The dream of Cold Fusion

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Martin Fleischmann’s name does not figure in the list of notable Nobel laureates. His arduous work, his years of research, his dedication to science have granted him a place in history, but not the one he would have had, but a somewhat infamous one, at least among his peers.

Martin Fleischmann

Martin Fleischmann, Cold Fusion researcher

In 1989, Fleischmann and his research partner Stanley Pons made two mistakes: One, disrupting the traditional ways of the scientific community, by –according to Fleischmann, accepting the University of Utah’s idea to announce their discovery in a public press conference; and two, presenting as conclusive a project that would later be tested by other scientists and could never be replicated.

Fleischmann and Pons argued, and presented with fanfare that they had achieved Cold Fusion, an incredible revolutionary process (significantly more at that time) by which they could generate the same type of energy produced by our sun or other stars, in a small space, and under normal room temperatures. This was –and continues to be, a holy grail of science, but the experience-turned-fiasco ended up convincing everyone that the whole idea was impossible.

The public humiliation Fleischmann underwent was devastating. His reputation was damaged, lost his job as a researcher and eventually retired. Fleischmann died in 2012 at 85 years of age. Even in his later years, Martin Fleischmann continued to argue his work was valid.

This story is meaningless, except, the dream of achieving Cold Fusion has recently been revived, and there is at least one researcher, Italian Andrea Rossi who claims to have arrived at it. His research is being tested at this very moment, and if it turns out to be real it will turn the technology world of the next 10-15 years upside down. If the experiment proves possible, and most of all scalable, a battery the size of a USB flash drive might be able to power a car for months, and computers, tablets and Smartphones will have enough power to outlast their useable life.

But imagine this technology in the medical field, or even the military applications. Airplanes that can be electrically powered for hours, without using barely any resources!

If this turns out to be real, Fleischmann will be vindicated.

Fleischmann lived for the purpose. He spent his life after an idea, and failed before the world. But if Cold Fusion happens, we will know that his work was worth it.

You might not be a physicist, or a nuclear chemist. But in what you do, in your purpose, would you risk humiliation for what you believe in? Would you work for it despite knowing you might never get the recognition you deserve?

When we see life through that perspective, it is always revealing. I dare you to find something you would do for the passion only, and do it.

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