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Brief Biography of J. Marvin Herndon
J. Marvin Herndon (b. 1944) is an American interdisciplinary scientist, who earned his BA degree in physics in 1970 from the University of California, San Diego and his Ph.D. degree in nuclear chemistry in 1974 from Texas A&M University. For three years, J. Marvin Herndon was a post-doctoral apprentice to Hans E. Suess and Harold C. Urey in geochemistry and cosmochemistry at the University of California, San Diego. He is the President and CEO of Transdyne Corporation in San Diego, California.
Profiled in Current Biography, along with Chief Justice of the U. S. Supreme Court, William H. Rehnquist, White House chief of staff, Andrew H. Card, Jr., film director and screenwriter, Sofia Coppola and thirteen others, dubbed a “maverick geophysicist” by The Washington Post [The Washington Post, March 24, Page A06], and armed with a unique knowledge of the nature of science and the ways to make important discoveries, passed down through generations of master scientists, J. Marvin Herndon’s professional life, as a technologist and as a scientist, has been a step-by-step logical progression of understanding and discovery, uncovering deep-rooted mistakes in geophysics, in astrophysics, and in science management. The consequence has been discovering the strikingly different nature of the Earth and the Universe, which are described in depth in his book Maverick’s Earth and Universe[Vancouver:Trafford Press, 2008, ISBN: 978-1-4251-4132-5], in scientific publications, in Google Knols, and in YouTube videos.
J. Marvin Herndon is trained both as a physicist and as a chemist, with broad, multi-disciplinary approaches to scientific and industrial challenges and with overview, evaluation, management capability, and experience. He is experienced in directing, managing, and performing basic and applied research, both theoretical and experimental. He is experienced in the management of mineral operations, and in chemistry, metallurgy and process development. He is experienced in plant and process design, construction, trouble-shooting, management and corporate operations, and is familiar with patent application procedures and has been awarded one U. S. Patent.
Important Scientific Discoveries and Insights in Earth and Planetary Science
= Composition of Earth’s inner core =
On the basis of data discovered in the 1960’s, J. Marvin Herndon deduced the composition of the inner core as being nickel silicide, not partially crystallized nickel-iron metal as proposed by Francis Birch in 1940. This means that Earth’s deep interior is like an enstatite chondrite meteorite, rather than an ordinary chondrite meteorite as presumed by Birch. The principal implication is that the Earth’s core contains radioactive elements, including uranium, which would otherwise not have been expected [Herndon, J. M. (1979) The nickel silicide inner core of the Earth. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, A368, 495-500].
= Enstatite chondritic composition of Earth’s lower mantle and core =
By fundamental ratios of mass, J. Marvin Herndon showed that the core and lower mantle of the Earth are chemically analogous to the two components of the Abee enstatite chondrite. This provides evidence that the deep interior of the Earth is indeed like an enstatite chondrite meteorite and it means that one can estimate the abundances of the elements in the Earth’s core and lower mantle from measured abundances in corresponding parts of the Abee meteorite [Herndon, J. M. (1980) The chemical composition of the interior shells of the Earth. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, A372, 149-154; Herndon, J. M. (2004) Scientific basis of knowledge on Earth's composition. Current Science, 88, 1034-1037].
= Nuclear fission reactors as energy sources for gas giant planets =
With knowledge of the ancient remains of the natural nuclear reactors discovered at Oklo in the Republic of Gabon in Africa in 1972, J. Marvin Herndon demonstrated the feasibility of planetocentric nuclear fission reactors as energy sources for the gas giant outer planets [Herndon, J. M. (1992) Nuclear fission reactors as energy sources for the giant outer planets. Naturwissenschaften 79, 7-14].
= Feasibility of a geocentric nuclear fission georeactor =
With an understanding that the Earth’s core contains uranium, J. Marvin Herndon used Enrico Fermi’s nuclear reactor theory to demonstrate the feasibility of a natural nuclear fission, fast neutron, breeder reactor at the center of the Earth, called the georeactor. Unlike other major, natural, Earth energy sources, which might change only gradually, the georeactor is capable of variable energy output including stopping (because of fission product accumulation) and re-starting again (as the light fission products float radially outward). Variable deep-Earth energy production may have important, not yet appreciated, implications on geomagnetic field variability, on planetary change and on global warming [Herndon, J. M. (1993) Feasibility of a nuclear fission reactor at the center of the Earth as the energy source for the geomagnetic field. Journal of Geomagnetism and Geoelectricity, 45, 423-437; Herndon, J. M. (1994) Planetary and protostellar nuclear fission: Implications for planetary change, stellar ignition and dark matter. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, A455, 453-461].
