Nature is what it is, not what we want it to be or have convinced ourselves it is; nor even what our theories tell us it is. The universe is elegant only if it truly is elegant, and not if it isn't.
Despite the best efforts of grant-burdened physicists and the parochial New York Times, the Cold Fusion story just keeps picking itself up off the ground, stronger than ever. This latest update comes from the NPR show Living on Earth.
GELLERMAN: Dr. Pamela Boss works at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center in San Diego. She and Dr. Stanislaw Szpak have produced some of the most definitive evidence of the cold fusion phenomenon. They fund the research mostly out of their own pocket and, even though he's retired, Dr. Szpak still comes in almost every day to conduct cold fusion experiments, perfecting a method that he says speeds up the reaction. Now, instead of waiting weeks for cold fusion to begin, it happens instantaneously.
SZPAK: Now we have 100 percent reproducible results. In other words, we always get to that last step. We are doing that within seconds.
GELLERMAN: Like Michael McKubre, Szpak and Boss have measured elevated levels of tritium and have focused on detecting the other radiation byproducts of fusion reactions, gamma and x-rays. Pamela Boss:
BOSS: We work with a lot of physicists here and they, of course, were very skeptical. So then, we borrowed equipment to do gamma ray measurements and x-ray measurement. And you could see they were tracking one another. When the gamma ray detector was going up, so was the x-ray detector. And I pointed this out to the physicist who was helping us and he was a little bit disturbed by that because he made sure that everything was on separate circuits, there was no cross talk.
SZPAK: We see appearance of elements which weren't there to start with. In other words, during the experiment itself these elements have been created. Now, by what mechanism, if you're asking me that question, I cannot answer because I simply don't know yet.
GELLERMAN: Szpak and Boss have published the results of their experiment in a prestigious, peer-reviewed physics journal. And Japanese scientists have reported similar findings. So, how might cold fusion work? Well, few researchers at U.S. universities are investigating the question because it's a career destroyer; those who study cold fusion do so at their own peril. One of the few who has from the very beginning is Peter Hagelstein of MIT.
HAGELSTEIN: This experiment implied the existence of some new physics. Hence, if there's going to be heat there are going to be neutrons; if there's no neutrons hence there's no heat, hence it's all wrong. It got very confused very quickly.
GELLERMAN: Today, because of his continued work on cold fusion, Peter Hagelstein lives a life of virtual academic exile at MIT. He lost funding for his lab and he never did make full professor.
GELLERMAN: As Peter Hagelstein sees it, cold fusion is not just a colder version of plasma or hot fusion, but an entirely different phenomenon. His theory doesn't violate any of the fundamental laws of nature. But it does require a rethinking of modern physics.
HAGELSTEIN: So, we start out now with a picture of a communication between reactions at different sites, and this is not in the textbooks.
There you have it: it's not in the textbooks, it upsets current theories, it can't be true, so cut off his funding, defrock the heretic. Is house arrest too good for him?
Science as it's really practiced.