Cold Fusion

Interview with John O. M. Bockris and Dr. Hal Puthoff


Cold Fusion and Zero Point Energy

Transcripts from 21st Century Radio's Hieronimus & Co.

Radio Host: Dr. Bob Hieronimus

Featured Guests: Professor John O. M. Bockris, and Dr. Hal Puthoff

On June 23, 1996, Dr. Bob Hieronimus conducted a live radio cold fusion special with Dr. Eugene Mallove, Professor John O'M. Bockris, and Dr. Hal Puthoff. What follows are transcriptions of the separate interviews with Drs. Bockris and Puthoff. Transcribed by Jed Rothwell, these interviews first appeared in Infinite Energy Magazine (P.O. Box 2816, Concord, NH 03302, or For more information about Hieronimus & Co. interviews write to P.O. Box 648 Owings Mills, MD 21117 or

Hieronimus intro: Dr. John O'M Bockris is a distinguished professor of chemistry at Texas A&M University. His research interests are in the areas of quantum electrochemistry, photo-electrochemistry, electro catalysis, and bio-electrochemistry, corrosion, the splitting of water and low temperature nuclear reactions. Bockris organized a significant research group in electrochemistry at the Imperial College, working particularly on the basic techniques of measurement of electrodes, and also in the field of high-temperature liquids. He emigrated to the United States in 1953, and in 1954 was appointed professor of chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania. During the 1960s Bockris led the largest electrochemical group in the western hemisphere. His best known book, Modern Electrochemistry, was written with A.K. Reddy during that time, and published in 1970. In 1972 Bockris was appointed to the chair of physical chemistry at the Flinders University in South Australia. There he became the chairman of the Institute of Solar and Electrochemical Energy Conversion, and he wrote the book titled The Solar Hydrogen Alternative. In 1974 Professor Bockris was made a member of the Swedish Academy of Engineers, and the Serbian Chemical society, also in 1979 he became the first recipient of the Faraday medal, an award made by the Faraday Division of the Chemical Society. He was given the Chemical Award of the Swedish Academy in the same year, and numerous other awards.

Hieronimus: John, you note that in the first years of this century, it was thought that atoms were indivisible entities until Rutherford found that a great deal of an atom was free space, and at the center was concentrated nearly the entire mass of the atom. He struck N2 gas with an energetic stream of alpha particles (helium nuclei) and produced 17-0 from 14-N. Tell us what significance this has to the mindset which believes that to break into nuclei, you need about a million times more energy than is given out in a chemical reaction.

Bockris: I think that Rutherford's work was the beginning of what we call now high energy physics. This is a very large part of physics, and it has that basic assumption that you need enormous energies. Now what has happened in the last five or six years is it's been found that nuclear reactions can be made to occur, as long as they occur inside solids, with rather small energies. Instead of having to strike them with these enormous energies which cost so much to set up and to have apparatus, you can do it all for 10-4 (as it were) the price. That's the great important thing. The cost comes down and one can obtain nuclear reactions under very, very simple conditions.

Hieronimus: From that you concluded that it was a general lack of knowledge of these things that you just mentioned, concerning being able to split nuclei with much less energy, that caused the furor against Fleischmann, Pons and Hawkins when they suggested that palladium heavily loaded with deuterium was the site of a nuclear reaction. Would you please flesh out this conclusion for us?

Bockris: Yes, the major part of the story since 1989 has been with palladium. I don't think it is the only part at all; I think these reactions occur rather widely. But 90% of the work has been done with palladium/deuterium, and the evidence that nuclear reactions occur in it under electrochemical conditions is largely the production of Tritium and the production of helium. Both these substances are very, very unusual materials, and it is very difficult to see how they could be produced in a normal way. They are enormously expensive to produce classically, as we call it, by the normal means. And, incidentally, Tritium is used in atomic bombs and is a very important military supply. It costs a million dollars an ounce.

Hieronimus: Oh!

Bockris: The calculations show and the experimental results show, that Tritium could be produced for a very small fraction of that money. So of course it means a great deal to the DoD and to the economy in general. As far as the "heavily loaded" is concerned, what that means is that if you put the deuterium into the palladium nothing happens - nothing anomalous, nothing nuclear happens, until the deuterium is very nearly up to one deuterium atom equals one palladium atom. It is a tiny bit less than that: about 0.95 deuterium to 1 palladium, then you begin to get nuclear reactions. They continue for some time, often for several weeks. They die down, and you have to have fresh palladium etcetera.

