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Purdue University's Tsoukalas Resigns
News Flash: October 16, 2006

Lefteri Tsoukalas has resigned as head of the School of Nuclear Engineering today, according to Purdue spokeswoman Jeanne Norberg. Tsoukalas remains on staff at Purdue, Norberg said.

Tsoukalas was one of the two named accusers who made cutting remarks against physicist Rusi Taleyarkhan to journalist Eugenie Samuel Reich, writing for Nature.

Exact details of the reason for Tsoukalas' resignation and to what extent it pertains to the Taleyarkhan matter are not known. A source who wishes to remain anonymous indicated that Purdue's policy of handling internal complaints may have been violated. 

Taleyarkhan is one of the world's leading researchers on bubble fusion, an experimental investigation into energy research that Taleyarkhan considers a possible alternative to the large, costly and more-accepted forms of conventional fusion research as well as a possible alternative to fossil fuels.

Nature hastily published a series of four articles on March 8 that appeared to be an attack and an effort to silence the work of Taleyarkhan. He has been working for months since the publication to respond to the attacks on his work and character.

The articles, which could have destroyed Taleyarkhan's career, were published in Nature's news section before the alleged scientific evidence against his work was published in the scientific literature. One of the articles was titled "Silencing the Hype," which displayed an intolerance for new science as well as a breakdown in the relationship between science and science journalism.

On Oct. 6, Physical Review Letters published the alleged evidence from Seth Putterman's colleague Brian Naranjo, both of UCLA, and Taleyarkhan's successful rebuttal.  (Related story)

On a related matter, Brian Josephson of Cambridge, a 1973 Nobel prize winner in physics, is questioning whether Nature has violated journalism ethics as outlined by the United Kingdom Press Complaints Commission. Specifically, Josephson questions whether Nature published "inaccurate, misleading or distorted information" and whether Nature failed, once the facts were brought to its attention, to publish a "correction, promptly and with due prominence, and -where appropriate - an apology."