Martin Fleischmann

Martin Fleischmann
Martin Fleischmann

Fleischmann showing off part of his cold fusion test apparatus.
Born March 29, 1927 (1927-03-29) (age 84)
Karlovy Vary, Czechoslovakia[1]
Residence near Salisbury, England
Citizenship British[2]
Nationality British
Fields Electrochemistry
Institutions University of Utah, IMRA
Alma mater Imperial College London
Notable students Stanley Pons
Known for Work on cold fusion

Martin Fleischmann (born March 29, 1927) is a British chemist noted for his work in electrochemistry. He came to wider public prominence[3] following his controversial publication of work with colleague Stanley Pons on cold fusion using palladium in the 1980s and '90s.


Life and career

Born in Karlovy Vary, Czechoslovakia, Fleischmann moved to England in 1938 with his family. He received a PhD from Imperial College London in 1950. Fleischmann went on to teach at King's College, Durham University, which in 1963 became the newly established University of Newcastle upon Tyne.[4][5] In 1967, aged 40, Fleischmann became Professor of Electrochemistry at the University of Southampton.[6] From 1970 to 1972, he was president of the International Society of Electrochemists.[7] In 1974, he played an important role in the discovery of Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering effect (SERS),[3][8] and he developed the ultramicroelectrode in the 1980s.[9] In 1979, he was awarded the medal for electrochemistry and thermodynamics by the Royal Society of London. In 1982 he retired from the University of Southampton. In 1985 he received the Palladium Medal from the US Electrochemical Society, and in 1986 was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society.[10] He retired from teaching in 1983 and was given an honorary professorship at Southampton University.[7]

Cold fusion

Around 1983, while they were researchers at the University of Utah, he and Stanley Pons found what they believed a way to create nuclear fusion at room temperatures. Fleischmann wanted to publish it first in an obscure journal, and had already spoken with a team that was doing similar work in a different university for a joint publication.[11][12] The details have not surfaced, but it would seem that the University of Utah wanted to establish priority over the discovery and its patents by making a public announcement before the publication.[11][12] In an interview with 60 Minutes on April 19, 2009, Fleischmann said that the public announcement was the university's idea, and that he regretted doing it.[13] This decision would later cause heavy criticism against Fleischmann and Pons, being perceived as a breach of how science is usually communicated to other scientists.[12]

On March 23, 1989, it was finally announced at a press conference as "a sustained nuclear fusion reaction,"[14] which was quickly labeled by the press as cold fusion[15][16] – a result previously thought to be unattainable. On March 26 Fleischmann warned on the Wall Street Journal Report not to try replications until a published paper was available two weeks later in Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry, but that did not stop hundreds of scientists who had already started work at their laboratories the moment they heard the news on March 23,[17] and more often than not they failed to reproduce the effects.[18] Those who failed to reproduce the claim attacked the pair for fraudulent,[18][19] sloppy[18][20][21] and unethical work,[18] incomplete[20] unreproducible[22] and inaccurate[22] results, and erroneous interpretations.[23] When the paper was finally published, both electrochemists and physicists called it "sloppy" and "uninformative", and it was said that, had Fleischmann and Pons waited for the publication of their paper, most of the trouble would have been avoided because scientists would not have gone so far in trying to test their work.[11][24] Fleischmann and Pons sued an Italian journalist who had published very harsh criticisms against them, but the judge rejected it saying that criticisms were appropriate given the scientists' behaviour, the lack of evidence since the first announcement, and the disinterest of the scientific community, and that they were an expression of the journalist's "right of reporting".[25][26] Fleischmann, Pons and the researchers who replicated the effect remain convinced the effect is real, but the general scientific community remains skeptical.

Retirement and recent work

In 1992, Fleischmann moved to France with Pons to continue their work at the IMRA laboratory (part of Technova Corporation, a subsidiary of Toyota), but in 1995 he retired and returned to England.[27][28]

Fleischmann has more recently co-authored papers with researchers from the U.S. Navy[29][30] and Italian national laboratories (INFN and ENEA),[31] still on the subject of cold fusion.

In March 2006, "Solar Energy Limited" division "D2Fusion Inc" announced in a press release that Fleischmann, then 79, would be acting as their senior scientific advisor.[1]

Fleischmann suffers from Parkinson's Disease, and lives near Salisbury, England.[32]

Peer-reviewed papers

  • Fleischmann, Martin; Pons, Stanley; Anderson, Mark W.; Li, Lian Jun; Hawkins, Marvin (1990). "Calorimetry of the palladium-deuterium-heavy water system". Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry 287 (2): 293–348. doi:10.1016/0022-0728(90)80009-U 
  • Fleischmann, Martin; Pons, Stanley (1992). "Some Comments on The Paper 'Analysis of Experiments on The Calorimetry of LiOD-D2O Electrochemical Cells,' R.H. Wilson et al., Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry, Vol. 332, (1992)". Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry 332: 33–53. doi:10.1016/0022-0728(92)80339-6 
  • Fleischmann, Martin; Pons, S (1993). "Calorimetry of the Pd-D2O system: from simplicity via complications to simplicity". Physics Letters A 176 (1–2): 118–129. Bibcode 1993PhLA..176..118F. doi:10.1016/0375-9601(93)90327-V 