The furor I think was due to two things. On the one hand I think a great deal of the emotion which went into it in 1989 and '90, was sheerly emotion. I think that people were ... the old people were arrogant and they thought they had it all, and they thought they had to have these enormous energy releases, and when it was proved that you could do it very simply, with lesser energy, they were very, very annoyed! (Laughs). But there was also what you might call a more objective objection on their side, which I, as a researcher, fully understand, and that is: you can't go into a laboratory with this kind of thing and say "hey guys, I am going to show you," and switch it on. It is a very difficult thing to hit the "right wavelength," as it were, and I would say on the average only about one experiment in five does it. It is rather like finding a radio band on the radio. You have to search around for it and then you get it - bing! - it switches on and things happen. Unless you hit those conditions very, very completely, you don't get anything at all. So a lot of people tried it and they did not get anything and they said, "oh this is nonsense." And those people who hung on and tried harder, so to speak, did find the Tritium, find the helium, find the nuclear reactions. They were successful.

Hieronimus: I was going to ask you to talk about three models in which barriers between nuclei can become transparent. Let us bypass that question in the interest of time, because I have a lot of other questions. Would you discuss the conclusions in your paper "Two Zones of 'Impurities' Observed after Prolonged Electrolysis of Deuterium on Palladium" (Infinite Energy #5 & 6)?

Bockris: Yes. This was something we did rather recently, where we put deuterium into palladium and we looked for impurities which would accompany this act. The solutions we were using had certain impurities in them, and we found these impurities were adsorbed upon the surface, and they penetrated about 50 angstroms below it. But when we probed further with various techniques we found that a new series of atoms had turned up. Atoms which, indeed, were not present at all before we began and were not present in the solution - that's the point. So we concluded that these atoms had come via a transmutational process. Transmutation means the formation of one nucleus into another nucleus. Since that time - I think we did this about a year ago - a number of other people, particularly people at the University of Illinois [Dr. Miley et al.] have come up with further evidence that this does occur when you put deuterium or hydrogen into palladium, you get new nuclei, and that is of course transmutation in the cold.

Hieronimus: On that subject of transmutation, I understand from your conversation with Chris Bird some very limited success was obtained at transmuting some elements into gold. After a break here, we'll talk about that next, and then we'll get into tritium because you were the first to find it in 1989 in the cold fusion process.

Bockris: Right.

Hieronimus: And you believe that Fleischmann and Pons should get the Nobel Prize for transmutation. We'll talk about that. And then I want to talk a little bit about Texas A&M trying to label you as a fraud, attempting to destroy your reputation.

Hieronimus: I understand from conversations with Chris Bird that some very limited success was attained at transmuting some elements into gold. Would you please review that scenario, and why you ceased research into that area.

Bockris: Yes. Well, we were approached by some people who claimed they had a technique for doing this. [Telander and Champion; the method is classic thermal alchemy.] They wanted us to try it out. We of course started off by telling them that they themselves mustn't be in the laboratory and only our own people could do it. So I had two postdocs and a graduate student try this process out. And indeed, in very small quantities, around 100 parts per million, we got four consecutive experiments which did give - seemed to give, to all intents and purposes - the transmutation of small amounts of lead and mercury into gold, ruthenium, osmium, etcetera. However, when we went on with this, later, we couldn't reproduce it, so we had to withdraw. But I'm fully convinced that in the four experiments that we made we were producing these small amounts. Since then, numerous people have done similar things, but usually with other metals.

Hieronimus: Uh, huh. In regards to tritium, you were the first to find it in 1989 in the cold fusion process. What is the importance of this? Why is it a gigantic step?

Bockris: Oh, well that's very clear. Tritium is a gigantic step. It is the real proof that cold fusion, as they call it, exists. You may say "as they call it" because I am not too sure about the mechanism and I think it might be a fission reaction instead of a fusion reaction, however both would be nuclear. And no classical chemist, the type that goes along with the chemistry in the book, would have expected that tritium would have been formed. That's why it is such a gigantic step. They all thought it was totally impossible. And of course, as usual, tremendous amounts of money are associated with all of this. The way that we make tritium at the moment - and tritium is vital in atom bombs [Technically, in thermonuclear bombs-hydrogen bombs. Ed.] - is a million dollars an ounce. And it can be made in the laboratory in a very simple apparatus for much less money. So of course people were very surprised. I was accused immediately - and that's the usual reaction to these things - of fraud. It was said that the tritium was obtained by a graduate student putting it in from a bottle of tritium.

