When University of Minnesota professor Richard Oriani tells Utah scientists of his success in replicating part of the University of Utah fusion experiments on Oct. 10, he will do so in private.
U. officials said that at Oriani's request, his address will be closed to the public and the press."The request is directly related to a paper he has submitted for publication," said Pam Fogle, director of U. public relations. "The information that he will be sharing with the institute is directly related to that publication and he does not want to risk publication by sharing that information before it has been accepted by the journal."
Oriani, professor of chemical engineering and material sciences, will be a guest of the state-funded National Cold Fusion Institute, which is paying his travel expenses.
However, the public won't be informed of Oriani's successful fusion findings. The scientist will meet only with institute faculty and researchers, who are also off-limits to reporters.
Fogle said she believes there is a fear among scientists that journals will reject scientific papers "by virtue of them having been discussed in the press first."
Oriani notified another fusion scientist in August that he had "clear evidence of excess power" in his fusion experiments.
In a letter to Texas A&M scientist John Bockris, the Minnesota scientist said that in one electrode, 110 excess watts from palladium over 11 hours was recorded. About twice that amount was recorded in another electrode.
Oriani also told Bockris that he could not connect his findings to any chemical effects.
Oriani since has declined press invitations to discuss his attempts to replicate the fusion experiments of U. electrochemists B. Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann, who announced March 23 they had sustained nuclear fusion, the same process that fires the sun.
But Bockris said he regards Oriani's results as "one of the surest evidences of the excess heat effect of Fleischmann-Pons that I have seen yet."
Fogle said while residents of Utah - the birthplace of fusion fever - won't learn next week about Oriani's success, he will present the substance of his scientific paper at a meeting of electrochemists Oct. 19 and 20 in Florida.
"He pointed out that as far as journals are concerned, that is an acceptable method of sharing that information," she said. "If press accounts result from that presentation, that's also acceptable."
Fogle said Oriani is just one of a number of scientists who will be coming and going at the institute to share information. Institute researchers will also be traveling to other fusion laboratories around the country.
Brigham Young University physicist Steven Jones, who's also conducting cold fusion research, said he's scheduled to speak at the U., and Fleischmann has been invited to talk at BYU.
Fogle said the institute's $4.3 million budget allows for such an exchange.
"In terms of sharing information with each other, the hope is that these discussions will open up new ideas as well as provide an opportunity for each of the scientists to improve on the parameters of each of the different research experiments," Fogle said.
"They have been doing this primarily by phone and have decided that personal visits are far superior to phone discussions. When they can actually look at an experimental setup, discuss how the data is collected, then everyone will benefit in terms of speeding up the positive results that will be coming out of these experiments."
Fogle said she didn't get any indication that Oriani will be visiting the laboratories of Pons and Fleischmann during his visit. The electrochemists are continuing their research in the U.'s chemistry building. They are advisors to the institute.
Institute looking for help
Utah's National Cold Fusion Institute, billed as a mecca for international cold fusion scientists, is resorting to advertising in newspapers for staff.
According to a classified ad in the Deseret News and The Salt Lake Tribune, the institute needs a lab specialist and a senior researcher.
The lab assistant must have a bachelor's degree in chemistry or chemical engineering, plus two years related full-time lab experience or its equivalent.
To be eligible for the position of senior research specialist, a candidate must have a bachelor's degree in chemistry or chemical engineering, plus four years related full-time lab experience or its equivalence. The person should also be familiar with computers and instrumentation, according the ad.
The successful candidate will be involved in the day-to-day maintenance of experimental apparatus, as well as setting up experiments and preparing solutions.
The ad does not specify what salaries will be offered.