Astronomy Cast Covers Cold Fusion

A recent episode of the Astronomy Cast webcast on the Universe Today web site has a conversation between host Fraser Cain, and Astronomist Pamela Gay about cold fusion. I found it quite an interesting conversation because some of the background information that Gay talks about, and her descriptions of some of the theoretical issues.

Gay is generally skeptical about cold fusion, but not totally dismissive. She considers cold fusion to be a ‘borderland’ science, rather than a pseudoscience. She sees that there is a theoretical way that cold fusion could happen, but doesn’t think that the deuterium-palladium electrolysis mechanism that Pons and Fleischmann used is a workable way to do it. Nickel-hydrogen reactions are not brought up, and there is no mention of Andrea Rossi or the E-Cat. Gay seems more interested in the bubble cavitation experimentation that she thinks shows some interesting results.

The video of the conversation is below — the cold fusion discussion starts around the 11:30 minute mark.

  • Bernie Koppenhofer

    There is no way they have not heard of nickel hydrogen cold fusion, they simply decided it was not “credible” enough to talk about. Too bad.

  • Daniel Maris

    I thought Pamela Gay’s concluding comment was rather good – there’s no reason why in theory there can’t be a low temperature way to achieve cold fusion. It’s just a question of how.

    I am not a scientist but that is the impression I get as a lay person looking at the science…

    So I retain my stance of what I would call optimistic scepticism i.e. I’ll believe it when I see it I but see no reason why I won’t eventually see it (assuming I live long enough).

  • bachcole

    Fun article about scientific blunders: It is a good partial review of the fallibility of science. You might find my comment at or near the top.

  • bitplayer

    For those interested in a little diversion, and if you haven’t already, I suggest getting a copy of Kim Stanley Robinson’s “Antarctica”. The link below is to part of a passage in which he offers his views, through the vehicle of an apparently fictional work, on the sociology of science. A very complete, well-written summation of some of the points that are brought up in this forum. One passage that stood out for me was (paraphrasing): “Antarctica’s main product is scientific papers. Research is like prospecting for gold nuggets. It produces knowledge, yes, but also grant money, stipends and mortgage payments.” More commentary on that subject throughout the book, which I found to be entertaining and informative in other ways as well.

  • Gerrit

    Pamela Gay considers SRI, Spawar, NRL not a top ranked research center.

    • bachcole

      Did she mention those organizations? Is she ignorant that those organizations play a part in cold fusion? Or is she aware that they play a part but just think that they are not top ranked?

    • AlainCo

      in the academic logic she is right.
      These are application labs.

      if you read taleb, you know that innovation is done by practitioners, not by academics.

      is there any “top” lab which have tried to reproduce their work ?

      None… so it does not exist … ah ah.

      same for nature&Science who forbid LENR papers, so it does not exist

    • Alan DeAngelis

      Yeah, their narcissist to scientist ratio is too low to give
      them a top rating.