In the area of cold fusion (low energy nuclear fusion interactions):
Let me address an area where there is some powerful additional proof, already well-established, that one does not need high energy for transmutation (fusion) after all. The only reason for use of high temperature and high energy in conventional hot fusion is that hot fusion physicists use brute force energy and raw kinetic momentum to drive one particle deeply enough through the coulomb barrier of a like-charged target particle so that each particle reaches the strong force region of the other. It is the rapidly increasing strength of the Coulomb barrier and its rapidly increasing repulsion as the particles near each other that generates the "high energy" problem, and the existence and tenacity and increasing of that barrier is the only thing requiring all that high energy, high temperature, big particle accelerators, etc.\
Given that one can find a way to get like charges together without having to forcibly overcome the Coulomb barrier, then quasi-nuclei can form from such a process, just as they form in the conventional hot fusion process where particles are forcibly rammed deeply enough into their mutual coulomb barrier to sufficiently involve the strong force.
Obviously, then, to explain cold fusion (and, e.g., the appearance of large persistent clusters of like charges shown particularly by Ken Shoulders!) one must look for a method whereby the Coulomb barrier is negated.
So let us turn to thermodynamics and its second law. Modern thermodynamics is founded mostly on statistical mechanics, as is well-known. It is also known and recognized that there occur statistical fluctuations (after all, that's the nature of statistics itself!). Over the last decade or so, the statistical fluctuation theory of solutions etc. has been placed on a very rigorous basis, particularly by Denis J. Evans and colleagues at the Australian National University in Australia. Even in equilibrium (which is an average condition, not a completely steady condition), there are transient statistical fluctuations. These have been put on a rigorous theoretical basis. [E.g. see D. J. Evans and D. J. Searles, "Equilibrium microstates which generate second law violating steady states," Phys. Rev. E, Vol. 50, 1994, p. 1645-1648. The theorem was further generalized by Gavin E. Crooks, "Entropy production fluctuation theorem and the nonequilibrium work relation for free energy differences," Phys. Rev. E, Vol. 60, 1999, p. 2721-2726.].
The violation of the second law of thermodynamics has long been recognized for a single particle or for very few particles --- and for fleeting instants and for very tiny regions for lots of particles, in the belief that no violation of significant size and duration could result. However, that belief has been proven resoundingly wrong by recent work. Wang, Evans et al. have experimentally shown that dramatic violations of the second law occur in some fluids in regions as large as a cubic micron and for up to two seconds. [G. M. Wang, E. M. Sevick, Emil Mittag, Debra J. Searles, and Denis J. Evans, "Experimental Demonstration of Violations of the Second Law of Thermodynamics for Small Systems and Short Time Scales," Phys. Rev. Lett., 89(5), 29 July 2002, 050601.].
A cubic micron of water, e.g., has some 30 billion ions and molecules in it. In these "reversal zones" (I posited them in 2000 in JNE --- see T. E. Bearden, "EM Corrections Enabling a Practical Unified Field Theory with Emphasis on Time-Charging Interactions of Longitudinal EM Waves," Journal of New Energy, 3(2/3), 1998, p. 12-28. Also see T. E. Bearden, Energy from the Vacuum: Concepts and Principles, 2002, Chapter 10. Cold Fusion: Low Spatial-Energy Nuclear Reactions at High Time-Energy.] now are solidly proven for regions containing up to 30 billion ions, etc. and for up to two seconds.
In other words, in electrolyte regions up to that size and duration, one has sudden appearances of such reversal zones, rigorously due to purely transient statistical fluctuation. What is of tremendous interest to cold fusion is that, in such a reversal region, reactions can and do run backwards because negative entropy is being produced rather than positive entropy, in total violation of the second law of thermodynamics.
