August 23, 1943 |
Valdese, North Carolina, U.S.
|Citizenship||France (originally US)|
|Institutions||University of Utah|
|Doctoral advisor||Alan Bewick|
|Known for||Work on cold fusion|
Pons was born in Valdese, North Carolina. He attended Valdese High School, then Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., where he studied chemistry. He began his PhD studies in chemistry at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, but left before completing his PhD for financial reasons. His thesis resulted in a paper, co-authored in 1967 with Harry B. Mark, his adviser. The New York Times wrote that it pioneered a way to measure the spectra of chemical reactions on the surface of an electrode.
On March 23, 1989, while Pons was the chairman of the chemistry department at the University of Utah, he and Fleischmann announced the experimental production of "N-Fusion", which was quickly labeled by the press as cold fusion. After a short period of public acclaim, hundreds of scientists attempted to reproduce the effects but generally failed. After the claims were found to be unreproducible, the scientific community determined the claims were incomplete, and inaccurate.
Pons moved to France in 1992, along with Fleischmann, to work at a Toyota-sponsored laboratory. The laboratory closed in 1998 after a ₤12 million research investment without conclusive results. He gave up his US citizenship and became a French citizen.
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