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low energy nuclear reactions December 17, 2008 -- Issue #31
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In my first and only journalism class, in the 10th grade, I learned an important lesson: To get the best facts and the most complete truth, I had to do my own firsthand investigation and reporting.
Charles Seife, professor of journalism at New York University, did some firsthand reporting on the story about Rusi Taleyarkhan, professor of nuclear engineering at Purdue University, several years ago when Seife was a reporter for Science.
He relies on this experience in a chapter in his latest book, Sun in a Bottle: The Strange History of Fusion and the Science of Wishful Thinking, in which he writes about Taleyarkhan and his collaborators' work on sonofusion, also called bubble fusion.
However, in the latter part of the chapter, Seife dropped the ball. He relied on second-hand information: news reports written by journalist Eugenie Samuel Reich for Nature.
Seife's second major failure is that he didn’t distinguish between discrediting a scientist and discrediting the scientist’s research. The consequences and significance of this flaw will give other professors of journalism profound material to discuss with their students. Seife's book is a stellar and unfortunate example of the collapse of the distinction between science and science politics.
Seife's third significant failure is that he embarks on an unprofessional method of science reporting when he writes, " I was convinced. Taleyarkhan was wrong: bubble fusion was a fiction."
How did Seife reach his conclusion? He found an expert in a competing (billions of dollars of federal grants) fusion laboratory working on a competing fusion program. The expert gave Seife a plausible-sounding explanation for why the Taleyarkhan group’s sonofusion research was a mistake.
And what was Seife’s unprofessional method of science reporting? He omitted a crucial step; As far as Taleyarkhan knows, the expert's speculations were never published in a peer-reviewed journal.
Is Seife's process any better than "science by press release?" No, his expert's speculations don't count unless they are published in a scholarly journal.
Journal articles are peer-reviewed. They are also vetted by the journal editors, and the editors consider the comments of the reviewers. Those journal editors also normally provide for a fair and level playing field. That is, if a comment or critique comes in to a journal, the editor normally follows the practice of informing the respondent of the comment and affords the person the opportunity to provide a thoughtful, careful response.
This is the ethical thing to do and one of the reasons why science journals trump science media as authoritative sources.
Nevertheless, a member of the Taleyarkhan group, Richard Lahey of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, told New Energy Times that the issue had already been addressed.
"The issue of the amount of tritium produced by the external neutrons is negligible (as verified by our calculations and direct measurements)," Lahey wrote. "We have written about this and resolved it long ago."
In writing that Taleyarkhan's work was a fiction, Seife causes untold harm to Taleyarkhan, his collaborators, their work and the field of sonofusion.
According to Taleyarkhan, Seife did not discuss his expert's opinion with Taleyarkhan. Left uncorrected, Seife's flawed book will do a great disservice to science, if not to society at large.
For further confirmation of Seife's opinion, he reports on the April 18, 2008, Purdue C-22 investigation, which concluded that Taleyarkhan (though not his co-authors) had, according to Seife, "deceived the scientific community by falsely claiming the Xu and Butt paper was independent confirmation of Taleyarkhan's original bubble fusion paper."
Purdue released its C-22 report on July 18, 2008. Ten days later, Taleyarkhan provided his 95-page appeal/rebuttal to Purdue. Had Seife read Taleyarkhan's appeal/rebuttal, he would have learned of the flaws in the Purdue report. By ignoring that information, Seife failed to give Taleyarkhan a voice in the matter.
During the last few months, while Seife's book was in press, the American Physical Society reviewed what Taleyarkhan had to say on the matter of independence. The APS listened. Five days ago, after significant discussion and inquiry (first draft, second draft, third draft,) the APS published its final decision: The Taleyarkhan group's claim for an independent confirmation stands.
Three days ago, Ann Finkbeiner, a visiting associate professor with Johns Hopkins University, wrote a review of Seife's book for the New York Times. Finkbeiner assumed that the section Seife wrote on bubble fusion was reliable.
She compared the Taleyarkhan group’s effort to "cold fusion" and wrote that bubble fusion "couldn't be repeated, either, and likewise ended in disgrace."
Finkbeiner is correct that the Taleyarkhan group’s paper published in Science was controversial. She is incorrect that bubble fusion couldn't be repeated. (She and Seife are also incorrect that "cold fusion" couldn't be repeated, either, but that is another topic.)
To my knowledge, the Bugg, Forringer and Xu/Butt papers have not been discredited in the scientific literature. Only Taleyarkhan - not his collaborators and not their work - has been discredited, by mainstream science media.
Seife's review of the scoping attempts performed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory scientists Dan Shapira and Michael Saltmarsh is substantially misleading; this matter is reviewed in another article in this issue of New Energy Times.
And, despite the fact that Purdue turned on Taleyarkhan and made him a scapegoat - to distract the government from more serious problems in the School of Nuclear Engineering - Purdue researchers Yiban Xu and Adam Butt did, in fact, replicate the Taleyarkhan group’s experiment, and did so partially independently. In this issue of New Energy Times, readers will begin to learn the real story about Adam Butt and his involvement with the conflict at Purdue.
