In 1989, physicists Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann dropped a bombshell of an announcement, claiming to have achieved desktop cold fusion. The energy crisis was over; all you needed was palladium electrodes and heavy water to achieve the room-temperature fusion of deuterium, a heavier isotope of hydrogen. It would be a new and clean way to power the planet.
There was just this one problem: No other scientists could reproduce the two physicists' results, and cold fusion research took a huge P.R. hit. But while the cold fusion fiasco destroyed the scientists' careers, palladium lives on in simpler applications like electronics, dentistry, and holding up your pants: this is a Swiss-made palladium-plated belt buckle.