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3Q: Yet-Ming Chiang on reopening the case of cold fusion | MIT News

The other co-chairman, J. Robert Schrieffer, director of the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of California at Santa Barbara, said, ''I personally do not believe that the Pons-Fleischmann heat is due to anything but chemical energies. The negative views reflected the failure of scores of major laboratories around the world to produce the same amount of heat that Dr. Pons and Dr. Fleischmann claimed to have achieved in their experiment or to find the expected byproducts of nuclear fusion.

Stephen O. No one has duplicated their experiment. There was great hope they had stumbled on something that would solve the world's energy problems in a simple way.

A secret investigation

But it hasn't materialized. Stung by weeks of criticism from scientific peers, Dr. Fleischmann passed up an invitation to the Federal conference, concentrating instead on a new round of cold-fusion experiments. They also rebuffed the first approach of an Energy Department panel established to evaluate cold fusion experiments, saying that many members of the panel were hostile to their claims, according to a report Sunday in The Deseret News, a Salt Lake City newspaper.

Why Don't We Have Nuclear Fusion Power Yet?

James Brophy, head of research at the University of Utah, adding he was confident their claims would prove correct. Brophy attended the Santa Fe meeting. Efforts to reach Dr. Fleischmann by telephone were unsuccessful. However, Dr. Pons told The Deseret News that he was more convinced than ever that he and Dr. Fleischmann have tapped fusion. Nuclear fusion is the force that powers the sun, the stars and hydrogen bombs, fusing atoms together rather than breaking them apart as is done in nuclear reactors. Its controlled release on earth could generate vast amounts of electric power.


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Usually, nuclear fusion requires extremely high heat. But Dr. Fleischmann said they achieved the process at room temperature in a jar of water. They said their device produced excess heat when an electric current passed through palladium and platinum electrodes immersed in heavy water, which is made of deuterium, a heavy form of hydrogen. Achieving this goal requires scientists to be afforded the opportunity to do daring work.

This program provided us with a safe environment to take the long shot - given the profound impact this could have on society, we should remain open to it even if there is an unknown probability of success.

The Science of the Cold Fusion Phenomenon

Electrochemistry can create interesting states of matter. If those states of matter help us in the search for new clean energy sources, all the better. Even if we do not find a better way to produce clean energy, our discoveries along the way will still shed new light onto a variety of areas in science and engineering.

Not frivolously - but with new ideas and a recognition that there are things we don't know and that we should be curious about. When we looked into the scientific record of cold fusion, we found some bold claims, but not a lot of current, credible data. It took the father of the cathode ray television, inventor Philo T.

Farnsworth, to ready fusion power for prime time. As a subsidiary of ITT Corporation, the Farnsworth Television Laboratory built the first prototype of a device he called the fusor in Using inertial electrostatic confinement to create a small-scale fusion reaction, the fusor was one of the most reliable producers of a fusion reaction available during the s.

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ITT cut off its funding before the original fusor approach could be adapted for practical power production, but it found useful in commercial applications in aerospace and medical research. On a larger scale, projects like the multinational ITER program and the National Ignition Facility at Lawrence Livermore represent major investments in a new understanding of fusion, and new experimental approaches using powerful lasers, magnets, and other sophisticated tools to produce anomalous heat.

The Martin Fleishmann Memorial Project is an effort by believers to honor Fleishmann, who died in , by promoting widespread replication and publication of contemporary low-energy fusion reaction experiments by reputable researchers. They have redubbed the technology the New Fire, and use their web site to swap news and documents, including 3D CAD plans for replicas of key reactor components. A bottomless supply of power makes perfect sense to a world coming to grips with climate change, nuclear safety issues, the arms race, and addiction to foreign energy imports.


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The promise of capturing a star in a jar will keep the debate going, and temperatures rising, for a long time to come. Podcast: Hardhats and Holograms. ASME Membership 1 year has been added to your cart.