Re: Tech: Wired article about cold fusion

Robin Hanson (
Mon, 06 Dec 1999 10:04:05 -0500

Greg Burch wrote:
>I've consistently sneered at cold fusion. The thing that caught and kept my
>attention about this article was how the author showed that there is a
>community of people with relatively good credentials who continue to nag at
>the problem and who seem ready to admit that they can't seem to explain the
>phenomena they observe on an intermittent basis. ... It
>just seems damned odd to me that the whole matter hasn't been completely put
>to rest one way or the other by now.

I liked the article as well. The odds of success seem high enough that some people should be working on it. But the lack of theoretical guidance and the difficulty of any one firm being able to appropriate the value of their contribution to the whole research line mean any one company should be shy about getting too involved. So maybe the market is doing exactly the right thing, putting a few dozen but not more researchers on the topic.

It is the vast government funding of traditional fusion approaches that seems misguided.

Robin Hanson Asst. Prof. Economics, George Mason University MSN 1D3, Carow Hall, Fairfax VA 22030
703-993-2326 FAX: 703-993-2323