I just came across this article that details how some Italian scientists claim to have "re"-discovered the secrets to cold fusion.
As some of you may know, fusion requires unimaginable amounts of energy to kick start. Electromagnetic and Strong forces are really powerful and that is what is needed to be worked against to fuse Hydrogen nuclei to fuse to Helium and produce energy. How strong is the electromagnetic force compared to say the force we encounter everyday- gravity? It is approximately 10^38 times more powerful. To overcome such an enormous amount of repulsion between positively charged Hydrogen nuclei, high temperatures are needed- millions of degrees, which is why it's been impossible to replicate fusion here on Earth.
Cold fusion is simply a (failed) attempt to achieve fusion at room temperatures via some unusual nuclear and chemical reaction. Well, look and check it out for yourselves. By the way, neither the experimental data has been released, nor the experimental setup has been outlined yet.
This kind of claim is just a hindrance to science. Every now and then these loonies pop up and make these claims and the public in general just rebukes the scientific community as a whole because, just like religious leaders and a few zealots, they steal the attention for all the wrong reasons.
"Science should give up?"
That's just semantics Gaytor. Science in and of itself is not someone who works tirelessly. Scientists should always keep trying but whenever extraordinary claims are made, extraordinary evidence is required. Cold Fusion is one such claim.
Are you being dismissive to the point? "That's just semantics..." "The word "semantics" itself denotes a range of ideas" - Wiki. So maybe you could be more specific.
Cold fusion is simply a (failed) attempt to achieve fusion at room temperatures via some unusual nuclear and chemical reaction. You then go on to say, This kind of claim is just a hindrance to science.
You make a specific verifiable claim that it has failed to date. You then go on to say it gets in the way of science. My position would be that science should not be concerned about what the media will do with it's information. Science submits it's findings to peers and the peers judge it. What Time Magazine writes about that information is none of the scientists concern. They are announcing an announcement. How would you propose they handle it differently?
Cold Fusion hasn't worked. And? How many science experiments have to fail before we discount it all together? Is there a new rule about to appear? Isn't it sufficient that the community says everyone has an opportunity to make a claim. If you have doctored that claim, your career is likely over. If it's simply wrong, we'll see if it can be done and/or move on. Your suggestion seems to be that no "real" scientist should be looking at it. That's not science as I understand it. Some of the greatest scientists of all time were called loonies in their day. Kepler was said to have contradicted all we know about astronomy. Turns out he was correct. Let the science work. Each failure puts you closer to a potential success. Maybe success in Cold Fusion will be in our lifetime, maybe it will never work. But when science decides to "give up" for appearances, we might as well accept that life will never improve from that point on.
I agree with you, but it's also a matter of nuance. Claims should be verified, but if in the first 5 seconds a physicist realizes that the one making the claim has no real evidence, he will probably dismiss it. I think cold fusion is such a case, in which the strong force holding the nuclei together is... well, strong. Cold fusion is such an extraordinary claim that the extraordinary evidence for it should be visible, to a scientist at least, from a mile away. So, in my opinion, any good scientist (in a relevant field, like particle physics) would dismiss the claim for cold fusion apparently without analyzing it, but that's because it would only take him one question and one answer to realize that the evidence is just not there.
I may just be talking non-sense here, because I'm not a scientist myself, but I think this is the case of cold fusion and physicists. It's a fusion that will never happen, if I may add.
I wasn't being dismissive. But there's a difference between the kind of looney (geniuses in retrospect) you're talking about and the kind who go on to claim extraordinary results.
There are scientific methods to be followed when making such claims. One of them is having a well written well structured and well referenced AND well cited research article that is sent to be published via peer-review. The individuals in question did do so. But their paper was denied publication because they had nothing to back up their claim. Like one scientist asks "what detectors were used?.." etc.
To give you an example of how intense scholarly research is, my research this summer involves solving a non-linear partial differential equation. It appears as one of many (100s would be more accurate) equations in a Bose-Einstein condensate related paper. There's so much scrutiny involved in any scientific work that simply making claims isn't going to give you a check mark, especially since it's so much easier to do research, etc with online databases, publishing tools, etc. There is no excuse for such haphazard and careless work.
As for cold-fusion itself, fusion itself IS possible- albeit only for a few seconds, as has been shown by research groups in Europe. If cold fusion were possible, pretty much every battle and every war in the world would come to halt in a matter of a few years. The implications are EFFIN STAGGERING!
Research should continue but to what extent should research universities fund such a project, considering how predictable the results are? If researchers are able to go about it on their own, or find private sources of investments, thats perfect, but publicly spent money should go towards new frontiers where there are hints of success. One cannot know before hand whether the LHC is a good investment or not but there have been other success stories around the world involving particle detectors. Science nowadays is so complex, there really is no such thing as a brand new physics or biology. Eveything builds on something else.
While project proposals are evaluated, they are done so based on their merits and relationships to related or similar experiments/ theoretical work done in the past or at present.
Cold Fusion has built on nothing really, except for grossly misunderstood and miscalculated experiments. Which is why most serious scientists are wary of it. They don't dismiss any claims right away. Attempts are made to replicate it or to analyze data and these guys have not provided any relevant information to that end.
There was a big craze in 2009 about a lab in Israel (Energetics Israel, headed by Dr. Saul Lesin - שאול לסין) which managed to create cold fusion.
60 minutes ran a story about it- and were apperantly convinced.
I found their page on youtube:
Of course that cold fusion goes against known science, but you said this: "high temperatures are needed- millions of degrees, which is why it's been impossible to replicate fusion here on Earth."
I just thought you might like to know that fusion exists here on Earth, here where the highest temperature recorded in the Solar System has been achieved. 3.7 billion Kelvin vs. the mere 13.6 million Kelvin from the interior of the Sun, or the 20 million Kelvin recorded in the Solar Corona.
But keep in mind that there's a difference between temperature and heat (energy). The temperature of the spark you get when welding metals is hotter than the surface of the sun.
But the energy required to reach those temperatures in a reactor is immense and sustaining it so a chain reaction occurs is a whole new story. It's that combination of reaching those temperatues and maintaining a chain reaction that's the main problem.
20 more years or so they say.... hopefully one day....