Brian O'Leary's Quest for New Energy
By Bill Moore
Why does a respected university professor, author and scientist-astronaut, risk being ostracized by his peers and the press to pursue a Quixotic quest for a hypothetical power source of unlimited potential; a power source the establishment simply doesn't believe exists, or if it does exist, can't be utilized?
That's the question I posed to Dr. Brian O'Leary, the author of such New Age-sounding books as, Exploring Inner and Outer Space: A Scientist's Perspective on Personal and Planetary Transformation and Reinheriting the Earth: Awakening to Sustainable Solutions and Greater Truths.
His reply suggests a man who long ago shifted his focus from the exploration of our materialistic "outer space" to ones own self-conscious "inner space".
"This is the way change always happens," O'Leary assured me. " It is those who are willing to step out of their paradigm in to a new paradigm, even if it might initially be unpopular, and especially if the whole planet is hanging in the balance."
And because the fate of the planet does, for the moment, seem so precarious, especially in the light of the inevitable depletion of oil and natural gas during this century, O'Leary and his colleagues have formed the New Energy Movement. It's mission isn't to explore the stars, but to provide a catalyst for social action at the grass roots level to endorse and support research into the limitless power that holds together the very fabric of reality, as we know it.
Undoubtedly, EV World will receive a handful of emails from readers who question the legitimacy of not only the concept of "new energy" but also its relationship to the mission of this publication. We'll be reminded that talk of zero point energy and over-unity motors violates the laws of physics... as the author of the email was taught them. But as I discovered during my nearly hour-long conversation with O'Leary, there would appear to be a tangible basis for "new energy", even if it conflicts with our present paradigm.
Our Paralyzing Paradigm
To illustrate how the "system" militates against paradigm-shifting breakthroughs or concepts, O'Leary likes to point out that the reporter who first broke the story of the Wright Brother's first heavier-than-air, powered-flight was fired because his editor didn't believe it was physically possible to fly. Two years after the 1903 flight at Kitty Hawk, Scientific American -- whose director had failed in his own attempt at powered flight, his own aircraft crashing into the Potomac River outside Washington, D.C. -- editorialized that the Wright Brothers were frauds. After all, how could a pair of bicycle makers with no formal scientific training succeed where professionals had failed? Besides, where were the press stories and photos?
Eventually, O'Leary explained, it would take a personal demonstration for then-President Teddy Roosevelt before the establish accepted the reality of the Wright Brother's efforts. He sees a parallel to between the history of flight and the efforts by laymen inventors and trained scientists alike to crack the puzzle of extracting useful energy from the "quantum vacuum" of space.
He quoted the British philosopher, Sir Bertrand Russel who said that, "the resistance to a new idea increases with the square of its importance."
"I have seen dozens of successful demonstrations of what we would call 'new energy', he stated, explaining that he's been investigating this technology, known by various synonyms as aetheric, cold fusion, zero point, and quantum vacuum energy, for the last thirty years. But it's been just the last ten years that he's gotten serious about not only quantum vacuum energy but also what he sees as promising new hydrogen chemistries and low-temperature nuclear reactions, know popularly as "cold fusion".
He pointed out that the respected science fiction writer, Arthur C. Clarke called the initial dismissal of cold fusion as one of the great scientific scandals of the age.
O'Leary's Paranormal Tipping Point
For O'Leary the "tipping point" for his shifting his focus from "outer space" to "inner space" occurred in 1979 while on the physics faculty of Princeton University. He said he had a series of "paranormal" events in his life including remote viewing, healing, and a near-death experience (NDE), each of which "flew in the face of Western science".
"That triggered for me a whole new quest, which lead to the publication of a number of my books.... It was his third book, "Miracle in the Void", that caused him to diverge from the mainstream, or what he calls his "fellow clergyman in physics" and pursue a career as a "new energy" author.
During the 1990s, he visited inventors and researchers on nearly every continent -- and some islands, as well -- and saw for himself dozens of working, New Energy "proofs of concept." As a result, he is profoundly troubled by the fact that modern industrial society continues to either ignore or ridicule the concept of New Energy.
