Date: Tue, 15 May 2007 11:28:28 -0400
From: Rusi Taleyarkhan <email@example.com>
To: Steve Krivit
Subject: Re: Adam Butt contact/feedback (rpt->s.krivit;5.15.07)
Regarding Adam Butt, I've neither heard from him nor communicated with him since late 2005/early 2006. The Purdue directory does not list him as a student in any department but has left an email address for him: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Related to Adam Butt, for the record here are the facts of the situation per my recollection:
- In early 2004 Butt requested to join my group and conduct research into sonofusion, together with a joint MS with School of Aeronautics Engr.
- School of Aeronautics Engr. refused to support Butt in terms of financial support
- However, I accepted to fully support Butt as a student and he joined my group around May-July, 2004
- To get Butt's research started out, I directed him to learn the art/science by getting involved with the sonofusion experimental confirmatory work undertaken by Xu. To me this appeared it could also be helpful to Purdue and to Xu for due diligence checks by a third party.
- Xu agreed to have Butt review his experimental data, the manner of which the data were archived, transferred, analyzed and reported. I did not interfere in the conduct of this exercize nor did I ask for clarification on what exactly Butt did. Butt did come back after a few weeks and reported to me that he had completed this assessment to his satisfaction and saw nothing wrong in Xu's reported results.
- Around December, 2004 Xu received invitation to submit his paper to Nucl.Engr. Design journal from it's Editor-in-Chief Gunter Lohnert thinking this would be a fine tribute to honor Dick Lahey of RPI for whom the special Festschrift edition was being prepared.
- Xu prepared his manuscript and added Butt's name on to it as a courtesy gesture. Butt felt honored/motivated at the invitation and did look over the manuscript and offered his comments to Xu. There was no indication at the time of any reluctance on his part at the time.
- Xu/Butt's paper review/acceptance, etc. was handled by Gunter Lohnert himself with no participation by me.
- The Xu/Butt paper in NED was published I believe in mid-2005.
- Purdue prepared a Press Release for which Butt/Xu were interviewed along with input from Tsoukalas (then the Head of School of Nuclear Engr.). In the Press Release issued by Tsoukalas which he fact-checked and formally approved for release - he took credit for directing and sponsoring this research of Xu/Butt. As part of the Press Release, Butt and Xu posed for photographers in front of their experiment station.
- Aug. 14, 2005 Butt invited me to his wedding and requested to include my family:
"Prof. Taleyarkhan...Thank you very much, we will be honored to have you,.."
- July-05 onwards was also the time very serious and deep divisions were erupting within the School of Nuclear Engineering mainly over egregious improprieties associated with promotion and tenure. I voted my conscience and that did not go well at all with Tsoukalas (along with Ishii and Choi) who together started a campaign of vendetta targeted against the dissenting faculty.
Around that same time frame, a very serious grievance charge was filed (against Tsoukalas for gross improprieties) by a junior faculty member whose promotion/tenure/existence at Purdue was wrongfully affected by actions of Tsoukalas, and I was asked to provide input, which I did along with various other faculty. Quite of few of these inputs were negative on Tsoukalas.
Upon seeing the inputs, this violently inflamed the situation and advancement of harrassment tactics by Tsoukalas and his group (consisting of Choi, Jevremovic, Ishii, and Bertodano).
- Around Nov.-Dec. 2005 Butt came to me and told me he would like to finish his MS thesis work for Nuclear Engr. and Aero Engr. I had earlier communicated with him the agreed-upon requirements for research accomplishment for a good MS thesis. He finally completed the bare minimum expectations and I signed off on his thesis for the Nucl.Engr. MS degree but there was friction involved in terms of what Butt thought was OK to do to get a MS degree and my own expectations. During that time, surprisingly, Butt offered to me that he would not like to be associated with Nuclear Engr. for a PhD and wished to go back to Aero Engr. or elsewhere to get a job.
- Upon completing his MS thesis and knowing Butt was not continuing with my group further, I stopped supporting Butt financially. Mind you, all this time he was not supported by Aero Engr. but by me.
- A month later in Dec. 2005 Butt wrote to me stating he was surprised that he was not getting his monthly salary and demanded that he get it even though he was not working for me. He claimed he was having difficulty paying his bills and especially with a wife also on hand and expected to be paid by Purdue. Rather than hold ground, out of empathy I paid him from my funds in good faith and bid him farewell but to not expect anything more from me. During this transition, he may have had a difficult time since the other School of Aero Engr. had refused to support him in the past and he may have been without salary for a while. I believe he left with a chip... in Jan. 2006 and perhaps due to his immaturity did not really appreciate.
- Jan. 2006 my group's paper in PRL appeared. Around that time (I'm unsure of exact dates) Tsoukalas set up his own illegal investigation committee without my knowledge or consent to find fault with my group's sonofusion research. State of Indiana (Purdue Univ.) rules per EM C-22 require individuals alleging research misconduct to report them to the Dean/Provost who would then initiate a review in utmost confidence.
Tsoukalas appointed his crony Choi to head his own investigation committee unknown to the Purdue's higher administration (I think). The Choi cmte. called in Revankar (who refused to participate calling the committee's existence illegal).
Xu (who went in to meet not knowing the rules and who stopped offering information after suspecting that seemed to being asked to denigrate) and Butt (the most vulnerable member of the three who when summoned talked with Choi, etc. and then, wrote his report of involvement). Butt, in his report did admit to doing checks,etc. of Xu's expts. and does admit to reviewing the draft of paper with his name on it and offering comments.
