I am always amazed when I get contacted by people I’ve never met through this blog. Social media is an amazing thing that can open up the world. Many of the comments and feedback I get are along the lines of “nice leatherwork” or “that was a funny story” or “that reminded me of a similar thing that happened to me”. I also have had some students at my university tell me that they’ve followed my blog and made major life decisions as a result of reading about my twisted path (talk about scary…!).
Yesterday I made a post about cold fusion and the fact that I was an undergrad in chemistry at the University of Utah when it was announced to the world. It really was quite exciting to be there, and I have now discovered that the excitement continues! I got a very long and obviously heart-felt comment about my post that makes clear that to some people cold fusion is alive and well. Rather than try to summarize the arguments, I simply refer interested readers to the posted comment at the end of the post and the references therein.
I’m not an expert on cold fusion or electrochemistry, so I’m not going to attempt to reconcile the 25 year old debate in this blog. I do want to point out to my many non-science friends and readers that, unlike religion, “truth” in science is ultimately decided by reproducible experimental data and our attempts to put the data into a conceptual framework that over time becomes accepted theory, which often changes over time as more data are collected and new ideas emerge. It is like making sausage, and the result is just as tasty even if the process is sometimes messy. It might seem impossible to make progress in science, but the computer, tablet, or phone that you are using now show that the basics of quantum theory are correct, even though some details are still in conflict with relativity theory.
I still think that cold fusion is wrong, partly based on the fact that many scientists who are smarter than I am don’t buy it and haven’t replicated it and also that we are not driving around in clean cold fusion powered cars that are filled with heavy water. However, I’ll be the first to eat my words and would be very happy if I were wrong. Unlike some others I knew, I didn’t invest in palladium, the material used in cold fusion, when it was announced. Perhaps one day I’ll be disappointed by that decision. I also don’t buy lottery tickets or respond to the wealthy Nigerian businessmen who regularly contact me by email with promised riches…