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Fusion scientist reprimanded for misconduct
Posted by Daniel Cressey
The Great Beyond, Nature blog

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Purdue University has reprimanded scientist Rusi Taleyarkhan for research misconduct, according to a statement released yesterday. Taleyarkhan will remain on the faculty but will lose his named professorship after a committee rejected an appeal against two findings of misconduct.

"In considering the sanctions to impose, I have been guided by the principle that the sanctions should address and be proportional to the specific findings of research misconduct," said Purdue Provost Randy Woodson. "In my judgment as Purdue's chief academic officer, it is inappropriate for a faculty member who has been found guilty of research misconduct to hold a title of a named university professor."

Purdue previously released a report stating that Taleyarkhan arranged for a student's name to be added to a paper to "create the appearance that the student had witnessed the experiment reported in the paper" and he later claimed the paper as independent confirmation of his experiments on a tabletop fusion device using 'sonofusion', where fusion is created by sound waves collapsing bubbles.

"This was a witch hunt. This was a foregone conclusion," Taleyarkhan said (Indianapolis Star).

The NY Times writes:

Responding to a request for comment, Dr. Taleyarkhan referred in an e-mail message to the investigatory committee's dismissal of 10 other accusations of misconduct, including improper presentation of data.

"The immense three-year-long investigation," he wrote, "has thrown out all allegations related to fraud and fabrication and therefore represents a success for the science."

AP quotes a statement from Taleyarkhan's attorney, John Lewis who says further legal options are being considered and adds:

Purdue's administration have a lot to answer with how they treat people. Unfortunately, bullies win until someone stands up to them.


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