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E-Mail From Lefteri H. Tsoukalas to Dr. Sally Mason
published Monday, February 12, 2007, in The New York Times
From: Lefteri H. Tsoukalas
Sent: Sunday, July 02, 2006 3:32 PM
To: Mason, Sally K.
Personal and Confidential
I am writing to you out of deep concern for the Taleyarkhan affair.
I have been a strong and tireless supporter of your Provostship and you personally (the attached review captures some of this), you have been an excellent Provost and I strongly believe that you will make an outstanding Purdue President. I realize that you have given me opportunities and at times I have brought you headaches and I have deep regrets about this. But my commitment to you personally and your efforts has been, is, and will be deep and strong.
Taleyarkhan produced outstanding bibliographical evidence for thermonuclear fusion taking place in imploding bubbles. He published in very prestigious journals (Science, Phys. Review E, Phys. Review Letters). The publications were touted as Nobel-level work. On the basis of that we brought him to Purdue.
For a scientific fact to hold peer-review is necessary but not sufficient. What makes it sufficient is independent replication. Our own research (see attached paper) and that of others raises serious questions about what what was put in the peer-reviewed prestigious journals. But this is not so important, in my mind. In time, science shows. What is very important, crucial I would say, is that he faked replication. And this he did here at Purdue, and Purdue can be harmed because of this. Let us be no less than MIT, Bell Labs, or, Seoul National University in showing the world that as a premier research university we can handle research integrity in an exemplary manner.
Taleyarkhan has brought harm to my School. I do not wish a similar thing to be done to our university. Call me any time if you wish to discuss things. I have been mostly in bed with a kidney stone last couple days, but will be happy to come and see you anywhere and anytime convenient for you.
[Note: Personal contact information has been deleted. The e-mail was provided to The Times by Dr. Tsoukalas.]
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