reading through either his site or the HSG I saw mention of the number being a 100x increase. This may be a case of the Guardian reporter doing some of that crappy science reporting we always hear about and accidentally adding an extra '0'. In general, Mills' claim seems to be that the process produces energy output higher that a chemical reaction but lower than a nuclear one.

    • People in this forum have been claiming that there is no explanation of what happens to the hydrogen after it's made into a hydrino

      His company site, as well as the HSG, are specific in claiming that the process creates new, unexplored, materials that have potential uses in material science. This also ties in with his claims that his theory explains the existence of "dark matter" since he claims that "dark matter" are hydrinos with the electrons at extremely low levels.

    • People in this forum have been claiming he's angling for money like other "free energy" people.

      Documentation hosted on Mill's site as well as comments on the HSG claim that he already has a great deal of funding from a number of major corporate backers. He has never, according to anything I've seen on any of these pages, looked for private donations like many of the other "free energy" scam artists. This doesn't mean he isn't running a hoax, but it lends doubt to that idea.

    • People in this forum claim there has been no experimentation done by outside authorities to prove his claims.

      All sources agree that he has had a number of major, third party, labs (including a NASA lab, an MIT lab, and a Westinghouse lab) run experiments on his prototype hydrogen cell. The reports from these labs are reportedly linked to on the HSG. Mills has been doing this research for many years. If these reports were fabricated then it would be expected that someone from one of those labs would have stepped forward long ago to discredit them but no one has. Even his harshest critics in the physics world don't seem to be claiming his experimental results are fabricated.

    The simple fact is that it has been well documented that something special is actually going on in these hydrogen cells that he's been sending out to be tested. Some critics have come up with a short list of possible, conventional, explanations for why the reaction appears to be producing more heat than a chemical reaction would seem to allow but most of them have been refuted by the labs doing the experiments.

    While I'm as skeptical of his Grand Unified Theory as the next person (as convenient as it would be when compared to the mess that is Quantum Physics. Heck, even I understand most of it and I'm not even a physicist). The experimental results of his technology suggest strongly that there is something pretty special going on.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that there seems to be a little more involved here than most other "free energy" claims or even "cold fusion". Maybe we should all put away the anti-crackpot rhetoric and give this guy a chance to prove his claims with actual high-minded discourse.


  • by Proudrooster (580120) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @10:08PM (#13966365) Homepage
    First off, I struggled to get through quantum mechanics and found a lot of the theories that were taught to be unbelievable. However, I have read Mills's paper on CQM (Classical Quantum Mechanics) and like it a lot. It is a bit short in the derivation department, but so was my quantum mechanics book. So here is Mills in a nutshell.

    First, Mills tosses the following concepts from QED
    1. Schrödinger's equation
    2. Bohrs interpretation of the Schrödinger's equation as a probability density
    3. Standard Model
    4. Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle
    5. Entanglement and correlation

    Second, he states with some proof and handwaving that quantum mechanics can be derived 100% with classical physics equations and Einsteins relativstic equations (gamma).

    Third, he states the electron is really a 2D current loop which when captured by a proton becomes a 3D sphere called an orbitsphere.

    Fourth, he states that the ground state of the Hydrogen atom can be lowered. He claims this can be accomplished with a chemical reaction and a catalyst. When this happens, the Hyrdrogen atom releases energy which can be used for useful purposes, like creating heat or electricity.

    Fifth, Mills believes that the mysterious "dark-matter" in the universe is composed of Hydrinos and believes the Big-Bang theory is wrong and has proposed and alternate theory.

    In my opinion, Mills needs to put-up or shut-up. He has been screaming breakthrough for 5-years, but hasn't produced a practical device. I believe he is an incredibly smart and talented man. I believe he gets no respect because he is a chemist, and not a physicist. I hope his hydrino theory is true and that we can harness new forms of energy by decreasing the ground state of Hydrogen atoms. A single hydrogen atom possess an amazing amount of energy, it's simply a matter of figuring out how to release it in a controlled and safe way.

    Until I see a working reproducable experiment, I won't believe Mills has done it. I need a demonstration. However, I think Mills is keeping his research secret due to patent concerns, since the trick to creating hydrinos (if possible) is probably fairly straghtforward chemical reaction and simple to copy.

1 Billion dollars of budget deficit = 1 Gramm-Rudman