APS News

<em>60 Minutes</em> Got It Wrong

On April 19, CBS's 60 Minutes ran a segment about cold fusion, in the course of which they stated that 60 Minutes “asked the American Physical Society, the top physics organization in America, to recommend an independent scientist. They gave us Rob Duncan, vice chancellor of research at the University of Missouri and an expert in measuring energy.” As a result of this statement, a number of viewers have been left with the impression that APS endorses cold fusion. But the statement contains significant errors.

CBS never asked APS to recommend anybody, and APS did not give them anybody. They did ask Allen Goldman of the University of Minnesota, who happened to be Chair of the APS Division of Condensed Matter Physics at the time. Acting solely as an individual, and never claiming to represent either APS or DCMP, Goldman gave CBS a list of names, among whom was Rob Duncan. Despite the claim on 60 Minutes, and despite the background shot of APS headquarters that accompanied it, APS had absolutely no involvement in this exchange of information.

60 Minutes got it wrong.

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Editor: Alan Chodos