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Cold Fusion Breakthrough?

Probably not, but it's such a high-payoff concept that it's worthwhile to keep on eye on those few who continue to chase that particular grail. Here's the latest one from Japan, with a report that the experiment seems to be repeatable.


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Paul F. Dietz wrote:

Experimental artifacts are also often repeatable. So repeatability is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for a successful experiment.

Rand Simberg wrote:

Well, yes. I don't think I said, or implied otherwise. But the fact that it's repeatable encourages continued exploration, while non-repeatability would be discouraging.

Carl Pham wrote:

It's the same old bullshit. The focus on "excess heat" tips you off. It isn't fusion unless you get neutrons and gammas, which they don't, as usual. (Otherwise they'd say so, I'm sure, since that's what sunk Pons and Fleischmann.)

it's such a high-payoff concept that it's worthwhile to keep on eye on those few who continue to chase that particular grail

Rand, the folks who still believe in perpetual motion machines say exactly the same thing when soliticing investment us say 'optimists.' It's a form of Pascal's Wager you're urging, huh?

Rand Simberg wrote:

I'm pretty sure that I didn't recommend that anyone invest in it. All I said was that it was worth keeping an eye on. That's a pretty minimal investment.

Paul Breed wrote:

At the time of Pons etc I made $1500 by purchasing palladium futures. I followed the whole debacle with some interest. To this day I believe there are just enough reputable scientists with interesting elemental transformations, or odd isotope results to make me wonder. The Lack of neutrons has always a significant negative indicator for me.

It reminds me of a quote from an anthropologist asked about a fellow anthropologist that was trying to find Bigfoot. "I would guess that the odds of finding a large undiscovered primate in the world to be 50,000 to 1, so if there are 50,000 anthropologists in the world its probably about right that one serious anthropologist works on finding bigfoot.

Should cold fusion be dismissed out of hand and get zero resources, no I think that would be wrong.
Should it get the majority of fusion research? No I think that would be wrong as well.

Should it get 1:50,000th of the attention of mainstream fusion, yeah I think that is about right.

Andy Freeman wrote:

Neither neutrons nor fusion are required for power generation.

Excess heat alone, regardless of the cause, is good enough for power generation.

K wrote:

Here's a link to an article by Julian Schwinger, who won the nobel with Richard Feynman for QED. I once had a graduate E&M course taught by him and I can tell you that the man is easily one of the top 3 most brilliant people I've ever come across. He's also pretty well grounded in reality. On the other hand, he's not cowed by what he calls the "hot fusioneers" or limited in imagination, either.

Karl Hallowell wrote:

Andy, if only that were true. The problem is that erroneous detection of excess heat is a common failing of research into alternate power production. The usual problem is that the researchers failed to account fully for the physics of the system or the energy budget of the system. It's so common that I too discount any research that only reports "heat generated". In the case of tabletop fusion, there should be gamma rays and neutrons generated. The absence of such is a strong indication that fusion did not occur.

Jay Manifold wrote:

Cold fusion may survive attacks by its enemies, but it will have a much harder time surviving defense by its "friends." That thread over on has already accumulated every kooky meme associated with pseudoscience, down to and including the one about how scientists are really an Inquisition devoted to suppressing heretical thought.

I would love for cold fusion to be true. When I can go to Home Depot and buy a unit to put in my basement so that I never pay another electric bill, I will also believe it to be true.

Dan DeLong wrote:

That article by Julian Schwinger is indeed interesting. It is also 14 years old. I wonder what he would have to say today?

Jay Manifold wrote:

Julian Schwinger is conveniently unavailable for comment.

Infinite Energy has been spreading it on with a trowel publishing this sort of thing for 13 years now.

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This page contains a single entry by Rand Simberg published on June 1, 2008 1:30 PM.

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