Hieronimus: That's an amazing thing to say, without any proof!

Bockris: Well ... there was a very, very aggressive journalist who wanted to make a name for himself and sell his book, and he came along and said all sorts of terrible things. Threatened the student with instant exposure and so on ...

Hieronimus: Is this the fellow by the name of Taubes?

Bockris: Taubes, that's right. And after that I called all kinds of advisors and said "should I sue? Would it be right to sue this man? Would it be profitable? Or sue the company that published his book?" And every one advised me, well five out of six of my advisors - the sixth did advise suing - but five out of six said, "relax, relax. Your work is either going to be proved right or wrong. If it is proved right, you don't have any more worries." And since the time that I first claimed tritium, just about 120 papers have been published - and I stopped counting after 1994 - 120 papers have proved that ... confirmed those first readings. So I am completely convinced and completely happy. On the other hand of course, you know the mud always sticks.

Hieronimus: Indeed.

Bockris: There are all sorts of people who read that original article that said it was all fraud, they haven't seen the 120 papers.

Hieronimus: That is the major problem. The major media is not sensitive to this particular area and I don't think they are going to correct their errors.

Bockris: We tried at the time to publish data, and prove there was no fraud, but they wouldn't hear of it. They said people weren't interested in the disproof.

Hieronimus: (Laughs) I know, I know. I am sorry for laughing John, but it is just so pathetic, that they can make such an enormous error ...

Bockris: Yeah...

Hieronimus:... and then figure, ah well, it is not news, so we don't have to correct it.

Bockris: These are not just newspapers, these are the magazines of science.

Hieronimus: Indeed.

Bockris: One of the most prestigious magazines in the country, and it wasn't only I, but others from Los Alamos wrote in and said that they had seen the tritium too and it was all true. But they were told "no, our readers are not interested in that. We have published the fraud [story] and they are interested in that."

Hieronimus: (Laughs) Boy, nothing like protecting the status quo. Now, Texas A&M tried to label you as a fraud. Tried to destroy your reputation at the highest levels of the university. I know this is a painful thing for you to discuss, but I would love to get it on the record here. Review for us what happened.

Bockris: Time is short, but I'll just try to summarize it all for you. I was first of all accused of scientific misconduct, and hauled out between four of my peers. I'm called a 'Distinguished Professor' - the highest rank of professors here - and I was tried, as it were, in front of four of my peers: four Distinguished Professors. And the result was I was totally exonerated. But you know that was after three months of tremendous anxiety, employing lawyers to advise me, and so on and so on. And then after I had been accused of misconduct and totally exonerated, there was then a number of colleagues in the department of chemistry who wanted to go further and they instituted a secret committee. My lawyer asked what's it doing, what's it about, they said oh well, it is to see if there should be any reassignments of duties, or any [inaudible] fines of professors. That was the aim of this committee. That lasted for eleven months. Eleven months of torture. In which my wife and I knew not anything about our future.

Hieronimus: That's amazing.

Bockris: We eventually appealed to the Association of University Professors, and directly after we had done that, and exposed our case to them, the university came forth and said they had found I had done nothing outside the rules of the university. And as far as I know, that's it. But, you know, this was a period of sheer persecution.

Hieronimus: As you know, and others have noted too, the same thing happened to Dr. Robert Jahn, at Princeton.

Bockris: Exactly. I think I met Robert Jahn for the first time the other day, at the meeting in Charlottesville, Virginia, of the Society for Scientific Exploration. What he has done of course is to show that minds influence machines.

Hieronimus: Uh, huh. Yes, indeed.

Bockris: When you look at a pendulum, which is swinging at a certain rate, you can make it go faster or slower by looking at it. That's of course a thing that scientists would never believe at all. The unfortunate thing is they don't believe facts. They believe old theories.

Hieronimus: Well, let's see, I am trying to remember... Dr. Henry Bauer in his work pointed that out so well. He has been with us a number of times. What do you think is at the bottom of the persecution of leading edge researchers?

