Paul Pickering considers the technical challenges posed by cold fusion or Low-Energy Nuclear Reactions.
Adding fuel to the fire, perhaps, even some intrepid academics are getting in on the action. For the last several years, Peter Hagelstein, a long-time LENR booster and MIT electrical engineering professor, has been conducting a short series of (strictly non-credit) lectures (see a video of a lecture here) entitled "Cold Fusion 101: Introduction to Excess Power in Fleischmann-Pons Experiments". Fittingly, the first slide includes this note: "Working in this field at this time can destroy your career".
All this theory is all well and good, but we're engineers so we want to see something that actually works, right? Well, you might just be in luck.
A recent experiment reported by Russian scientist Alexander Parkhomov uses the sort of setup that an enterprising EDN reader can easily put together at home. The equipment used included a thermocouple amplifier, laptop-based data logger, power supply, voltmeter, dosimeter and Geiger counter (recently available for $70 on Ebay).
The experiment aims to replicate the operation of the infamous “E-Cat” (Energy Catalyzer) device, which was developed by Andrea Rossi, an Italian inventor and entrepreneur with a colorful past, who has so far been coy about releasing definitive details or subjecting his device to independent testing.
Next: The Parkhomov experiment.