British Association for the Advancement of Science: Scientists shown video of 'cold fusion reaction'
Martin Fleischmann, former Professor of Chemistry at Southampton University, yesterday revealed that he and his American colleague, Stanley Pons, were being funded by a Japanese think-tank, Technova, to continue their research in France.
But their claim to have found a source of energy at least as intense as the core of a fast-breeder reactor was dismissed by one of Britain's foremost experts on sub-nuclear physics. Professor Frank Close, from the Rutherford Laboratory, near Oxford, said he had 'never seen evidence of fusion' in any of the experiments and that Professor Fleischmann's claims contradicted general laws of physics. If anything was going on, it was a chemical reaction, he said.
For more than three decades, physicists have been pursuing 'hot' fusion in huge machines costing millions of pounds. The process mimics the power source of the Sun and the hydrogen bomb by forcing atoms of deuterium - heavy hydrogen - together to form helium. Since huge quantities of deuterium are present in sea-water, fusion potentially offers an almost unlimited source of power. But the process produces intense heat - temperatures as hot as the surface of the Sun - and hard gamma radiation.
In March 1989, professors Fleischmann and Pons stunned the world by claiming that they could reproduce the effect cheaply in a test-tube. Using only the metal palladium and heavy water, they claimed to produce heat in a controlled fashion and with no radiation hazard.
Yesterday, Professor Fleischmann showed the British Association a video of the reaction proceeding in his test-tube apparatus rather than demonstrating the reaction itself. It was, he said, a 'fickle' process: 'It takes a week to initiate the process and you don't know exactly when it will initiate a spectacular energy release and then you have about 15 minutes to observe it,' he said.
He also revealed that he and Professor Pons had not succeeded in running the process for more than an hour. They turned off the apparatus for safety reasons, he said. 'If you cannot go to long-term heat generation then it's a scientific curiosity. One of the problems is to make it run for a long time.'
Professors Fleischmann and Pons left the University of Utah where they made their initial discovery, because the dollars 5m (pounds 2.52m) funding for the university's Cold Fusion Institute had expired and 'conditions for research were so unfavourable'. They are working at a secret location in France.
- 5 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
Lucy Hawking: Stephen Hawking's daughter writes impassioned open letter to Katie Hopkins about rights of disabled people
Indonesia executions: Death row British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford will refuse to wear a blindfold when she faces firing squad
Oxygen-starved 'dead zones' with no marine life up to 100-miles long discovered in the Atlantic Ocean
How the language you speak changes your view of the world
Russian warships accused of 'chasing away' Swedish vessel to prevent Baltic States from achieving energy independence
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: SNP and its activists 'openly racist' towards the English, Farage says
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils
£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...
£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...
£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...
£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...