© Harold Aspden, 1997

Research Note: 14/97: August 30, 1997

This Research Note is my response in reacting to a communication sent to me on July 16, 1997 by Mike Carrell ( He asked for my thoughts on the transmutation of thorium into titanium and copper by the Cincinnati Group, to be reported in depth in the then forthcoming issue of 'Infinite Energy'. I have awaited receipt of my copy of that periodical and here is my answer.


The March-June 1997 Special Double Issue (Nos. 13 and 14) of 'Infinite Energy' was published late, in August 1997, and I received my copy just a few days ago. It contains the breath-taking revelation of a Disclosure by 'The Cincinnati Group', giving details of transmutation of radioactive thorium into titanium and copper by what amounts to a 'cold fission' process. Quoting from p. 16 one reads:

They claim to accomplish within minutes to hours what Nature requires tens of billions of years to do - at a cost of mere pennies of electrical input. (The half-life of thorium-232 is 14 billion years.) No exotic materials, except zirconium metal electrodes, are required.

Note that 14 billion years is the age of the universe!

Then on pages 18-29 of that Special Issue of 'Infinite Energy' one reads more and more about this process and becomes assured that it has been confirmed by independent parties. It all seems so impossible, but one finds it difficult to argue with the facts as presented. My interest centred upon the opening paragraph of the June 16, 1997 NEWS RELEASE as presented on p. 16:

In a stunning upset of the fundamental dogmas of high-energy nuclear physics, a small group of inspired inventors, acting in the tradition of the Wright brothers of nearby Dayton, Ohio, has achieved reliable, multiply-confirmed, replicable-upon-demand, low-energy, bulk-process, high-speed, dirt-cheap, modern alchemy. For example, in less than an hour, one-tenth gram of radioactive thorium has been transmuted into nine-hundredths gram of titanium plus one hundredth gram of copper.

That says that the thorium is 100% converted into something close to a 10:1 mix of titanium and copper. It implies that the transmutation is so well matched in mass terms that negligible heat energy is released, bearing in mind that this is a nuclear reaction process! It says there is a way of rendering radioactive material harmless and it says that the edifice of the high energy particle physicist is sitting on foundations which are liable to tumble as the shockwave of this disclosure makes itself felt.

My interest in Aether Science, the theoretical world in which I live, is still rebounding from that shock, but I can offer some thoughts on the subject in this Research Note.


The $64,000 question one needs to ask is: "What is so special about titanium and copper?" Also one must wonder if titanium and copper will appear as fission products of the decomposition of other radioactive isotopes based on the same processing technique, namely electrolytic adsorption into metal electrodes from a dilute salt solution or some kind of surface action at the interface between that solution and an electrode. The question at issue is whether the transmutation of the radioactive elements at the top end of the Periodic Table is a process distinct from the moderate transmutations that have been reported as occurring between adjacent atomic elements in other, but somewhat similar, processes. The latter may involve 'proton creation' within the element, proton creation being a principal theme in this, my Web site - - and the former may involve a far more exotic concept, but one I feel bold enough to explain here.

My approach is to say, first, that there has to be something special about the state of the radioactive thorium when associated with a metal cathode through which electric current is conducted. Since 'cold fission' is in mind, I will first explore whether something is occurring that actually cools the thorium selectively. In these Web pages, notably by my reference [1989a] in the Bibliographic section - the paper entitled 'The Supergraviton and its Technological Connection' -, I have argued that 'cold fusion' and 'warm superconductivity' are linked. The link is the 'supergraviton', which I know has a mass of some 95.18 GeV/c2 or approximately 102.2 atomic mass units.

I have, since developing that supergraviton theory, come to realize that, if current is passed through a metal containing atoms that can migrate a little in the body of that metal (as can protons or thorium ions if adsorbed into it), then those migrant ions can build up chains or clusters. The thorium ions need not be adsorbed into metal but may simply group together at the interface between the metal cathode and the thorium nitrate solution from which they are dissociated. This may allow them to group together in units that are so well balanced by a dedicated number of supergravitons that they can absorb electron collision in a way which allows them to shed heat and augment the electron current flow in their recoil. The current flow is that of electrons in passage through the metal adjacent its surface, a flow necessarily involving impact with thorium atoms adhering to that surface. Note that gravitation comes about by a dynamic balance as between matter and the graviton population of the quantum underworld. (All this is fully described in the Tutorial section of these Web pages - even the precise value of G, the constant of gravitation, is derived by pure theory. See also Lecture No. 6).

