“Fusion Fiasco” is the second book in a triology about Low Energy Nuclear Reactions research history. It is a very dark volume, as Krivit proceeds methodically, meticulously and comprehensively to engage in a form of what I would term “autopsy review” of the cautionary tale--what happened during the intial heady days of 1989 with the Pons and Fleischman announcement of “cold fusion” and its subsequent extended, ugly aftermath.
The book is well written and the segments are bite-sized—despite this, the book was difficult for me to read as I was getting a full-frontal “God’s eye view” of the clash between experimental science and pathological science. “Fusion Fiasco” fills in many gaps in the history of what took place beyond the TV and newspaper headlines coverage of the LENR effort of 1989, and subsequently. Krivit does history and his readership a great service by not accepting contempornaeous newspaper accounts of what took place during tense scientific society meetings as “gospel,” and actually demonstrates the mastery (of a motivated scholar seeking the facts) of going back to original videotape or audio recordings to get the accurate rendition(s) of what actually took place, and what was said, and by whom.
The reader learns from Krivit’s dispassionate telling that the pathological end of things was highly politicized (millions of Federal dollars at stake related to Fusion research, physicists versus electrochemists, etc.) and in the end, there were no winners on either side of the debate. And indeed, experimental science in the field of LENR was set back perhaps decades. As it turns out, many of the most vocal critics of Pons and Fleischman’s work had not themselves accurately reproduced the experiments in set-up, nor did they even have a good understanding of the phenomena involved.
In the print version of this volume that I am reviewing, the diagrams and illustrations were all clear, and in black-and-white. Germane political cartoons are also extant, helping to flesh out Krivit’s history narrative.