In my crude paper in 2000 in JNE, I pointed out that, in such zones, the law of attraction and repulsion of charges can be and is often reversed (because the reactions do run backward and that is now proven!). So in such a reversal zone, like charges can for the moment attract, while unlike charges repel. In other words, momentarily the forbidding Coulomb barrier reverses and becomes a Coulomb attractor. So two H+ ions or two D+ ions can attract so closely together (from sheer direction probabilities in Brownian motion but now with like charges attracting) that each enters the strong force region of the other, forming a quasi-nucleus.
Now we know that (1) those reversal zones really do form and that has been experimentally proven, and (2) thus the probability of forming quasi-nuclei, in the above very low energy manner where the Coulomb attractor appears, has greatly increased. This means that some quasi-nuclei do really form in the successful cold fusion experiments.
The demonstrated occurrence of reversal zones where reactions run backwards completely overrides all conventional objections that high temperature and high energy are required for fusion (in order to penetrate the Coulomb barrier). That is only a partial and conditional truth: they are required if and only if the Coulomb barrier remains conventional and one has to forcibly ram like charges together in spite of the barrier.
Now we know experimentally --- which means that no amount of theory can refute it --- that such "brute force kinetic penetration against the Coulomb barrier" does not have to be what happens to get to that quasi-nucleus state. In reversal zones sometimes two like charges do approach (are attracted) together sufficiently closely to involve mutual entry of each into the other's strong force region. So the fundamental "hot fusion in spite of the Coulomb barrier" requirement for the high temperature and high energy vanish, for those quasi-nuclei are formed by this coulomb attractor mechanism.
Now taking a tip from hot fusion. In hot fusion, many of the collisions often do not result in formation of the quasi-nuclei, because the charges do not get quite close enough, but with a certain probability some do. So some of the collisions do form quasi-nuclei. But even when the quasi-nucleus is formed, then more often than not the quasi-nucleus just decays back by quasi-fission --just splitting apart again before it can fully "tighten" and make internal energy adjustments to become a real, persistent nucleus and finish the fusion process.
The same thing very probably happens in cold fusion, for the quasi-nuclei that do form. Most can probably be expected to quasi-fission again and not produce final fusion. However, there is a real nonzero probability that some will indeed "tighten" further into real persistent nuclei, making the necessary internal energy shifts and adjustments, thus completing the fusion process.
In short, a certain fraction of these quasi-nuclei will indeed make it all the way to fusion, with finite probability.
In my 2000 JNE article and the ETV book, we identified some probable nuclear reactions under such circumstances that will yield some of the major fusion nuclei resulting from low energy fusion experiments. There are new nuclear chemistry processes that can give the deuterium and tritium in non-deuterated electrolytes where the reversal zones get to forming. In deuterated solutions, the Coulomb attractor processes appear to be enhanced. E.g., two D+ ions attracted together into a quasi-nucleus form a quasi-nucleus of He4, or a quasi-alpha-particle nucleus. In this case, there is minimal internal energy readjustment necessary, so the probability of escaping quasi-fission and going on to full fusion is increased. Therefore one would expect (and one sees in many such experiments) the emergence of anomalous alpha particles. And so on.
Actually there is a great new nuclear chemistry (at low energy and low temperature) emerging, once this area of the "reversed Coulomb barrier comprising the Coulomb attractor" is better understood. Consider also the Taleyarkhan experiments showing cold fusion in acoustic cavitation [R. P. Taleyarkhan, C. D. West, J. S. Cho, R. T. Lahey Jr., R. I. Nigmatulin, and R. C. Block, "Evidence for Nuclear Emissions During Acoustic Cavitation," Science, Vol. 295, 8 Mar. 2002, p. 1868-1873]
The so-called "refutation" of that work simply showed that the necessary high temperature to enable hot fusion by overcoming the Coulomb barrier did not occur. Actually, that was to be expected! So the 'refutation" is totally groundless, and ignores the experimentally proven occurrence of the reversal zones and formation of negative entropy interactions. We strongly stress that a negative entropy reaction does indeed go against the conventional (entropic) wisdom! A negative entropy reaction is a reversed reaction that goes against the seeming prevailing repelling forces (as considered under normal conditions) as if the repelling forces had become enabling forces . That's why it is so important to deal directly with the "assumed inviolate" nature of the law of attraction and repulsion of charges. Thermodynamically it is not inviolate at all, but is also subject to those same transient statistical fluctuations and the rigorous fluctuation theorems shown by Evans et al. and others.
