Thursday, April 12, 2007

Dr. Doug Natelson's Adventure with Steorn

Today, skeptical points us to a blog entry by Dr. Doug Natelson, an associate professor at Rice University:

I actually did communicate with Steorn last fall; while the had some interest in talking to me, they did not come close to answering my questions about how their jury process was supposed to work (e.g., would scientists actually be able to play with the gadget in an off-site laboratory; did Steorn really mean that their machine produced energy, or were they trying to finesse conventional jargon by talking about "coefficients of performance greater than one" (which may mean nothing for a refrigerator, for example)). I'm willing to wager that they have not discovered a loophole in the first law of thermodynamics. It will be interesting to hear what they report, and whether any actual scientists would be willing to stand up and back Steorn's claims.
This got Sean's attention:
Interesting, I will pull the correspondence on this person (Doug) tomorrow (if they did in fact apply) and post back on the matter.
And Dr. Natelson replied on his blog:
They asked me; I declined. There isn't much correspondence - two emails from me, IIRC. Discussion was done over the phone. Believe me, I would love it if I were wrong - it'd be the biggest scientific news of the century. However, having an open mind doesn't mean believing everything people tell you uncritically.
Finally, Sean had this to say:
Well all our calls are recorded so I will check these also, I would not like to think that the guy was treated unfairly.
Both Sean and Dr. Natelson will most likely post more details tomorrow, including emails and possibly even the telephone conversations between the two.


Anonymous said...

Dr. Natelson - "They talk about having their jury review their data, not actually do any testing themselves."

If this is correct and the 'jury' will only be supplied with Steorn data, then the whole validation approach becomes meaningless. I see where the Atkin's episode in a new light. Apparently Hairy and the good DR. have simmilar views on Steorn's validation approach.

If the jury does not replicate the effect for themselves, this is a waste of time. Show me the OU, not some unsubstantiated data.

Anonymous said...

The eight scientists (if they exist) who supposedly 'tested' the Steorn effect but refused to go public would have had good reason to refuse if they had only been given Steorn Data.

No reputable scientist would go public based on data they had no hand in collecting.

Anonymous said...

If in fact Sean is not letting the jury actually reproduce the experiments themselves and are only analyzing data, I doubt Sean would be very forthcoming with that information.

The fact that Sean hasn't been public on how exactly the test will move, what they're supplied with, where they're meeting etc, etc etc, lends me to be very leery of the jury process.


Anonymous said...

as unorganized as Steorn was setting up the SPDC with only 200 members, I could only imagine how poorly implemented the jury selection process was.. trying to narrow down a much larger set to 12. I could imagine why certain emails weren't answered. I could also imagine why certain overqualified members could have been 'overlooked'

Anonymous said...

I think this may be why things did not work out with Steorn and Dr. Natelson.

A little too on the Thicket, HK, Pennies side of the fence.

Rhaomi said...

Anonymous said...

If in fact Sean is not letting the jury actually reproduce the experiments themselves and are only analyzing data, I doubt Sean would be very forthcoming with that information.

Hasn't Steorn said in the past that the jury would be given full latitude to test the "effect" however they wished? That the *only* requirement would be that all results would have to be published at the end of validation?

Anonymous said...


that's what we've been told by Sean, this potential juror seems to imply differently, we simply don't know, and perhaps never will until its all over with.

nleseul said...

Note for Thicket, SteornTracker, and whoever else I've given the link to—I've uploaded the financials for 2001-2003.

Thicket, you have all the facts now—get them right this time. ;-)

Anonymous said...

OU effect or not, all i know is that steorn wanted to release some info where is that big update?do they need more time to fabricate some news?if one plan to make such a update it should be ready by now.
can you see something that i don't on their site?

JTerry said...

Just watched the Steorn 1st Quarter "update". Very disappointing I must say. Not really an update at all; they would have just been better off saying nothing. He talked about 22 scientists who make up the "jury", but no indication given as to any initial findings or comments of any of these jurors.

In reviewing the incredible amount of discussion on the issue of who is/is not involved with Steorn, I stumbled across the name of Dr. Puthoff. Is it true that he is somehow involved in this? Someone on the other blog said he was a "critic" of zero point energy; that is just a flat out lie. Puthoff is into every bit of pseudoscience he can get his hands on. If Puthoff is the caliber of "scientist" who appears on the jury, Steorn will be the laughing stock of the scientific community. The man is without any credibilty.

Tundrabog said...


Sean has been elusive about some of the things the Jury would be allowed to do.

He's been consistent in that the Jury can build their own device, if they choose.

The elusive part is whether they will actually be able to see, test and analyze Steorn's own device. He's been asked point blank whether the Jury will work with the Steorn unit, and has declined to answer.

Perhaps the Jury process is... here's our technical data. Go figure it out. Build something if you like. Anything you figure out cannot be released except through Steorn, because of the NDA.

Anonymous said...

well the prof has backed down from his statement, it seems that he just go it wrong. Read his blog.

Tundrabog said...


Thanks for financials. I got 'em.

Rhaomi said...


That makes no sense, though. Giving the jury test data/specs only, and forcing them to build their own device rather than work with Steorn's, is a sure recipe for a failed validation. Whether Steorn's claims are true or false, I'm sure that the last thing they'd want is a negative verdict.

Tundrabog said...


You're right. It makes no sense. Nevertheless, there were several threads and over 100 posts on the forums from folks stating that building a device was the way to go. Many felt that testing the Steorn device wasn't necessary.

Sean stayed out of the discussion, except when he stated that he wouldn't comment on whether the Jury members would actually see and test the Steorn device.

I'm convinced that the Jury will come back with a positive validation, but that it will be false. Testing a functioning Steorn device that isn't over-unity shouldn't result in a positive validation either.

I think that Steorn is smart enough to hand-select scientists that will validate.

vLan said...

Regarding the above comment about the jury being given only test data to base their verdict on, I'd like to ask that poster to go and read the godam steorn forum first.

In Sean's words (well that what we have anyway), the jury will decide their own testing methods, the jury will decide how long will it take to test and the jury will decide where to do the tests.

One thing is for sure, if the jury is given nothing but test data, the verdict is going to be only one - negative.
What do you think they will publish ? Excel sheets? Not.

And yes the update is no update...its for the people who don't track steorn day and night. Nothing for us to see here.....