Offering the prospect of clean, safe, and unlimited energy, nuclear fusion has long been the shining hope for a world disastrously dependent on dwindling supplies of fossil fuels. Two generations of the brightest scientific minds and billions of dollars have been devoted to designing and building experimental reactors that mimic the unimaginably extreme temperatures and pressures needed to produce nuclear reactions akin to those that power the Sun and the stars.
Then, suddenly, in the spring of 1989, Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann, research chemists at the University of Utah, made an announcement that rocked the scientific world and made front-page news for months to follow. Their claim to have achieved nuclear fusion in a simple tabletop experiment and at room temperature defied sacrosanct conventional physical theories. And the scientific establishment would not take that challenge of cold fusion lying down. Within hours, even as the press was proclaiming a possible new era of unlimited clean energy, cries of disbelief and accusations of scientific misconduct and even fraud were heard from within professional circles.
Researchers in laboratories around the world mobilized in an unprecedented effort to explain Pons and Fleischmanns experiments. A mountain of confusing, seemingly contradictory results began to pile up. Soon, leading scientific journals were regularly publishing cold fusion obituaries, and bitter editorials questioning the methods and motives of the cold fusion pioneers. Cold fusion was dead. . . or was it? Almost unnoticed, a steadfast group of hundreds of optimistic researchers around the world continues to search for a solution to the tantalizing cold fusion enigma.
In Fire from Ice, astronautical engineer and well-known author, Eugene Mallove, sheds a new and very different light on the cold fusion confusion. Based on personal interviews with many of the people involved, as well as his firsthand experiences in laboratories and scientific conferences, he offers a unique insiders view of that divisive controversy, while at the same time clearly explaining the relevant science and technology. And Dr. Mallove convincingly argues that cold fusion may yet prove to be real.
A story of scientific ambition and professional rivalry, political intrigue and hard science, Fire from Ice is the fascinating account of one of the most intense and momentous scientific controversies of all time.