Bockris: Oh, I am very clear about that! It is simply fury and envy. You see, every scientist in the top rank is kind of boxed in to a monetary system. They are getting good fees in consulting, they are regarded as authorities, and suddenly something comes along which is totally different from anything they had ever thought of before. And ... well, they didn't think of it. So of course the thing to do is first of all, prove it fraudulent. That's the best thing they can do, because that would completely expunge it. And if they can't prove fraudulent then they will say it is all due to wrong measurements. The measurements must be crazy and so on and so on. But the basic motivation behind it every case I am sure is envy and fury at having been scooped.

Hieronimus: Yeah? I think you are absolutely correct there, sir. Uh, going back to cold fusion now, and its practicality. What do you see as a reasonable time-line for when cold fusion products will come on line?

Bockris: Well, I've thought about that. You can ... it is hard to guess. Now, if you want to be very positive about it, you can say that there are now advertisements arriving, particularly from Moscow, that talk about household heaters which need refueling every thirty years. And the only way to explain those advertisements - they don't mention the word 'cold fusion' - is that these are cold fusion heaters. Because the only way you could have a nuclear thing I mean it has to be nuclear for refueling every thirty years - in the household, would be a cold fusion one which doesn't produce any harmful waste. So if you believe that advertisement, that they really have these things, there is something practical now. There is a company called ENECO, which works out of Salt Lake City, and they believe that they have some devices which they can sell right now. As to when the universities will accept it . . .(laughs) another fifty years, I would say.

Hieronimus: Oh, John, don't say that! (Both laugh) It's sad but ... (laughs) you know, America has changed so much, since the mid 1970s.

Bockris: Well, I have been in this country since 1953 and I can remember the times when all new ideas were jumped upon with joy. This was so during the '60s, and I think into the '70s. But something died. I don't know, it is ridiculous to put a date on it and say it was 1972 or something, but something sometime in the '70s just all died, and it became frozen. Science has become frozen. Physics particularly.

Hieronimus: You believe that Fleischmann and Pons should get the Nobel Prize for transmutation.

Bockris: I think so.

Hieronimus: Could you explain why?

Bockris: Oh, well, because they have done something which completely changed the paradigm of nuclear reactions. Up to Fleischmann and Pons's time, nuclear reactions were - as we said at the beginning of this discussion - were seen in the context of Rutherford's work. I call it Rutherford's castle. You know, you had to hit it with some enormous sledge hammer, and then you might get a nuclear reaction to occur. Fleischmann and Pons showed that with a tiny "ounce of reaction," they can get a nuclear reaction to occur. So just as the famous people in the history of nuclear reactions are Meitner, Rutherford, Fermi, so I think the Fleischmann and Pons should be similarly regarded. I think they would come right out at the top. I think I have had a part in it too, but they started it, and I verified it - showed that it was so, but I think their initiative should be regarded in that way. I think it will be.

Hieronimus: What are you presently working on, that you would like to share with our listeners?

Bockris: Oh, well, I am working on a number of things. The main thing I am working on which is easy to communicate are "green" chemicals. You know, the idea that a lot of chemicals are toxic. And we have to use them. The particular ones I am working on are corrosion inhibitors. A lot of the corrosion inhibitors are used in the North Sea [oil drilling] platforms are toxic to fauna. They knock the fish out. The fish decay and all sorts of things bad happen, and the oil companies have been threatened by the Norwegian government and the British government: "stop using corrosion inhibitors which are toxic." So I am being employed by a group of oil companies to invent corrosion inhibitors which are not toxic.

Hieronimus: Way to go, John! Way to go! Well, it has been a great pleasure talking with you again. I guess the last time we talked was about three years ago.

Bockris: Yes, it was.

Hieronimus: That's a long time ago. And I would have thought by now this whole problem would have been solved, John! (Laughs)

Bockris: Give it another ten or twenty!

Hieronimus: Yeah, the way it is dragging its feet. Well, we have some wonderful things we are going to be sending on to you. And I am so happy that we share some other areas of research and interest in common.

Bockris: Well, it is grand talking to you. You are so interested and enthusiastic about it.

Hieronimus: We will be talking to you again some time.

Bockris: Thank you very much.

