Category: Scientific Controversies

Cold Fusion

In 1989, chemists Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann reported that they had achieved cold fusion. “Cold fusion” refers to a type of nuclear reaction that takes place at temperatures far below the several million degrees that are usually required for the reaction. It’s not known whether cold fusion is possible. When the report came out it garnered enormous media attention. Fusion would be a source of cheap and relatively safe energy. Any process that could generate fusion energy – cold or otherwise – is big news.

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Kirlian Photography

Kirlian Photograph of Fingertip

Kirlian photography is a technique of acquiring photographic images through the use of high-voltage electricity. It was developed in the Soviet Union by Semyon Kirlian and his wife Valentina during the first half of the 20th Century.

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Piltdown Man

Piltdown Man Skull

In 1908, a worker at a gravel pit in Piltdown, England, found pieces of a skull. The discovery attracted the attention of a collector named Charles Dawson, and paleontologist Arthur Smith Woodward. These men found additional pieces of the skull at the site, as well as a jawbone apparently belonging to the same creature. The creature seemed to have a brain around two thirds the size of a human’s, while its jaw was similar to that of a chimpanzee’s. It was called “Piltdown Man.”

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