I don’t know for sure if this topic has been discussed here previously, but a couple of days ago I stumbled with a documentary about this and, given that I was absolutely unaware of the existence of this bizarre piece of history in the neighbor country of Argentina, I have been trying to better understand what was the claimed science by the Austrian physicist Ronald Richter who claimed success fusion in 1951 and was completely discredited and forgotten by 1958.
The documentary is scant in technical details but what captured my attention more is that, allegedly, Richter used an electric arc targeted to some kind of lithium compound, and also heavy water was involved.
He claimed success with only one experiment but even his own technician doubted that the “spectrographic” lines were not only an artifact of the mechanically unstable equipment being used.
Richter is depicted as a sort of questionable character full of paranoic behaviors and of allegedly poor knowledge of classic nuclear science, and prone to temper tantrums when people did not follow his whims, but somehow managed to spell President Juan Domingo Perón and get him to personally support all his requests for several years until the amount of enemies Richter amassed due to his character was so big and the results so poor that Perón simply was forced to stop and never ever wanted to even talk to Richter any more. An official investigation was conducted and Richter was accused of fraud. He never acknowledged being wrong to the day of his death in 1991.
Ronald Richter was brought to Argentina during what could be deemed Argentina’s version of project Paper clip in the USA, and he was brought by Perón through personal recommendation of German jet propulsion pioneer aeronautical engineer Kurt Tank, who worked with Richter in the development of the German early prototype of jet fighter.
Tank developed a jet fighter prototype for Argentina.