Comments from Huffington Post Science Blog by David H. Bailey (Lawrence Berkeley National Lab (retired) and University of California, Davis) and Jonathan M. Borwein (Professor of Mathematics, University of Newcastle, Australia), August 29, 2015 on the media reports regarding the potential discovery of cold fusion (low energy nuclear reactions) by Italian enegineer/entrepreneur Andrea Rossi:

 

Rossi’s work leaves us with three stark choices: (a) Rossi and those working with him or independently have made some fundamental and far-reaching blunder in their experimental work; (b) Rossi is leading a conspiracy of sorts to cover dishonest scientific behavior; or (c) Rossi has made an important discovery with sweeping potential impact.

With each passing month, and with more researchers finding similar results, (a) and (b) look less likely. On the other hand, skepticism is certainly still in order until Rossi comes forward with more details on the designs and control techniques used in his system.

Needless to say, the stakes are very high, for any or all of these projects. Among the potential impacts are:

  1. An environmental windfall — enabling a dramatic and rapid conversion of existing coal- and gas-burning electric power plants to a “green” source with minimal fuel costs.
  2. Potential applications even in transportation, water purification, small businesses and homes.
  3. Most likely, a further dramatic drop in oil prices worldwide.
  4. Financial repercussions; according to a new recent report, at least one-half trillion dollars of bonds are at risk if oil prices drop further.
  5. Political repercussions; already Saudi Arabia is having great difficulty keeping its economy afloat with the current drop in oil prices and its own longer term goals.

One way or the other, whether these effects are confirmed (and large commercial enterprises engage) or refuted, the next few months promise to make a very interesting chapter in the history of science. Hold on to your hats!

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