How Big of a Deal is Cold Fusion/LENR?

Thanks to all the readers who have helped identify the various companies and organizations working in the cold fusion/LENR field. Some were new, others were familiar, and some just forgotten. When I put them all in a list, I was quite surprised with the number of groups involved. It shows that there is considerable interest in the field, which seems to be growing. One thing’s for sure — there are many serious people willing to put time, energy, and money into cold fusion, because they think that despite the field largely being ignored and/or ridiculed it is something worth pursuing.

It has all made me wonder about the big picture. Just how big of a deal is cold fusion, anyway? We talk about it day in, day out here, and in some ways I am so immersed in the day-to-day news and discussion that I’m not sure if I’m in a position to easily evaluate its potential.

Some people have talked about cold fusion as being the most important scientific/technological discovery in the history of the planet, others see it as being significant, but not on such a grand scale. Still others see LENR as being so far an interesting phenomenon, but not as terribly useful as we have yet to see any practical application springing from it.

So my question to throw out to the ECW readership is how important a discovery is cold fusion? How do you think it measures in terms of importance for the human race? Throughout history there have been certain discoveries and invention that have changed history, and profoundly affected the lives of billions of people — fire, gunpowder, the movable type printing press, the steam engine, the internal combustion engine, aviation, telegraphy, telephony, photography, radio, television, nuclear fission, computers, and the internet are some watershed inventions that come to mind.

My personal opinion is that cold fusion has the potential to be a major discovery that could transform our world in very important ways if the reaction can be successfully controlled and stabilized, and if it can attain significant temperatures and COPs. I think Mike McKubre made an important point when he said that cold fusion would be come really useful and economically viable if a system could attain a COP of 10 (producing ten times more energy than is input) at a temperature of around 500 C, This would allow for the production of enough electricity to self sustain a cold fusion system with some energy left over.

I know it’s very, very early days for cold fusion (despite it being out in the public consciousness for almost 25 years), but when you think of its potential, how do you think it could compare to some of the major discoveries we have seen throughout history — and why?

  • Roger Bird

    I don’t need to be an expert in the details of the Cultural Revolution, Nazi Germany, or the Armenian Genocide to know that they were wrong.

  • Tony R

    No, the issue with conventional medicine vs. alternative healing is that the former is scientific and the latter is not (note also the tacit assumption that only “alternative” treatments “heal”, when in actuality, neither modality “heals”— the body heals itself).

  • Tony R

    Your first assertion about things being “paleo indicated” sounds more like an article of religious dogma than a scientific statement, and your definition of evidence-based medicine makes no sense at all. Evidence based studies depend on the observation of, in this case, various diets and their impact on growth and nutrition. Where is the absence of “vision” resulting from that approach? Your second assertion about molecules being “deliberately unnatural” also begs the question. I could be facetious and say that humans are part of the natural world, and anything we synthesize is made of atoms that we happen to have put together, often with the help of “natural” enzymes or catalysts, so there is no such thing as an “unnatural” molecule. Our immune systems are able, by means of genetic recombination, to make antibodies against molecules we have never encountered before, and might even never existed on earth until now. So our bodies are always “adapting” to these foreign molecules by making totally novel molecules (antibodies), while research chemists are making novel molecules in the outside world (admittedly not always with beneficial results).