Huw Price in Aeon:
Three months ago I wrote an essay in Aeon about intriguing developments in low-energy nuclear reactions (LENR), a controversial field that traces its origins to the claims of ‘cold fusion’ by Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons in 1989. Cold fusion itself is widely regarded as discredited, yet there are several recent reports of LENR devices producing commercially useful amounts of heat. As David Bailey and Jonathan Borwein have pointed out in HuffPost Science, it seems increasingly improbable that all these findings are the result of fraud or error, as skeptics assert. But the only remaining alternative – that science simply made the wrong call when it dismissed cold fusion – is still almost invisible in serious scientific conversations and in the mainstream media.
Why is this possibility so broadly ignored? I suggested that it is because LENR is caught in what I called a ‘reputation trap’. Cold fusion has had such a bad name that scientists and journalists put their reputations at risk if they dare to express an interest in LENR. So a fascinating story goes largely unnoticed and unreported.
More importantly, the reputation trap has pushed to the margins an idea that, if it does work, might be just what we need right now: the ‘energy miracle’ that Bill Gates is so desperately seeking.