January 29, 2010
Issue #34


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6. A Tragic Event in LENR History

By Steven B. Krivit

As auspicious a time as 2004 was in the history of LENR, it was the year the field lost its most outspoken proponent, Gene Mallove, founder of Infinite Energy magazine, in a brutal and still-unsolved murder.

Mallove was murdered on May 14, 2004, a day after eight people convened a conference call to discuss the plan for the second Department of Energy review of LENR. (See article in this issue "U.S. Department of Energy 2004 LENR Review—The Inside Story.”)

The initial speculation, that Mallove walked into his parents' house in Connecticut and startled burglars, doesn't work for several reasons. Chief among these is the fact that Mallove's body was found in the driveway after he had suffered an extensive beating. Second, had the burglars wanted to flee from a surprise meeting with Mallove in the open driveway, they could have done so.

Mallove was not lacking for enemies. He was openly critical of the thermonuclear fusion field, he sometimes debunked inventors' free-energy schemes when they allowed him to conduct close inspections, and he was openly critical of a subgroup of researchers in the LENR field who were advocates of the D+D —> 4He +24 MeV + heat "cold fusion" theory.

He had realized the weaknesses of the D-D "cold fusion" hypothesis and told this reporter, who had not yet understood the problem, on March 17, 2004. Mallove provided his critique of a draft report of "The 2004 Cold Fusion Report," which this reporter wrote and electronically published on March 22, 2004. The draft stated that measurements of excess heat from "cold fusion" experiments produced 24 MeV per helium-4 atom produced.

Mallove did not mince words.

"You're on VERY thin ice in stating that," he wrote in his critique. "There is only ONE experiment in which such a fact has been even approximately proved, and that is the SRI International reproduction of the Case catalytic fusion work."

The week before Mallove's murder, he had met with Jim Wilson, at that time the science editor of Popular Science, and shown him some LENR experiments. One of Mallove's closest colleagues told New Energy Times that Mallove was thrilled with the new attention from mainstream media.

Mallove had been aware of the plans for the second DoE review, and he was feeling optimistic about redemption after so many years of fighting on behalf of the field.

In a March 25, 2004, interview with Kenneth Chang of The New York Times, Mallove stated, "I am absolutely delighted that the Department of Energy is finally going to do the right thing. There can be no other conclusion than a major new window has opened on physics."

Despite the fact that Mallove is no longer with us physically, his ideas have continued to benefit the field. People, including this writer, are developing better understandings of this complex science as a result of his contributions.

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