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New Discovery Disproves Quantum Theory? 933

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 MrLizard ( 95131 ) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @07:33PM (#13965509)
    "...it 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 Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 06, 2005 @07:34PM (#13965514)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrino_theory [wikipedia.org]

    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!
  • Company web site (Score:5, Informative)

    by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @07:37PM (#13965537) Journal
    papers, etc at BlackLight Power [blacklightpower.com]

    Of Interest is the paper

    "The Grand Unified Theory of Classical Quantum Mechanics Workshop" presented at the University of Eindhoven, Netherlands, February 28, 2005 [blacklightpower.com] (PDF Warning)

    I think the title just about says it all

  • Re:Like They Say... (Score:5, Informative)

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

    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 romka1 ( 891990 ) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @07:39PM (#13965551) Homepage
    Old Story [slashdot.org] They had a ground braking discovery in December of 1999 :) and then they got 25 million for it as the story claims
  • Re:riiiiiiight. (Score:2, Informative)

    by tzot ( 834456 ) <antislsh@medbar.gr> on Sunday November 06, 2005 @07:40PM (#13965558) Homepage
    No, it's not the Saudis that will buy the technology, most probably it will be the Seven Sisters [wikipedia.org]... The Saudi's are only the "producers" of oil (think artists), the Seven Sisters are the distributors (think RIAA) that take real advantage of the product...
  • Abstract (Score:5, Informative)

    by brian0918 ( 638904 ) <brian0918@NoSpam.gmail.com> 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 [epnet.com], 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 MadEE ( 784327 ) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @07:45PM (#13965592)
    Heck Reuters did an article on him back in 1997: http://www.keelynet.com/energy/hydmills.htm [keelynet.com]
  • 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 [wikipedia.org]:

    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 [wikipedia.org]. 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 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 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 hotspotbloc ( 767418 ) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @08:22PM (#13965840) Homepage Journal
    Check out http://www.technocrat.net/ [technocrat.net] . It's /. for adults.
  • by honkycat ( 249849 ) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @08:28PM (#13965870) Homepage Journal
    If you get past high school physics, you may go on to learn that centrifugal force *does* exist, just not in an inertial reference frame. If you work in a non-inertial reference frame, you will find that you need to include "fictitious" forces (coriolis, centrifugal) in order to preserve Newton's laws. For example, in the reference frame rotating with the rotating sphere in your quoted paragraph, it does make sense to talk about a force balance between the Coulomb force and the centrifugal force. In the inertial reference frame, you'd think of it as the Coulomb force providing a centripetal acceleration, but both statements are equivalent.

    Of course, I agree that this is a crackpot theory, but it's not quite so obvious.
  • The Weakness of Men (Score:5, Informative)

    by KagatoLNX ( 141673 ) <kagato@@@souja...net> on Sunday November 06, 2005 @08:34PM (#13965894) Homepage
    Obviously all we know about Quantum Physics isn't wrong. If you feel like studying for about five years and getting a few million dollars with of equipment, there's a decent chance that you could test it experimentally. Electrons have been observed (can now easily be observed at most major universities) interfering with themselves. Bose-Einstein condensates have been created (decades after their prediction). Condensed Fermionic clouds too.

    Next time you microwave a burrito, browse the Internet, drive on a newly constructed bridge, or receive a blood transfusion, I'll ask you to please thank science for improving, possibly even saving, your life. As yet, I don't think creationism has given you anything but an IOU.

    Creationism is unscientific. Science consists of a well tested method. Creationism is not founded on this method--it is founded on discomfort with the results of correct application of this method. This is of crucial importance. For example, there are things that the Chinese teach in schools that would leave you feeling ill. Not because they are incorrect, just because they teach things in "history" class that should be taught in a "our theory of government" class. If you're going to teach Creationism, put it where it belongs--in a social studies class. Or at least offer it alongside, for example, Einstein's Cosmological Constant theories--an example of when something other than experimental evidence clouds a scientific mind. The intrusion of the weakness of the human mind intrudes on its ability to reason and function.

    As for tangible historical data, I think that a hundred years of verifiable experiments works well compared to what little we have in the form of modern western religions. Islam is likely the most recent, at around 600 AD. Christianity falls in next. Judaism last. What we have of most of these are archaeological sites in varying states of dispute and ruin, various old texts, and a lot of oral tradition.

