Remember cold fusion? It's the
type of nuclear reaction that would occur at, or near, room temperature, compared with temperatures in the millions of degrees that is required for "hot" fusion. As a new type of nuclear reaction, it was proposed to explain reports by experimenters of anomalously high energy generation under certain specific laboratory conditions.Pioneered by Stanley Pons of the University of Utah and Martin Fleischmann of the University of Southampton, the process would change everything we know about energy production. In the words of this CBS News report:
... nuclear energy like that which powers the sun - but at room temperature on a table top. It promised to be cheap, limitless and clean. Cold fusion would end our dependence on the Middle East and stop those greenhouse gases blamed for global warming.
As a some-time resident of Utah, Mitt Romney would like to see this technology developed as part of our energy arsenal, as he told the Washington Examiner in December 2011.
I do believe in basic science. I believe in participating in space. I believe in analysis of new sources of energy. I believe in laboratories, looking at ways to conduct electricity with -- with cold fusion, if we can come up with it. It was the University of Utah that solved that. We somehow can’t figure out how to duplicate it.
Well, that is special. Mitt Romney believes in basic science. He wants us to continue to research, to duplicate the cold fusion as it was developed at University of Utah.
Except that it wasn't.
Where was Mitt Romney when nuclear scientists called the work into question, shortly after the initial announcement was made in 1989 by Pons and Fleischmann? The press release on their work was before peer review; subsequent attempts to replicate results, by scientists all over the world, failed. Failed miserably and publicly.
There was NO independently verifiable evidence of cold fusion.
Now, this result did not take years to find. No. This result was in slightly over a month. It was so easy to dismiss Pons and Fleischmann's work that it took slightly over a month.
This is Mitt Romney's basic science, in which he believes.
Mitt Romney gets a grade of F for basic science.
You can read more about the difference between President Obama's and Romney's understanding of and policies on science. Yesterday jim in IA published this diary on the science "debate" between the two candidates. The science debate questions and answers, presented side by side, are here.