However, the manner of communication and the way the Tsoukalas team portrays it to the world gives one the impression Butt was coerced into all of this.
There is the other matter of his name being on the paper prepared by Xu/Revankar/Butt for the NURETH-11 conference in Avignon, France. Butt was to go there to present the paper and was elated at the opportunity. Xu should have been the ideal person to give the talk but he could not go due to visa problems. Ultimately, not having received his US Passport in time he could not ultimately go in Nov. 2005. He knew for several months of all of this but now facts are being twisted to give a different impression. The talk was ultimately given by Revankar who was going to the conference for his other paper anyway.
- While all this was going on, apparently E. Reich was also interviewing Tsoukalas and a junior faculty Jevremovic. I do not know when these discussions were going on but Tsoukalas and Jevremovic are quoted at length casting allegations in Reich's 3/8/06 Nature articles. They both violated the rules of Indiana governing academic conduct in alleging research misconduct by going straight to the Press rather than follow the path of confidentiality so as to not affect someone's reputation.
- You already know that on 3/1/06 Putterman et al. were in my lab. where I was surprisingly accused of fraud (ref. Cf-252) for my group's Jan.2006 PRL paper. Within hours, E. Reich calls on me to question me of the same thing.
- Within days, on 8, March 2006 E. Reich's articles in Nature appeared. I got to know of this only a day or so before it was to appear via call from the Dean.
- March 8, 2006 I was requested to participate in a meeting with Provost Sally Mason and several others. Mason told me of her decision, per Purdue policy, that an inquiry would be started and I offered my full cooperation but also offered my surprise since I mentioned that Tsoukalas had already started his investigation committee. Mason was stupefied and asked around the room if anyone knew of this since such an inquiry can only be initiated and conducted by the Provost's office.
Asst. Dean Martinez who was in the room mentioned total surprise and so did all others. Mason called the Dean (Linda Katehi ) on the phone and told her to call Tsoukalas and give him a piece of her mind to let him know that she can not tolerate a Purdue administrator going to the Press like this but also told Katehi to NOT put anything in writing via email but to talk directly with Tsoukalas.
The Tsoukalas committee was disbanded summarily after that day and a formal one started. However, the reports from Choi including the ill-gotten materials (which included the missive from Butt to Choi) were in Tsoukalas's custody and despite direct admonishments from the Provost, he transferred them to Ken Chang of NYTimes (now on his web-site). I believe Adam Butt has been put in a very difficult situation and compromised. To the extent possible, I would like to not see Butt pressured and he should be left out of this silly game where the science of sonofusion is being forgotten and a National Enquirer-like farce is being propagated.
- Since then a series of harrassment/discrimination actions took place. In several instances I had to appeal to the Provost / Dean and Tsoukalas's actions were reversed but they were allowed to continue. Finally, the new Dean Jamieson decided that I would report directly to the Dean and not to Tsoukalas.
- Soon after 3/2006 half the faculty of School of Nuclear Engineering left/resigned/retired from Purdue out of disgust. Later in the year it was announced that Tsoukalas was no longer Head of the School and the new Dean Jamieson called the faculty/staff and told us of this occurrence.
You know the rest.
Just so I can place this on my timeline, what was the name of this vote/event? Was July 05 the day of the vote?
How many of the names who lef/resigned/retired can you recall? Perhaps you have an old roster?
[SK] Just so I can place this on my timeline, what was the name of this
vote/event? Was July 05 the day of the vote?
[RT] July-05 onwards was also the time very serious and deep divisions were erupting within the School of Nuclear Engineering mainly over egregious improprieties associated with promotion and tenure. I voted my
conscience and that did not go well at all with Tsoukalas (along with Ishii and Choi) who together started a campaign of vendetta targeted against the dissenting faculty. Around that same time frame, a very....
[SK] How many of the names who lef/resigned/retired can you recall? Perhaps you have an old roster?
Soon after 3/2006 half the faculty of School of Nuclear Engineering left/resigned/retired from Purdue out of disgust.
Date: Mon, 21 May 2007 23:51:56 -0400
From: "Rusi P. Taleyarkhan" <email@example.com>
To: Steve Krivit
Subject: Re: vote
I don't have the exact dates handy since I'm on travel this week but
the general time frame of mid-to end of 2005 seems right. The voting
is referred to as Primary Committee voting on tenure and promotions.
The people who left/... are: Karen Vierow, Sean McDeavitt, Tom Downar,
Al Solomon. Also affected unduly was Shripad Revankar.
From: Steve Krivit
Subj: Re: vote
Date: Tue May 22, 2007 12:04 am
To: "Rusi P. Taleyarkhan" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Not to give you a hard time, but I want to make sure I don't quote any misstatement from you.... I count 19 people now in
To: Steve Krivit
Subject: Re: vote
Date: Tue, 22 May 2007 10:02:00 -0400
The faculty constitutes professors not including support staff.
At the time of strife in voting it consisted of:
Group 1: Taleyarkhan, Solomon, Downar, McDeavitt, Revankar, Vierow
Group 2: Tsoukalas, Ishii, Bertodano, Jevremovic
Total of two groups is 10. Along with Downar,Vierow, McDeavitt and Solomon, Revankar also tried to leave but has too badly been affected.
Fortunately, he has tenure.
A few months ago two new faculty joined in: Hibiki , Fentiman (part time).
[Note: Thomas Downar joined the University of Michigan. Sean McDeavitt resigned from Purdue on Aug. 14, 2006 and joined Texas A&M University. Karen Vierow also joined Texas A&M University. Alvin Solomon retired from Purdue on Sept. 2006.]