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Martin Fleischmann has died

Martin Fleischmann has died on August 3, 2012 at the age of 85. Fleischmann became famous first as one Britain most original electrochemists, and later with the most famous cold fusion claim in history, the Fleischmann–Pons experiment.

The claims were made by Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann in 1989, then working for the University of Utah, and consisted of electrolysis experiments using a palladium cathode and heavy water within a calorimeter; They hypothesized that the high compression ratio and mobility of deuterium that could be achieved within palladium metal using electrolysis resulted in nuclear fusion.

After a brief period of interest by the wider scientific community, their reports were called into question by nuclear physicists. Pons and Fleischmann never retracted their claims, but moved their research program to France after the controversy erupted. They continued their research at Toyota Motor Corporation's IMRA lab, but with no tangible results, and Fleischmann left for England in 1995. The IMRA laboratory was closed in 1998 after spending 15 million EUR on cold fusion work. Pons has made no public declarations since, but Fleischmann continued giving talks and publishing papers.

Despite the claims of various others that pursued or reproduced the ideas of Fleischmann and Pons ever since, all attempts to achieve fusion at room temperature till this day have failed, and the temperatures necessary to make make atoms fuse remain in the order of millions of degrees. Yet Fleischmann continued to hope, and once said: “The New York Times said that you cannot make a heavier-than-air machine fly the day before the Wright brothers took off.”

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