"Cold Nuclear Fusion" will be a key topic of discussion Monday night at the American Physical Society's annual meeting in the Baltimore Convention Center.

The special session, 7:30 to 11 p.m., will feature Brigham Young University physicist Stephen E. Jones.Jones, who says he has been doing experiments in cold nuclear fusion since 1986, is challenging the work of electrochemists B. Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann at the University of Utah.

The Utah team announced March 23 it had produced solid-state fusion in a jar at room temperature.

The report has aroused hopes of a cheap and virtually limitless supply of clean energy, but it also has elicited skepticism from many physicists who doubt fusion could take place at anything but extremely high temperatures.

Among the loudest critics have been scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who also plan to present a paper at the meeting.

Other physicists had until noon Monday to register to speak on cold nuclear fusion at the convention.

A society spokesman confirmed that Pons and Fleischmann will not attend the session.