So I ask if thorium can build a well balanced cluster, meaning one whose total mass in a.m.u. is close to an integer multiple of 102.2. I found that 11 units of thorium, given that its atomic weight is very slightly greater than 232, sums to a little above 2552, which is virtually the mass of 25 supergravitons. So, here was my first clue.

This fixed 11 as the magic number in my mind; there could be 11 units of thorium combining in a 'suicidal' disintegration into smaller elements. Then again I asked: "Why titanium?" I noted that the atomic number of thorium is 90. It has a nucleus with a charge of 90 units. Titanium has a nuclear charge of 22. I immediately saw that 11 times 90 is an exact multiple of 22. Here was another clue.

The question then arises as to how the mass-energy can be deployed without the enormous loss of heat in a nuclear explosion if there is no residual charge to form the other necessary atoms. It was here that my mind had to jump back to something I published 17 years ago in my book 'Physics Unified'. My attentions had been drawn by a colleague to a paper by M.H. MacGregor in 'Physical Review', D10, 850 (1974). He had suggested that the properties of a whole spectrum of fundamental particles could be explained if they were formed from four quarks. These were:

Mo = 70.0 MeV
M+ or M- = 74.6 MeV
S+ or M- = 330.6 MeV
S++ or S-- = 336.9 MeV
Now you will find that I discovered how to deduce each of these values, precisely, from my aether theory and I explained that on pp. 153-155 of 'Physics Unified'. The whole theory was founded on a proposition concerning the way in which nuclear charge is created! I confess that I had my doubts as to whether anyone would ever pay attention to the MacGregor account and, if that fell by the wayside, then my own theory concerning those four quarks would lose its foundation. I have not had occasion to think again about that subject - until now. We are talking about the creation of electric charge in units that can explain the atomic number of an atom, without relying on some mythical binding between protons mixed with neutrons.

Even in my earlier book 'Modern Aether Science', published in 1972, I had shown very clearly (Chapter 4: 'The Nuclear Aether') why atoms build a satellite group of A nucleons (not neutrons) round a core charge of Z units. I quote from p. 141 of that book:

When 'Physics without Einstein' was published the author supposed the nucleons to be formed as a system of neutrons and protons, as is conventional. The later realization of the stable charge system introduced in this chapter, however, has led to a revision of the model. All the nucleons are the same. They are negative particles of mass approximating that of the proton.

The point of that argument was that the atomic nuclear charge stands alone, its mass being normally far less than the mass of a single proton, but there are, enveloping it and distributed in nearby space, what amounts to A anti-protons, each of which takes up a lattice site in the aether vacated by a quon (the aether lattice charge or aether particle, also referred to in these Web pages as the 'sub-electron'). This is somewhat similar to the Dirac aether idea by which he suggested that positrons are sites in space vacated by electrons which move into the matter form. That suggests a hole or missing charge in the electrical background of space, the aether, but I prefer to see such 'holes' as filled by elements of matter, namely those anti-protons that surround the atomic nuclear charge Ze. They are held stable by the electrostatic balance of the aether itself. When this is all worked out in quantitative terms the results are indeed surprising and, I submit, convincing. However, that is another story and the issue here concerns the creation of nuclear charge.

Well, the theme followed was simplicity itself. I would soon be asking myself how a quon, that physically-expanded electron, or sub-electron, forming the aether charge unit, would react if it were to be bombarded by virtual muons to create enough electrons and positrons to fill the space it occupied. That was how I 'created' the proton or anti-proton in my theory. But even before that I had taken the bold step of asking what would happen if Z electrons could overcome their mutual repulsion and all be forced into a sphere having the normal volume of a single electron. This is a kind of chicken-and-egg argument, because it is more likely that the composite charge form is produced first and it then breaks up into Z electrons. However, developing the argument, I assumed collective formation of a particle of charge Ze and its anti-particle of charge -Ze and that Z had to be an integer.

