Too Hot to Handle: The Race for Cold Fusion

Overview

Frank Close, a leading physicist and popular science writer, reveals the true story of the cold fusion controversy—a story ignored until now in spite of the publicity surrounding Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons. On March 23, 1989, these two Utah scientists held an astonishing press conference, maintaining that they had succeeded, working in secret, in harnessing atomic fusion. What was the basis for their claims to have achieved cold fusion in a test tube in a basement laboratory, while other scientists—using...
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Overview

Frank Close, a leading physicist and popular science writer, reveals the true story of the cold fusion controversy—a story ignored until now in spite of the publicity surrounding Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons. On March 23, 1989, these two Utah scientists held an astonishing press conference, maintaining that they had succeeded, working in secret, in harnessing atomic fusion. What was the basis for their claims to have achieved cold fusion in a test tube in a basement laboratory, while other scientists—using magnets as big as houses and temperatures hotter than those in the center of the sun—were failing to produce as much power as they were using?Why did the media event inspired by their initial report cause governments to reorient their research programs in hopes of cornering the 'new technology?' And why did some scientists recklessly abandon their traditional painstaking methods in haste to be first to prove or discredit the experiment? Acquainted at first hand with investigations of cold fusion on two continents, Close is uniquely qualified to probe the motivations behind Fleischmann's and Pons's startling assertions and to explore the intellectual and political turmoil that surrounded the cold fusion debate.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This scholarly expose of the cold fusion controversy, brought public in 1989 at the University of Utah, is two parts chemistry and one part sociology of science as affected by greed. Close The Cosmic Onion , a physicist from Britain's Ritherford Labs and a talented writer, offers a global view of the interactions of the science, politics and personalities involved in what may have been the archetypical science event of the '80s. Lay readers will need their high school chemistry and some physics to follow the detailed chronology of events and players F. D. Peat's Cold Fusion would be a good reference. The mysteries of matter are often overshadowed by the volatile forces of humans and their institutions in a day-by-day, experiment-by-experiment account that simultaneously meets the tests of good science and good journalism. May
Booknews
Close, a leading physicist (Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and the Rutherford Laboratory in Britain) and popular science writer, makes accessible to a wide audience the scientific premises of cold fusion, its potential to be a practical source of almost unlimited safe energy, (or hydrogen bombs) and the story of the pressures, politics, and urges toward power involved in the abortive (or fraudulent) attempts to prove success at its achievement. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher

"Frank Close has shown [care and industry] in recording, at first hand wherever possible, the whole story from the beginning. We possess too few detailed case-histories of science, and this is a very welcome addition. His best passages ... have a racy vigour; as in good thrillers, one can hardly wait to see what they will get up to next, and as in good thrillers, what they get up to is frequently worse than expected.... The book should be read as an exemplary tale by all who are concerned about the conflicting demands of scientific integrity, personal ambition and public interest."--Nature
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691085913
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/1991
  • Pages: 392
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 9.53 (h) x 1.18 (d)

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