Now, if Purdue wants to vilify Taleyarkhan and his collaborators for honestly expressing their opinion that their work was replicated independently, I suspect that the Purdue administration will end up looking foolish, at best, and mean-spirited, at worst.
Ironically, the Purdue staff includes some of the world's experts in sonofusion, and should the university’s administration figure this out - and clean house at the School of Nuclear Engineering - Purdue might take the opportunity to create funding opportunities rather than destroy them.
I dislike being negative, yet I have always appreciated feedback on what I do or how I come across—so I write.
I am no scientist—my vocation is that of the clergy. I have had high hopes that the scientific community can resolve the very real energy crisis we face today. Yet I am very discouraged by the lack of progress in the three fields: bubble fusion, cold fusion and blacklight.
If any or all of these things work to some extent, it would seem to me that we'd have a real working model by now that we could take anywhere, demonstrate its ability, and get going on the project. Cold fusion was discovered in 1989, certainly fraught with problems, but it seems there has been more than enough time and integrity in the scientific community that we'd be a bit farther off the ground than we are.
I read, as best I could, issue #30 and saw a lot of promises and words, but I still felt empty. I don't know what my little mite of intelligence can do except hope, pray, and encourage some kind of action so that some of our scientists get out of the lab and from behind the lectern and move to the streets.
Thanks for listening.
Hot Springs Village, Arkansas
The editor replies:
My suspicion is that many of these things do work, now, but their developers must overcome immense hurdles before they can sell products.
The best strategy may be to hope that worthy commercial enterprises bring these technologies to market and start the new energy revolution.
(Letters may be sent to "letters" at the New Energy Times domain name. Please include your name, city, and state or province.)
In issue 30 of New Energy Times, we wrote:
"For example, LENR researcher Ed Storms, retired from Los Alamos National Laboratory, recently discouraged me from reporting all of the key facts of LENR research. He wrote this to me in an e-mail recently: 'You need to be more careful in how you reveal the truth about the field. Eventually, the field will be big enough and so well-accepted that a little plainly spoken truth would not cause you any problem.'"
The paragraph should have read:
"For example, LENR researcher Ed Storms, retired from Los Alamos National Laboratory, recently discouraged me from reporting some of the truths of LENR research. He wrote this to me in an e-mail recently: 'You need to be more careful in how you reveal the truth about the field. Eventually, the field will be big enough and so well-accepted that a little plainly spoken truth would not cause you any problem.'"
New Energy Times thanks Dr. Storms for bringing this correction to our attention.
Researchers at Cornell University recently made a major breakthrough when they invented a method to test and demonstrate a long-held hypothesis that some very, very small metal particles work much better than others in various chemical processes such as converting chemical energy to electricity in fuel cells or reducing automobile pollution.
The breakthrough, reported in this week's edition of the journal Nature Materials, also came with a surprise. By devising a way to watch individual molecules react with a single nanoscale particle of gold in real time, researchers confirmed that some gold particles are better at increasing the rate of a chemical reaction than others, but they also found that a good catalyst sometimes spontaneously turns bad.
6. Bob Park Brings Attention to "Cold Fusion" Research
[Ed: Park's misspelling of Martin Fleischmann's name is original.]
Source: WHAT’S NEW Robert L. Park Friday, 28 Nov 08 Washington, DC
COLD FUSION: OR IS IT THE "FLEISHMAN-PONS EFFECT"?
It’s been almost 20 years since the March 23, 1989 announcement that cold fusion had been discovered by two chemists at the University of Utah. By June, cold fusion was an object of ridicule. A small band of embattled defenders retreated to holding annual conferences of like-minded scientists to which skeptics were not welcome. The story now seems to be entering a new chapter. Believers have begun showing a willingness to confront skeptics, submitting papers to open meetings of major scientific societies. They no longer use the term "cold fusion," preferring the less contentious "low-energy nuclear reactions" (LENR) to describe their field; LENR more accurately describes what, if anything, is going on. However, the use of LENR has been undone by referring to "excess heat" as the Fleischmann-Pons effect. This only serves as a reminder of the outrageous conduct of the university administration and the incredibly sloppy research on which the claim was based. This year, there is great excitement over the work of Yoshiaki Arata, a respected professor at Osaka University. In May Arata demonstrated the production of excess heat to an audience of 80, but there have been many such claims over the years and until it is replicated by someone outside the LENR community and a plausible explanation is advanced, it will change few minds.
By Charles G. Beaudette (Originally posted to the CMNS e-mail list)
Many of us believe that Robert Park is a scientist. Let this note correct that misunderstanding. From his most recent statement, shown above, it is clear that his Ph.D. degree must be in some other field — like, for example, English studies.
If Park's degree were in science, he would, by now, have read the Fleischmann and Pons paper about their 1988-1989 experiment, published in the Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry, July 1990. There he could learn, first hand, of the Fleischmann and Pons claim: an experiment, along with its calorimeter that balanced out to two milliwatts, destined to record an enormous amount of heat energy. Energy, the authors hypothesized, that came, not from cold fusion, but from an unknown nuclear reaction.
