Feb 222013
NASA's Video Announcing LENR Method Based on the Widom and Larsen LENR Method

Images from NASA’s Video Announcing LENR Method Based on Widom-Larsen LENR Method

Feb. 22, 2013 – By Steven B. Krivit –

The Feb. 19 PhysOrg article “The Nuclear Reactor in Your Basement” has come to the attention of many New Energy Times readers. A few points about the article are worth mentioning.

The first point is that this article was not written by PhysOrg. It’s a public relations piece written by and for NASA. New Energy Times spoke with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory media relations department on Tuesday and learned that it hired Bob Silberg, a former NASA science writer and now freelance writer, to write the original article, which NASA published on Feb. 13 on its Climate Web site.

PhysOrg says at the bottom of the article that it was “Provided by JPL/NASA.” But PhysOrg failed to clearly state that it was republishing NASA’s story, as it did, for example, with another story, “provided by” the Massachusetts Institute of Technology news office.

New Energy Times readers would be well-advised to note carefully when they are reading a PhysOrg article to see whether it is an original news article written by a PhysOrg staff member or independent freelancer versus an article written by a government agency, academic institution or private corporation.

Moving on to the actual NASA article: Two NASA staff members, both from NASA’s Langley Research Center, in Hampton, Virginia, have been public about their LENR interest and activity. The first is Dennis Bushnell, chief scientist of NASA Langley and a mechanical engineer by training. The second is Joseph. M. Zawodny, a senior research scientist in the Climate Science Branch at Langley and a physicist by training.

Continue reading »

Aug 032012

Aug. 3, 2012 – By Steven B. Krivit –

New Energy Times has obtained a May 2012 document that reveals that Boeing Research and Technology, in association with NASA, is looking at low-energy nuclear reactions for future green-powered aircraft.

The interest in LENRs by Boeing is an indicator of the field’s growing recognition as a serious area of research that may help bring about carbon-free and waste-free energy.

The document, “Subsonic Ultra Green Aircraft Research Phase-II: N+4 Advanced Concept Development,” was written by Marty K. Bradley and Christopher K. Droney of Boeing Research and Technology and prepared for NASA Langley Research Center.

The document is the result of a team effort by Boeing Research and Technology, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, General Electric and Georgia Institute of Technology’s Aerospace Systems Design Laboratory to identify and analyze advanced concepts and technologies for aircraft that may fly in the 2030-2035 timeframe. Continue reading »

Jul 212012

July 21, 2012 – By Steven B. Krivit –

Steven E. Jones, professor emeritus of physics at Brigham Young University, has written critically about NASA’s handling of the Widom-Larsen theory.

On July 16, Jones criticized NASA’s recent LENR videos, which were published on a NASA Web site.

He wrote that the motive for NASA’s renewed interest in LENRs is the Widom-Larsen ultra-low-momentum neutron theory. He posted his analysis on the Mormon “LDS Freedom Forum” Web site. Continue reading »

May 242012

May 24, 2012 – By Steven B. Krivit –

Yesterday, the NASA Langley Future Innovation Department uploaded a short video clip in which NASA said that it wants to test and confirm the Widom-Larsen ultra-low-momentum neutron theory of low-energy nuclear reactions.

New Energy Times
made some inquiries, and the inside story suggests a very different picture.

First, let’s review some background information, most of which appears on the main New Energy Times Web site.

For the last 23 years, researchers around the world have attempted to perform LENR experiments to either demonstrate nuclear-scale excess heat or obtain other more-direct nuclear signatures. Most of the researchers who started this inquiry in 1989 thought the underlying process was some kind of “cold fusion.”

But a careful study of the experiments and a comprehensive theory published in 2006 by Allan Widom, a condensed matter physicist with Northeastern University, and Lewis Larsen, chief executive officer of Lattice Energy LLC, showed that LENRs have almost nothing to do with fusion.

Continue reading »

Jan 132012

Several years ago, NASA scientists identified one theory that appears to explain low-energy nuclear reactions. Since then, in their public communications, they have given credit to the inventor of the theory. Not anymore.

After filing a patent application in 2011 based on this theory, one of these scientists, in his public communications, stopped giving credit to the inventor.

On March 9, 2006, Allan Widom, a condensed matter physicist with Northeastern University, and Lewis Larsen, chief executive officer of Lattice Energy LLC, published a landmark theory that offers a promising explanation for low-energy nuclear reactions.

Two scientists at NASA’s Langley Research Center, Dennis Bushnell and Joseph Zawodny, saw the promise of the Widom-Larsen ultra-low-momentum neutron theory of LENRs.

For several years, Bushnell and Zawodny spoke favorably and enthusiastically about the Widom-Larsen theory as well as LENR in general.

