Monday, 23 March 2009

Happy Birthday, Cold Fusion!

It was today, 23 March, in 1987 that Stanley Pons of the University of Utah announced the "invention" of Cold Fusion. They didn't do so through scientific channels, but instead by having a press conference before anyone could verify their results. Two years, and 4.5 million dollars later, the government finally listened to the scientific community, who were very sure the results were full of bull. A 4.5 million dollar lesson in why science by press-release is a bad idea™.

I took a picture of the building cold fusion was `invented` in while I was in Utah. I tried to visit the lab itself, but they'd long since torn it out and renovated it. Most of the chemistry faculty were reluctant to talk about that sad bit of history. Behind the building, in this picture, you can see the Salt Lake City Olympic stadium - a project that went considerably better, I might say!


Anji Gallanos said...

Funny...I was in Utah during this time to. I remember trying to wrap my brain around what cold fusion meant and the excitement that was everywhere. Now living in Juneau. Take care

Anonymous said...

On the anniversary, the American Chemical Society was holding its Spring Meeting in Salt Lake City and at a symposium on new frontiers in energy made an announcement that cold fusion lives as Low Energy Nuclear Reactions, LENR.This long URL takes you to the press release. You can also go to