If Park's degree were in science, you see, he would not tell us that there is great excitement over Arata's recent work. By reading Arata's papers, he would teach us whether that excitement is warranted by the evidence. Likewise, we must not criticize him for expecting to get a plausible explanation with the experiment. Those trained in science know that theoretical explanations sometimes come a generation or more later.
If Park's degree were in science, rather than asking for a replication, he might even see the Arata experiment itself as a successful replication of the Fleischmann and Pons experiment, but using gas loading rather than electrolytic loading of the Pd. He might also see a further correspondence with Pierre Curie's claim in 1903 that radium produces, each hour, a discharge of heat sufficient to melt its own weight of ice. These three experiments demonstrate, each in their own time and each without theoretical explanation, a source of heat energy previously unknown to science.
But the Park that we have come to know these past twenty years is just a writer, only that and, unfortunately, nothing more.
The MIT Energy Club announced that MIT professsor Peter Hagelstein was to give a lecture on cold fusion on Oct. 29. According to the announcement, Hagelstein says "the energy observed per 4He atom is about 24 MeV" and "there are still no neutrons."
This investigation is about the scientific work of five researchers* on a team led by Rusi Taleyarkhan, a professor in the Purdue School of Nuclear Engineering, and the politics surrounding their research. The team is one of several groups that, for several decades, has been investigating and attempting to achieve acoustic inertial confinement fusion. The team is the first to claim success. It calls its version of this research bubble fusion.
* JaeSeon Cho (formerly with Oak Ridge National Laboratory), Robert C. Block (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), Richard T. Lahey Jr. (Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute), Robert I. Nigmatulin (Russian Academy of Sciences) and Colin West (formerly with Oak Ridge National Laboratory)
Rusi Taleyarkhan: "My life has been audited, my instruments have been audited and my books have been audited. The data speak for themselves, the data had to speak for themselves and it's difficult, you know...how can I answer that I know absolutely one hundred percent sure that it is, what I think it is? I just have to look at the data and the data had been looked at very carefully. In the history of publications, I probably will not be able to find one that has gone through this level of scrutiny, if you do let me know."
The two charges of which the 2008 Purdue C-22 Investigation Committee found Rusi Taleyarkhan guilty had been considered and dismissed by two earlier groups, the 2006 Purdue C-22 Inquiry Committee and the 2007 Purdue C-22 Inquiry Committee. Those same charges were also inserted into the 2008 Purdue C-22 Investigation Committee illegally.
The two charges were fabricated by the investigation committee, as reported by New Energy Times on Oct. 14, 2008. We produced and published this video on Oct. 20, 2008. It lays out the details, step by step, to show how Purdue fabricated the allegations against Taleyarkhan. Eleven days after we published this video - on Oct. 31, 2008 - Purdue relieved Peter Dunn of his responsibilities as research integrity officer.
Adam Butt's bubble fusion lecture with guests from Purdue administration Sally Mason, Linda Katehi, Lefteri Tsoukalas and Vince Bralts. A congressional investigation wrote that Butt said he "had nothing to do with the research."
For Rusi Taleyarkhan, professor of nuclear engineering at Purdue University, March 1, 2006, was a most unfortunate day, the beginning of the biggest nightmare of his life.
On that day, a dozen academicians and government representatives came to his laboratory to observe research that appeared to contradict prevailing understanding of nuclear fusion - in particular, the acoustic inertial confinement fusion method. One of the observers had failed twice in his own attempt to replicate the Taleyarkhan group's experimental conditions and results. Years earlier, the same observer had obtained a U.S. patent for his own method of AICF. That method, despite the awarded patent, has not demonstrated fusion.
The Taleyarkhan group's claim appeared to have the classic hallmarks of science fraud - or self-delusion or perhaps incompetence. After the cold fusion controversy of 1989 that evolved from the University of Utah's announcement of the research of professors Martin Fleischmann and Stanley Pons, the mere mention of tabletop fusion evoked sniggering, if not outright dismissal, from science authorities.
The Taleyarkhan groups's claim was not "cold fusion," however; they claimed a novel method to create a thermonuclear fusion reaction in a tabletop experiment by the use of ultrasonic waves and an effect known as sonoluminesence, a process by which sound waves create energetic flashes of light.
But like "cold fusion," the claim appeared to contradict prevailing understanding of the conditions required to create nuclear fusion. Also like "cold fusion," their results were difficult to replicate. For quite a while, the principle of replication, which is considered the gold standard of scientific credibility, appeared to be working against the Taleyarkhan group.
Therefore, the observers in Taleyarkhan’s laboratory likely did not arrive that day with open minds, eager to learn where and how they had failed in their attempts or how the Taleyarkhan group's knowledge of a presumably new form of nuclear fusion failed to transfer to the would-be replicators.
