Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cold fusion is back

It appears that cold fusion is creeping back into the spotlight, as can be seen from recent media coverage, for example via ACS and at forskning.no. There's also a video presentation on LENR by Pamela Mosier-Boss here, and there is a comprehensive bibliography and a set of full-text papers on cold fusion here.

Predictably, this resuscitates old battles and opens up new battle fronts, including one between chemists (primarily electrochemists) and physicists that I find to be particularly interesting. In the piece at forskning.no, two Norwegian physicists from the University of Bergen - Håvard Helstrup and Professor Egil Lillestøl - express severe scepticism towards any claim of cold fusion. Professor Lillestøl kicks the antagonism into high gear by claiming that "En fysiker vil ikke vil ha store problemer med å forstå at kald fusjon basert på kjemiske prosesser ikke er mulig" ("A physicist won't have great difficulties in understanding that cold fusion based on chemical processes is impossible").

That statement is very hard to take as anything but a stone cold diss of chemists and a chest-beating proclamation of the scientific superiority of physicists. I am going to have to find this dude's h-index tomorrow to see if he's got the credentials to back up such claims or if he maxed out by being the Knut Jørgen Røed Ødegaard of Thorium-based nuclear energy in Norway.

Update: Prof. Lillestøl last published in a scientific journal in 1990 according to ISI-WOS. While his h-factor is substantial, he is only first author on two papers from WAY back in the day. He typically appears smack dab in the middle of the author list among some 30+ other scientists on CERN-related publications, and unlike some of his co-authors, his biography is not on the ISI HighlyCited list. Dude is apparently highly renowned for his pedagogic skills and his popularization of physics though - good on him.


Jed Rothwell said...

This site has a bibliography of 3,500 papers and 500 full-text papers on cold fusion:


Wilhelm said...

Thanks - I'll update the post

Anders said...

Dude is apparently highly renowned for his pedagogic skills and his popularization of physics though

I thought you knew who dr. Lillestøl is.

Wilhelm said...

Don't remember the name of the physics prof I had - could've been him?

Anders said...

Sorry, I thought you've blogged about him before, but doing a search, I was wrong. Sorry 'bout that. My bad.

Wilhelm said...

...yeah..let that be a lesson to ya!