= Georeactor as the source of helium in oceanic basalt =
Daniel F. Hollenbach and J. Marvin Herndon demonstrated, from numerical simulations made at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, that a deep-Earth nuclear fission reactor will produce both light-helium, He-3, and heavy-helium, He-4, precisely within the range of values observed from deep-source lavas. The helium found in oceanic lavas, first observed over three decades ago, is evidence that a planetary-scale, natural nuclear reactor operates at the center of the Earth [Hollenbach, D. F. and Herndon, J. M. (2001) Deep-earth reactor: nuclear fission, helium, and the geomagnetic field. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 98, 11085-11090].
= Helium evidence of eventual georeactor demise =
J. Marvin Herndon demonstrated, from more detailed numerical simulations made at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, that a deep-Earth nuclear fission reactor, the georeactor, will produce sufficient helium with precisely the range of ratios as observed from deep-source oceanic basalt lavas. Moreover, the ratio of He-3 to He-4 increases over the lifetime of the georeactor. The high ratios observed in Icelandic and Hawaiian basalts suggest that the end of the georeactor lifetime is approaching, perhaps within the next billion years, perhaps much sooner; the time-frame is not yet known. Presumably, soon thereafter the geomagnetic field will begin its final collapse [Herndon, J. M. (2003) Nuclear georeactor origin of oceanic basalt 3He/4He, evidence, and implications. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 100, 3047-3050].
= Origin of the geomagnetic field =
J. Marvin Herndon set forth a fundamentally new concept related to the generation of Earth's geomagnetic field. Previously, he had considered the nuclear reactor at the center of the Earth, the georeactor, only as the energy source for the dynamo mechanism which generates the geomagnetic field that is thought to arise from convective motions of an electrically conducting fluid in a rotating body. Since 1939, the operant fluid has been thought to be the Earth’s fluid iron-alloy core. He suggested instead that the operant fluid may be contained within the georeactor as the fluid fission product and radioactive decay product sub-shell surrounding the actinide sub-core. He thus extended the georeactor concept by suggesting that the georeactor is both the energy source and the dynamo mechanism for generating the geomagnetic field. He pointed out the reasons why long-term, sustained convection appears more feasible within the georeactor sub-shell than within the Earth's fluid core [Herndon, J. M. (2007) Nuclear georeactor generation of the earth's geomagnetic field. Current Science, 93, 1485-1457].
= Origin of planetary magnetic fields =
Currently active internally generated magnetic fields have been detected in six planets (Mercury, Earth, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune) and in one satellite, Jupiter’s moon Ganymede. Magnetized surface areas of Mars and the Moon indicate the former existence of internally generated magnetic fields in those bodies. In 2007, based upon the commonality of matter in the Solar System and common operating environments, J. Marvin Herndon suggested that planetary and satellite magnetic fields arise from the same georeactor-type assemblage which he suggested powers and provides the operant fluid for generating by dynamo action the Earth’s magnetic field [Herndon, J. M. (2007) Magnetic Field Generation in Planets and Satellites by Natural Nuclear Fission Reactors. http://arXiv.org/abs/0707.4161 , Herndon, J. M. (2009) Nature of Planetary Matter and Magnetic Field Generation in the Solar System. Current Science, 96, No. 8., 25 April 2009].
= Unification of plate tectonics and Earth expansion theories =
J. Marvin Herndon set forth the principles of Whole-Earth Decompression Dynamics which unifies elements of plate tectonics theory and Earth expansion theory into a uniquely new self-consistent vision of global geodynamics, obviating the assumption of mantle convection [Herndon, J. M. (2005) Whole-Earth decompression dynamics. Current Science, 89, 1937-1941; http://www.ias.ac.in/currsci/dec102005/1937.pdf ; Herndon, J. M. (2004) Protoplanetary Earth formation: further evidence and geophysical implications. http://arXiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0408539 ].