I said to myself: "Suppose that a proton keeps its energy but expands to fill the volume of space normally occupied by a single electron, but that its charge can change to have the magnitude Ze, e being the unit of electron charge. Then determine the value of Z." The energy formula requires the mass-energy to be proportional to Z2 and so the value of Z is then found to be the integer nearest to (1836)1/2, which is Z=43.

Now what is so special about an atomic nucleus with Z=43? Firstly, I assure you that it led me immediately to the derivation of those four MacGregor quarks listed above. However, some years later, I came to realize that the atom technetium, for which Z is 43, is radioactive. It exists in the lower range of the Periodic Table where elements are stable, but yet technetium is missing amongst the natural elements. It, along with promethium at Z=61, are only seen as fission products of radioactive decay of elements at the top end of the scale.

I wrote about that under the title 'The Physics of the Missing Atoms: Technetium and Promethium', (see [1987a] in the Bibliography). That paper is also reproduced in full in my 1996 book: 'Aether Science Papers'. There is clearly something special about Z=43 and I am beginning to see this as having bearing upon the creation of atomic charge forms that constitute the nuclei of the atoms created by the 'cold fission' decay of thorium.

I reason as follows. A charge of 43e combining with a charge e will give a net charge of 44e, spread between two nuclei. Taking these to be equal, that gives two atomic nuclear charges for which Z is 22. The atom having Z=22 is titanium. Here is our next clue in solving the thorium fission mystery!

Now suppose that two charges of 43e combine with a charge e to give a net charge of 87e, spread between three nuclei. Taking these to be equal, that gives three atomic nuclear charges for which Z is 29. The atom having Z=29 is copper. Here was the next clue in solving the thorium fission mystery! We have arrived at the two elements which account 100% for the fission products, but what about their weight ratio in the resulting product?

Given that we have seen a way of finding the balancing charge that has to be created, now we can go back to take a look at the mass-energy balance involved in the nuclear reaction.

Why is it that there is no explosive fission of the kind that would result in heat and why does the fission process occur at a rate that speeds up from a period equivalent to the age of the universe to one measured in minutes or hours?

Well I suppose that the supergraviton resonance is the trigger, giving that magic combination of 11 thorium ions, which would not cluster together in a chain-like configuration under normal circumstances. This sets up the filamentary pathways for supercurrent flow, albeit at the surface of the metal cathode. Then there is the point that if any excessive heat were generated it would destroy the superconductive resonance and arrest the process. Proceeding from that point, what we need to check is whether we can match the mass of the 11 thorium ions with that of an integer number of titanium atoms and copper atoms, as now helped by what has just been deduced. Firstly, if titanium is created by that process just described and there is a counterpart decay of charge from the thorium the energy of 45 titanium atoms will be absorbed in taking up the 11x90e charge of the thorium nuclei. Secondly, we are left with energy which can be deployed to create a mix of titanium and copper atoms. We now need to know whether we can match that energy with a low number of such atoms to assure the cold fission result.

The mass-energy of 11 thorium atoms is found from their atomic weight as being that of 11 times 232.038 a.m.u. or 2552.418 and if we subtract the normal mass-energy of 45 titanium atoms, namely 45 times 47.90, this reduces to 396.918. Now, suppose the residual system tries to create one titanium atom and put the rest of the energy into copper-63. It would have enough energy to produce 5.54 such copper atoms but that means that the mass-energy of 34 a.m.u. is set free. This is far more than makes sense in a 'cold fission' scenario. Try next the creation of two titanium atoms. We are then left with enough energy to create 4.78 copper atoms. That gives an even larger release of energy and so that cannot occur. Moving on, try creating three additional titanium atoms. This leaves a residual mass-energy of 253.2 a.m.u. Now this is enough to create 4.023 Cu-63 atoms, because the isotope Cu-63 has an atomic mass of 62.93 a.m.u.

So we find that the energy surplus is 0.023 times 62.93 a.m.u., which is 1.447 a.m.u. Spread amongst the decay of nine sets of 11 thorium atoms, this is enough to add to 13.023 a.m.u. to produce 13 added nucleons in the resulting product and leave a small surplus that could be released as heat. In this circumstance cold fission begins to look possible, with a surplus energy of the order of 0.023 a.m.u. from nine times that original 2552.4 a.m.u. of thorium. Based on the conversion of 0.1 gram of thorium, as reported, the heat produced should then have the mass-energy of 10-7 gm. Multiplying by c2, which is 9x(10)20, this is 9x(10)13 ergs or 9 megajoules. Spread over a one hour period this is a heat generation rate of 2.5 kilowatts.

