Cranks... Villains... ...And Unsung Heroes

The century gave us scientific superstars like Freud and Einstein, but it also produced its share of...

[CRANKS]

STANLEY PONS AND MARTIN FLEISCHMANN

Producing energy through nuclear fusion is easy enough to do--provided you have a reactor that can generate temperatures hotter than the sun's. If you could somehow achieve fusion at room temperature, you'd have an unlimited source of power that could retire petroleum, nuclear and solar energy for good.

In 1989 chemists B. Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann announced to great fanfare that they had done just that, building a bench-top fusion percolator made up of two electrodes and a slug of heavy water. But Pons and Fleischmann were vague about how their "cold fusion" reactor...

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