Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Cold fusion, hot topic
Posted by John McHale
Most folks I talk to whether it be for stories in Military & Aerospace Electronics magazine or developing content for our conferences focus on what is the next disruptive technology, the one that will not only change the way we do business but affect people's culture and everyday life.
One that created a lot of buzz at our Military & Aerospace Electronics Forum last week was cold fusion. Dr. Frank Gordon, head of navigation and applied sciences at the U.S. Navy Space and Warfare (SPAWAR) command in San Diego discussed cold fusion and more in his keynote address at the conference.
Gordon described how scientists at SPAWAR San Diego recently ran the first demonstration that produced high-energy neutrons from low-energy nuclear reactions. These experiments "that have been replicated by others provide compelling direct evidence that nuclear reactions are occurring in the cold fusion experiments," Gordon said.
According to Gordon cold fusion could power the entire planet with just water from the oceans. Gordon said the next step will be "conducting more experiments and understanding the underlying physics."
Gordon also discussed how "scientists at several universities are taking advantage of nonlinear dynamics that inherently exists in most systems" to greatly improve capabilities.
"Biological systems are nonlinear and scientists have developed techniques" to take neurons out of leaches, place them on an encapsulated silicon substrate and then inject a solution to keep the neurons alive," he said. "After a period of time, the neurons start communicating with each other and techniques have been developed where the neurons can actually control basic operations without conventional software."
During his talk Gordon showed a demonstration where these leech neurons navigated a virtual maze.
Gordon said his group is "working on implementing nonlinear capabilities that mimic biological processes in computer chips to produce ultra low power electronics and new sensors with significantly improved capabilities."
This was just a taste of the some the fascinating work the Navy lab is working on. Gordon had the packed conference room riveted.
One attendee and a member of our conference advisory board told me that he thinks either Gordon is speaking science fiction or he has to got to go home and reorganize his "entire investment portfolio."
Call your broker, buddy.