Dr. Frank Gordon, a highly accomplished scientist in the solid-state fusion field, has always been fascinated by how things work. He joked that he was probably one of those kids who made their parents exasperated with how often he asked “why” and “how” when learning new things. This ingrained curiosity led him to study mechanical engineering and continues to propel him through his work on solid-state fusion. After getting his doctorate in engineering through a fellowship with NASA, Frank started working at the Navy Research and Development laboratory in San Diego, where he worked for over 38 years before retiring in 2009.
During his time at the Navy lab, Frank ascended the management ranks and became a member of the Senior Executive Service. Within his managerial role, he had a comprehensive understanding of the various projects and programs at the Navy lab while working with some of the best scientific minds in the field. It was there where he met Pam Boss (interview here
), Harper Whitehouse (interview here
), and Stan Szpak — all prominent scientists in the LENR realm.
The pivotal moment in Frank’s career was 1989 when the news about cold fusion broke. Stan and Pam were electrochemists at the Navy lab at the time, and Stan knew Martin Fleischmann personally and could speak to his credibility. They quickly got to work. Frank remembers the frenzy in the lab — several groups had started working on it, and there was an ongoing flurry of faxes with pictures and illustrations exchanged among excited scientists. Frank talked fondly about this picture of pre-internet collaboration and how it showed the network of interested researchers at the start of the field. Frank also recalled Stan Szpak’s innovative work on palladium co-deposition. Most people were using solid palladium, but Stan had the idea of co-depositing it instead. Now, it is one of the most widely used methods to prepare the electrode. Frank was undeterred by skepticism surrounding cold fusion during his time at the Navy lab and employed a rigorous scientific approach. It also helped that he was in charge of discretionary funding, which he used to continue these experiments at the lab.