Developments to Watch
TWO MORE TELLTALE SIGNS OF COLD FUSION
The circle of evidence suggesting that cold fusion may be real after all has closed a little tighter. At the Third International Conference on Cold Fusion, held in late October in Nagoya, Japan, both Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp. (NTT) and India's Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) reported that they had found the telltale "ash" of nuclear reactions in cold-fusion experiments.
NTT found helium-4 in all five of its latest experiments, while BARC detected tritium in more than a dozen heat-generating experiments it has run since January. Both helium-4 and tritium are rare in nature, and nuclear fusion is virtually the only explanation for amounts of these elements above the so-called background level.
NTT's results are perhaps the most persuasive, because the tests conducted under the direction of Eiichi Yamaguchi, an NTT senior scientist, were done in a vacuum chamber. Contamination from natural helium-4 is thus unlikely. Still, because some previous reports of helium-4 byproducts were traced to contamination, scientists are reserving judgment until NTT's experiments are replicated by other labs.EDITED BY OTIS PORT