Billionaire businessman Sidney Kimmel is putting $5.5 million toward making “cold fusion” successes more reliable. His interest in the topic had been piqued in 2009 by a television program.
To recap that year: producers of the TV program 60 Minutes had wanted to find out whether cold fusion is real. They looked for an independent scientist to check it out and chose Rob Duncan, vice chancellor of research at Missouri University and an expert in measuring energy. He was said to have been a skeptic about cold fusion before 60 Minutes sent him to Israel to investigate the work of a company called Energetics Technologies. Duncan was given free rein in Energetics’ cold fusion laboratory and came back convinced that the process is real.
After Duncan returned from that trip, the billionaire phoned to chat with him.
It took a while for Kimmel’s interest to translate into funding for the university, but recently Duncan learned about the generous gift of money and equipment. Kimmel’s donation will create a Sidney Kimmel Institute for Nuclear Renaissance which will involve researchers from the Missouri University Research Reactor, and physics, engineering and chemistry departments.
The gift will allow M.U. scientists to do pure-science research. One online commentator said it could keep a scientific team going for a year.
The Columbia Daily Tribune, the newspaper that’s my main source for this story, cites Kimmel’s statement that he chose Missouri University because it is has research capacity across several fields and is interested in benefiting society.
Cold fusion research is more advanced than most people realize. Over the years since 1989, certain scientists around the world have seen excess heat from experiments with forms of hydrogen interacting with palladium, platinum or nickel. Many of them now call it Low Energy Nuclear Reactions, or LENR. If researchers learn exactly where the heat comes from, they and others may be able to repeat the success consistently.
Then we’d eventually be able to replace that gas-fueled furnace with an LENR clean-energy heater.