PITTSFORD-Sixty-eight-year-old Tom Freeman of Pittsford is the kind of maverick scientific researcher early 20th century electrical wiz Nikola Tesla would have been proud of.
Freeman, a retired General Dynamics nuclear researcher, worked on fusion experiments as far back as the 1970s. Freeman retired to Vermont in 2003 with his wife of 20 years. He still conducts research, mostly computer simulations, on low-cost approaches to cold fusion.
Freeman believes the controversial atomic energy source has great potential for the future and might even help fight the effects of global warming in a big way.
"I worked for General Dynamics," Freeman said, "and I performed some early mathematical work concerning the feasibility of cold fusion when I was living San Diego. It intrigued a few researchers like me early on."
Freeman said cold fusion has been around for decades but didn't enter the public imagination until 1989.
At that time, award-winning chemists Martin Fleischmann of the University of Southampton (U.K.) and Stanley Pons of the University of Utah shocked the world when they reported that a small, tabletop electrolytic cell they tinkered with generated a huge amount of heat via a mysterious nuclear process that occurred at room temperature.
"Pons and Fleischmann literally put cold fusion on the map," Freeman said, "although some were experimenting with it, at least on paper, since the 1950s."
Other researchers have had similar results to the 1989 experiments, Freeman added, but many in mainstream physics dismiss the idea.
"Some consider cold fusion to be pseudoscience," he said, "but of course what they say is nonsense. Cold fusion is very real and it certainly produces a potential of vast amounts of energy. That's why we need to being doing a lot more research into this awesome process. Our government is more interested in solar and wind energy-which is fine-but it ignores cold fusion, just because of the N-word, nuclear.