Tuesday, March 24, 2009

cold fusion stigma melting

Ever since the episode of extraordinarily bad science (on everyone's part: those who claimed it happened, those who claimed it didn't, the media. bad science all around) in the '80s, it has been difficult for any serious scientists to investigate the phenomena because of the stigma attached to it.

Cold fusion (known as low energy nuclear reactions LENR in boring circles) promises to be everything nuclear fusion power was meant to be. Ubiquitous cheap energy, but without the radioactive waste.

But instead of being continually investigated by the best and brightest, a series of very poorly funded but dedicated folks have kept the dream alive. In basements, garages and France and Japan and one US military lab, mostly.

Up until a few years ago, the DOE even had a blanket ban on funding any cold fusion research.

But, if my interactions with a variety of physicists, engineers, and scientists is anything to go by, there is still a quiet but strong undercurrent of interest in the phenomena.

But today, this article appeared on Science Daily after being published in a proper journal: the American Chemical Society.

Even if the results are quickly proven to be the result of a known phenomena and the authors gently mocked, the fact that that the results were published in a real journal at all is significant. It means more researchers will be able to spend time studying it without throwing their careers out the window.

It is a good day for science.

Three cheers for the editors who allowed the paper in their journal.

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