    With evolution we have archaeological sites in varying states of dispute and ruin. Ignore the fact the these sites outnumber a hundredfold critical religious sites, are found all over the world (Jesus never visited Antartica that we've found), and the observations are objective. This is obviously less tangible than what has made it through hundred generations of strife, culture clash, and vested interests over a few hundred sites in one of the most conquered areas of the world. Ignore that your competing observations are of subjective phenomena of large cultural signifance. Ignore, well, reality.

    I may have missed some sarcasm in your post, but I cannot repeat this defense too often. Bottom line, Science is testable by design. That it offers more than religion in this single respect is as undeniable as it is obvious. One of the greatest tragedies of the modern era has been the acceptance of people saying absurd things.

    For Einstein, Copernicus, Galileo, and Archimedes to hold thier religious beliefs in check with regard to their observations was their greatest gift to mankind. They knew that the surest sign from their respective gods came in the form of the world they lived in. They understood that, where the religions of men conflicted with the world of God, it was obvious that divinity lived in reality, not in the words and beliefs of their confused, broken, and corruptible fellows.

    Lack of appreciation of these facts belies misunderstanding of the tenets and goals of Science, and sadly focus on the cosmology of ancient religion shows a lack of appreciation for what great things there really are to glean from faith and history. Read the Bible. If you get more out of Genesis than Matthew, I you have my pity. I'm afraid I can't offer similar analogies for the Quran or Torah, but I think you get the idea.
  • by Teancum ( 67324 ) <[ten.orezten] [ta] [gninroh_trebor]> on Sunday November 06, 2005 @08:55PM (#13966016) Homepage Journal
    This is just an FYI for a link to more info about Deuterium toxicity:

    http://www.straightdope.com/mailbag/mheavywater.ht ml [straightdope.com]

    I would have thought that Deuterium would have been just fine, but I can understand perhaps that large quantities of Deuterium can indeed slow down some metabolic processes enough to cause some problems. I was thinking more along the lines of Tritium toxicity, but being radioactive that should make a little more sense. Deuterium is atomically stable but unusual because it is consumed quickly in stars to become other atomic products (the source of most deuterium found in nature). It is much harder to combine two simple hydrogen atoms to become Deuterium through fusion.

    Yeah, the Hydrino would likely behave quite a bit different from normal hydrogen, but in this case it is more like an even lower quantum state than typical quantum state for hydrogen. I don't know where the "inventor" of this idea comes up with yet another elemental name for this quantum state, however. A photon hitting the electron is going to push the electron back into a more "typical" quantum state anyway, at least with current theory.

    I have seen muon catalyzed fusion taking place using a theory similar to this one where the muon takes the place of the electron to form an exotic atom. The problem with muons, however, is that they have a relatively short half-life and are therefore not useful for large scale fusion production.
  • 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.

  • by Bogtha ( 906264 ) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @09:08PM (#13966082)
  • by homeobocks ( 744469 ) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @09:16PM (#13966120)
    You can not mathematically prove a physical principle. Einstein once said something to the extent of "All the evidence in the world can not prove a physics theory, but a single reproductable experiment can disprove one."
  • by ArtieLange ( 929030 ) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @09:16PM (#13966125) Homepage
    I graduated from MIT (Physics 1991), and I tried looking up "Randell Mills" on the MIT Alumni directory. Guess what: he's nowhere to be found.

    This is not to say that he didn't actually go to MIT, but it does raise some suspicions in my mind that he's pulling our collective legs.

    If anyone who went to Harvard is reading this, could you check on your alumni accociation's website to see if this person really went to Harvard Medical School?

  • by bani ( 467531 ) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @09:46PM (#13966258)
    What does a hydrino look like? How does it behave? An element's chemical properties are intrinsically tied up in its electron shell; and a hydrino has an electron shell that's significantly different from a conventional hydrogen atom. So, what chemical properties does a hydrino gas have?

    This sort of thing is quite important. Deuterium is an isotope of hydrogen with an atomic mass of 2 instead of 1. It has noticeably different chemical properties to hydrogen, to such an extent that heavy water (water made with deuterium instead of hydrogen) is considered toxic.

