University of Rochester nuclear chemist John R. Huizenga, one of two co-chairs of the U.S. Department of Energy's Cold Fusion Panel, will deliver a colloquium on cold fusion at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 27 in Hubbell Auditorium in Hutchison Hall at the University's River Campus. The public is invited.
Huizenga will discuss the panel's interim report issued in July. The panel found that the experiments reported to date do not present convincing evidence that useful sources of energy will result from the phenomena attributed to cold fusion. The panel also concluded that the present evidence for the discovery of a new nuclear process termed cold fusion is not persuasive. Hence, the panel recommended that the process does not merit large sums of money for research. A final report is due in November.
The 22-member panel is also headed by Harvard physicist Norman Ramsey.
The March 23 announcement by University of Utah chemist B. Stanley Pons and his English colleague, Martin Fleischmann, that they had observed the fusion of hydrogen atoms at room temperature stunned the scientific community. Soon afterward, scientists around the world attempted to duplicate the team's results, only to be disappointed by a dearth of positive findings.
Since then, cold fusion has been disclaimed by most scientists. In addition, after drawing banner headlines around the world, mention of the phenomenon has all but disappeared from news pages. Yet a few laboratories still report some positive results, though much more insignificant than the University of Utah's claims.
A member of the National Academy of Sciences, Huizenga is widely recognized as a world leader in nuclear chemistry. He is the author of more than 250 scientific papers and co-author of a book, Nuclear Fission, a comprehensive account of fission experiments and theory.
CONTACT: Tom Rickey, (716) 275-7954, or John R. Huizenga, (716) 275-4217