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Cold Fusion Reporting

May 21, 1989

Unlike many of my colleagues, I see substantial value in the unusual fashion in which the claims regarding cold fusion have been reported to the general public.

First, I could read about all of these exciting ideas without having to wait for the typical six-month delay which affects even those articles that are sent to journals that specialize in rapid publication.

I also welcome the possibility that the entertainment value of hard-core research might lead to a situation where society would buy tickets in order to be closer to scientists doing their thing.

The increased marketability of my profession would lead to a higher salary and, more importantly, qualified students of the next generation could become hooked on modern scientific investigation, which is surely civilization's greatest adventure.

We should not be dismayed by the chance that two otherwise reputable researchers might have their experimental artifacts exposed in full public view. What better forum could we possibly have for the purpose of demonstrating the open-mindedness of modern science as well as the principle of reproducibility that is a merciless cornerstone of the scientific method.

The role of open-mindedness and the concept of reproducibility lie behind the attempts of so many labs to investigate the extraordinary claims related to battery-powered fusion.

These attempts underscore the difference between real science and fake sciences such as astrology, creationism and UFO-ism.

The proponents of creation science, for example, often bewail the lack of open-mindedness in the scientific community. Let them announce which experiment could be performed so as to verify their ideas. They might be surprised by the enthusiasm with which the scientists try to test them.

SETH J. PUTTERMAN

Professor of Physics

UCLA

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