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Rants, Raves, Interesting Science & Awful Puns
September 22, 1999

"Cold Fusion"?

Example of Nuclear Catalysis

People have been asking for my take on "Cold Fusion." The short answer is that I've always thought the rush to dismiss the original Fleischman and Pons report in 1989 seemed over-hasty. They were 18 months from wanting to publish and were pressured into doing so by political and legal considerations. Since then, the censorship from the mainstream literature has been virtually total, with only derision and put-downs allowed. But from other things I hear and read, a lot of work is still going on, primarily under private funding, that is yielding encouraging, repeatable results.

It seems to me that the term "cold fusion" is perhaps an unfortunate misnomer. The chemistry that supports life would be impossible without the aid of enzymes—biological catalysts that enable chemical reactions to take place hundreds or thousands of times faster, and with lower initiation energies. Work on catalysts in the early part of the nineteenth century was what made today's chemical industry as we know it possible. Conceivably, what's really going on under the various investigations dubbed "cold fusion" is the discovery of comparable processes that apply to nuclear reactions, which the conventional "hot" approach theory doesn't address. Hence, possibly, the ferocious opposition from the Establishment, insisting that nothing along such lines can be possible on principle (a dangerous way to think).

I don't claim any particular originality in this. In fact, as long ago as 1964, Arthur C. Clarke had this to say in his Profiles of the Future (Bantam):

"But there are other ways of starting reactions, besides heat and pressure. The chemists have known this for years; they employ catalysts which speed up reactions or make them take place at far lower temperatures than they would otherwise do. . . . Are there nuclear, as well as chemical catalysts? Yes, in the Sun, carbon and nitrogen play this role. There may be many other nuclear catalysts . . . that can bring about fusion at temperatures and pressures that we can handle. Or there may be completely different ways of achieving nuclear synthesis, as unthinkable today as the uranium reactor was only thirty years ago."

Those interested in being informed of what the regular journals don't tell you—ongoing work into excess energy phenomena; transmutation and nuclear waste reduction; commercial developments; conferences; publications and sources—might try subscribing to Infinite Energy magazine, information at http://www.infinite-energy.com

 
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