"I decided that many of the phenomena that lie outside the box of Western materialistic science might be open to scientific inquiry using scientific methods. So I went on that track and realized... what a gold mine this is, what an amazing area of potential for us to heal ourselves and the planet."
O'Leary's own personal experiences, along with his decades of research, have convinced him that our understanding of what constitutes "reality" and how our minds shape it is one of the great unfolding mysteries of our time. He told me about documented research experiments published in peer-reviewed literature that indicate human "intentionality" can effect the outcome of the experiment. This explains why some skeptics are unable to replicate what they consider "paranormal" events, while their positively-intentioned colleagues can.
Engineering Subtle Energy
So, for New Energy to work, do we all have to think positive thoughts and how does one "engineer" that? I asked.
He assured me that while it is possible to get large numbers of people working in unison to affect the outcome of some event, be it playing card experiments, healings or weather phenomenon, it isn't necessary when it comes to New Energy devices.
The concept of New Energy rests on the premise (or belief) -- and O'Leary asserts it has to exist for certain assumptions of quantum mechanics to be valid or for Faraday's formulas to work -- that underlying all matter and energy is a primal energy source that existed before the "Big Bang". It is from this "zero point" energy from which all other forms are derived, be they nuclear, electromagnetic or gravitational. It could constitute the invisible 95 percent of the universe collectively called "dark matter" and "dark energy".
Experimenters continue to try various approaches to extracting New Energy, including magnetic or over-unity motors, following in the steps of Faraday who in the 1800s began to notice anomalies in the energy output of rotating magnet motors. O'Leary breaks down the concept into electromagnetic effects and thermal effects, such as the excess heat output of cold fusion.
"To make a long story short," O'Leary told me, "there have been many successful experiments and also published in the peer-reviewed scientific literature."
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Why then is there so much resistance to this topic?
From his perspective, the answer is simple and unflattering. "There is an unfitting alliance between conservative scientists who don't know what the heck they are talking about, because they are addressing something outside their field of expertise even though they pretend not to... Meanwhile, the oil companies and the Bush Administration would like nothing more than to keep business going as usual; creating strife and conflict and dependence on foreign oil... giving the oil companies what they want."
Instead of sending trillions of dollars into the pockets of oil companies and despotic states, O'Leary envisions tiny power-packs no larger than a PDA effortlessly and inexpensively extracting energy from the vacuum of space through solid-state circuitry. Each device would generate 10kW of energy, enough to power the average American home... putting all our utilities out of business. A half-dozen in our cars would completely eliminate the need for gasoline, diesel, ethanol or grid-generated electricity. Our cars and trucks would become the ultimate in clean, green electric machines. Filling stations and refineries would become obsolete because you'd never have to refuel the family car again, ever.
If such technology is possible, you can see why some folks would be less than enthusiastic about its commercial introduction, or even the hint that it's actually achievable.
But is it? I asked O'Leary if he is comfortable with the theoretical underpinnings of this phenomenon. His answer was emphatic.
He stressed that he is a trained physicists who understands clearly the societal and political constraints placed on contemporary scientists, where tenure and grants are awarded for conformity.
"I am fifty-four now and the older I get, the more I realize that the box of Western science has been culturally limited, and political correctness is what sustains a career. And if you step outside that -- and that's happened throughout history -- then you're in for trouble with those people. They are not the ones you go to for that expertise. They are going to try to block it and they have."
Though not entirely because a small, worldwide community of researchers in North America, Europe and Asia continue to pursue research into the phenomenon. He cited an article in Science magazine that featured a number of reviews of cold fusion research being conducted by Hokkaido University, the French atomic energy agency, Oak Ridge National Labs and the University of Illinois in the USA.
The Danger of Armchair Skepticism
"Armchair skepticism is one of the biggest dangers our culture has because people say this stuff off the top of their heads and this gets out to the media as conventional wisdom," O'Leary observed. "Nothing could be further from the truth. In cold fusion, its abundant. It's published in mainstream, peer-reviewed literature. The authors are the best people at our national laboratories, people with Ph.Ds, people all over the world.
"The laws of thermodynamics can be broken and I am sorry for my colleagues who are stilling spouting this gospel of thermodynamics. The laws of thermodynamics are not laws. They're theories that apply to a very narrow range of conditions, equilibrium conditions."
