On this day in 1989 – Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann announce their discovery of
cold fusion at the University of Utah. What is cold fusion you ask? Well, that’s when you
have nuclear fusion reaction taking place at a relatively low temperature, let’s say room
temperature. “What does this mean to me?” you ask. Absolutely nothing.
As a cheap and abundant source of energy, Cold Fusion would have solved the world’s
energy problems in a heartbeat, were it possible. By April 30, of the same year, cold fusion
was declared dead by the New York Times. called a “circus” by The Times and trashed by
the Boston Herald. By late 1989 most of the claims of the possibility of Cold Fusion were dead.
No one had been able to duplicate the results that Pons and Fleischmann (truly renowned in
their field) stated in their original paper.
Per Wiki: Steven E. Koonin of Caltech called the Utah report a result of
"the incompetence and delusion of Pons and Fleischmann" which was met
with a standing ovation. Douglas R. O. Morrison, a physicist representing
CERN, was the first to call the episode an example of pathological science.
The alcohol in your standard cocktail, freezes solid at -114 C (for some of you small-batch Bourbon drinkers it’s much lower ;) High-quality freezers are typically set at -18 C, which is why you can keep that vodka bottle in the freezer and still pour a thick, cold one into a glass. Even dry ice (the stuff they use to ship your Omaha steaks and will give you a nasty ice burn if you handle it), is only -79 C, so it will still leave your alcohol a liquid if you use it for ice cubes.
If you want to freeze your drink solid, the only choice is LN2 (Liquid Nitrogen) that boils at a cool -196 C. Mixed into a drink, this puppy will freeze it solid then vaporize leaving behind only the sweet droplets of the nectar of the gods. Cold Fusion achieved.
The Historical Inebriant: Cold Fusion
- 3/4oz Stoli Vodka
- 3/4oz Midori
- 1/2oz Rose’s Lime Juice
- 1/2oz Fresh Lemon Juice
- 1/2oz Sweet and Sour
Oh, and to make sure the glass is really chilled first:
For true Cold Fusion:
Or maybe something hard on the top, soft on the bottom?
Happy Science Friday!
As always, have a great and safe weekend!