Cold Fusion

Note: See MacromediaColdFusion if you are looking for the programming language with said name.

Excess Heat: Why Cold Fusion Research Prevailed by Charles Beaudette ISBN 0967854814

Also of interest The Rebirth of Cold Fusion: Real Science, Real Hope, Real Energy by Steven B.Krivit and Nadine Winocur (2004) ISBN 0976054582

Only a few scientists have claimed reproducibility, and none have asserted that all of the independent factors of their experiments have been controlled.

Yeah, well, web technologies are fine. But what about the amazing new source of energy that made headlines in 1989?

The jury is still out. There is certainly much truth to it, but nobody yet knows why the phenomenon is so sporadic and hard to reproduce.

How is the jury still out? Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence, and cold fusion is implausible according to present models of physics (which require lots of ambient energy to overcome the potential barrier between colliding nuclei). So unless someone has a reproducible working engine, cold fusion is very much false.

Unless someone has a reproducible working engine, cold fusion has not yet been demonstrated. Alternatively, it would also be correct to say that current experiments purporting to demonstrate cold fusion are flawed or unreproducible. The difference between these statements and the previous one is small, but important.

Well, maybe false is too strong a word, but undemonstrated is definitely too soft. The thing with cold fusion is it isn't just an unconfirmed phenomenon, but one which a variety of other experiments undermine the plausability of. The existence of a room temperature superconductor is undemonstrated, but we have little reason to suppose it can't be done; whereas I am not so sure that the same words should be used to describe perpetual motion machines.

I would agree that undemonstrated is definitely too soft. That there exists a species of bird whose plumage is colored in the pattern of the tartan of Clan MacGregor is undemonstrated. It's also absurd. If we were to give the benefit of the doubt to every wacky idea that was as yet undemonstrated, we'd never get anything done. Science (when it's done right, at least) begins by interpreting new observations within the context of existing models. It's only when those models are found to be incapable of explaining the observations that new models are created.

Not always. Einstein's original paper on relativity has no references in it because it was constructed de novo. It was only later that people predicted differences between the relativistic model and classical mechanics and constructed experiments to examine these differentiating test cases.

''That's simply not true. Einstein's work drew from the ideas of Lorentz, Poincare, Minkowski, Mach and others. No scientist, Einstein included, dreams up new theories just for the fun of it. The only motivation to do so is to explain observed phenomena. In the case of special relativity, Einstein's principal motivations were to give to mechanics the same property of space/time invariance that Lorentz had discovered about electromagnetism, and to explain the results of the Michelson-Morley experiment. In the case of general relativity, the principal motivation was to unite gravity with electromagnetism (that is, to put them into the same mathematical framework - another example of RefactorMercilessly, perhaps?). In doing so, Einstein's theory explained a number of pre-existing observations, the most well-known of which was the precession of the perihelion of the planet Mercury,

Okay, so what were Fleishman and Pons actually up to back then??

To learn more about cold fusion (low energy nuclear reactions) research see:

Cold Fusion


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