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Alan Smith: Making a Difference and Clean Energy Optimism

Role: CEO / Secretary of ISCMNS
Author: Eman Elshaikh
Alan Smith, a leading figure in the International Society for Condensed Matter Nuclear Science, embodies the spirit of innovation and the relentless pursuit of knowledge. His journey into the field of Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR), commonly known as cold fusion, is as unconventional as it is inspiring. Smith's path into science is marked by curiosity, self-taught expertise, and a profound desire to contribute to a sustainable future.

An Unconventional Path

Born and raised in the East End of London, Alan Smith's early exposure to science was through practical, hands-on experiences facilitated by his family. The youngest of five, his siblings' experiments and his father's obsession with cars laid the groundwork for his enduring fascination with technology and mechanics. "I left school at sixteen and got a job as a trainee bacteriology technician in Harley Street, which was fascinating. I mean, the lab itself was run on very Edwardian lines. There was a technician there, Wilfred Whittle, who I will never forget because he was a phenomenal mentor." This sparked his lifelong commitment to science.

Smith recalls this foundational experience, "Everything was done from first principles," a philosophy that would guide his entire career. His knack for improvisation and learning from every opportunity propelled him from one interesting job to the next across various fields, from biotech to industrial chemistry. His work at WR Grace further solidified his expertise in process chemistry, particularly in synthesizing rubber, tying his early experiences with biotechnology to his later interests in energy and materials science.
"I left school at sixteen and got a job as a trainee bacteriology technician...which was fascinating. There was a technician there, Wilfred Whittle, who I will never forget because he was a phenomenal mentor."

A Maverick in Cold Fusion

Smith's entry into the LENR field was driven by his persistent interest in the anomalies and controversies surrounding cold fusion. Despite the skepticism from mainstream science, Smith, fueled by the potential of LENR to transform the energy landscape, established his own laboratory. His experiments have ventured into novel territories, from testing different fuel types like lanthanides and micron-sized powders to pioneering ways to generate electricity directly from LENR cells.

His most notable experiment involved a setup where a combination of micron-sized powders of cerium and other metals like nickel and cobalt were subjected to high temperatures in the presence of deuterium gas. This setup led to an unexpected and dramatic increase in temperature, suggesting an anomalous heat effect, a hallmark of LENR phenomena.

Discussing his experimental journey, Smith shared a moment of unexpected discovery, "the temperature alarm on the thermal system went off... and the temperature ended up at 1700 degrees." Such phenomena, elusive and challenging to replicate, exemplify the “Cold Fusion fairy”—his term for the unpredictable nature of LENR. "This is not simple science... In terms of replicating occasionally remarkable phenomena, that's not easy to do."
However, Smith's work doesn't stop at experimentation; he envisions practical applications that could revolutionize energy consumption globally. His research aims to develop LENR-based heat sources that could one day replace conventional heating elements in household appliances, drastically reducing the electricity consumption and carbon footprint of everyday living. This not only underscores the versatility of LENR technology but also its potential to contribute to sustainable development goals by providing cleaner and more efficient energy solutions.
Smith's entry into the LENR field was driven by his persistent interest in the anomalies and controversies surrounding cold fusion. His most notable experiment led to an unexpected and dramatic anomalous heat effect, a hallmark of LENR phenomena.

Vision for the Future of Energy

Looking forward, Smith is deeply committed to the practical applications of LENR, aiming to make clean, sustainable energy accessible worldwide. He envisions a future where compact and efficient LENR devices could provide essential power to billions without access to electricity. "If you haven’t got any electricity at all, two or three watts is life-transforming," he explains, highlighting the profound social impact potential of LENR technology.
His current projects include collaborating with Frank Gordon and Harper Whitehouse on the Lattice Energy Converter, a device that aims to harness the direct production of electricity from LENR. Getting this to work commercially is key to achieving Smith’s goal of democratizing energy access and reducing global reliance on fossil fuels.

This hope for a cleaner, more sustainable world has propelled Smith to push the boundaries of what's possible in condensed matter nuclear science. His story encourages others to rethink conventional energy paradigms–an inspiring model for a new generation hoping to explore the uncharted territories of science. As such, Smith tells me that newcomers need to join the field and revitalize it. "We are vampires. We are the cold fusion vampires. We're looking for fresh blood."

But, as Smith explained, the field needs another sort of boost - better funding and better public relations. “The biggest challenge that we are facing currently, I think, is the influx of money into hot fusion... and we’re terrible at PR.” Despite these challenges, Smith is optimistic about the future. In his own words, reflecting on the impact of his work, "If there was a heaven... I could say, well, at least I made a difference." His work, he explains, is future-oriented, driven by "the desire to make a difference... for my grandchildren and everything else, to leave the world a better place than it could be." Through his efforts, Alan Smith not only challenges the scientific status quo but also contributes to a legacy that could one day power the world in ways we can barely imagine.
“The biggest challenge that we are facing currently, I think, is the influx of money into hot fusion... and we’re terrible at PR.” Despite these challenges, Smith is optimistic about the future.

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About Alan Smith
Alan Smith is an independent scholar and the CEO/Secretary of the The International Society for Condensed Matter Nuclear Science (ISCMNS). He started out as a bacteriology technician, moved on to human tissue culture, got involved in the UK nuclear fuel program, worked on paints, sealants and adhesives as a polymer chemist and also as a precision engineer/product developer and cabinet maker/designer. Sometime in the middle of that I worked as a University lecturer and factory manager, often all at the same time. He then returned to science, his first love, and since then has collaborated with some of the more famous and also notorious scientists and engineers (hard to tell the difference) working on the places where the known meets the unknown.

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