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March 05, 2002

Wet Fusion

On March 23, 1989, Pons and Fleischmann shocked the scientific community by holding a press conference to announce their experiments in what they termed Cold Fusion. More than a decade has passed, and nobody has replicated their experiments or described a satisfactory mechanism for the pair's lab observations. I still remember my boss at NASA Lewis Research Center, Arnon Chait, observing, when the news was first released, how this would change the world...

Given that disappointing history, I was surprised to hear a report on the radio this morning that R. P. Taleyarkhan of the Russian Academy of Sciences and colleagues at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York announced tentatively that they had succeeded in producing fusion in a container of acetone by using a much-studied phenomenon known as sonoluminescence.

Searching Google for 'bubble', 'collapse' and 'fusion' yielded many links. This is apparently a popular area of research. But most of these articles seemed skeptical at best that fusion could be achieved by collapsing bubbles. Given the original cold fusion hype and failure, I'd like to be the first to dub this new approach Wet Fusion, and wish the scientists luck.

Posted by dpwakefield at March 5, 2002 09:14 AM