Just a year earlier, on Feb. 16, 2005, Seth Putterman, a theoretical physicist at UCLA and one of the observers at this meeting, went public on worldwide television and helped the British Broadcasting Corp. convey the idea that he had performed an authoritative assessment of the Taleyarkhan group’s work by carrying out a precise replication and that there was, according to Putterman, nothing there.
Around the same time, Putterman and Taleyarkhan agreed to share $810,000 from a federal Defense Advanced Research Projects Administration grant to make another attempt at replication of the Taleyarkhan group’s experiment, this time in Putterman's lab. $347,000 went to Putterman's research group, $145,000 went to Putterman's colleague Ken Suslick, a sonochemist at the University of Illinois, and $318,000 went to Taleyarkhan.
The unlikely marriage of Putterman, Suslick and Taleyarkhan seemed destined to fail. By the time the DARPA grant was funded, around May 2005, the BBC show had aired, and Putterman had slammed the Taleyarkhan group’s research. How and why they agreed to bind themselves in this collaboration remain a mystery.
Taleyarkhan had intuitively sensed trouble with the Putterman group - as he said on the show - but he had no idea how bad it would turn out until after the show aired. Putterman, however, had a better idea of what was brewing at UCLA.
As close as I can track, it was around October or November that Putterman submitted the proposal to DARPA for the replication attempt of the Taleyarkhan group's external neutron-source experiment. But the UCLA replication attempt by Putterman or, more accurately, his students ended Nov. 4, 2004.
He knew at the time he put in the DARPA grant application or shortly thereafter that his group had failed to replicate and that the news would be broadcast on television worldwide. Perhaps Putterman was truly good-natured about the whole thing and thought that it was worth a second try. The BBC had given him $70,000 for the replication. Perhaps he could make it work with $347,000 from DARPA.
Putterman explained his motive for working with the BBC to The New York Times.
"I'm desperate for money, and here's a chance to infuse my laboratory with overhead-free money," Putterman said. "We had fun."
The Bubblegate timeline and library index clearly shows that Putterman and Suslick had staked a claim in the race for nuclear fusion from sonoluminesence and had conflicts of interest with the Taleyarkhan group involving intellectual property as well as intellectual primacy.
DARPA Review Meeting at Purdue
At 2 in the afternoon on March 1, 2006, Taleyarkhan's unforgettable nightmare began to take form. Putterman suddenly announced during a group discussion —with government sponsors present - that Taleyarkhan's results could be explained by ordinary means. Putterman suggested that Taleyarkhan's presumed evidence for a novel fusion reaction was merely the result of a common radioactive laboratory source, californium-252.
Putterman did not use the "f" word. He didn't have to accuse Taleyarkhan directly of fraud. It was assumed. As Taleyarkhan would write to me later, it was a "veiled manner of accusing fraud." The alternative to fraud - that Taleyarkhan was simply careless - was not even a consideration. Putterman provided the setup, his graduate student Brian Naranjo provided the follow-through seven days later, and eight days later Nature and the New York Times did the rest.
Two hours after Putterman spoke up, Taleyarkhan received an e-mail and voicemail from Eugenie Samuel Reich, a freelance reporter working for Nature on a story about the Cf-252 contamination accusation. Reich told me that she convinced Nature to accept her story the prior week, on Feb. 22. It was, at its root, the same Cf-252 contamination accusation story that Putterman delivered to the DARPA group just two hours earlier. Taleyarkhan was bewildered. The attack on his work and his reputation seemed to havebeen coordinated and came without warning.
Reich told me that she initially contacted Taleyarkhan on Feb. 20, though she did not state whether she had begun to discuss Putterman's allegation with Taleyarkhan at that time. Perhaps Reich heard about Putterman's accusation when Taleyarkhan heard about it.
Perhaps Reich did inform Taleyarkhan on Feb. 20 and Nature on Feb. 22 that she was working on the Cf-252 contamination story. If so, then she would have had advance knowledge from Putterman and Naranjo.
Taleyarkhan responded to Putterman and Reich that the accusation of Cf-252 contamination needed to be vetted through scholarly journals, not through the science media.
On Wednesday, March 8, the world awakened to the news that Taleyarkhan was a fraud.
I was working late on Tuesday night and saw the story break just minutes after its publication on the New York Times Web site. Times' reporter Kenneth Chang didn't need to use the "f-word." It was implicit in the language ("investigation," "extremely serious concerns," "accusations") and context of his story.
The clincher came in this paragraph: "Brian Naranjo, a graduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles, said his analysis of data from the last scientific paper that was published by Dr. Taleyarkhan's group showed a chance of less than one in 10 million that the emission pattern could have been generated by fusion."
It was a tiny step for any reader or other news outlet to assume that Taleyarkhan was being investigated for science fraud.
I was concerned that Chang and the New York Times had blundered, because even the mere suspicions of scientific misconduct in the public sphere can destroy a scientist’s career. I had investigated the cases of three other scientists who had been wrongly accused of fraud in the media. I suspected that there was more to the Taleyarkhan story than Chang had told readers.
