The Resurrection Of Cold Fusion: A Much-Needed Transfusion Or Continued Delusion?
I’ve occasionally read accounts of continued laboratory research into cold fusion since the Fleischmann-Pons announcement of 1989 was largely discredited, but I confess that in not practicing what I preach, I didn’t give them much attention. The backlash from the bulk of the scientific community had seemed so unanimous and so persuasive that, no matter how much I wished for the discovery of an inexpensive, efficient, environmentally-sensitive and otherwise practical energy source, I found it easy to dismiss the remaining cold fusion advocates as Quixotic dreamers.
Too easy, perhaps, as it turns out. One of the segments on last night’s episode of 60 Minutes left me feeling both confused and excited. Check it out:
Now I realize that 60 Minutes’ core audience isn’t exactly a collection of Nobel Prize laureates, so the situation was probably greatly simplified. And I realize that 60 Minutes is a pseudo-news (albeit much more ‘news’ and much less ‘pseudo’, IMHO, than many of its competitors) program that’s highly motivated to cover eye-catching stories guaranteed to cultivate a large audience. However, both the researcher interviewed for the piece and the academic contracted by 60 Minutes to review the methodology and results (who walked away quite impressed) came across as highly credible to me. Conversely, the token naysayer came across as just that, rigidly fixed in his views and unwilling to revisit them, with no good reason given for his stubborness.
Give the clip 12 minutes and 32 seconds of your time, then sound off in the comments with your thoughts. Both your fellow readers and I welcome your reasoned perspectives on this controversial topic.