Now, of course, these numbers may not be accurate enough to get a true estimate of the heat generated. However, even 2.5 kilowatts, though insignificant in terms of the nuclear reaction we are discussing, is high in relation to the 300 or so watts needed to operate the Cincinnati Group's device. There is clearly more to this cold fission process than we thought! Indeed, one really needs to look for the reason, as seems now evident, for all the mass energy shed by the thorium decay to be deployed into actual mass, rather than heat.

At this point I can but look again to the role of that supergraviton system. It provides the energy in counterbalance with that of matter and it really links the system of thorium atoms in a kind of resonant state. This could well mean that any small residue of energy from the decay of those groups of 11 thorium atoms could be held in an energy pool, as by a quantum-electrodynamic effect involving meson creation and decay, pending deployment into forming titanium and copper atoms as other groups of thorium atoms decay.

We will therefore go back and start again on this energy analysis, looking now, not for a perfect energy balance, but for some more detailed clue that will tell us about the weight ratio of the titanium to copper atoms created by that decay. Also we will try to understand how the energy is deployed amongst different isotopes.

Looking now at the isotopic masses of the five isotopes of titanium we see that the dominant isotope Ti-48 has a mass of 47.948 a.m.u. To this level of precision, this value, stepped up by 1 a.m.u., happens to apply also to Ti-49. Copper has two isotopes, Cu-63 with a mass of 62.930 a.m.u. and Cu-65 with a mass of 64.928 a.m.u. The mass-energy of 11 thorium atoms is found from their atomic weight as being that of 11 times 232.038 or 2552.418 a.m.u. and if we subtract the mass-energy of 45 titanium atoms (Ti-48), namely 45 times 47.948, this reduces to 394.758 a.m.u. Now follow the argument used before and create the three extra titanium atoms to reduce the residual energy further to 250.914 a.m.u. This is very nearly enough to create four Cu-63 atoms, but it cannot do that, so we must look to the possibility that there are more than two groups of 11 thorium atoms in this atom building process.

We seek a further clue in that Z=43 activity. The titanium atoms are produced in pairs, whereas the copper atoms are produced three at a time. We require that Z=43 process to create a multiple of three titanium atoms and a multiple of two copper atoms in order to arrive at that low energy situation. Noting that we need to create in this way three titanium atoms per 11-thorium group, this mix of added atoms comes about if we suppose that the decay of 6 groups of 11 thorium nuclei can share in the action. That involves 18 titanium atoms and 3n copper atoms, these being divisible by 2 and 3, respectively. We need to determine n.

The residual energy from the single group, before creating the copper atoms is 250.914 a.m.u. However, we now have six such groups sharing the action. Therefore that energy becomes 1505.484 a.m.u. This is enough to create 23 copper atoms, but neither 23 nor 22 has the form 3n, so we can only create 21 copper atoms. That leaves us with a scenario of having created in that 6x11 thorium group decay, some 288 titanium atoms plus 21 copper atoms and we have some energy to spare to build some of these atoms in their higher isotope form.

First, however, we have enough data now to estimate the weight ratio as between the titanium and copper in the resulting product. The ratio of 288x48 to 21x65 is 10 to 1. I now quote from the 'Third Party Verification' account on p. 20 of that issue of 'Infinite Energy':

Comparison of the blank data with the processed test sample data indicated that significant quantities of titanium and copper had been produced. The concentration of titanium in the processed sample was 10 times greater than the copper concentration.

So now let us see what that residual energy means for the production of isotopes. The 6x11 thorium atoms contribute 15,314.51 a.m.u. The 288 Ti-48 atoms require 13,809.02 a.m.u. 21 Cu-63 atoms require 1321.53 a.m.u. We have a difference of 183.96 a.m.u., enough to add 184 nucleons to augment the isotopic increment that must occur. The energy has to be deployed and I now assume that those 21 copper atoms all become Cu-65 and that 142 of the 288 titanium atoms are of the Ti-49 isotope. In other words, I am saying that I expect, on this theory, to see the copper-65 dominate the copper component of the resulting fission product and very nearly half of the titanium atoms to be Ti-49.