We remark that one researcher, Ken Shoulders, has very thoroughly demonstrated the rather persistent formation of large clusters of like charges --- which I consider to be additional very strong experimental indications that he is directly initiating even more persistent reversal zones for longer time durations and maintaining the reversal of the law of attraction and repulsion of charges, in those zones, for longer periods of time. Let us address some of the things probably bearing on his experiments and the anomalous length of persistence of large numbers of like-charged particles in Ken's clusters.
But first we need one more fact from thermodynamics: There are several known areas that already are widely recognized to violate thermodynamics. One of those areas is sharp gradients (as in sharp pulse discharges, etc.). To quote Kondepudi and Prigogine on strong gradients, "…not much is known either experimentally or theoretically." [Dilip Kondepudi and Ilya Prigogine, Modern Thermodynamics: From Heat Engines to Dissipative Structures, Wiley, Chichester, 1998, reprinted with corrections in 1999, p. 459].
In a strong gradient, the equilibrium condition usually assumed in conventional thermodynamics is severely broken. In other words, the system is driven very far from thermodynamic equilibrium. The transients thus go wildly on the increase, because equilibrium conditions represent that condition of the most reduced transients (greatest entropy). Strong gradients represent strong violations of that maximum entropy condition --- in short, the production of strong violations and much wilder and longer-lasting fluctuations include stronger productions of negative entropy (the very same reversal zones and "reactions running backwards temporarily"). That is because nonequilibrium thermodynamics with much larger fluctuations and excursions -- and with the appearance of long-range ordering and self-ordering (see works of Prigogine, etc.) --- is now applicable, rather than the conventional near-equilibrium conditions with relatively small fluctuation excursions.
In short, Shoulders' experiments with strong sustained gradients should indeed show longer persistence of the reversal zones --- and greater effects from them --- than is shown by Evans and Rondoni. And they appear to do so.
In a steady strong discharge, then, additional factors are introduced, to include (1) far from equilibrium conditions, (2) steady state conditions, (3) dramatically increased size and duration of reversal zones that are produced at least statistically, and (4) the appearance of long-range ordering and self-ordering, etc.
The "penultimate" such strong gradient condition would yield a nonequilibrium steady state (NESS) condition, or something closely approaching it, where the statistics though dramatically changed are also rather stable for a more protracted period. This is particularly true for self-ordering and long range ordering --- important to Shoulders' experiments and cold fusion experiments.
Interestingly, for such NESS conditions, some very strange and marvelous sustained phenomenology occurs, at least in theory. E.g., Evans and Rondoni found that, startlingly, such systems are permitted to produce negative entropy, and to continue to do so where the entropy continually further decreases toward negative infinity as time passes. [D. J. Evans and Lamberto Rondoni, "Comments on the Entropy of Nonequilibrium Steady States," J. Stat. Phys., 109(3-4), Nov. 2002, p. 895-920.]
Taken aback by these startling results, Evans and Rondoni posited that probably no physical system could produce such an anomalous entropy response. However, my own proposed solution to the source charge problem shows that precisely such a continuous response --- e.g., for up to some 14 billion years ---- indeed exists for every charge in the universe. The example of the source charge totally violates the received second law to any size desired and for any time duration desired. So if the source charge solution holds, there is experimental proof that such systems do exist, rather universally, since every charge demonstrates it.
