*subhead*Scientific punch lines.*subhead*

Martin Fleischmann has died.

Who? Exactly.

I sometimes suspect that Martin Fleischmann might be the Alfred Wegener of his time?

Who? Exactly.

Alfred Wegener was a German polar researcher, geophysicist and meteorologist. He is the man who first proposed the modern theory of continental drift now understood as plate tectonics.

Wegener first proposed his theory to the German Geological Society in 1912. He was then metaphorically laughed out of the room. He tried to come up with more evidence for the theory but died before he could in 1930. He died as a scientific punch line.

Even 25 years later a leading scientist of the day was mocked because he (and others) did not have a working theory of what caused the drift. Scientists continued to mock the idea as childish right up until seismologists provided the answer. We all know this is now accepted theory. They laughed at him right up until the day he was proved right.

Martin Fleischmann made history in 1989 when he and his partner Stanley Pons published a paper in which they purported their “experiments as generating considerable “excess energy”, in the sense that it could not be explained by chemical reactions alone.” They proposed that the answer to their observations could be “Cold Fusion” or a Low Energy Nuclear Reaction (LENR.) That would be really big news, game changing.

After other scientists had difficulty replicating the experiments, within months Fleischmann and Pons got the Wegener treatment on steroids. When Fleischmann died, he died also as a scientific punchline, or at the very least a cautionary tale.

But what if? What if Fleischmann was right and there is something there?

Andrea Rossi thinks so and he aims to prove it.

In January 2011 Rossi claims to have successfully demonstrated commercially viable LENR device called an Energy Catalyzer. He wants to build it, market it, and sell it.

The scientific community has to hold its sides from laughing so much.

Why, they say, they don’t even have a theory how such a thing could work? Scoff, scoff, scoff….

Sound familiar?

The secretive Rossi has made statements recently on what has been achieved in his engineering of the device, such as sustained 1000C temperatures capable of producing hot enough steam to power conventional electricity producing turbines. Rossi promises a third party independent report substantiating his claims in the September time frame.

Now, I have no idea whether Rossi’s claims are valid or if Fleischmann and Pons really did observe something back in 1989. But I sure hope they did and that Rossi can prove it. Not only would it change the world but it might restore the reputation of a man.

Scientists can be just as arrogant, mean, and jealous as any other man. Such a discovery would go a long way toward reminding the scientific community that much of what they accept as fact today will be laughed at by schoolchildren 200 years from now and that real genius can come from unexpected places.

Whether he was right or wrong, I pray that Martin Fleischmann rests in peace.