Hieronimus: You are very welcome.

Hieronimus: Our final guest for this evening is Dr. Hal Puthoff, whose research in consciousness captivated our attention in the late '60s and early '70s. Our friend, Ingo Swann, has noted Hal Puthoff's importance to remote viewing research during his several appearances on 21st Century Radio, and we may touch on that subject later tonight, but we will be focusing most of our time on alternative sources of energy as in cold fusion, zero point energy, and nanotechnology.

Dr. Hal Puthoff is Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies at Austin, TX. He is a theoretical and experimental physicist, specializing in fundamental electrodynamics. His present research interests range from theoretical studies of quantum vacuum states as they apply to the availability of matter, gravitation, inertia and energy research, to laboratory studies of innovative approaches to energy generation. A graduate of Stanford University in 1967, Dr. Puthoff's professional background spans more than three decades of research at General Electric, Sperry, the National Security Agency, Stanford University, SRI International, and since 1985 as Director of the Institute for Advanced Studies at Austin. He has published over 30 papers on electron beam devices, lasers, and quantum zero point energy effects, he has patents issued and pending in the laser communications and energy fields, and is co-author of a Wiley textbook Fundamentals of Quantum Electronics. [R.H. Pantell, H.E. Puthoff, (Wiley, 1969)] Puthoff regularly serves various government agencies, the executive branch, and Congress as a consultant on leading edge technology and future technology trends. He is a member and officer of several professional organizations, he is listed in such biographical reference works as American Men and Women of Science, Who's Who In Science and Engineering, and Who's Who and has been designated at Fetzer Fellow in 1991. Welcome to 21 st Century Radio and TV News Dr. Puthoff.

Puthoff: It is a pleasure to be here, Bob.

Hieronimus: Even though propagandists like Rush Limbaugh say that ecological disasters are nothing more than left wing media hype designed to tax big business, our environment is not in good shape. And yet there is a great deal of hope that new energy technologies can do a lot to keep us from entering an ecological no-return zone. Before we review cold fusion and zero point energy, would you assess, in general terms, the possibility that new energy technology could revise our environmental problems.

Puthoff: Actually, Bob, I am quite confident that will be the case. Before we knew of atomic energy, we thought we were running out of coal and maybe oil wouldn't last too long, and then we came upon atomic energy. Now as it turned out, atomic energy has its pluses and minuses, as you realize. But still, it was a new energy source that just hadn't been thought about before, but once we had it we could exploit it. I think at this time we are entering a new phase in which a lot of new energy research is going on, whether it is solar energy, wind energy, and so forth ... but also the so-called zero point energy that we will be speaking about tonight. I think that holds out a lot of hope for the future environmental situation and that as far as we know it is a completely benign energy source. As far as ecological concerns go.

Hieronimus: Well, Gene Mallove, who says hello, says you are going to be very excited when you see the next issue of Infinite Energy, with Dr. Paulo Correa and Alexandra Correa's PAGD reactors.

Puthoff: I am looking forward to seeing that. I have heard of it, but I have not had a chance to look at the data.

Hieronimus: Well, I was really excited when I read that. Now, we have spent most of our evening discussing cold fusion, so let us start our conversation by talking about zero point energy, and one of your papers I read recently. You stated that quantum theory tells us that empty space is not truly empty, but rather contains an enormous amount of untapped electromagnetic energy known as zero point energy or ZPE. Would you define this energy for us, please?

Puthoff: I'd be glad to. As you say, it is the energy of empty space. There were arguments starting way back at the time of the Greeks about whether space is really empty or isn't it. Democritus thought that it was empty and that is how you have room for the atoms to bump around. You had Aristotle coming along saying no, I think space is full of something because we have waves of heat energy and they must travel in something. That argument went back and forth but finally when quantum theory was developed, it became absolutely clear that space, if you look at in a microscopic scale, is more like the base of a waterfall with a lot of frothy, seething activity going on, rather than just something like a placid, empty space. In fact John Wheeler likes to point out that in the volume of a coffee cup, for example, in empty space, there is enough energy to evaporate all of the world's oceans. This is, by the way, not a fringe concept. It is a basic underlying concept in modern quantum theory.

Hieronimus: But where does this energy come from?