Thursday, Larsen told New Energy Times that he spoke with both NASA employees by phone to help them learn about LENR and his theory.

“I spent six months tutoring Zawodny so he had the basics of the theory,” Larsen said.

Larsen told New Energy Times that Bushnell and Zawodny also led him to believe that NASA might provide some funding for his company.

“In a series of telephone calls I had during the spring and summer of 2008 with Zawodny and Bushnell, they dangled a carrot ­- the possibly of significant funding from NASA,” Larsen said. “I told them that I was wiling to teach them the basic physics but I would not transfer Lattice’s proprietary knowledge about how to use nanotechnology to improve the reliability of LENRs without having a contract.

“I told them, ‘Under contract, I will show you how to make transmutations every time, but I will not show you how to reliably make large amounts of heat.’

“In January 2009, after an internal NASA meeting, Bushnell and Zawodny informed Lattice that they would not be funding us but they would welcome any free advice we wanted to offer NASA. We declined.”

On Aug. 12, 2009, Zawodny gave a slide presentation on LENRs called “An Energetics Revolution for ALL of NASA’s Missions and a Solution to Climate Change and the Economic Meltdown.”

Several of the slides are devoted to the Widom-Larsen theory. Slide No. 2 shows that Zawodny knew that only one theory in the field of LENRs did not attempt to make charged particles overcome the Coulomb barrier at room temperature. Slide No. 3, as shown below, indicates that Zawodny also knew that the Widom-Larsen theory was the first theory of LENRs that did not require “new physics.”


I, too, have learned a lot from Larsen. Last year, as a result, Zawodny and I combined our efforts and contributed a chapter on the Widom-Larsen theory to the Wiley Nuclear Energy Encyclopedia.

On Feb. 22, 2011, Larsen was granted U.S. patent 7,893,414 for an invention based on his theory, which, at its core, describes a novel method for producing heavy electrons.

A month later, on March 24, Zawodny filed his non-provisional U.S. patent application 20110255645 for a “Method for Producing Heavy Electrons.”

Naturally, Zawodny had to cite the Larsen patent as well as the Widom-Larsen theory.

“The energy associated with ‘low energy nuclear reactions’ (LENR) has been linked to the production of heavy electrons,” the Zawodny application states. “Briefly, this theory put forth by Widom and Larsen states that the initiation of LENR activity is due to the coupling of ‘surface plasmon polaritons’ (SPPs) to a proton or deuteron resonance in the lattice of a metal hydride.”

On Sept. 22, 2011, Zawodny gave a slide presentation about LENR at NASA’s Glenn Research Center. His second slide asks, “Do we have a theory?” He mentions a theory by inventor Randall Mills and dismisses it. He mentions a theory by Purdue professor Yeong Kim and dismisses it, too. He then presents several slides that speak very encouragingly about the Widom-Larsen theory and why it “may be correct.”

The Zawodny patent application published on Oct. 20, 2011.

Four days later, on Oct. 24, 2011, Aviation Week published an article about LENR written by Zawodny.

“Theories to explain the phenomenon have emerged,” Zawodny wrote, “but the majority have relied on flawed or new physics.

Not only did he fail to mention the Widom-Larsen theory, but he wrote that “a proven theory for the physics of LENR is required before the engineering of power systems can continue.”

On Jan. 12, 2012, NASA released a short promotional video titled “Method for Enhancement of Surface Plasmon Polaritons to Initiate and Sustain LENR.” At the end of the video, the narrator restates the title as “NASA’s Method for Enhancement of Surface Plasmon Polaritons to Initiate and Sustain LENR in Metal Hydride Systems.”

Zawodny is prominently featured. He mentions nothing of the Widom-Larsen theory or Larsen’s concept of how surface plasmon polaritons are a primary key to initiate LENRs.

I sent Zawodny an e-mail on Thursday and asked for an explanation of the omission.

“The intended audience is not interested in that level of detail,” Zawodny wrote. “The text I am intending to send you, after approval, clarifies things, hopefully.”

Readers may learn more about the Widom-Larsen theory from their paper published in the peer-reviewed journal Pramana.

[Article updated Jan. 13 to include title restated by narrator at end of NASA video, and to include the quotes from Larsen about funding from NASA.]

[Update and Correction: After reading this article, Zawodny sent me an e-mail with only one correction: "You should be informed that a provisional patent [application] was filed almost exactly one year earlier.  At the time the non-provisional was filed, Larsen’s gamma shielding patent had to be cited as a relevant related patent.”

For additional clarification, Larsen filed his international patent application on Sept. 8, 2006. That published on March 15, 2007.

Zawodny filed his a provisional U.S. patent application in March 2010. He filed his non-provisional patent application on March 24, 2011. We have corrected the article to reflect this fact. ]