    Atomic mass comes from the nucleus, not the electrons. The number of electrons in deuterium and hydrogen is exactly the same. Moreover, the chemical properties of H2O and D2O are exactly the same. Deuterium is slightly toxic for altogether different reasons than chemical properties.
  • by 1u3hr ( 530656 ) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @10:03PM (#13966350)
    And in 1999 [scottaaronson.com]:
    In response to criticism from theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, Mills says: "I'll have demonstrated an entirely new form of energy production by the end of 2000.
    . Maybe it wasn't Y2K compatible.
  • by KagatoLNX ( 141673 ) <kagato@@@souja...net> on Sunday November 06, 2005 @11:01PM (#13966585) Homepage
    Einstein's cosmological constant is a measurement of a certain aspect of the universe, not unlike the Hubble constant. While the constant is useful, he wasted a lot of time trying to prove that the universe was not permanently expanding and thus subject to a "heat death" that frustrated his personal beliefs. I don't disagree that the constant is useful, I was just pointing out that he lost a lot of time and credibility trying to put factors into his equations to monkey with this constant, and Intelligent Design is equally a distraction from advancing our understanding of the universe.
  • by internic ( 453511 ) on Sunday November 06, 2005 @11:49PM (#13966792)
    You think this is ridiculous? Imagine being a hard-core scientist when the crazy equivocations of quantum mechanics were first unleashed upon the public in the 1900s. Science? Bullshit! Just a bunch of fuzzy, mystical mathematics. Nothing to do with physical reality.

    Yes, that's fairly close to what many of them thought. It was only after the ideas of quantum physics explained many long standing puzzles of physics (e.g. the stability of the atom) and many new phenomena in the laboratories of many researchers that the ideas began to gain credibility. This work is, so far, lacking all those things, so as of yet there's no reason to take the theory seriously. Moreover, this theory seems to contradict most of known quantum theory without satisfactorily explaining how quantum mechanics has been so successful for all this time. There may be reason to look for the effect, but so far there's no reason to give the theory too much credence.

    If you take the time (and have sufficient background) to read some of Dr. Mills papers, you'll find he (and others) have exposed some inconsistencies in quantum mechanics - such as the n=1 state of hydrogen being non-radiative, contrary to the predictions of Schrodingers Equation (which also violates Maxwells equations in this case).

    You do realize that the stability of the atom (the fact that it does not collapse due to radiative damping) was one of the great successes of quantum mechanics, don't you? Your statement about the hydrogen atom is completely incorrect, as far as I can make sense of it. Schroedinger's equation itself does not predict radiative damping directly. Did you perhaps mean Dirac's equation? You have to either use a semiclassical or quantized field approach. The quantized field picture (the more exact treatment) is based directly on Maxwell's equations and so agrees with them by design. One can also verify that the ground state will not radiate in that treatment.

    Without having read the details of Mills' claims, I can tell you why is sounds like nonsense. An atom is dissipative system, because it interacts with the electromagnetic field. By that, I mean that if it is given energy, it will eventually lose that energy because it emits light (the rate may be very small in some states, of course). One would expect to find hydrogen in whatever the lowest energy state is, then, because if it's in a higher state it will eventually emit light and drop to the lowest state. Thus, the idea of a state lower than the ground state then seems pretty doubtful, even if you were to forget for a moment that the modern theory of the atom (quantum electrodynamics) is probably one of the most exactly tested theories in history. To put it another way, you'd have to overturn not only quantum physics but also thermodynamics. Futhermore, one must ask why, when the vast majority of the baryonic mass of the universe is Hydrogen, this effect has never before been noticed in the emission and absorption lines of materials either in the lab by physics or anywhere else in the Universe by astronomers.

  • by rolfwind ( 528248 ) on Monday November 07, 2005 @12:00AM (#13966849)
    And this is called Falsifiability. In order for a scientific theory to be such, and to be worthwhile, it has to predict something. Otherwise it's worthless - this notion was around long befor Einstein's time.

    When you introduce a new theory, you usually have to have something to back it up for it to be back it. Even if it just a series of tests that attempted to falsify said theory and the falsification failed.

    Next time someone posts "Einstein says", please have a source. Dead men can't refute so called 'quotes.'
  • by rco3 ( 198978 ) on Monday November 07, 2005 @12:21AM (#13966950) Homepage
    No, no. GaAs semiconductors are the future of electronics, and always will be.

    Put another way, widespread adoption of GaAs is 5 years away - and always will be.

    It's funny, to people who understand physical electronics. Kinda like the "10 kinds of people..." joke is to people who understand binary.
  • Theory != Hypothesis (Score:5, Informative)

    by Rui del-Negro ( 531098 ) on Monday November 07, 2005 @12:24AM (#13966963) Homepage
    A theory [wikipedia.org] is not the same as a hypothesis (or conjecture), despite the fact that a lot of people confuse the terms.

