The hafnium controversy is a debate over the possibility of 'triggering' rapid energy releases, via gamma ray emission, from a nuclear isomer of Hafnium, 178m2Hf. The energy release is potentially 5 orders of magnitude (100,000 times) more energetic than a chemical reaction, but 3 orders of magnitude less than a nuclear reaction. In 1998, a group led by Carl Collins of the University of Texas at Dallas reported having successfully initiated such a trigger. Signal-to-noise ratios were small in those first experiments, and to date no other group has been able to duplicate these results.
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“And therefore, as when there is a controversy in an account, the parties must by their own accord, set up for right Reason, the Reason of some Arbitrator, or Judge, to whose sentence, they will both stand, or their controversy must either come to blows, or be undecided, for want of a right Reason constituted by Nature; so is it also in all debates of what kind soever.”
—Thomas Hobbes (15791688)