Such solutions have to exist, anyway, to account for things like inflation theory, and to solve the excruciating major problem of thermodynamics: its time asymmetry. In short, if the old second law is correct, once interactions start then the entropy must either remain the same or increase positively thereafter. For a hundred years, the thermodynamicists have puzzled over, "Well, then how could it ever have gotten so low in the first place?" [See Huw Price, Time's Arrow and Archimedes' Point, Oxford University Press, 1996, paperback 1997, p. 78] Price stated it this way:
"A century or so ago, Ludwig Boltzmann and other physicists attempted to explain the temporal asymmetry of the second law of thermodynamics. …the hard-won lesson of that endeavor—a lesson still commonly misunderstood—was that the real puzzle of thermodynamics is not why entropy increases with time, but why it was ever so low in the first place."
The answer is that the received second law is an oxymoron, implicitly assuming that its own self-contradiction has first occurred. In short, negative entropy operations do widely exist, as shown by every charge in the universe, and the conventional second law has to be corrected (we have already proposed the necessary correction).
Our proposed correction and extension to the Second Law is as follows:
"First a Leyton negative entropy interaction occurs to produce some controlled order. Then that initial controlled order will either remain the same or be progressively disordered and decontrolled by subsequent entropic interactions, unless additional Leyton negative entropy interactions occur and intervene."
We will address that Leyton effect shortly.
With the source charge as an experimental and ubiquitous example, then that must be true. What is needed is even stronger theoretical support, to show that the theoretical work by Evans and Rondoni is in fact directly applicable in the physical universe. And such is now available, with the genesis of what appears to be one of those great revolutions in science that sometimes occur with (at first) little fanfare.
In 1872, Felix Klein formed his geometry, with certain group theoretic methods, and also formed his Erlanger program. [See Felix Klein, "Vergleichende Betrachtungen über neuere geometrische Forschungen," 1872.] Since then, the progress of physics has largely been driven by Klein geometry and his Erlanger program.
In Klein geometry and with Klein group theoretic methods, breaking symmetry at one level reduces the overall level of symmetry, and the information is lost on that symmetry that was broken. That action directly excludes the production of negative entropy as any general reaction process. So that is the fundamental problem here.
Fortunately, Michael Leyton has produced an extended object-oriented geometry, of which Klein geometry is only a subset. [Michael Leyton, A Generative Theory of Shape, Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 2001.]. Leyton also created higher group theoretic methods for his extended geometry, with very interesting results. In Leyton geometry and group theoretical method, a broken symmetry at one level automatically generates a new symmetry at the next higher level -- and that is a negative entropy operation! Further, at the new level there is a layer that retains all the information of the lower levels, so the overall symmetry is increased. Then the symmetry at the new level can be broken, thereby generating another symmetry at the next higher level yet, and so on. And every new level retains all the information from the lower levels. So Leyton produced the hierarchies of symmetry, and (at least in my interpretation) their alternate negative entropy (self-ordering) and positive entropy (asymmetry) interactions.
In short, Leyton has introduced us to the self-ordering universe, a most dramatic change which I believe is as revolutionary as was the original discovery and proof of broken symmetry in 1957.
But what this means is that a continuous or near-continuous nonequilibrium steady state (NESS) condition can be established in a system, or certainly approached in it, to produce continuous negative entropy in various interactions ongoing in the system. I think that Ken Shoulders' work on charged clusters is a primary example of the formation of such temporarily sustained NESS systems and more persisting negative entropy interactions, thereby a rather sustained maintenance of the reversal of the normal law of attraction and repulsion of charges.
Of course, all this also argues (I hope very strongly!) that cold fusion is indeed a reputable and acceptable process, once the proper thermodynamics and proper fluctuations are accounted and Michael Leyton's higher geometry and hierarchies of symmetry are considered. And once the strong gradients and NESS system effects are accounted, for increasing the persistence of the negative entropy excursions.
The science of the future is very likely to include substantial adaptation and application of Michael Leyton's profound work, in my opinion. Also, in my opinion that includes the cold fusion work, the COP>1.0 EM power systems extracting energy from the vacuum, and a great many other things.
Very best wishes,