Clandestine NSF Panel Warms To Cold Fusion

WASHINGTON—Four months after one federal agency killed the prospect of government support of cold fusion, a second agency has brought it back to life. The strange phenomenon of low-temperature nuclear fusion, announced at the University of Utah with great fanfare March 23 by two chemists, took another bizarre turn last month when a self-described “upbeat, enthusiastic” panel of experts assembled by the National Sci ence Foundation’s engineering division concluded tha

Christopher Anderson
Nov 12, 1989

WASHINGTON—Four months after one federal agency killed the prospect of government support of cold fusion, a second agency has brought it back to life.

The strange phenomenon of low-temperature nuclear fusion, announced at the University of Utah with great fanfare March 23 by two chemists, took another bizarre turn last month when a self-described “upbeat, enthusiastic” panel of experts assembled by the National Sci ence Foundation’s engineering division concluded that the effects of cold fusion are real and “cannot be explained as a result of artifacts, equipment, or human errors.” Besides contradicting a preliminary report issued by another panel of experts convened by the Department of Energy in July, the October workshop was vehemently opposed by physicists and chemists at NSF. In seeming testimony to the audacity of their effort, the sponsors tried to keep the meeting secret, initially planning to transport the participants by bus to an undisclosed location...