    A theory is a framework for describing a certain natural phenomenon. It's a formalized, systematic, predictive, logical, and testable expression of all previous observations that has never been falsified.

    It's definitely a bit more than "a working idea".

    There was never a "theory of the Earth being the centre of the universe" (and, BTW, it's perfectly acceptable to consider the Earth's position as your universe's "fixed point" - it just makes most calculations a lot harder). Nor was there ever a "theory of the flat Earth" (in fact, no observations would support that conjecture, so it could never become a theory).

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 07, 2005 @12:59AM (#13967129)
    Atomic mass comes from the nucleus, not the electrons. The number of electrons in deuterium and hydrogen is exactly the same. Moreover, the chemical properties of H2O and D2O are exactly the same. Deuterium is slightly toxic for altogether different reasons than chemical properties.

    1. Electrons have both a rest mass and an apparent mass. Most of the mass in an atom comes from the protons and the neutrons, but not all of it. Moreover, muons have several hundred times more mass than electrons, so that if the theorized atoms exist, you can no longer approximate that atomic mass with the nuclear mass.

    2. The chemical properties are NOT exactly the same. Ask any graduate geologist that studies nuclear isotope fractionation or any environmental research engineer that uses deuterated compounds as tracers in experiments. Deuterium affects the chemical kinetics of a chemical reaction or phase change, and generally slows it relative to the non-deuterated compound.

    Also, the last time I checked, the following were chemical properties (temps in degrees Celcius):
    Property D2O/H2O
    Melting point 3.82/0.0
    Boiling point 101.72/100.0
    Density at 20C 1.1056/0.9982
    Temp. of maximum density 11.6/4.0
    Viscosity at 20C, centipoise 1.25/1.005
    Heat of fusion, cal/mol 1,515/1,436
    Heat of vaporization, cal/mol 10,864/10,515

    3. If deuterium is slightly toxic for altogether different reasons than chemical properties, then why don't you cite those reasons? Surely you're not suggesting spontaneous nuclear fission? Fusion? The sheer spite of the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

    Now sit down and review your physical chemistry textbook before you make any more of a spectacle of yourself.

    PS Slashdot, the degree symbol, parens, etc. are not a "junk characters". News for nerds should permit a discussion that properly reports units.
  • by k98sven ( 324383 ) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:02AM (#13967139) Journal
    Atomic mass comes from the nucleus, not the electrons. The number of electrons in deuterium and hydrogen is exactly the same. Moreover, the chemical properties of H2O and D2O are exactly the same. Deuterium is slightly toxic for altogether different reasons than chemical properties.

    Informative my ass. That's just plain wrong. If you'd bothered to study chemistry beyond the high-school level you'd probably come into contact with a rather central part of chemistry named kinetics. Kinetics has everything to do with nuclear mass. Since deuterium weighs twice as much as hydrogen, it moves at half the speed.

    This means different bond strengths. Different vibrational energy levels. And most importantly: completely different reaction kinetics. If a reaction involves the forming or breaking of a hydrogen bond (thus moving the hydrogen atom), it will proceed much slower if a deuterium atom is involved instead. This is called the "kinetic isotope effect" and is a frequently-used method for investigating reaction mechanisms. Google for it.

    And this is precisely the reason why deuterium is toxic. The enzymatic catalysis going on in the body are sensitive to this kind of stuff. If a certain step in a multiple-step reaction moves to slowly, the next step may not be able to occur. Hydrogen ions are directly involved in some of the cells most critical reactions, such as the in ATP synthase.

    Besides which, your words fall on their own unreasonableness. If the chemical properties aren't the reason for deuterium's toxicity then what the heck is the reason? It's not radiation - deuterium is stable. It certainly isn't mechanical toxicity (as with asbestos).

    It can't be anything other than chemical effects.
  • Re:Like They Say... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:03AM (#13967142)
    Check out this article [villagevoice.com] from back in 1999. 6 years ago - and this guy said he was going to be raking in millions in profits by 2000.

