Why the controversial science of cold fusion is getting hot again
What was once a dirty word in nuclear physics is garnering renewed attention from the world's most powerful military.
Today, the U.S. House of Representatives committee on armed services is set to be presented with a bill outlining the potential of cold fusion — a technology that used to be the poster child for scientific hoaxes.
What is cold fusion?
Cold fusion is based on the premise that you can, at Earth-like temperatures, force the nuclei of two hydrogen atoms to fuse to make an atom of a larger size and, more importantly, create a bucketful of energy in the process. Nuclear fusion happens all the time in the sun, but that's millions of degrees hotter than anything we would see on Earth.
Cold fusion suggests you could accomplish the same thing at more normal temperatures — and in 1989, researchers claimed to have done it. Theinitial experimentwas done by University of Utah scientists and it was heralded as an incredible breakthrough in clean energy technology. That was 27 years ago.
The theory was widely discredited and is considered one of the worst blights on scientific integrity in recent history. The experiment proved to be completely irreproducible and many experts in the field suggested that the theory wasn't even valid and cold fusion shouldn't be possible at all.