Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Bad Science: The Short Life and Weird Times of Cold Fusion Hardcover – June 15, 1993

ISBN-13: 978-0394584560 ISBN-10: 0394584562 Edition: 1st

9 New from $39.89 36 Used from $3.50 2 Collectible from $27.50
Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$39.89 $3.50
Free%20Two-Day%20Shipping%20for%20College%20Students%20with%20Amazon%20Student


NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Save up to 90% on Textbooks
Rent textbooks, buy textbooks, or get up to 80% back when you sell us your books. Shop Now

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 503 pages
  • Publisher: Random House; 1st edition (June 15, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394584562
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394584560
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #960,016 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Science journalist Taubes's chronicle of the cold-fusion episode is an engrossing cautionary tale. In 1989, University of Utah chemist Stanley Pons and his British collaborator Martin Fleischman made headlines worldwide with their announcement that they had created a sustained nuclear fusion reaction at room temperature in a chemistry lab. Their simple device supposedly promised a clean, virtually inexhaustible source of energy. But Taubes ( Nobel Dreams ), who has reported on cold fusion for the New York Times , faults Pons and Fleischman for amateurish, flawed experimental techniques and for offering "virtually no data" to support their claim. Pons is now working for a Japanese company, and Japan's Ministry of Trade and Industry is heavily funding a cold-fusion research program. Taubes considers these latest developments part of an ongoing fiasco--the quasi-scientific pursuit of a nonexistent phenomenon. He steers readers smoothly through the technical details in this scientific detective story.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Cold fusion never existed. Even though its "discovery" by two University of Utah chemists--Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischman--was proclaimed with fanfare in 1989, the idea has been thoroughly discredited. As Taubes demonstrates in this well-documented account, cold fusion was "bad science" from the outset. The researchers rushed to announce their discovery to ensure primacy and, by circumventing peer review, introduced political and economic pressures into the scientific process. Taubes interviewed many of the key players in the controversy (although Pons and Fleischman refused his requests) and thus gives an insider's view of what happened--and why. Eugene Mallove's Fire from Ice ( LJ 6/1/91) also critically appraises cold fusion, but Taubes's work is more comprehensive and also less strident. This cautionary tale puts cold fusion to rest and, more important, shows how science can be mishandled. Recommended for public and academic libraries.
- Gregg Sapp, Montana State Univ. Libs., Bo z eman
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

2.7 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 34 people found the following review helpful By "bhb6" on February 17, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This book is excellent. It describes in amazing detail the events leading up to and following the "Cold Fusion" news conference. It's the story of how two scientists fooled themselves into believing that they were onto something so big that they had to claim credit for it -- fast. And it's the story of how the least qualified researchers quickly "confirmed" Cold Fusion, and how the best qualified researchers found nothing. If you're interested in how science is done, both well and poorly, read this book.
2 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
12 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Erick N. Larson on June 5, 1998
Format: Hardcover
The author does an excellent job in chronicling the saga and travail of cold fusion. The "lessons learned" are applicable to numerous technical fields, particularly where conclusions are drawn far ahead of substantiating evidence and critical peer review.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Fadl Saadi on July 26, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book having only a cursory understanding of the subject matter (full disclosure: I am a PhD student in electrochemistry) and I thought that the book did a very good job explaining this strange story without getting too bogged down with details.

I personally believe that this should be a must read for all scientists as a lesson on how good people can fall into a hole and become blind to evidence staring them in the face. It also does a great job hammering in the importance of reproducing work and of properly doing controls. I honestly believe I have become a better scientist after reading this story.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
12 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Box on January 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I read the book a few years after it came out and have referred back to it many times since. I view it as the story of greed running amuck with hack "scientists" taking many short cuts trying to cash on in a world changing bonanza. Yet, here we are 20+ years later and I have yet to see a public cold fusion demo running so much as a single light bulb.

Tip of the hat to Mr. Taubes for laying out the story. The 18 years since publication are pretty strong evidence that his conclusions were and still are on target.

I also view it as thought provoking for investors when they see some of the energy scams on Wall Street.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 9 people found the following review helpful By John Smith on December 14, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This book is an example of what happens when a Journalist decides to go to battle with scientists in a politicized arena of the press, and yellow press.

With this book and his other efforts Taubes helped destroy the career of Dr. Bockris (RIP), an esteemed Texas electrochemist, who had early, unexpected Tritium results from his LENR replication study. Now many labs including several national labs (Los Alamos, US Navy SPAWARS, China Lake) have replicated tritium production and destruction from energized metal hydrides.

Due in great part to the hysteria Taubes' created, Dr. Stanley Pons and Dr. Martin Fleishmann were denied serious academic review of their work.

See [...] for a compilation of evidence showing Taubes' self serving fabrications.

Now that we know how serious climate change is getting, the loss of 24 years head start getting clean safe nuclear power going really bites. Gary Taubes has a lot to answer for.
3 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 6 people found the following review helpful By frogs on June 25, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
cold fusion is another alchemist dream for turning lead into gold... in this case violating basic physics to fuse elements at room temperature ...alchemy has enticed smart people by enticing them with dreams of wealth and recognition and this is exactly what Taubes shows in this book...its a recitation of how personal ambition served to lead experimental scientists searching for cold fusion to operate "positive outcome experiments" that were set up without basic controls and served to provide desired results, i.e., bad science. its also a good story about how chemists tried to do physics without understanding what they were doing. well the dream will never die there will always be a desire for gold.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jeff on August 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Given what's been going on lately, I am definitely picking up a copy of this book. It seems likely to become a classic, although perhaps not quite in the way the author intended. I recommend you pick up a copy too, stash it away, and then pull it out in 10 years or so. I'm sure it will be very interesting then, very interesting indeed.
1 Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again