    There may be anomolous results this guy has seen, but that doesn't mean his claims or explanations for his observations are all correct. But hey, I'd be first in line to party as soon as somebody actually builds a free-energy machine. Just show me and 20 friends (all physicists of course), allowing for free inspection of the apparatus, and I'll concede this one.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:52AM (#13967342)
    What people fail to realize is that quantum theory has been around long enough, and successful to the point where if you are going to eclipse it you must have a theory that encompasses it, that is to say in a simpler case it must be equivalent. See GR vs Newtonian gravity for an example.
  • 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 feyhunde ( 700477 ) on Monday November 07, 2005 @02:10AM (#13967408)
    Quantum Mechanics is unwieldy.

    But it's an outgrowth of observations.

    And there's about a thousand experiments that back it.

    Quantum is messy because the universe is. Newtonian Physics isn't flat out wrong. Neither is Einstein's or traditional EM. They are right, to a point.

    Einstein doesn't change Newton's laws. They enhance them. Newton's laws hold most of the time, so does EM. But their are cases where things change.

    We believe that QM is a good descriptive theory. But it lacks explanation. Energy States of Atoms is pretty much the stupidest thing you can attack because daily there are thousands of experiments that require Splitting and hyperfine splitting to work. You may be able to prove something else can happen, or does, but that doesn't change the fact that modern transistor theory, as well as laser theory such that created the computers and internet depends on these. QM maybe be incomplete, but it's not wrong.

    And yes, I'm a physicist.

  • by DrSkwid ( 118965 ) on Monday November 07, 2005 @04:04AM (#13967799) Homepage Journal
    As Tesla said "If he had thought a bit more, he would have had to sweat so much"

    Besides, he didn't even invent the lightbulb :

    Additionally, Joseph Swan, a British inventor, obtained the first patent for the same light bulb in Britain one year prior to Edison's patent date. Swan even publicly unveiled his carbon filament light bulb in New Castle, England a minimum of 10 years before Edison shocked the world with the announcement that he invented the first light bulb. Edison's light bulb, in fact, was a carbon copy of Swan's light bulb.

    http://www.coolquiz.com/trivia/explain/docs/edison .asp [coolquiz.com]

  • 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 [stanford.edu] - 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). -- http://www.naturaledgeproject.net/TNEPArticlesNucl ear.aspx [naturaledgeproject.net]

    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." -- http://www.naturaledgeproject.net/TNEPArticlesNucl ear.aspx [naturaledgeproject.net]

    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

  • Re:Problem (Score:3, Informative)

    by idkk ( 414241 ) <idkk@idkk.com> on Monday November 07, 2005 @06:27AM (#13968212) Homepage
    I am curious about your claim on Fermat. He was - I think mathematicians agree - a great mathematician. Granted he had personality problems (don't all geniuses?) but to claim that that "virually everything written" by him was wrong is either to appeal to the (possible) fact that virtually everything ever uttered however by whomsoever is also wrong, or just an incorrect statement. I believe, sir, you are incorrect.
    And, yes, IAAM (I am a mathematician).

    That said, don't you just love cold-fusion scams^H^H^H^H^Hdiscusions?
  • by ThaReetLad ( 538112 ) <sneaky@blueRABBI ... minus herbivore> on Monday November 07, 2005 @07:02AM (#13968319) Journal
    I found critical analysis of CQM [iop.org] at the Institute of Physics.

    From the conclusion:
    In this paper, we have considered the theoretical foundations of the hydrino hypothesis, both within the theoretical framework of CQM, in which hydrinos were originally suggested, and within standard quantum mechanics. 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! Also, standard quantum mechanics cannot encompass hydrino states, with the properties currently attributed to them. Hence there remains no theoretical support of the hydrino hypothesis. This strongly suggests that the experimental evidence put forward in favour of the existence of hydrinos should be reconsidered for interpretation in terms of conventional physics. This reconsideration of the experimental data is beyond the scope of the current paper. Also, to understand properly the experimental results presented by Mills et al , it would be helpful if these were independently reproduced by some other experimental groups.
  • by rco3 ( 198978 ) on Monday November 07, 2005 @11:18AM (#13969495) Homepage
    It's no longer as critical for speed, no. GaAs still outshines Si (and SiGe!) for low-noise performance at really high frequencies, though. InP semicondcuctors have LN at HF, too - but it's actually InGaAs on an InP substrate. But without asking the grandparent to earn a graduate degree in EE with emphasis on physical electronics, I thought perhaps I'd just explain the joke in the form in which I've most commonly seen it.
  • Re:creationism != ID (Score:3, Informative)

    by ChuckleBug ( 5201 ) * on Monday November 07, 2005 @01:09PM (#13970381) Journal
    Creationism is a fundamentalist point of view that god actively created the world (in the extreme case, literally in 7 days). Intelligent design is compatible with creationism, but it's also compatible with the Theist notion of the divine clockmaker - the notion of a God who created the universe by giving it a push at the dawn of time, and since has been hands off. (Intelligent design would hold that such a god would have had to be very selective in the direction of his push, of course.)

