AOH :: FUSION57.TXT|
Cold Fusion first tried in 1927?
From: les@Gang-of-Four.Stanford.EDU (Les Earnest)
Subject: Cold Fusion? It Was First Tried in 1927
Date: 11 May 89 21:54:25 GMT
Sender: USENET News System <news@polya.Stanford.EDU>
Reply-To: les@Gang-of-Four.Stanford.EDU (Les Earnest)
Organization: Computer Science Department, Stanford University
[From Associated Press]
Cold Fusion? It Was First Tried in 1927
By HELENE MURDOCH
Associated Press Writer
STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) - A scientist claims to produce nuclear
fusion in a jar at room temperature. But few believe him, and his
application for a patent is rejected.
The story may sound familiar, but it happened in Sweden in 1927,
more than a half-century before two researchers stunned the
scientific world with a similar experiment in the United States.
John Tandberg's experiments ''seemingly were very similiar to the
ones performed in Utah,'' said Bertil Wilner of the fusion research
department at the Royal Institute of Technology.
''It's amazing that his findings have been completely forgotten for
60 years,'' said Wilner, whose father worked on the project and kept
Tandberg began looking into cold fusion in 1927 when the 33-year-old
chief scientist for the Electrolux Co. became intrigued with fusion
experiments being conducted in Germany, Wilner said.
Two Berlin researchers who were trying to produce helium for
airships said they fused hydrogen into helium using a palladium
catalyst. But later they discovered errors that forced them to
retract their claim of fusion.
''The German scientists weren't interested in producing energy,
since the world's energy sources seemed inexhaustable at the time,''
''But Tandberg immediately realized the energy aspect of the
experiment and its potential importance,'' Wilner said in an
The National Patent and Registration Office refused to accept
Tandberg's application to record his experiment. ''Their experts
claimed it was impossible to release nuclear energy through cold
fusion,'' Wilner said.
Soon afterward, Tandberg ended his fusion research and dedicated
himself to other fields. He later left Electrolux, still one of the
world's largest makers of home appliances, and became a professor at
In March, B. Stanley Pons, chairman of the University of Utah's
chemistry department, and Martin Fleischmann of the University of
Southampton, England, announced they achieved cold fusion that
produced up to 50 times the amount of energy they put into their
Their findings were met with incredulity.
The latest scientist seeking to explain away their claims, Nobel
laureate Dr. Linus Pauling, suggested chemical reactions, not fusion,
could have produced the heat.
Pauling, 88, of the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine
at Palo Alto, Calif., said in a letter published today in the British
science magazine Nature that the palladium would have combined with
deuterium heavy water to form palladium deuteride, which is unstable.
''After the beginning of electrolysis, this unstable deuteride may
begin to decompose either slowly, resulting in an increased
liberation of heat, or explosively, as Fleischmann and Pons
observed,'' wrote Pauling, who won the Nobel prize for chemistry in
But, if they are right, it could open the way to a cheap,
inexhaustible way to create energy in the same way that the sun and
stars produce heat and light. Fusion derives its energy from forcing
atoms of deuterium or hydrogen together. The reaction produces an
atom of helium, a burst of energy and a neutron.
The work of Pons and Fleischmann ''bears a strong resemblance to the
way Tandberg carried out his experiments, according to my father's
notes,'' Wilner said. Wilner's father wrote a book on Tandberg
describing the experiment.
''The book was never translated and was forgotten a long time ago,''
he said, which helped explain why the work stirred so little interest
among contemporary scientists. Tandberg, who died in 1968, apparently
never withdrew his claim of having produced cold fusion.
Les Earnest Phone: 415 723-9729
Internet: Les@Sail.Stanford.edu USMail: Computer Science Dept.
UUCP: . . . decwrl!Sail.Stanford.edu!Les Stanford, CA 94305
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