Scientists Call for More Research in Cold Fusion by Marsha Freeman WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 (EI
Scientists Call for More Research in Cold Fusion
by Marsha Freeman
WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 (EIRNS)--At a press conference today closing a three-day
meeting on developments in cold fusion, the participants unanimously called
for more research in this exciting and controversial field.
For 40 years it was thought that the production of energy by the fusion of
hydrogen nuclei could be done most easily at extremely high temperatures and
magnetic fields. Last spring, scientists announced they had produced excess
heat from fusion using an electrochemical process with palladium electrodes,
water, and a chemical catalyst, at room temperature!
The meeting here was sponsored by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and
Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). Its organizers reported that ``The
goal was to try to assess the general state of the field ... to address these
phenomena, understand what is happening, and provide some suggestions for
directions for future work.''
Considering the emotional outbursts, accusations, and dissension in the
press and scientific community since Drs. Fleischmann and Pons released their
first experimental results on cold fusion last March 23, participants here
produced a remarkably positive set of recommendations.
Dr. Paul Chu read their statement: ``The anomalous effects reported in the
metal-deuterium system are interesting. NSF and EPRI decided to hold this
workshop ... to invite scientists who have direct and related experience in
the research to assess the experimental status, to identify the experimental
issues, and to determine possible future research needed to clarify these
issues. In this respect, the meeting has been very successful.
``New, positive results in excess heat production and nuclear product
generation have been presented and reviewed.... Based on the information that
we have, these effects cannot be explained as a result of artifacts,
equipment, or human errors. However, the predictability and reproducibility of
the occurrence of these effects and possible correlations among the various
effects, which are common for the accepted established scientific facts, are
still lacking. Given the potential significance of the problem, further
research is definitively desirable to improve the reproducibility of the
effects and to unravel the mystery of the observations.''
Co-chairman Dr. John Appleby of Texas A&M told the press: ``We are getting
to the point where the results are widely accepted, which was not the case
earlier this year.... Carefully performed new experiments show that anomalous
heating at palladium cathodes in deuterium oxide with lithium ions present
appears to be real in many cases.... Future work requires more understanding
to make knowledge of the process systematic.''
World-renowned nuclear physicist Edward Teller, who attended the workshop,
released a provocative statement: ``Numerous interesting and partially
contradictory results on cold fusion are in disagreement with the solidly
established nuclear theory of fusion.'' Teller proposed that ``there is a
possibility to reconcile the results with the theory,'' if, perhaps, ``a
catalytic transfer of neutrons might be possible. It is conceivable that the
catalyst could be an as-yet-undiscovered neutral particle.''
Teller proposed experiments be done with Uranium-235 as a neutron acceptor,
and that scientists might also try to replace deuteron in its role as neutron
donor by Beryllium nuclei, in future research.
``It is recommended in recognition of the high-class work that yielded
surprising results, that the effort be supported in order to obtain
clarification, whether the results are due to sophisticated difficulties in
the experiments, or whether a new phenomenon is involved.''
E-Mail Fredric L. Rice / The Skeptic Tank