Happily, the published data on the analysis of the thorium fission product has bearing on this. One cannot rely on the absolute precision of measurements based on scrutiny of a few samples, but at least one can judge if the isotopic masses have increased above the natural norm.

I now quote again from that p. 20 of the 'Infinite Energy' report.

Copper has two isotopes of mass 63 and mass 65. The natural abundance ratio of mass 65 to mass 63 is 0.45. The ratio observed in the processed sample is 8.2. This represents an 1800 per cent deviation from the natural abundance ratio. Titanium has five isotopes. The isotope of mass 48 is, naturally, the most abundant. Three of the four minor isotopes produced an isotopic mass ratio, with respect to the mass 48 isotope, which was equivalent to the natural abundance ratio. However, the mass 49 isotope produced a mass 49 to 48 ratio of 0.42. The natural abundance ratio is 0.075. This represents a deviation from the natural abundance ratio of 560 per cent.

The theory developed is therefore supported by that Ni-65 concentration. There is support from the Ti-49 concentration also, but the observations suggest that this is only about half of the amount predicted theoretically. How can we bring the figures into line, bearing in mind that those 288 titanium atoms were deemed only to be either Ti-48 or Ti-49, in the ratio 146 to 142? The normal abundance is in the approximate ratio 3:3:30:2:2 as between the 45, 46, 47, 48, 50 masses. This would need to change, in order to get a distribution fitting that found experimentally, the resulting ratio being 17:17:170:72:12, if it is to represent 288 titanium atoms. This gives 72/170 or 0.42 as the ratio observed for the Ti-49 versus Ti-48 masses. However, this requires about 70 a.m.u. less than is available on the energy analysis. So, unless that Ti-49 component already measured proves to be an underestimate, one must wonder if some other form of atom already present is experiencing an uplift in its isotopic mass, as by Ni-64 being created from Ni-60. About 18 such transmutations could occur in company with the creation of 21 copper atoms, if we apply this to the above data.

Then I invite you to look at the data for Scan 3 as shown on p.25 of that 'Infinite Energy' Special Issue. The data show that 92,342 counts for an atom of atomic mass 64 have appeared alongside the 2546 attributed to Ni-64, whereas, compared with the Scan 2 reference on p. 24, the Ni-60 content has diminished by 79,588. Yet, in contrast, the increment at an atomic mass of 65 (presumably Cu-65) is 90,136. It seems quite evident that nickel already present experiences an isotopic transformation in company with the creation of titanium and copper and does so in amounts that lend support to the theory outlined here.

Suffice it now to say that this theory comes very close to explaining what is observed and particularly why it is that titanium and copper are the fission products. The supergraviton has revealed itself in a new technological context and we must now await further research results in order to test this theory further.

To conclude, I stress that the role of the supergraviton is important because it can account for the clustering of thorium atoms in a manner conducive to fission. The warm superconductive aspects of the phenomenon involve the formation of filamentary channels for electron flow through those clusters. The bombardment by electrons (and positrons, because electric current is actually a counterflow of the two charge forms) involves penetration into the atom and preservation of current flow by inductance, the energy sustaining that flow being augmented by deployment of kinetic energy from the atoms, which cools the flow path. If those electrons can concentrate enough energy by their escalation of motion as current carriers, then they might well bring about the transmutation of the nuclei inside those atoms. This argument may seem speculative, but I am building, stage-by-stage, upon foundations laid earlier in my published work. One needs to have an open mind in searching for clues such as those discussed here and not react by quick impression to say something is impossible if the results predicted seem to confirm what is discovered experimentally.

Harold Aspden, August 30, 1997

P.S. added September 3, 1997. After reading this Research Note, Mike Carrell asked: "Why zirconium?" Zirconium is the metal used for the electrodes in the Cincinnati Group's cell. I am no expert on such matters but I think it could be because zirconium can withstand corrosion. I read in Shankland's 'Atomic and Nuclear Physics' (published in 1955) that:

Materials used in reactors must be very resistant to corrosion; for example, the steam temperature of a power generating reactor is limited by the corrosion of the fuel elements and of the piping and container, produced by the high pressure, high temperature water. Fortunately, zirconium is very resistant to corrosion under these conditions..."