I shot off a critical e-mail to Chang around midnight, Pacific time. I got a reply from him within a few minutes. It was 3 in the morning in New York. Over the next 24 hours, we exchanged at least 18 e-mails, bickering and betting on our disparate points of view.
The meat of the Taleyarkhan news story had been prepared by Reich. She had shared an advance copy of it with Chang through an embargo agreement. Judging by the fact that no other news outlets published articles concurrently with either the Times or Nature, Chang probably received an exclusive advance copy of the set of four articles from Reich. (A year later, on Feb. 13, 2007, they again published articles in their respective outlets concurrently.)
Chang was not supposed to publish anything about the story until Reich's articles came out, but he did. However, he was as eager as she to be first with a major science-fraud story.
Reich's series of four articles provided more of the details. Hers hit the Internet about 3 a.m. The Reich articles were concise, extremely well-written and conceived, and devastating in their impact. The message - from Nature, arguably the most prominent science news source in the world, and the New York Times, perhaps the most influential newspaper in the world - was that Taleyarkhan's work was a chimera and that he fabricated his results by spiking the experiment with a Cf-252 source.
On Thursday, Chang published a more circumspect follow-up article.
Maggie Fox, with the wire service Reuters, borrowed the content of the Nature articles and apparently did none of her own research on the story. CNN cut and pasted the entire Reuters article and did no original research. United Press International, another wire service, failed to do its own research and used the content from Chang's article in the Times.
Rick Callahan, with the Associated Press, attempted to get quotes directly from the key sources but failed. Instead of delaying his article until he got his own quotes, and instead of writing a limited article based on the scant facts he was personally able to obtain and verify, he used and relied on the content of Reich's Nature articles.
The f-word entered the picture in a Reuters article, one hour after the Nature stories hit the Internet. By 11:30 p.m. on March 8, 2006, Google News reported that the story had appeared in 54 news outlets. Of those, only four outlets appeared to have performed original reporting; everyone else either republished verbatim one of the four stories that contained original reporting or borrowed quotes from the two articles which broke the story, in Nature and the Times.
Meanwhile, Chang sent me the following e-mail:
The whole premise of your complaint to me yesterday, was that I left the man's reputation in tatters with a 500-word story. So either there is great power in the Times, which could have been even more incendiary with a bit of skillful prodding - or planting a story in Nature is really how you destroy someone's reputation, in which your complaint is simply that I did not let Rusi enjoy his last half-day of peace.
The fuel that provided the fire for the Reich and Chang articles came from two groups. The first group was professors in Taleyarkhan's university: the former head of the school of nuclear engineering, Lefteri Tsoukalas, and Tsoukalas’ lover and a professor in the school, Tatjana Jevremovic. The second group was from UCLA and the University of Illinois, the collaboration of Putterman and Suslick.
Chang was correct on both counts. There is great power in the Times. Other news outlets worldwide borrowed quotes from him and republished them apparently unquestioningly. My analysis of Reich's articles (further on in this article) shows that planting a story in Nature is an effective way to destroy a scientist’s reputation.
Only Callahan ran a story that included quotes from Taleyarkhan that day. Taleyarkhan directed Callahan, appropriately, to the Purdue News Service. Due diligence by most reporters that day generally was limited to the obligatory request for comment from Taleyarkhan.
We will return to the Chang and the Reich stories. For now, I will briefly summarize the various investigations and inquiries from 2006 through 2008. Two of them preceded the Reich and Chang articles by a month; the others followed the stories.
Seven Investigations Later, Still No Fraud
Seven investigations - or in some cases, reviews or examinations - have considered the merits of Taleyarkhan's research and the integrity of his conduct. The investigations have been primarily academic rather than judicial. Many of them appear to have run over the same ground. A question that future scholars may consider is, What is the relevance of the constitutional protection from double jeopardy in the context of academic investigations? Alternatively, the question may be answered by the courts.
According to Taleyarkhan, he has been the subject of more than 50 allegations, many of them overlapping and repeating each other. By August 2007, they had been narrowed to 34. By November 2007, they had been narrowed to 12, and in April 2008, the remaining 12 were dismissed. Two allegations in the April 2008 investigation - of mysterious origin - resulted in convictions in an academic trial conducted by his university.
The two charges of which the 2008 Purdue C-22 Investigation Committee found him guilty had been considered and dismissed by two earlier groups, the 2006 Purdue C-22 Inquiry Committee and the 2007 Purdue C-22 Inquiry Committee. Those charges also appear to have been inserted into the 2008 Purdue C-22 Investigation Committee illegally. The two charges were fabricated, as I reported in an article on Oct. 14, 2008, and in a video on Oct. 20, 2008.
Taleyarkhan first stated that the charges were fabricated on March 19, 2008, two days after he was given a copy of the draft report. After the report was finalized on July 17, 2008, Purdue gave Taleyarkhan a formal chance to appeal. But before the appeals process began, Purdue immediately published a press release telling the world that the university found Taleyarkhan guilty of research misconduct. In the next 10 days, Taleyarkhan produced a 95-page rebuttal, but Purdue's appeals committee dismissed it outright.
