Earlier this month, when asked about his inspiration in the field of physics, Andrea Rossi referred the work done by Enrico Fermi. He added that it is work done in this area since 1939 that has inspired him most.
Recently, on the Journal of Nuclear Physics, a commenter called Eernie1 asked Mr. Rossi if the Rossi effect involves electron capture. Mr. Rossi in the negative on that. Eernie1 then said:
“Thank you for your reply to my question. Its back to the drawing board for me. My first thoughts involved electron capture by the Nickel nuclei. My second thoughts involved electron capture by a Hydrogen proton to produce the slow neutrons that could enter into a Fermi type reaction with the nickel. If I feel that a Fermi reaction is possible as hinted by you, I must hunt for a source of slow neutron, perhaps by way of your secret ingredient. It is interesting to note that Fermi used a radioactive source to provide the initial neutrons in his experiments, He also was awarded a number of patents involving nuclear fission devices, which are issued 10 years after submission because of secrecy concerns. Most were posthumous because he died in 1954. He also thought initially that he had created a new atom until the analysis of the reaction ash showed the fission byproducts. He was a very interesting scientist. My regret was that I started a relationship with the University of Chicago in 1954 and never had a chance to meet him.”
Andrea Rossi replied:
“i want to tell you an anectode: when i was 11 years old, I waS ATTENDING THE FIRST YEAR OF THE MIDDLE SCHOOL IN Italy, in a school of Milan whose name is “Parini”. Close to that school, in Piazza Cavour, there was a library, whose name was “Libreria Cortina”. At those times I knew nothing of Physics (I was 11 years old), let alone nuclear physics: I had my problems with very basic Mathematics: Parini was a very hard and difficult school. Walking from the school to the bus stop in Piazza Cavour I saw a book, a small book, with a blue cover, very anonymous to look at, with a title: “Enrico Fermi: Particelle elementary” (elementary particles). I did not know what the heck could mean “Particelle elementary”, but I was extremely attracted from that book, and I asked to my mother to buy it for me. She said “it is no use to you, you can understand nothing”. But I insisted, and she, amused, bought it for me. Obviously, when I tried to read it I understood nothing, but I conserved it for all my life, because I was convinced that sooner or later that book had something to tell me, until, in 1990, I succeeded to read it, and understood it perfectly. It has been a foundamental reading for the work I am making now.”
While Rossi did not reveal any secrets of the Rossi Effect in this anecdote, he did impart a little of his history with physics, along with some of his childhood interests. The E-Cat community is, no doubt, indebted Andrea Rossi’s mother for buying such a young child book that was “over his head”. Thanks is due, as well, to the powers that be that caused the child to be attracted to the volume, and later inspired by it.