It has been interesting to follow the reactions to the recent article published in Nature about the Google-funded research projects in cold fusion. It seems to me that the field has now been given a new lease on life, as researchers who are outside the ‘LENR underground’ are now saying that although they have not so far been able to replicate the Fleischmann and Pons experiments, they feel there is something worth pursuing in the field.
In additional to the Nature articles, well-known media outlets are also now giving space and time to the subject, something that has been unheard of for decades.
National Geographic published on May 29 an article titled “Cold fusion remains elusive—but these scientists may revive the quest”. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2019/05/cold-fusion-remains-elusive-these-scientists-may-revive-quest/ Here is an excerpt:
‘Though the work may well raise eyebrows, Google was aware of the risks. Two of the review’s coauthors, Google engineers Ross Koningstein and David Fork, have argued that to deliver meaningful innovation in the energy sector, 70 percent of research funding should flow to core technologies, 20 percent should be dedicated to cutting-edge research, and 10 percent should back high-risk ideas that just might work—like cold fusion.
‘Whether their experiments yield an energy breakthrough, the research team hopes they’ve provided cover for young researchers and government funding agencies to reconsider this area of science with an open mind.
“The timing is really good for this,” says lead author Curtis Berlinguette, a chemist at the University of British Columbia. “I’m just really excited to show the younger generations of scientists it’s okay to take risks—to take the long shots.”’
This is an interesting and important point, I believe. There has been little to no funding available for research in the CF/LENR field because of the stigma associated with it, and so it has been very difficult for younger generations of researchers to get involved.
The UK’s Financial Times has also published an opinion piece by science editor Clive Cookson on the subject titled “Thirty years later, the cold fusion dream is still alive” https://www.ft.com/content/4233196a-82cb-11e9-b592-5fe435b57a3b
Cookson believes that scientific research in the field of cold fusion should be encouraged, not scorned, because even if it is difficult and the chances of success low, the potential payoffs could be immense. He reports personally visiting the lab of researcher Russ George in Essex UK and being impressed by the work going on there.
‘Although none of the experiments generated excess heat or radiation indicative of nuclear reactions, the Google-funded scientists insist that the project was worthwhile because it yielded several insights — for instance, into the behaviour of hydrogen inside metals — and new techniques such as improved calorimetry to measure heat flows. They hold out hope that future research might succeed in proving that cold fusion is a real phenomenon, if methods can be found to pack hydrogen more densely into the atomic lattice of metal electrodes.’
In my mind, anything that encourages serious research into CF/LENR is overall good for the field. If new researchers get involved, and new funding is available, and the appellation “junk science” is removed, then I think we are seeing progress. Google may turn out to have done an important service to cold fusion.