I have read most of Taleyarkhan's appeal/rebuttal report. I have found two instances where Taleyarkhan has made minor errors. By and large, he provides evidence to show that Purdue was grossly negligent in the process that resulted in the April 18, 2008, final report and the two guilty charges.
Consequently, the university’s dismissal of his appeal may land Purdue in hot water. Taleyarkhan has no reason to believe that it would do him any good to file a grievance with Purdue. On Nov. 5, 2008, Brian Wallheimer, a reporter with the West Lafayette, Indiana, Journal & Courier, reported that Taleyarkhan was preparing for a federal lawsuit.
Two years earlier, on Dec. 15, 2006, the 2006 Purdue C-22 Inquiry Committee investigation concluded and exonerated Taleyarkhan of all charges. Purdue announced the news (belatedly) on Feb. 7, 2007. In response, Reich and Chang, with the help of Putterman, Suslick and Tsoukalas, published (simultaneously on Feb. 13) hostile articles and escalated the rhetoric.
A few weeks later, on March 9, 2007, Purdue wrote strong protest letters to Nature and the Times. Purdue administrators Sally Mason and Charles Rutledge (now both retired from Purdue) delicately said that Reich and Chang had misrepresented the facts and that the reporters appeared oblivious to the ethics of protecting people involved in an investigation.
To the Times, they also wrote that the Chang article misled the public into expecting that a "successful and fair inquiry might ... include a public airing of every allegation, no matter how baseless."
To Nature, they also wrote that the Reich article misled the public into expecting that a "successful and fair inquiry" might likely include a finding of guilty.
Purdue’s letters were not published.
Purdue Administration Turns on Taleyarkhan
On Sept. 5, 2006, Charles Rutledge, Purdue’s vice president for research at the time, solicited misconduct allegations from the School of Nuclear Engineering faculty members Tsoukalas and Martin de Bertadano.
On Dec. 15, 2006, the Purdue C-22 Inquiry Commitee completed its investigation and exonerated Taleyarkhan of the allegations presented to the committee.
Around March 21, 2007, U.S. Rep. Brad Miller initiated a congressional investigation in response to anonymous complaints. Concurrently, the Office of Naval Research's inspector general received several anonymous complaints, which it forwarded to Purdue for more investigation. Miller told Purdue that its 2006 Purdue C-22 Inquiry Committee didn't do a good enough job when it exonerated Taleyarkhan. But Miller's investigation didn't produce any hard evidence or convictions against Taleyarkhan.
In a May 9, 2007, public letter to Purdue, Miller wrote that a contributing author to a paper (student Adam Butt) "said he had nothing to do with the research." However, on Feb. 10, 2005, Butt had explained in a videotaped presentation in front of top Purdue administrators how he was involved in the research and that it was part of his thesis work.
On Oct. 14, 2008, I reported and demonstrated how the two guilty charges Purdue came up with (labeled A.2 and B.2) were illegitimate and were fabricated. Within hours, Dunn initiated yet another investigation and demanded that Taleyarkhan produce all work product relating to his collaboration with Putterman.
On Oct. 20, I produced and published a video on Youtube which showed how Purdue created its charges against Taleyarkhan. I laid out the details, step by step, and provided original source documents. Eleven days after I published the video, on Oct. 31, 2008, Purdue relieved Dunn of his responsibilities as research integrity officer.
With the exception of the 2008 UCLA-Purdue Investigation, Purdue seems to be done with its previous investigations of Taleyarkhan. Because Taleyarkhan's work was funded by DARPA, the Office of Naval Research has the final word on the Purdue investigation. ONR Inspector General Holly Adams appears, however, to be undecided about Purdue's last investigation. On July 17, 2008, Adams notified Purdue that ONR accepted Purdue's April 18, 2008, C-22 Final Report.
However, Adams is supposed to issue her decree of acceptance or rejection of Purdue's sanctions. As we go to press, those sanctions have been out now for more than three months. The delay suggests that ONR may have problems with Purdue's nonresponse to Taleyarkhan's appeal or Purdue's sanctions, or both. Adams' July 17 communication occurred before Taleyarkhan submitted his appeal/rebuttal report to Purdue so she did not - officially - have the benefit of that additional, substantial body of information. She had, however, previously received an advance draft of Taleyarkhan's appeal/rebuttal in response to Purdue's draft report.
In the 2007 letters to Nature and the New York Times, Purdue wrote, “The Department of Health and Human Services integrity guidelines require American institutions to protect ‘the confidentiality of respondents, complainants, and research subjects’ when investigating allegations of misconduct.”
Yet in an Aug. 27, 2008, press release, Purdue announced the availability of, and provided, the 38-page April 18, 2008 Final Report of the investigation committee, which includes the identities and statements of parties to the investigation.
Taleyarkhan later wrote a 95-page appeal/rebuttal. Purdue later dismissed Taleyarkhan's appeal/rebuttal outright. Details of the appeal/rebuttal will appear in other New Energy Times investigations.