J. Marvin Herndon described, as one of the consequences of Whole-Earth Decompression Dynamics, an unrecognized, different energy source for driving geodynamics and a new mechanism for transporting heat within the Earth, called Mantle Decompression Thermal-Tsunami, which emplaces heat and pressure at the base of the crust, producing volcanoes and causing earthquakes [Herndon, J. M. (2006) Energy for geodynamics: Mantle decompression thermal-tsunami. Current Science, 90, 1605-1606].
= Elucidation of planetary formation processes =
J. Marvin Herndon showed that only three processes, operant during the formation of the Solar System, are responsible for the diversity of matter in the Solar System and are directly responsible for planetary internal-structures, including planetocentric nuclear fission reactors, and for dynamical processes, including and especially, geodynamics [Herndon, J. M. (2006) Solar System processes underlying planetary formation, geodynamics, and the georeactor. Earth, Moon and Planets, 99, 53-99].
= Planetary formation by raining-out from within gaseous protoplanets =
From observations of matter, J. Marvin Herndon deduced the basis and reasons for understanding planetary formation in the Solar System mainly as the consequence of "raining out" from within giant gaseous protoplanets, leading to initial Earth formation as a gas giant Jupiter-like planet, a concept consistent with observations of close-to-star gas giant exoplanets in other planetary systems [Herndon, J. M. (2004) Solar System formation deduced from observations of matter. http://arXiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0408151 ].
= Earth core precipitates at core-mantle-boundary =
J. Marvin Herndon predicted low-density, high-temperature Earth core precipitates [CaS and MgS] floating atop the fluid core at the core-mantle boundary. These are an expected consequence of the enstatite-chondrite-alloy-like core, originally containing some calcium and some magnesium dissolved in the iron alloy and are responsible for the seismic "roughness" observed there [Herndon, J. M. (1993) Feasibility of a nuclear fission reactor at the center of the Earth as the energy source for the geomagnetic field. Journal of Geomagnetism and Geoelectricity, 45, 423-437; Herndon, J. M. (1996) Sub-structure of the inner core of the earth. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 93, 646-648; Herndon, J. M. (2005) Scientific basis of knowledge on Earth's composition. Current Science, 88, 1034-1037].
= Origin of ordinary chondrite meteorites =
J. Marvin Herndon discovered a fundamental relationship using published whole-rock chondrite molar Mg/Fe and Si/Fe ratios. This relationship admits the possibility that ordinary chondrite meteorites are derived from two components: one is a relatively undifferentiated, primitive component, oxidized like the CI or C1 carbonaceous chondrites; the other is a somewhat differentiated, planetary component, with oxidation state like the highly reduced enstatite chondrites. Such a picture would seem to explain for the ordinary chondrites, their major element compositions, their intermediate states of oxidation, and their ubiquitous deficiencies of refractory siderophile elements. J. Marvin Herndon suggested that the planetary component of ordinary chondrite formation consists of planet Mercury’s missing complement of elements [Herndon, J. M. (2004) Ordinary chondrite formation from two components: Implied connection to planet Mercury. http://arXiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0405298 ; Herndon, J. M. (2004) Mercury's protoplanetary mass. http://arXiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0410009 ; Herndon, J. M. (2004) Total mass of ordinary chondrite material originally present in the Solar System. http://arXiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0410242 ; Herndon, J. M. (2007) Discovery of fundamental mass ratio relationships of whole-rock chondritic major elements: Implications on ordinary chondrite formation and on planet Mercury's composition. Current Science,. 93, 394-399].
= Enhanced prognosis for abiotic natural gas and petroleum =
J. Marvin Herndon pointed out that the prognosis for vast natural resources from abiotic natural gas and petroleum resources, which depends critically on the nature and circumstances of Earth formation, has for decades been considered solely within the framework of the now-discredited, so-called standard model of solar system formation. Within the context of recent advances related to the formation of Earth, initially as a Jupiter-like gas giant, that prognosis is greatly enhanced for several reasons [Herndon, J. M. (2006) Enhanced prognosis for abiotic natural gas and petroleum resources. Current Science, 91, 596-598].