Puthoff: Well, it turns out that every particle in the universe has some charge on it, whether it is the electrons and protons in our bodies, or in the Sun, and then all the way out to as far as we can see throughout the cosmos. It turns out that all of these particles are undergoing a little tiny quantum jiggle, or quantum dance, and in that process they are radiating energy. Any given particle is jiggled about by that energy, and in turn radiates back, so what we have on a cosmological scale is sort of the electromagnetic equivalent to putting a microphone by a speaker and getting the squeal. We have a giant sort-of feedback system, with all the particles generating this quantum zero point energy, continually reinforcing itself, just like, for example, the squeal in the microphone.

Hieronimus: You have read Beyond the Big Bang by Paul LaViolette haven't you?

Puthoff: I have seen it, yes.

Hieronimus: What was your opinion of that book?

Puthoff: I think that although it is sort of counter to the prevailing mainstream view, these are the kinds of ideas that we seem to have a renaissance of these days. I certainly applaud his efforts to open up new ways of looking at things. I have not come to a final opinion as to whether I think he is correct about it. But I think this is the kind of probing and thinking that makes science today a very exciting time.

Hieronimus: Yeah, it sure does. Going back to zero point energy, can such energy be mined for practical use?

Puthoff: Up until about a decade ago, it was thought that the answer was no. The reason being that, for example, we are surrounded by heat bath - the temperature in here is say 75 - and physicists had learned by attempts to quote "mine heat energy" that it always took more energy to make use of [ambient heat] than you got out. So although we can do that with refrigerators and heaters and so on, you are having to pay an energy penalty as great as what you get out. It was kind of assumed that the surrounding zero point energy, which is everywhere, was maybe like a heat bath, and that you couldn't tap it. But back in'84 there was a researcher at Hughes laboratory, by the name of Bob Forward, who pointed out that there was an effect called the Casmir effect that in fact showed that on a microscopic scale it is both experimentally and theoretically confirmed that indeed some of this background energy could be turned into some other form. Once that was realized, then it was the case that the proof of principle was there, so now physicists and engineers like myself are interested in finding out how to do it efficiently, and what technologies you need to turn it into a market-viable energy source. To the people who are working in the field, it is now at the point of solar energy or thermonuclear fusion or whatever: the principle has been proved, it is a case of trying to find a viable way to do it.

Hieronimus: This I found really fascinate- ing: that "inertia is a subtle feature of the structure of the universe, that has perplexed generations of physicists from Newton to Einstein." (Reading from Puthoff's paper.) That part I understood! But in an article for The Sciences you and your co-authors Bernhard Haisch and Alfonso Rueda traced the problem of inertia as a zero point field Lorentz force. Please explain how this is.

Puthoff: I am glad to do that. This is one of the most exciting pieces of effort that I and my colleagues have worked on. Also, it solved a problem for us, which I think you would be interested in. Whenever we would pose the idea of tapping this energy, and that there was so much energy even in empty space right in your face so to speak, the question was always, well if there is all that energy there, why don't I notice it? And in fact it turned out that this study of inertia was the first case where you can actually talk to a layman and get him to realize that you do notice it. For example, if you are standing on a train or a bus, and it takes off with a jerk, and you suddenly find yourself flat on your back, it is as if a 200 lb man came up and knocked you down. So you have to ask yourself "what is it that actually knocked me down?" What it actually is, is that you ran into that wall of zero-point energy and it held you back, and knocked you down. So the next time you are on an airplane and find yourself pressed back in your seat, you are actually feeling you might say the wind from the vacuum zero point energy. This vacuum Lorentz force that term is just a standard term for a magnetic force that engineers are familiar with in the laboratory - and whenever you have a charged particle moving through a magnetic field it feels the force. Well, it turns out that the magnetic field associated with these zero point fluctuations is always there and since our bodies are made up of charged particles - even the neutrons that are neutral are made up of charged quarks - it turns out that they feel the Lorentz force. Whenever you try to accelerate a body there is this resistive force that holds you back, and that is what we experience as inertia. So when you are trying to move your car down the street when its battery has gone dead, all that effort it takes to get it moving is the fact you are actually pushing against the vacuum. Unlike an ordinary wind, just moving at constant velocity, you don't feel this force at constant velocity but you do feel it whenever you are trying to accelerate or to accelerate an object.

