Settled Science that Is 'Controversial'

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Cold Fusion Isn't Real

Nuclear fusion occurs when two atomic nuclei join together to form a completely new type of atomic nucleus. In the process, a whole lot of energy is created in the form of heat. The Sun does this all the time, fusing hydrogen atoms into helium, gracing Earth with its warm, powerful glow.

But to create fusion, you need temperatures on the order of tens of millions of degrees Celsius and colossal pressures to nurture and contain the reaction. This is easy for our Sun, which fuses 620 million metric tons of hydrogen each second, but it's difficult for us. That's why the world is spending $17.4 billion dollars on the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) with the hopes of engineering controlled fusion here on earth.

But what if you could create fusion simply and safely, for an infinitesimal fraction of that cost? Wouldn't that be world changing?

Inventor Andrew Rossi consistently claims that he's done it with his energy catalyzer or "E-Cat." But while he has devised a cool-looking contraption that resembles an eighth grader's aluminum foil-wrapped science project, and his device does seem to mysteriously produce heat, Rossi has not provided any information as to how his device works. Nor has he published any of his results in peer-reviewed scientific journals.

To his credit, Rossi has attempted to patent the idea, but that hasn't worked all too well. "...the invention seems, at least at first, to offend against the generally accepted laws of physics and established theories," the preliminary patent denial states.

Almost all physicists concur with that statement. For a complete dismantling of Rossi's claims, check out Ethan Siegel's blog post.

We here at RCS would love nothing more than for Rossi's E-Cat to work. You can't dislike the idea of limitless, clean, and affordable energy! But the old maxim still applies: "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence." Far from extraordinary, the evidence has been almost nonexistent.

(Image: Focardi and Rossi with their e-Cat, via SwaB retrieved from Brian Wang)

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