Nature magazine revealed the result of a 4-year experiment that cost over $ 10 million to test cold fusion.
The goal is not surprising (cold fusion has been the "Holy Grail" of energy for years) but the client: it is Google.
The experiments were secreted to avoid excessive expectations and repercussions on the image of the Mountain View company. The first cracks in the privacy of these attempts emerged recently, when Google made it known that it wanted to use AI to hunt for secrets about the merger: the rest is news.
Let's take (more than) a step back: cold fusion.
1989 was the year that brought cold fusion as an energy source to the world's attention. The merit (the only one) was of two chemists from the University of Utah, Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann. The two scholars called a press conference to announce with great emotion that they generated energy from the fusion of the atom at room temperature.
It would have probably been the biggest step in the history of human civilization: the ability to generate unlimited energy without having to reach the heat (and temperature) of a star.
Had it been true, I mean, it would have meant free and infinite energy with no more dependence on fossil fuels and no more damage to the environment.
Unfortunately for Pons, Fleischmann and us, the 1989 experiments were refuted with serious damage to the reputation of the two chemists and our hopes.
Many scholars attempted to reproduce the results documented in the press conference: no one was able to do it and mistrust began to increase. It all ended in the general rejoicing, with the two scholars who never published a paper with documentary evidence, and the scientific community misled them.
Yet despite the failure, 30 years later it is still not possible to consider the theme of cold fusion as an unworkable hoax or a pseudoscience. Fusion is a real phenomenon, and it is legitimate to wonder about the possibility of producing it at low temperatures.
The cold fusion of Big G
The new Google-funded experiments involved a team of 30 scholars. The seven project leaders include scientists from MIT and from various universities.
The results of the study, as mentioned, have been published in Nature, and in conclusion we read that cold fusion has not occurred. Three types of phenomenon studied, three different ways of realizing it, three failures, zero energy produced.
Not all evil comes to harm
It's not necessarily bad news: the journey towards cold fusion allowed scholars to test new materials and design new instruments.
"... Evaluating the possibility of producing a cold fusion has allowed us to study phenomena that we would not have considered. Sometimes technological advancements come along the way. The game was worth the candle anyway. However, our research will have an impact on future energy technologies. "
Maybe by force of attempts one day the cold fusion will no longer be a myth for science, as laser weapons, holograms, tractor beams and other technologies that looked like science fiction. Or maybe it will really remain a myth. The important thing is to try, right?