Pons and Fleishman were and are both good electrochemists. The Department of Chemistry at the University of Utah is an excellent, world-class, group of scientists. I know some of them personally.tcthomas4":819yp8bs said:Perhaps it isnt "cold fusion" or even a "nuclear effect". But when you have serveral labs across the world reporting an excess of energy, I think its extremely important to find out the cause. It may be bad equipment, perhaps the system is flawed, perhaps the science is flawed. But even if it is only a 30% "success rate", this still begs the question, "Why?". There is clearly something going on we don't understand because I don't believe that so many scientists would be deliberately falsifying data in a field already considered the death knell to any legitimate career. So, yes, the way the Pons and Fleishman presented their findings was certainly unscientific but I believe that because of this, what should have been a field worthy of serious study, went largely ignored. And yes, I know the experiment was attempted on a mass scale after that news conference in Utah some 20 years ago, but I feel that it was abandoned with great haste when nobody got the result they were looking for. When a process isnt understood at all you would think they would have tried harder to figure out what occured (after all, Fleishman was regarded as a scientist at the top of his field, I don't think he would have assasinated his carrer for a few minutes of fame).
But the cold fusion experiments of Pons and Fleishman were fatally flawed and basically nothing more or less than bad calorimetry.
The bad calorimetry of Pons and Fleishman was mirrored by bad calorimetry at several other institutions and laboratories during that era. Quite a few in fact. There is a book called Bad Science: The Short Life and Weird Times of Cold Fusion by Gary Taubes, that describes that debacle. I also know the gentleman who was in charge of the Utah Cold Fusion Institute that was created in the era, and he feels that Taubes's book is pretty accurate.
The reason that the work of Pons and Fleishman was announced rather hastily, was a feeling among the lawyers at the University of Utah that they need to make such an announcement in order to establish prioirity for patent purposes, and that another scientist at BYU might establish priority if they did not. So in large part you can actually blame a good deal of the frenzy on the lawyers -- why not since they are always tempting targets.
What should have happened, was that the physicists who knew better and who did state their case at the time, should have been heeded. They knew that the lack of neutron emissions indicated that something was terribly amiss. But there was too much hype in the public press, and too much greed everywhere.