Friday, August 29, 2008

Table Top Fusion Bust

A few years back some scientists at Oak Ridge National Laboratory announced an exciting find-they were able to cause fusion using sound waves. Sound too good to be true? It didn't to the journals. The "prestigious" journal Science published the findings which have since turned out to be bogus.

The claims, made by a Dr. Taleyarkhan, involved collapsing bubbles in a liquid using sound waves. There was such force that the collapse of the bubbles cause hydrogen atoms in the liquid to undergo fusion reactions. The original research was conducted at Oak Ridge, but Dr. Taleyarkhan has since moved to Purdue University where he published a follow-up paper which claimed he was able to duplicate the original results, something no other scientists have been able to do. In a recent finding, which didn't dispute the original paper, Purdue punished the professor for research misconduct. Apparently there has been no duplication of the original results.

Hmmm...maybe we shouldn't be so anxious to believe in table top fusion the next time someone announces it. On a positive note, this shows the scientific enterprise works pretty well and roots out false results. Its also a good comment on human nature. Maybe this is less about actual fraud and more about Dr. Teleyarkhan wanting to believe so badly in what he thought he discovered.


Pollywog said...

Either the researcher "saw" what they wanted to see or wanted to receive grant money and was willing to bend the truth to get grant money. said...


It is always about money, and when research grants get tighter, expect more such announcements.

Randy said...

With regard to Dr. Taleyarkhan's research itself, if you look a little deeper, you'll see that it has not been successfully replicated once or twice, but FIVE times. It's been published in countless articles, journals, and they're even publishing a followup paper that tells these guys who were "unsuccessful" in their replication attempts what they did wrong.

As far as this recent mess that Taleyarkhan's found himself in, Purdue definitely is trying to hide something. Their actions to date are just too fishy to be called “upholding the law.”

Purdue Provost Woodson was quoted saying of Taleyarkhan, “Mentors…need to exhibit the highest standard of ethical behavior and collegiality,” which is particularly laughable.

Considering the contents of circulating sworn affidavits from staff members from Dr. Taleyarkhan’s department at Purdue, I am surprised that Woodson had the guts to imply that Dr. TALEYARKHAN is the one who is unethical/unprofessional.

Purdue is aiding and promoting criminal actions committed by their own faculty (the detractors from Purdue who are causing this chaos, and who knows how many more are involved).

They are so wrapped up in their complicit acts, it appears that the only course they can take now is to stick by their lies and hush up Taleyarkhan, namely by removing all of his research privileges (which is just what they did).

Digging an even deeper hole is no way to maintain or safeguard the reputation of such an institution (particularly one as preeminence-obsessed as Purdue).

Quite frankly, I hope that Dr. Taleyarkhan decides to prosecute his detractors to the fullest extent of the law AND get convictions.

It's pretty obvious who is calling the shots at Purdue. I just hope that the folks in the court systems are ethical, professional, and honorable, qualities that Purdue has proven NOT to possess.