Patrick Archbold is co-founder of Creative Minority Report, a Catholic website that puts a refreshing spin on the intersection of religion, culture, and politics. When not writing, Patrick is director of information technology at a large international logistics company in New York.
One day, somebody, somewhere will invent the machine that changes everything.
What if one day, somebody, somewhere was last month, in Italy and the guy is named Rossi?
If you haven’t heard of Andrea Rossi, you will be forgiven. He hasn’t received much press, and the press he has received has been largely unflattering. Most scientists think that he is a quack at best, a fraud at worst. But what if, just what if, he is something else entirely? Right.
The story goes back more than 20 years ago (longer actually) when two scientists named Fleischmann and Pons wowed the world and the press with their experimental findings of cold fusion. Cold fusion is the holy grail of energy production, a clean, easy, and almost limitless supply of cheap energy. As it turned out, Fleischmann and Pons’ experiment was flawed and could not be re-produced. Their careers and their names were destroyed along with Cold Fusion (or LENR—Low Energy Nuclear Reaction) research. Which was all well and good, as most scientists think it is impossible. Of course, in my mind, that is one of the leading arguments in its favor. More on that later.
So for the last 25 years, very few scientists even looked at the possibility of LENR (aka Cold Fusion), but a handful did. And something strange happened. Some of them reported that, using nickel and hydrogen at room temperatures, they could produce more energy than they put into the system. Lots more. Too much to be explained by a chemical reaction. But none of them could or can explain why. So many other scientists, being of open mind but closed ears, respond, “If you can’t explain it, it isn’t happening.”
But that is not what engineer Andrea Rossi (and his partner physicist Sergio Focardi) said. He said (and this is my interpretation of his actions), “Let someone else figure out why. If it works, I am gonna build it and sell them. Lots of them.” And that is what he has done. He built it and he has demonstrated it.
Scientists yell, “Impossible!” Rossi responds, “I don’t care.”
What Rossi claims to have built is a machine that reproduces those unexplained experiments on a large scale. A machine that can produce lots of energy cleanly and very cheaply. If he is right, it is the machine that changes everything. I will explain that in more detail in a moment, but more on Rossi.
Now many people claim that this is some sort of elaborate fraud by Rossi, but his actions do not clearly suggest it. He could be completely wrong, maybe even probably, but what does he have to gain. He is not trying to get investors, he is trying to sell machines. And if the machines don’t work, what does he have to gain? There is a lot more detail on this and a lot of it can be interpreted different ways, but I don’t see the upside of a fraud perpetrated in this manner.
One of the problems is the catch-22. Rossi won’t let anyone see what is going on inside his machine during his multiple demonstrations for learned physicists, even going so far as to comically wrap it in tinfoil. His answer for why is simple. He doesn’t have a patent yet. Why? They won’t give him one until someone can explain how it works with accepted physics. But what if accepted physics is incomplete or even wrong? Catch-22.
So Rossi goes on building them with a response that greatly appeals to my American sensibilities. You explain it, I am selling it.
So what if, and I know it is a big if, but what if Rossi is right? What if our understanding of physics is incomplete and this thing is for real? What then?
Unlimited cheap energy would save the world, right? Well, yes. Right after it almost destroys it. If this thing is verified and becomes that machine that changed the world or even if it is a fraud, someday, somewhere, somebody will build the machine that changed the world, and the one thing you can count on is war.
As you know, there is a whole part of the world whose entire existence is funded by oil money. Their whole existence, they have nothing, NOTHING else. If that oil becomes severely devalued overnight their leaders will need to attack other people lest their people attack them. Like I said, the machine that changes everything.
So is Rossi right? History is replete with the scientific community scoffing and ridiculing that which they don’t understand, after all, scientists are people too. So are we saved and doomed at the same time?
Rossi promises that more LENR reactors are being produced, and he is working on research contracts with universities so they can figure out the hows while protecting his interests. So one way or the other, we should know soon.
If it turns out he is right, while everyone else is celebrating, I will be building a bunker in my back yard.