Cold Fusion: Basic Science?


Well, this is an odd thing said by Mitt Romney.

A couple of days ago I linked to Science Debate and how they got the presidential candidates to answer some good science questions, and the Romney team gave the more extensive answers. One of those things Romney and Obama were for (and how could you be against it) was innovation and research.

But it seems Romney wants to look into cold fusion? Is this a slip of the tongue?

It doesn’t look like it.

I do believe in basic science. I believe in participating in space. I believe in analysis of new sources of energy. I believe in laboratories, looking at ways to conduct electricity with — with cold fusion, if we can come up with it. It was the University of Utah that solved that. We somehow can’t figure out how to duplicate it.

That reference to the University of Utah is about the results from Pons (of Uni of Utah) and Fleishmann (of Uni of Southampton) back in 1989.  In their experiment, they thought they had gotten fusion at table-top temperatures. However, neither of the conductors of the experiment were physicists (their expertise was in chemistry, not that there’s anything wrong with that), and their results didn’t have checks for fusion that they should have otherwise been familiar with. Their results were discredited in little time.

Does Romney really want to continue this sort of research? Does he think it’s legit? Well, it may not matter since he wouldn’t decide funding so directly if he were President. But there is already enough science bunkum in the current GOP. We don’t need any more of it in energy policy.

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