Chang Breaks the News
We now take a closer look at the two stories that launched the worldwide perception that Taleyarkhan was a fraud and his group's research was bogus. We begin our analysis with Chang's March 8, 2006, story.
Chang conveyed the impression that other scientists at Taleyarkhan's original laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, disconfirmed Taleyarkhan's positive results: “but two other scientists at Oak Ridge, using their own detectors, said they saw no signs of neutrons.”
Here are the facts, provided by Taleyarkhan, that Chang omitted:
What is not appreciated is that Shapira and Saltmarsh did not run their experiments over months or even days. They made a single measurement [on one of my experiments] on a single afternoon over the period of about one hour while they were alone in Taleyarkhan's laboratory, using a different liquid scintillation detector.
Indeed, they did obtain a statistically significant result for nuclear emissions for excess nuclear emissions time-correlated with the region of time when deuterated bubble clusters were imploding. Shapira or Saltmarsh did not investigate for tritium, nor did they conduct control experiment-related measurements with non-deuterated liquid. Because of the large size of their detectors, there were electronic issues related to gamma saturation in some time regions. The volume of the Shapira-Saltmarsh detector was 30 times larger than the one used by the Taleyarkhan team. Large does not always mean better since it can become readily overwhelmed, and this is what transpired for the Shapira-Saltmarsh detector system.
A review of the raw data has already been published as a reference in the Science (2002) paper. However, the media has distorted this scoping attempt by Shapira-Saltmarsh, who are both accomplished scientists in their own right. The data obtained by the Taleyarkhan team were reviewed at length by ORNL management, taking assistance from resident expertise, and eventually, after many tens of in-depth assessments, ONRL decided that the work and data obtained were on solid ground.(See comments from Glenn Young, director of the physics division at ORNL in 2004, to the New York Times and also the ORNL position statement in consultation with Prof. Lee Riedinger, executive vice president for science and technology at ORNL, both of whom participated in in-depth reviews and audits.) ONRL also took into account - for due diligence - the Shapira-Saltmarsh scoping attempts. The Shapira-Saltmarsh effort was not "experimentation.”
Chang wrote, “No other scientists have been able to reproduce the findings.”
This was not true. Chang failed to report that, before Taleyarkhan worked at Purdue, he had trained Purdue postgraduate researcher Yiban Xu on the experiment and that Xu had performed successful experiments. With Purdue student Adam Butt, Xu published a paper on May 3, 2005.
Chang also failed to report that Tsoukalas' group had performed several successful experiments and observed "positive evidence for excess tritium produced (and attributed to D-D nuclear fusion)."
Tsoukalas had been sufficiently convinced of his own experimental success that, on Sept. 19, 2003, he wrote on the wall in the laboratory, "Bubble fusion was achieved here."
Chang was entitled to ignore this because the draft paper with the positive data was never published.
However, had Chang investigated more thoroughly, he would have learned that Tsoukalas had been enthusiastic and eager to publish his group's independent replication in 2005. Chang would have learned that Tsoukalas had even submitted an abstract to the NURETH-11 conference claiming that his group had replicated the Taleyarkhan group's work reported in Science.
The Taleyarkhan group's abstract claimed "positive evidence for excess tritium produced (and attributed to D-D nuclear fusion). ... The results point to statistically observable tritium increases in post-cavitation deuterated acetone samples."
Chang also would have learned that skepticism of and antagonism toward sonofusion from a few senior professors in the Purdue School of Nuclear Engineering later drove Tsoukalas to take their side and pull the paper from the NURETH-11 conference. Around the same time, an e-mail from Jay Gore, a Purdue professor of engineering and director of Purdue's Energy Center, shows that communications from Putterman and Suslick helped fuel the skepticism within the Purdue School of Nuclear Engineering.
Chang wrote, “Meanwhile, Brian Naranjo, a graduate student at the University of California, Los Angeles, said his analysis of data from the last scientific paper that was published by Dr. Taleyarkhan's group showed a chance of less than one in 10 million that the emission pattern could have been generated by fusion.”
The above quote has several problems. Even if Naranjo's simulated theoretical speculations accurately represented Taleyarkhan's conditions, Chang fundamentally misrepresented the significance of Naranjo's theory. Theory does not disprove experiment, though experiment can disprove theory. On this ground alone, Chang was deceptive in suggesting that Naranjo's theory had anything authoritative to say about the Taleyarkhan work.
The second problem is that Naranjo, according to Taleyarkhan, did not construct his computer modeling simulation with an accurate representation of Taleyarkhan's physical experiment. On this ground, the Naranjo claim is false, and the Chang quote fails to tell the truth.
The third problem with the Naranjo theory is that the ratio of neutrons and gammas emitted from Cf-252 is roughly inversely proportional to those emitted from the Taleyarkhan group’s experiments. Hence, the Naranjo speculation fails on an empirical basis alone.
The fourth problem (for Chang) with the Naranjo allegation is that the paper was, at the time, not peer-reviewed and not published. Ordinarily, reporting on unpublished research is considered bad form for science journalists. Naranjo had uploaded the paper to an Internet Web site on March 7, hours before Chang's article published. Had Chang waited until Oct. 6, 2006, when Naranjo's paper published - concurrently with the Taleyarkhan group's reply - Chang would have avoided the ensuing problems.
