May 272013
Cover of David Goodstein's Book on Science Fraud

Cover of David Goodstein’s Book on Science Fraud

May 27, 2013 – By Alessio Guglielmi–

From: Dr. Alessio Guglielmi
To: Drs. Giuseppe Levi, Evelyn Foschi, Torbjörn Hartman, Bo Höistad, Roland Pettersson, Lars Tegnér, Hanno Essén

Dear Doctors Levi, Foschi, Hartman, Höistad, Pettersson, Tegnér and Essén,

I have read your recent manuscript `Indication of anomalous heat energy production in a reactor device containing hydrogen loaded nickel powder´ on arXiv and I am very perplexed.

You are aware that several alleged technical mistakes have been pointed out, such as omitting control on DC current input (which has been acknowledged by Prof. Essén in a recent interview) and the assumption that the output heat is released by a perfect black body (this assumption is contested by Prof. Gianni Comoretto, for example). The picture that emerges, and I am sorry if this sounds offensive, is that some crucial measures have not been taken seriously enough on a discovery that, if genuine, would alter the history of mankind.

However, I have an issue that appears to me even more important, because it concerns the very essence of your continued activities on Rossi’s device. Our job as researchers is to advance knowledge, and to do so, whatever we investigate must be reproducible by other researchers so that the knowledge we generate becomes established and we can move forward. This seems to be at odds with your behavior. You went to the workshop of a private individual who claims to be solving half of mankind’s problems, and performed measures on a device that you could not fully control and that is not available to other researchers. Therefore, your manuscript does not contain any reproducible experience. So, how does it advance knowledge? What do we learn?

This brings me to asking another natural question: who will profit from the release of your manuscript? You do realize that Mr. Rossi sells distribution licenses and that he needs to convince customers to order some of his devices. There is no doubt that your manuscript will help his marketing efforts, but is this something that academics should do? Is it our job to help a private individual sell his stuff in the absence of solid, reproducible evidence?

In other words, I wonder whether you are adhering to scientific protocol and I wonder whether what you are doing is legitimate for academics. Other people questioned your technical ability, but I think that the ethical questions that I am posing here come first, also because they are more understandable by the layman. I trust that you appreciate my frankness, and I hope that you can prove my concerns unjustified.

I am forwarding this letter in copy to several persons who are following this matter: Ugo Bardi (Professor of Chemistry, Univ. Florence, blogger), Dario Braga (Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, University of Bologna), Sylvie Coyaud (Scientific Journalist, Il Sole 24 Ore), Camillo Franchini (blogger, former Supervisor of the CAMEN nuclear plant) and Giancarlo Ruocco (Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, La Sapienza, Rome). Whoever wishes to publish this letter is welcome to do so, of course, and I hope that also the answer could be given public form.

Could you please forward this letter to Dr. Foschi, whose address I could not find?

Best regards,

Alessio Guglielmi
University of Bath

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