Important Scientific Discoveries and Insights in Astronomical Science
= Stellar ignition by nuclear fission =
Thermonuclear fusion reactions, thought to power the Sun and other stars, require temperatures on the order of one million degrees Celsius for ignition. Since the mid-1930s the assumption has been that such temperatures were obtained during the in-fall of dust and gas during star formation, but there are problems. In 1994, J. Marvin Herndon suggested that stellar fusion reactions may, in fact, be ignited by a central fission reactor in the same manner that a fusion bomb is triggered by a fission bomb. Rather than stars automatically igniting during formation, non-ignition may occur in absence of actinide elements, leading to the possibility of dark stars, dark matter, particularly surrounding luminous galaxies [Herndon, J. M. (1994) Planetary and protostellar nuclear fission: Implications for planetary change, stellar ignition and dark matter. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, A455, 453-461].
= Origin of diverse luminous galaxy structures =
J. Marvin Herndon has suggested that the diverse luminous galaxy structures can be understood in a logical and causally related manner if heavy element synthesis is related to galactic jets which jet heavy nuclear matter from the galactic core into the galaxy of dark stars where it seeds the dark stars it encounters with fissionable elements turning dark stars into luminous stars [Herndon, J. M. (2006) Thermonuclear ignition of dark galaxies. http://arXiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0604307 ; Herndon, J. M. (2008) Maverick’s Earth and Universe, Vancouver:Trafford Press, ISBN: 978-1-4251-4132-5].
= Planetary interfacial thermonuclear fusion =
J. Marvin Herndon has suggested that hot Jupiter exoplanets, which have densities less than Jupiter, may derive much of their internal heat production from interfacial thermonuclear fusion ignited by nuclear fission [Herndon, J. M. (2006) New concept for internal heat production in hot jupiter exoplanets. http://arXiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0612603 ; Herndon, J. M. (2008) Maverick’s Earth and Universe, Vancouver:Trafford Press, ISBN: 978-1-4251-4132-5].
= Evidence against planetary migration =
J. Marvin Herndon has presented evidence against the astrophysical concept of planetary migration based upon evidence that Earth was at one time a close-to-Sun gas giant similar to Jupiter in mass and composition [Herndon, J. M. (2006) Evidence contrary to the existing exoplanet migration concept. http://arXiv.org/abs/astro-ph/0612603 ].
The above examples, although not exhaustive, are among the most important discoveries and insights by J. Marvin Herndon.
Representative Technological Experience
Participated in nuclear reactor based experiments involving epithermal neutron irradiation of uranium and plutonium isotopes. Conducted cyclotron based spallation experiments using proton and deuteron beams. Conducted radiochemical procedures as well as thermal neutron and delayed neutron activation analysis. Managed an open pit, heap leach, precious metals mine. Designed and constructed a carbon adsorption mill and stripping system. Directed operations, made technological improvements and conducted proof of performance documentation for a tank leach mill system. Conducted metallurgical research aimed at improving the physical properties of nickel silicide. Synthesized alloys using radio frequency induction heating and performed annealing experiments. Designed and constructed a 50,000 watt radio frequency amplifier for specialized purpose induction heating. Participated in the investigation of laser-produced evaporation and condensation of matter. Predicted by thermodynamic calculations the compounds that would condense from a cooling gas. Developed a theoretical technique for assessing inconsistencies in thermodynamic data. Measured natural remnant magnetization in meteorites involving both alternating field demagnetization and thermal demagnetization. Employed a Curie balance equipped with a furnace and a gas-mixing apparatus to analyze magnetic phases and to conduct oxidation-reduction experiments on magnetic components. Made theoretical computer model calculations based on the diffusion heat in solid heat-producing matter. Measured experimentally heat capacity and thermal conductivity. Experienced with a board range of analytical techniques, including optical microscopy, electron microscopy, mass spectrometry, neutron and delayed-neutron activation analysis, atomic absorption spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, and fire assay. Conducted laboratory experiments to develop the technology for a metallurgical beneficiation process based on magnetizing gold particles using iron pentacarbonyl, an organo-metallic compound. Designed a pilot plant based on that technology and directed its construction and operation. Experienced in all phases of technological management and administration.
Sharing Knowledge and Understanding
= Google Knols by J. Marvin Herndon=
= YouTube Videos by J. Marvin Herndon =
= Educational Websites =