The Rebirth of Cold Fusion
Excerpt from Chapter 20

Objections Overturned

In 1989, many of the stewards of nuclear science, the nuclear physicists, felt certain that the explanation for cold fusion must be laboratory error. The claims of table-top nuclear energy were inconceivable in view of half a century of established theory and hot fusion experimentation. The physicists raised four main objections: the standards for reproducibility were not met; the usual evidence for nuclear reactions (neutrons and gamma rays) was absent; available techniques for measuring excess heat were unreliable; and theoretical understanding was incomplete. 

The key to understanding the controversy and its outcome is this: the nuclear physicists' unstated objective was to explain the phenomenon away, while the discoverers' aim was to explain its existence. Those who panned the discovery were content to end their inquiry there. Those who pursued cold fusion research were eager to explore its nature and potential.

Much has transpired over the last 15 years in the science of cold fusion. The primary objections have been overturned, and fascinating new discoveries have taken place. 

Today, many researchers indicate that cold fusion is highly reproducible. The basic claims of nuclear-scale energy without nuclear radiation have been substantiated hundreds of times over. Scientists around the world have replicated the effect repeatedly (Figure 3-1), and they have demonstrated it using a variety of experimental methods.1 The supposedly lacking nuclear products, which originally prompted critics to dismiss cold fusion's founders as delusional, have been measured convincingly.2 

A common myth about cold fusion is that a single key will make it work. To the contrary, the subject matter is infinitely variable and complex; its success depends on a multitude of incremental insights and understandings, rather than one "Eureka"! moment. While many of these triumphs appear only as abstruse readouts on diagnostic equipment, dozens of important advances have indeed occurred, and many pieces of the puzzle have been found. 

Certainly, had researchers gained the initial support of the scientific establishment, progress would have been much greater by now. Perhaps cold fusion-powered generators would have arrived. Nevertheless, with only modest resources available to them, scientists around the world have made impressive headway in their understanding of this burgeoning new field of science. No longer is there a question of whether cold fusion is real, or even if it works. Scientists are improving their understanding of how and why it works. The greatest remaining mystery is, Can cold fusion be scaled up to provide for civilization's needs for electricity and heat?

Through a confidential survey of cold fusion researchers who attended the August 2003 10th International Conference on Cold Fusion (Figure 3-1), the authors of this book learned that research continues in at least 13 countries. While far more researchers undoubtedly are working than are represented by this survey, these numbers portray a continuing worldwide effort. Among survey respondents, 73 researchers work in university laboratories, 53 in government and military laboratories and 49 in private industry. 

In the United States, although many work in military or university settings, the lack of government funding has meant that quite a few cold fusion researchers have resorted to setting up their own private laboratories. Many have devoted their retirement years to solving the mysteries of cold fusion.