Hieronimus: Okay, here is a big question. Quantum fluctuations of distant matter structure; the local Lorentz invariant vacuum fluctuation frame of reference, and acceleration relative to this frame results in the retarding force that we label 'inertia.' Now you note that the implications of this discovery are far reaching in regard to gravitational effects in general and gravitational mass in particular. Please review this conclusion for us.

Puthoff: As you noted, this concept of inertia and gravitation is something that has been struggled with by physicists since the times of Mach and Einstein and Newton. Up until now, generally we have assumed that gravity and inertia are just something we are kind of stuck with. That it is there: that's it, we cannot do anything about it, no one is making any anti-gravity machines, we are not getting rid of inertia for our spaceships, that is just what we deal with. So even with the developments in general relativity by Einstein, which have been extensive - we now understand certain concepts about space being curved and that tells particles where to move, and so on - still, that has been at the phenomenological level. When we started our research into the zero point energy underpinning of these kind of phenomena, the thing we realized is that gravity, inertia, and a number of other phenomena are really consequences and results of this underlying energy bath, you might say, that we are in. And so, having that knowledge and developing some equations about what effects it has, we are now at a point where we can consider: okay, if we understand how gravity is produced by this underlying energy, and if we understand how inertia is a consequence of this underlying energy, we can now ask new kinds of questions. Can we manipulate this energy? And the answer is yes. And if that is the case, then isn't there the possibility that we might someday be able to induce gravitational effects or counter-gravitational effects, or reduce inertia, and so on. We come at a level below the usual view, where rather than just saying: well, we are stuck with gravity as it is, or stuck with inertia as it is, we have now gone to a deeper level where we can possibly talk about manipulating these forces. And of course, that has very broad implications.

Hieronimus: Maybe we can later touch on what kinds of implications those would be, in space travel. You also note that "probably the most important aspect of the discovery of the intimate connection between inertia and the vacuum fluctuations is that the number of independent physical concepts upon which the structure of modern theory is built is reduced by one." Why is this so important?

Puthoff: Every time we advance scientific theory by reducing the number of things we think are out there, it gives us an understanding that lets us begin to first of all more deeply appreciate exactly what is going on, and secondly begin to get an engineering handle on how to manipulate something. Back in the old days, it used to be thought that heat was a separate kind of fluid force that inhabited bodies. Some were hot and some were cold, and so on. At that time, without the understanding, it was difficult to, for example, come up with the idea of building a steam engine. But then as we reduce the number of independent variables we realize that heat really has to do with simply the amount of energy that, say, gas molecules happen to have as they run around and bump into each other, and bump into the walls, and as we gain that understanding we can then start thinking about how can we use that force to push on a piston and build some kind of engines. People come at it from different standpoints. In some people's minds, just reducing the number of variables and cleaning up our understanding is a very esthetic and captivating enterprise, but to those who are practical minded, it also means that you have a chance to do some engineering and having some fun making things.

Hieronimus: Uh huh. Well, now we can get to some cold fusion. Earlier tonight, we reviewed the progress being made in cold fusion with Dr. Mallove and Dr. Bockris. From your perspective, what is cold fusion? Is it a fusion process?

Puthoff: I guess at this point, I may have a minority view. I don't actually think that it is fusion. One of the complaints that people have about fusion is that all that heat coming out I would expect - one would expect - there to be a lot more radioactivity, a lot more neutrons, x-rays and so on and yet the amount of actual heat that comes out is extraordinary, at least as claimed in some experiments, in comparison to the number of so-called fusion products. So, I am entertaining the possibility that although there may be some low level fusion going on, and certainly Professor Bockris going over the data on the transmutation of elements makes it look as if there is some fusion going on, I think though that it may be possible that the greater amount of heat energy coming out is a result of a zero point energy extraction process. And there are a couple of researchers in addition to myself who have been trying to work out the theory of how that might be the case. I think that so-called cold fusion phenomena are very complex and may involve more than one process. Of course, being a zero point energy chauvinist, I think it is zero point energy. Maybe I can be forgiven for saying 'well cold fusion is probably from zero point energy' but actually we have gone beyond that, and we have made some predictions we are trying to check out in the laboratory. I think at this point, to be honest, we just have to say we do not yet know what this phenomenon is. We know some of its characteristics. Probably because of the transmutations, some fusion may be going on, but in terms of the extraordinary amount of heat, although there may be some new nuclear processes that we do not understand yet, that are responsible for the heat, there are also some good arguments why zero point energy may be being released as well.

