March 25, 2009
Scientists Claim ‘Significant Evidence’ Of Cold Fusion
A U.S. Navy laboratory has produced "significant" evidence of the controversial energy source known as cold fusion, the Associated Press reported.
Researchers are calling it the first clear visual evidence that low-energy nuclear reaction (LENR), or cold fusion devices can produce neutrons capable of nuclear reactions.
Analytical chemist Pamela Mosier-Boss of the U.S. Navy's Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SPAWAR) in San Diego, California, called the finding "very significant."
She said it was the first scientific report of the production of highly energetic neutrons from a LENR device.
The annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in Salt Lake City, Utah, presented the study on Monday. Salt Lake City was where Martin Fleishmann and Stanley Pons conducted an infamous presentation on cold fusion in 1989 that caught the world's attention.
However, the Fleishmann-Pons discovery of cold fusion was soon discredited after other scientists were unable to produce the same results.
Experts say cold fusion has the potential to be a cheap, limitless and environmentally clean source of energy should researchers learn to harness it.
Other experts, like Paul Padley, a physicist at Rice University who reviewed Mosier-Boss's published work, maintain that the study did not provide a plausible explanation of how cold fusion could take place in the conditions described.
Padley said in an interview with the Houston Chronicle: "It fails to provide a theoretical rationale to explain how fusion could occur at room temperatures."
He also said that the research paper fails to exclude other sources for the production of neutrons.
"The whole point of fusion is, you're bringing things of like charge together. As we all know, like things repel, and you have to overcome that repulsion somehow."
Others argue the study's potential for opening up a whole new scientific field.
"The neutrons produced in the experiments may not be caused by fusion but perhaps some new, unknown nuclear process," said Steven Krivit, editor of the New Energy Times and a 20-year authority on cold fusion studies.
"We're talking about a new field of science that's a hybrid between chemistry and physics."
Image Caption: An experimental "cold fusion" device produced this pattern of "triple tracks" (shown at right), which scientists say is caused by high-energy nuclear particles resulting from a nuclear reaction. Credit: Pam Boss, Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center (SPAWAR)
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