In 1989 Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann made a sensational claim that would have changed the world—had it been true. They said they had achieved nuclear fusion at room temperature using a simple tabletop device, thus creating a revolutionary clean energy source they called “cold fusion.”
Unfortunately for the University of Utah chemists, multiple attempts to replicate their experiment over ensuing months failed. Cold fusion was considered debunked, and it has lived beyond the fringe of mainstream science ever since.
Yet quietly, more than 20 years later, two of the world’s largest mainstream scientific institutions—NASA and the European physics research center CERN—have revisited the controversial energy-generating experiment.