Cold fusion is, at the moment, still purely science fiction. So far, only two groups of "researchers" have claimed that they have replicated the kind of energy production that only occurs in places such as the centre of the sun. Fusion is the process of smashing two smaller atoms into a larger one, releasing a shitload of energy in the process. Roughly the opposite of fission, which involves splitting up atoms to release energy (the principle behind atomic weapons and nuclear reactors) fusion is a much more elegant process that releases a lot more energy out than has to be put in - a process that could solve the wrold's energy problems and reduce nuclear waste. The only problem is that it requires massive amounts of heat, something that we have trouble containing here on the surface of earth. Wouldn't if be great if fusion could take place at room temperature?

The first possible model of cold fusion was developed by professor Peter Hagelstein in 1976. The idea is that two deuterium atoms (present in heavy water) can fuse to create a helium atom and a significant amount of energy, which will radiate away as a gamma ray or can be theoretically converted to heat. This is an extremely uncommon reaction if in fact it occurs at all.

Come March of 1989 however, and two chemists based at the University of Utah; Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischman claimed they had invented a device which did just that, except if performed the reaction about 100,000,000 more often than Hagelstein hypothesized. By running current through palladium rods immersed in a tank of heavy water, neutrons and gamma rays were supposedly given off - both of which are signs of nuclear reactions. A media frenzy erupted, until other researchers performed the experiment and came up with nothing more than cold water. The backlash was incredible, and consequentely all subsequent research into cold fusion has been met with ridicule, or at least has been cold-shouldered by scientists working in more respectable fields. Whether or not Pons and Fleischman were merely mistaken, or being deliberately deceiving, their blunder set back the search for cold fusion from a space-age pursuit to a con-man's trick.

Flash forward to the year 2002. Though cold fusion seems out of reach, a new method sparks claim that there's a chance of creating the regular hot fusion here on earth in a managable form.
rougevert says: At school we watched a video which stressed that "cold fusion causes much confusion"...