News

Evidence favoring cold fusion as energy source

May 30 - McClatchy-Tribune Regional News - Janese Heavin Columbia Daily Tribune, Mo.

There's mounting evidence that nuclear fusion can be created at
> room
> temperature, and if that energy can be harnessed, it has the power
> to change
> the world, scientists and researchers agreed yesterday at a
> University of
> Missouri seminar.
>
> It will take significantly more experiments, though, to fully
> understand how cold fusion works, said Vice Chancellor of Research
> Robert
> Duncan, who hosted the seven-hour gathering in Memorial Union.
>
> Duncan said he doesn't know whether cold fusion will lead to
> energy
> production but that's precisely the reason it should continue to be
> pursued.
>
> "It's simply too convenient to dismiss it as junk science," he
> said.
> "As scientists, we should go after what we don't understand."
>
> The fusion of atoms is a high-energy process that powers the
> sun and
> other stars. To replicate nuclear fusion in hydrogen bombs takes an
> enormous
> amount of heat. Experts believe the ability to create nuclear fusion
> without
> high levels of energy would allow for the generation of clean power,
> reduce
> nuclear waste and potentially eliminate the country's dependence of
> foreign
> oil.
>
> That's why claims of nuclear fusion occurring at room
> temperature made
> by Martin Fleishman and Stanley Pons 20 years ago caused a worldwide
> stir.
> Their findings were quickly dismissed, however, when scientists
> couldn't
> replicate the experiment.
>
> Since then, researchers from around the globe have been
> duplicating
> the experiment using different methodologies, said Frank Gordon,
> head of the
> Research and Applied Sciences Department at the U.S. Navy SSC-
> Pacific. Navy
> chemists in March announced they had conducted "highly replicable"
> experiments creating low-energy nuclear reactions.
>
> "We've been carefully designing experiments for 20 years," Gordon
> said. "By doing that, essentially we've been hidden in plain sight."
>
> Unlike Fleishman and Pons, though, the research team has had 23
> papers
> go through the peer review process, generating enough evidence to
> sway some
> skeptics.
>
> Because of those duplicated results, a skeptic might have a
> hard time
> arguing that nuclear reactions cannot occur at room temperature,
> said Edmund
> Storms, an author on the topic who assumed the role of an "informed
> skeptic"
> at the seminar.
>
> A skeptic, he said, would have to believe that hundreds of
> successful
> replications using different methodologies were somehow erroneous.
> And, he
> said, skeptics would have to believe that credible scientists "are
> incompetent only when they study cold fusion."
>
> Playing off a saying that extraordinary claims require
> extraordinary
> evidence, Storms quipped: "Extraordinary evidence should not be
> rejected
> just because it supports extraordinary claims."
>
> Reach Janese Heavin at 573-815-1705 or e-mail
> jheavin@columbiatribune.com.
>
>
>