On March 23, 1989, two chemists, Dr. Martin Fleischmann and Dr. Stanley Pons, at the University of Utah, claimed to have discovered a method of generating energy from a nuclear source, in the form of heat, in a way that was previously unrecognized by nuclear physicists.
On April 10, 1989, Fleischmann and Pons published their 8-page "preliminary note" in the Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry. The paper was rushed, very incomplete and contained a clear error with regard to the gamma spectra. Their claims were largely rejected and quickly denounced by the scientific community.
As a result of the actions of competitor Steven E Jones, Fleischmann and Pons and the University of Utah were forced into situation to publish many months before they were ready.
A year later, in July 1990, Fleischmann and Pons corrected the errors from their hasty "preliminary note" and published their detailed 58-page seminal paper "Calorimetry of the Palladium-Deuterium-Heavy Water System," in the Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry.
In Sept. 1989, John O'Mara Bockris, professor at Texas A&M University, published the first replication of the excess heat effect in his group's paper, "Sporadic Observation of the Fleischmann-Pons Heat Effect," in Electrochimica Acta.
In 1992, the Wilson group from General Electric challenged the Fleischmann-Pons 1990 paper in the Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry. The Wilson group asserted: "While our analysis shows their claims of continuous heat generation to be over stated significantly, we cannot prove that no excess heat has been generated in any experiment."
When Fleischmann and Pons analyzed the Wilson critique, they found that, based on Wilson's own evaluation, the Fleischmann and Pons cell generated approximately 50% excess heat and amounted to 736 milliwatts, more than ten times larger than the error levels associated with the data.
In Charles Beaudette's review of Wilson critique, he succinctly notes Wilson's failed attempt to debunk Fleischmann and Pons.
"Wilson comes into this court (of validation) as a reluctant witness," Beaudette writes, "brought to the bar by the bailiff: he and his cohort insist there is no such thing as excess heat."
According to Beaudette, Douglas R.O. Morrison performed a critical review in 1994, which was "rebutted
strongly to the point of dismissal" by Fleischmann and Pons. Morrison did not respond to the rebuttal. [Beaudette, pg.5]
To this day, Fleischmann and Pons' seminal paper has never been successfully refuted in the scientific literature.
No other serious challenge to -- and no published refutation of -- the 1990 Fleischmann-Pons paper has been made in the scientific literature. By default, the Fleischmann-Pons work is now part of the formal body of scientific knowledge, despite the informal negative remarks by critics in the popular press.