LENR Pioneer Martin Fleischmann has died

Martin Fleischmann one half of the team of scientists that brought low energy nuclear reaction (LENR) or cold fusion to public attention in 1989 has died.

Martin Fleischmann (right) and Stanley Pons at the height of their fame in 1989

Several media outlets including the Utah newspaper the Deseret News and Forbes are reporting that Fleischmann died of natural causes at his home in Salisbury, England on August 3. Fleischmann was 85. The cause of his death is not clear but he was apparently suffering from heart disease, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease at the time of his death.

In March 1989, Fleischmann and Stanley Pons announced that they had found a way to create nuclear fusion or nuclear reactions at room temperatures. Fleischmann and Pons had apparently discovered some sort of LENR process several years earlier but it wasn’t announced until 1989. The University of Utah decided to hold a press conference and announce the discovery to the world.

Although Fleischmann was a distinguished electrochemist who was a Fellow of the Royal Society (Britain’s most distinguished group of scientists) and a holder of the Palladium Medal from the US Electromechanical Society he was ostracized from science after the announcement. Some critics even branded Fleischmann as a crank despite his distinguished record. Fleischmann was condemned because others scientists were unable to replicate the work.

In 2009 Fleischmann told CBS 60 Minutes correspondent Scott Pelley that he felt the press conference was a mistake. He also regretted calling effect cold fusion and not releasing the discovery through traditional channels such as scientific journals. Fleischmann, Pons and the University President who had pressured them to hold the conference were all eventually forced out of the University of Utah.

Despite the ostracism Fleischmann and Pons were able to get $20 million from Toyota to pursue cold fusion research in at the IMRA laboratory in France for a few years. Toyota apparently stopped funding that work in 1997. IMRA is apparently part of Technova, (a Toyota subsidiary) that is still active in LENR research.

Martin Fleischmann was born in what is now the Czech Republic in 1927. His family moved to Great Britain in 1938 when the Nazis overran the area. Fleischmann received a PhD from Imperial College in London in 1950. He taught at King’s College, Durham University (now the University of Newcastle upon Tyne) in England. In 1967 he became Professor Electrochemistry at the University of Southampton and stayed in that position 1983. Fleischmann also served as president of the International Society of Electrochemists from 1970 to 1972.

Since 1989 a number of scientists including Michael McKubre have claimed that they have been able to duplicate the Fleischmann and Pons effect. The European Union is among the organizations that recently admitted that Pons and Fleischmann were right and more research into their work needs to be done.  Sadly Fleischmann himself seemed to have died just as enough evidence to force the scientific community to accept his discovery was accumulating.

It is easy to see why so many established scientists are afraid of the words cold fusion. Even a highly distinguished scientist such as Martin Fleischmann could have his career destroyed for saying there was something there. Hopefully the scientific community will be kinder to him in death than it was in life. Fleischmann’s partner Stanley Pons is apparently still alive and living in France. As far as I know Pons is not currently active in LENR research.

There is some hope here the Deseret News story on Fleischmann’s death quotes Sterling Allan of Pure Energy Systems and mentions recent work in the field. The story notes the work done by high school students in Rome on the Athanor LENR Reactor. Unfortunately it didn’t mention all the work by companies such as Andrea Rossi’s Leonardo Corp, Defkalion, Brillouin and Jet Energy all of which claim to be on the verge of commercializing LENR or the Pons and Fleischmann effect.

 

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