    ID was dreamt up by Creationists as a way to get their ideas into schools after it was ruled that creationism was religious. It was recently revealed in the Dover case that earlier editions of the creationist textbook "Of Pandas and People" made multiple references to "creationism," and in newer editions, these were all replaced with "Intelligent Design" without changing the surrounding context. "Pandas" is treated as the most authoritative school text by ID proponents, so it is difficult to conclude they see any substantial difference.

    Really, the differences between ID and creationism are insignificant. ID is just a bit broader in scope. It's a dishonest attempt to make creationism sound less religious.
  • by ChuckleBug ( 5201 ) * on Monday November 07, 2005 @07:09PM (#13974514) Journal
    You have no right to be condescending. You have *no idea* what you're talking about.

    BUT the problem is, there is NO EVIDENCE other than deductive logic on how that happened.

    This is a breathtakingly wrong statement. Let me help you.

    Evidence for evolution [talkorigins.org]. Here is a very good summary of some of the evidence. It shows example after example of physical evidence for evolution. The nice thing about this site is it explains the evidence, shows how it could be falsified, and includes criticisms. To say there is no evidence is completely ignorant. There are transitional fossils [talkorigins.org], molecular evidence [talkorigins.org], fossil hominids [talkorigins.org], evidence of jury-rigged mechanisms [talkorigins.org], and much more.

    I assume you will criticize me for referring you to different parts of the same site. However, that site has an excellent collection of information, and it's all referenced so you can check the primary sources all you want.

    NEWS FLASH --> The 'Theory' of evolution still has holes in it. Big ones, like; how did life come to exist? (The question of how life 'evolved' is well explained and fairly supported by 'evolution.' No one is questioning that.)

    What do you mean, no one is questioning that?!? That's the whole issue! Here's a NEWS FLASH for you: Evolutionary theory has NOTHING AT ALL to do with how life came to exist. It's about how life *changes*. It's about how life's diversity came about. It's about natural selection and common descent. None of this depends on how life got here. That's a separate area, called abiogenesis, and it's not part of evolution.

    And, by-the-way, scientific proof is only accepted as 'proof' if it is repeatable and predictable. In which case, NEITHER evolution or ID has proof behind it as to the beginnings of life, and the only theory that we could 'prove' is ID, for reasons stated in my previous post.

    Science doesn't have proof. It has evidence. You don't know what you're talking about, and I'm tired of trying to educate you.

    But you want a link?

    I didn't ask you for a link.

    Do I have to google for you as well as think for you?

    Is being an asshole your normal mode of discourse? Damn, if you are going to be so condescending, you should have some faint idea of what you're talking about. LEARN something about science, learn about evolution, and then you might be able to speak with some kind of credibility. Believe me if I wanted someone to think for me, I'd look elsewhere.

    I am, however, willing to guess that you won't bother to look at any of the evidence I provided you. You've already decided it doesn't exist, and surely wouldn't want to be bothered with facts.
  • by StikyPad ( 445176 ) on Monday November 07, 2005 @07:22PM (#13974630) Homepage
    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.

    Well, right, but that's not likely to change, uh, ever. To use your example of electricity, you could have +5KV at one terminal and +5KV at another, hook up a light between them, and nothing would happen. When using energy to affect matter, it's the difference that matters (no pun intended). Energy is useless unless you can convince it to travel, and the only way to get it to do that is to have a different potential. So saying our technology is limited because it only exploits the differences in energies is sort of like saying moving is limited because we can only do it by changing our location.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 07, 2005 @07:26PM (#13974655)
    With all due respect, isn't this whole notion of "why doesn't an electron crash into the nucleus while orbiting" totally meaningless. I only say this because electrons don't "orbit" nucleus' like the Bohr model, or your highschool teacher may have explained. An electrons behavior is described by its wave-function, and its position is determined by the probability distribution which results from modifying this wave-function. No where is it suggested that the electron is "actually orbiting" the nucleus as a planet orbits the sun. So to draw an analogy to this would be incorrect.

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger