Re: Dr Randell Mills, Blacklight, paradigm challenge (2)

Hal Finney (
Tue, 24 Feb 1998 16:28:21 -0800

I don't find Dr. Mills' credentials or his theory very impressive.

He's a medical doctor, with no degree in physics. He has created a theory
that says that the electrons in hydrogen atoms can drop to lower than
the standard lowest-energy orbital, when interacting with a "secret"
catalyst that he has invented. This releases heat, so he is trying to
get people to invest in his mysterious energy-production technology.

He runs these chambers with hydrogen gas and his catalyst. He has to
input heat to ionize the hydrogen, but when he measures heat output it
seems like more is coming out than was going in.

This is very similar to the cold fusion story. Doing calorimetry
(measuring heat in and out) accurately is much more difficult than
non-specialists realize. It is easy to get false results by not
accounting for all the changes properly. There is also the possibility
that some chemical reaction is occuring with the hydrogen.

The hydrogen atom is the most thoroughly studied in physics. The chances
that some chemical interaction can cause electrons to take up orbitals
forbidden by quantum mechanics, but that nobody else has noticed it before
this MD did, seem impossibly small.

The secrecy, the attempts to raise money by claiming a virtually
inexhaustable source of energy, setting up a business rather than doing
conventional scientific research, all point to it being a scam.