Cold Fusion Pioneer Richard Oriani, 1920-2015
Dr. Richard Oriani, a cold fusion pioneer who was the first to place CR-39 inside electrolytic cells in order to detect energetic particles, passed away on August 11 at the age of 95.
Oriani received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1948 and went on to work at General Electric Research Laboratory and U.S. Steel’s Bain Laboratory for Fundamental Research. His early work focused on the thermodynamics of phase changes in metals and metal solutions and hydrogen embrittlement.
Oriani was a professor and director of the Corrosion Research Center at the University of Minnesota from 1980 until his retirement in 1999, but he maintained an office and conducted research until last year. It was at the University of Minnesota that Oriani first conducted cold fusion experiments in 1989. He was one of the first to verify the Pons-Fleischmann results. In an interview for the documentary “Cold Fusion: Fire from Water” Oriani said of these early experiments:
“Since I had some background in the area of hydrogen in metals, I thought that I could do something to prove that the announcement was incorrect, that they did not have the right idea. So I began to do some experiments and, sure enough, I got negative results and that went on for about five months. But then I got new metal, new palladium and, by golly, I got two excellent experiments with very positive results, more power, thermal power coming out than I was putting in electrically, in an electrolysis-type experiment and that made me a believer. It made me a believer because I could see nothing at all wrong with the experiments…I finally got positive experiments, positive results, that made me realize that there are more parameters here in this field than any one of us had considered before and so it seemed natural that there would be negative experiments because we were not controlling the proper parameters. We just didn’t know enough even to recognize what parameters should be controlled…”
See Infinite Energy's complete memorial obituary for Dr. Oriani, which includes contributions from his colleagues and a piece by Marianne Macy about Oriani's PACA Protocol. Read Issue 94 for a piece on the collaboration between Dr. Oriani and Dr. John Fisher. Many of Oriani's papers are also available at lenr-canr.org. Visit Wikipedia for more details of Oriani’s life and career.