Navy First To Fund Utah Fusion

With a $400,000 grant issued earlier this month, the Office of Naval Research has become the first government agency to fund the University of Utah’s groundbreaking fusion research (See The Scientist, May 1, page 1). The grant will support additional basic research by electrochemists Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann “to confirm their claims [of room-temperature sustained fusion] or, if that’s not what’s going on, to get to the truth,” says ONR program manager Robert Nowak. “I’m not thinking in terms of applications,” he says. We have to think of it as a phenomenon, not a power source.” Nevertheless, Nowak says that the work funded by his office should have potential use for the Navy “20 or 30 years down the road.” ONR has been funding Pons’s work in other areas since 1979, but since 1983 the two researchers had been supporting their seminal...

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