Hieronimus: Do you believe cold fusion is going to be commercially controlled by someone like, say, the power companies?

Puthoff: That is really a tough question. Um ...

Hieronimus: Well, you get extra points if you get this one!

Puthoff: I've got some answers to it. (Laughs)

Hieronimus: Okay!

Puthoff: As it turns out, the cold fusion process, or if I can even broaden it out to include the zero point energy processes, some of the experiments in which these effects apparently are seen are really sort of garage level experiments. If someone hits on a good, solid, robust embodiment, this is the kind of thing that I think you would find a lot of people could be dealing with in their garages, and at least for small scale applications not going to the power companies. Now I think that since power companies do have a large economic structure and so on, I think they will of course get into it as anyone else would, but I think that it is sort of like ham radio: yes, there are commercial radio stations but you have a lot of ham radio operators out there building their own rigs and talking to each other and so on. I think there is a chance more like in wind energy and solar energy where there will be smaller scale entrepreneurs who may actually feed energy into the grid as the wind people are doing at this point. So I think that although the power companies may get involved at some point I think you will see also sort of smaller scale entrepreneurial activities going on....

When the idea of the hydrogen atom was ..... first put forward in the form that you often see it on textbook covers, where it looks like a tiny little solar system with the electron planet circling the nuclear sun, one of the questions at the time was: why doesn't the electron simply radiate its energy away and spiral into the nucleus, in a way similar to the way our satellites have certain losses and spiral into the planet? At the time, the answer was simply, well it is just the magic of quantum theory, it doesn't obey classical rules, and for some reason hydrogen atoms are like little perpetual motion machines. But in fact, from the standpoint of the zero point energy approach, we now recognize - and the calculation has been done, in fact I published on it myself - we show that indeed you expect an electron in a hydrogen atom to radiate its energy away, but it picks up energy from the background zero point energy and therefore is sustained by it. What that means in terms of physics is that is shows why atoms can be seen as perpetual motion machines, it is just that they always have an energy input from the background to make up for the losses. One of the embodiments of cold fusion we are looking at is the possibility that when hydrogen atoms enter into metal lattices the conditions for that balance change. And as a result, calculations can be done to show that some energy is released. There you have a case where by playing very smart with the hydrogen atom you have a chance to change its orbit under certain conditions and possibly getting a release of energy.

Hieronimus: You mentioned that you do not believe that cold fusion is going to spell the end of power companies. In your conversations with Chris Bird you noted that the Arab oil producers in the Middle East should be brought into the investment picture, which I thought was really interesting as to why. Because that would keep them from standing in its way.

Puthoff: That's exactly it. In our business plan, under the assumption that we might really bring this to market, we have looked at all the potential "enemies" and in every case there is a way to work out a win-win situation. And so, in terms of talking to the ordinary oil companies here, I had a chance to talk with Scotty Hahn, president of Penzoil, and research directors and presidents and vice-presidents of a number of other oil companies, talking to them about the zero point energy future. They said they would definitely welcome it, because right now if they take oil out of the ground and make pharmaceuticals and plastics they have a big profit margin, and they do not use much of the resource. But when they put it into cars and homes it is sort of like burning Van Goghs and Picassos to heat your house.

Hieronimus: Indeed.

Puthoff: They said you wouldn't have any trouble with us, but you might have trouble with the people who get it out of the ground. So there our approach is simply to go to them and let them know this is happening. If they capitalize the development of it then as oil goes down their investments will still win.

Hieronimus: Well, we are running out of time and I had many more questions. Let me ask one. Consciousness is the key, in my opinion, to human existence. Disagreeing with that are major institutions like Johns Hopkins University. In your opinion, does consciousness cease to exist without a brain?

Puthoff: I am of the opinion that it does not cease to exist. If you need a substructure, or substratum, of course the vacuum energy gives you as much energy and activity as you need. There are a number of physicists who are exploring these new areas. I realize we don't have time to talk about that.

Hieronimus: Yeah, well maybe some other time we can, huh?

Puthoff: All right!

Hieronimus: Would you join us again in the near future?

Puthoff: I would be glad to.

Hieronimus: Thank you.

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