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    Cold Fusion Press Conference Video: ACS 2010
    By Richard Mankiewicz | March 22nd 2010 02:09 PM | 8 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
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    I used to be lots of things, but all people see now is a red man. The universe has gifted me a rare autoimmune skin condition known as erythroderma...

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    The American Chemical Society's Spring 2010 National Meeting and Exposition includes numerous research findings in the field of cold fusion, also known as Low Energy Nuclear Reactions (LENR). Here is the video of the live press conference that gives a broad introduction to the people involved and their views on this controversial part of science.

    "A potential new energy source so controversial that people once regarded it as junk science is moving closer to acceptance by the mainstream scientific community. The presentations describe invention of an inexpensive new measuring device that could enable more labs to begin cold fusion research; indications that cold fusion may occur naturally in certain bacteria; progress toward a battery based on cold fusion; and a range of other topics."

    As one scientist said,"I hope this is the end of the beginning for cold fusion." The subject of cold fusion is proving more subtle and complex than the initial experiments may have suggested. It is also bringing together scientists who were previously working in very different fields, with chemists, materials scientists, nuclear physicists and more.


    There's nothing new here. Cold fusion has long had a minority representation at meeting, including ACS meetings. It was studied before and after Pons and Fleischmann, with limited results. The payoff is potentially huge, so it's worth looking
    Pons and Fleischmann ruined the reputation of the field in a big way because they were high-profile frauds - they didn't to the proper control experiments, and they hid the definitive test (for helium in the palladium of the fusion cell) which would have confirmed or refuted their claim that fusion was occurring. They were not heroes and not martyrs. They were frauds.
    Wow, that video was enlightening. I can see where we all became misguided about the whole Pons&Fleishman thing. My problem, which seems to have been mirrored by much of the physics community, is that we were expecting the fusion reaction to have the characteristics of a nuclear reaction that had either been previously observed or predicted by theory. The problem is that this same reasoning is used to explain acupuncture, chiropractic, reiki, healing touch, etc. - you can see where this is going.

    Hey, maybe they have harnessed the power of chi?
    When Pons and Fleischmann first showed off their results to the press, nuclear physicists wondered why these guys (or their research technician anyway) were still alive - if genuine fusion had been occurring, the device should have been emitting large amounts of gamma rays and other nice things during the experiment.

    As Josh pointed out to me, in Rycharde's video here, at about 9 minutes in, one creepy looking scientist talks about all of the things they can't detect (things that you should detect if there is fusion going on), and they can't figure out why. Either fusion is not occurring, or its occurring by some mechanism that completely turns nuclear physics on its head.

    This guys think they're going to overturn nuclear physics.

    In the absence of any serious new evidence for fusion after 21 years since Pons and Fleischmann, I'm betting that nuclear physics as it stands is going to be with us a little longer.
    I concur with Mike that it's okay to research far out concepts - we know fusion works, we see it every day - but "so controversial that..." type sentences stand right up for me with "do it for the children" or "if we can save even one life" ... namely, you'd better reach for your wallet.

    Please don't think I am making fun of you or even just cold fusion - I may have been making fun of cold fusion longer than dark energy, for example, but it has been with no less enthusiasm.  Any time people pick a result and map the data to the topology, I am going to poke fun at them.
    Cold fusion, the stupid that just won't die. This is not a "controversial part of science" Rycharde, it's an uncontroversial part of pseudoscience, like it has been for, ohhh, about 20 years now.

    The US Navy Labs published a report in 2002 on cold fusion research:
    They didn't have the need to market it as a popular science book.
    Ignore it if you wish - that's not my problem - but I don't think the US Navy is in the business of fabricating results, especially as the authors are very aware of the history of the subject. Interesting that there is such a theoretical aversion to a process that has empirical evidence. The theory chapter is interesting; it does not demand a rewriting of nuclear physics but a new look at some assumptions, such as the assumed independence of strong and electromagnetic forces.
    The military believes, as we all do, that funding outlier research is a fine idea on a small scale.    The military also just funded research on telepathy but this does not mean a science site should start saying telepathy must be the same solid science as physics because the military funds it.

    I am betting we discover a way to do telepathy before we discover a way to do cold fusion, though.  My wife always knows what I am thinking!