O'Leary challenges the armchair skeptics to go to the labs and see for themselves that these are not elaborate hoaxes. There are true anomalies occurring for which our current theories simply cannot account.
Then where are the hand-held, 10kW power-packs, the cold fusion generators? If the technology is real, why hasn't anyone come forth with a commercial device?
For O'Leary the answer is two fold. First, most inventors simply haven't the business acumen to move their technology out of the table-top stage. That takes angel investors and they are hard to come by given the level of skepticism prevalent in our culture. And if an inventor does succeed in getting funding, the normal procedure is to go dark and disappear from the public radar screen while a commercial device is perfected, a process that can take years or even decades. (Look how long Paul Moller has been working on his flying car idea).
Then the inventor faces the very real threat from "the powers that be" -- vested business, political or religious interests -- for whom such disruptive technology constitutes a serious challenge to the status quo and their profits.
The Hardest Question of All
O'Leary calculated that for the equivalent to one day's spending on the occupation of Iraq -- a sum he estimates to be $100 million -- the United States could fund a serious research effort into New Energy.
"It just blows my mind," he said with obvious frustration, "here we are, a planet on the edge of annihilation and not one ounce of our energy could go into checking out all the possibilities and publicly discussing and debating their potential, because we want to make sure they don't make this into a bomb."
Which raises the question, are we mature enough as individuals and as a civilization to use the limitless energy of the vacuum wisely -- assuming we figure out how to tap into it and build those handheld power modules?
"You're asking the hardest question of all, because having been convinced that anyone of these technologies could change the world like that and give us a sustainable future for humanity, we're talking about a very big set of issues that needs to be publicly discussed and debated, and right now in America the atmosphere seems to be just the opposite." He is concerned that the American republic has begun the slide into imperialism, a notion he personally finds repugnant.
While serving as Mo Udall's energy adviser during the 1975 Democratic primaries, he also looked long and hard at nuclear and renewables, coming to the conclusion that nuclear power was fraught with to many problems and renewables simply can't power a modern, 24/7 society. He has reached a similar conclusion regarding the "hydrogen economy", noting that it takes more energy to make it than you get out of it.
Instead, O'Leary would "leave no stone unturned" in investigating every potential New Energy technology, giving each adequate funding so it can be developed beyond the table-top curiosity stage in which most of these inventions currently find themselves. Would some of the money be wasted on dead ends? Certainly, but all it takes in one breakthrough to completely change the game.
Paranoia: It Goes with the Territory
As with most people involved in New Energy, O'Leary harbors his share of paranoia, and perhaps with good reason given the unsolved murder of Eugene Mallove, the founder of Infinite Energy magazine earlier this summer. His thirty years of research into the culture has convinced him that there are people who have or want to suppress the technology. I am certainly not going to question his sincerity or veracity.
I asked him why wouldn't a General Electric, which recently invested in both wind power and photovoltaics, want to spend a small part of their yearly profits in some promising New Energy device or system?
He replied with a knowing chuckle, "They don't do that, because there's no profit." But making and selling $25 power packs to every person on the planet would seem like a good business, I responded.
"But they'd be making a lot less money than they make now," he replied. "I've spent many years looking for support, looking for feedback; and the answer has been no, no, no, no, no. Thousands of times. From industry, from media, from the scientific community, from US government agencies... and I am getting out of the country, because at least abroad you can develop the technology...I hope."
Before O'Leary packs his bags and leaves the country for what he hopes will be a more receptive intellectual and financial climate, he has organized the first New Energy Movement conference scheduled to take place in Portland, Oregon this coming weekend, September 25-26, 2004. He told me that he already has 100 people pre-registered for the conference. Detail are available on the New Energy Movement web site.
What O'Leary and his colleagues are aiming for is to move people well beyond the "healthy skepticism" phase and to build an international consensus to launch a crash research program to develop the technology before it's too late for the planet.
This article represents a general summary of my interview with Dr. O'Leary. You can learn much more about Brian's views and the New Energy Movement by listening to our 49-minute conversation. Click the play button on the MP3 Player at the right or download the MP3 file to your hard drive to play on your favorite MP3 device.