When Widom and Larsen came out with several papers between 2005 and 2008 setting out their theory that inverse beta decay best explains the evidence for LENR thus far reported, the theory turned out to be relatively controversial within the small group of researchers. Steven Krivit, author of The Rebirth of Cold Fusion and editor of the New Energy Times Web site, asked a number of people to respond to a set of twenty questions probing various details relating to Widom and Larsen's work. This discussion was published in New Energy Time's issue 26, which is available at the link above. Some of the people who are central to the LENR research took part in the discussion, and Krivit was able to obtain some of the views of Richard Garwin, a renowned physicist who worked with Edward Teller on the first hydrogen bomb.
Most of the critiques made for interesting reading, and a handful of them were emotional and lacked objectivity. My own favorite line of investigation at this point is that there is inverse beta decay going on under the control of several important variables, and the criticisms discussed in this issue provide a range of details that will be helpful in better understanding the implications of this category of explanation.
Richard Garwin was an early critic of the cold fusion research, and he subsequently visited both McKubre's lab at SRI International and a lab in France. Steven Krivit has published Garwin's report on the visit to SRI International on his Web site, which would make for interesting reading.
There was a discussion between Krivit and Scott Chubb that was related in the article, and one of the things that was raised as an issue by Chubb was that that there were a number of prior articles that Widom and Larsen failed to give credit to. Following are some of the authors mentioned in this connection:
- Laili Chatterjee, in a 1998 paper published in Transactions of the American Nuclear Society
- Kozima and his neutron band theory
- John Fisher and his ideas relating to polyneutrons
- Li (Xingzhong Li?)
- George Anderman, in an ICCF1 paper
Lastly, Jacques Dufour, in a note critical of the Widom-Larsen work, mentioned that the theory did not agree with NAA analysis in terms of gamma ray emission, in that emissions should be detected after the experiment has been dismantled (which, presumably, is not something that has been seen). By "NAA" I think Dufour is talking about neutron activation analysis.