Conference proceedings


  1. ^ Taubes, Gary (1993). Bad science: the short life and weird times of cold fusion. New York: Random House. pp. 6. ISBN 0-394-58456-2. 
  2. ^ Voss, D (1999-03-01). "What Ever Happened to Cold Fusion". Physics World. Retrieved 2008-05-01. 
  3. ^ a b Shelley, Tom (October 2006). "Tiny reflectors boost sensing a billion". Eureka. Retrieved 2007-12-27. 
  4. ^ Covington, A. K. (1995). "Obituary : Harold Reginald Thirsk (1915–1995)". Electrochimica Acta 40 (8): xii. doi:10.1016/0013-4686(95)90227-9 
  5. ^ King's College, Official Records of Durham University.
  6. ^ Charles Platt (November 1998). "What If Cold Fusion Is Real?". Wired: p. 2. 
  7. ^ a b William J. Broad (1989-05-09). "Brilliance and Recklessness Seen in Fusion Collaboration". The New York Times. 
  8. ^ Fleischmann, M.; PJ Hendra and AJ McQuillan (15 May 1974). "Raman Spectra of Pyridine Adsorbed at a Silver Electrode". Chemical Physics Letters 26 (2): 163–166. doi:10.1016/0009-2614(74)85388-1. 
  9. ^ Bard, A.J.; Faulkner, L.R. Electrochemical Methods: Fundamentals and Applications. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2nd Edition, 2000.
  10. ^ "Fellows of the Royal Society" (pdf). The Royal Society. August 2008. Retrieved 2009-02-17. [dead link]
  11. ^ a b c Shamoo, 2003, 86
  12. ^ a b c Simon, 2002, 28-36
  13. ^ Cold Fusion is Hot Again, CBS News
  14. ^ Press release, published in Huizenga, Cold fusion, Oxford University Press, 1989, p. 289
  15. ^ Bart Simon, Undead science: Science studies and the afterlife of cold fusion, Rutgers University Press, 2002, p. 39. Simon says that the first article naming Fleischmann's work as "cold fusion" was Jerry Bishop, Wall Street Journal, "Research in Utah to announce a development in fusion energy", March 23, 1989, or Scientist sticks to claimed test-tube fusion advance, March 27.
  16. ^ Fleischmann, Martin; Pons, Stanley; Hawkins, M. (1989). "Electrochemically induced nuclear fusion of deuterium". Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry 261 (2A): 301–308. doi:10.1016/0022-0728(89)80006-3 , and errata in Vol. 263.
  17. ^ Simon, 2002, page 35
  18. ^ a b c d Shamoo, 2003, pages 76, 97
  19. ^ Henry Krips, J. E. McGuire, Trevor Melia (1995). University of Pittsburgh Press. ed. Science, Reason, and Rhetoric (illustrated ed.). Pittsburgh, Pa.: University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. xvi. ISBN 0822939126. 
  20. ^ a b Simon, 2002, p. 119
  21. ^ Michael B. Schiffer, Kacy L. Hollenback, Carrie L. Bell (2003). University of California Press. ed. Draw the Lightning Down: Benjamin Franklin and Electrical Technology in the Age of Enlightenment (illustrated ed.). Berkeley, Calif.: Univ. of California Press. pp. 207. ISBN 0520238028. 
  22. ^ a b Taubes, Gary (1993). Bad science: the short life and weird times of cold fusion. New York: Random House. pp. 6. ISBN 0-394-58456-2. 
  23. ^ Thomas F. Gieryn (1999). University of Chicago Press. ed. Cultural Boundaries of Science: Credibility on the Line (illustrated ed.). Chicago: University of Chicago Press. pp. 204. ISBN 0226292622. 
  24. ^ Simon, 2002, p. 43
  25. ^ Simon, 2002, pags. 110-112
  26. ^ Robert L. Park (2002). Oxford University Press. ed. Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud (reprint ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 123–124. ISBN 0198604432. 
  27. ^ Simon, 2002, p. 137
  28. ^ Petit, Petit (14 March 2009). "Cold panacea: two researchers proclaimed 20 years ago that they'd achieved cold fusion, the ultimate energy solution. The work went nowhere, but the hope remains". Science News 175 (6): pp. 20–24. doi:10.1002/scin.2009.5591750622 
  29. ^ Szpak, S., et al., Thermal behavior of polarized Pd/D electrodes prepared by co-deposition. Thermochim. Acta, 2004. 410: p. 101.
  30. ^ Mosier-Boss, P.A. and M. Fleischmann, Thermal and Nuclear Aspects of the Pd/D2O System, ed. S. Szpak and P.A. Mosier-Boss. Vol. 2. Simulation of the Electrochemical Cell (ICARUS) Calorimetry. 2002: SPAWAR Systems Center, San Diego, U.S. Navy.
  31. ^ Del Giudice, E., et al. Loading of H(D) in a Pd lattice. in The 9th International Conference on Cold Fusion, Condensed Matter Nuclear Science. 2002. Tsinghua Univ., Beijing, China: Tsinghua University Press
  32. ^ Cartwright, J. (2009) "Fusion in a cold climate", New Scientist, 18 Jul: 28-29


  • Physics Web article by David Voss
  • SIMON, Bart (2002). Rutgers University Press. ed. Undead Science: Science Studies and the Afterlife of Cold Fusion (illustrated ed.). New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press. ISBN 0813531543. 
  • SHAMOO Adil E. Shamoo, David B. Resnik (2003). Oxford University Press US. ed. Responsible Conduct of Research (2, illustrated ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195148460. 

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