When Chang's story hit on March 1, 2006, Taleyarkhan declined to comment on the Naranjo preprint.
Had Chang attempted to verify Naranjo's comments or waited until the two papers published, he might have learned of and reported the problems with Naranjo's theory.
In paragraph 10, Chang brings in a separate element to the Cf-252 subplot. Whereas the Cf-252 spiking allegation was based on Naranjo's theory, this next paragraph refers to a physical attempt from Naranjo's thesis adviser, Putterman, to confirm the Taleyarkhan claims: “With $350,000 from the Defense Department, Seth J. Putterman, a professor of physics at U.C.L.A. and the thesis adviser to Mr. Naranjo, has tried to build a replica of Dr. Taleyarkhan's apparatus and has not seen any signs of fusion.”
In fact, Putterman may have had little to do with any of the hands-on work. A BBC videotape of Putterman with students in the UCLA lab shows the students doing all the work. At one point, Putterman even asks one of the students to explain to him how part of the "plumbing" works.
The first, fundamental problem with paragraph 10 is Putterman's (and Chang's) insinuations that Putterman's failure to replicate means anything about the Taleyarkhan group's experiment. Failure to replicate means failure to replicate.
The second problem with paragraph 10 is that, yet again, Chang reports on unpublished research. The paper that the Putterman group eventually published on his failure to replicate the Taleyarkhan group appeared nearly a year later, on Feb. 9, 2007, and it hadn’t been submitted until Sept. 1, 2006, five months after Chang reported "no signs of fusion."
The third problem is that Chang did not tell readers that Putterman is a direct competitor of Taleyarkhan’s for government funding, intellectual property and intellectual primacy in the AICF field. Chang had an obligation to inform the public of Putterman's self-interest and failed to do so. Despite Putterman's public reassurances that the field of AICF remains legitimate, Putterman appears to have abandoned that line of research in favor of crystal-piezo fusion.
Chang's fourth problem is that he did not seek Taleyarkhan's opinion on whether the Putterman group had, in fact, replicated the experimental conditions and apparatus correctly. Had Chang done so, he might have learned from Taleyarkhan's collaborator, Richard Lahey of RPI - as did Erico Guizzo of IEEE Spectrum that the Putterman experiment was "doomed to fail."
The Putterman group’s paper that eventually published on Feb. 9, 2007, misrepresented the Taleyarkhan group results. Putterman had gone public on BBC-TV on Feb. 16, 2005. The foundation of the Putterman group claim that their replication produced a null result was based on the issue of timing coincidences between the sonoluminesence flashes and the neutron signals. We will review that skirmish in more detail in a future article.
In paragraph 11, Chang writes, “Dr. Putterman said he told Dr. Taleyarkhan of the calculations last week on a visit to Purdue. ‘He didn't have any clear answers,’ Dr. Putterman said. ‘From my perspective, his answers were not satisfactory.’"
The unsatisfactory answer that Taleyarkhan provided to Putterman, which Chang omitted to publish, was that he told Putterman he should follow the time-honored tradition and submit his comment to the journal that published the paper in the first place and that Taleyarkhan would respond to that, rather than participate in mud-slinging in the press.
In paragraph 12, Chang writes, “Californium is present in Dr. Taleyarkhan's laboratory, stored in a closet about 15 feet from the experiment - close enough to generate the results reported in Dr. Taleyarkhan's paper if it had been stored improperly.”
In this paragraph, Chang introduces a third, independent factor. For review, the first factor was the theoretical calculation by Naranjo. The second was the context of the null result of replication attempt by the Putterman group. Now Chang introduces the idea that Taleyarkhan might have stored the Cf-252 improperly.
This speculation has a few problems, beyond the fact that the branching ratio of Cf-252 and the Taleyarkhan group's experiment are inversely proportional. First, if it was stored improperly at Taleyarkhan's lab in Oak Ridge, all of the numerous controls that Taleyarkhan used would have showed positive signals, but they did not.
The second problem is that Cf-252 also would have had to be stored improperly in the pharmacy lab at Purdue where Xu performed his replication. The third problem is that it would have had to be stored improperly on March 1 and 2, 2006, when the dozen observers (including Putterman and Naranjo) were in Taleyarkhan's lab performing their evaluations, checking the signals and the background themselves.
The fourth problem is that, if there was a storage problem, it would fail to explain why the devices under test showed positive signals and the controls did not - unless some secret device was shielding and unshielding the Cf-252.
Chang offered his defense to my admonishments for his "shoot first, ask questions later" style of journalism. He seemed to assume that Taleyarkhan's experiment was child's play.
“It's really easy for Rusi to immediately and completely resuscitate any damage the last couple of days have caused him," Chang wrote. "As soon as someone else reproduces the finding - and the set-up described in the January paper is one that is easily in reach for many laboratories - he can go 'Nyah, nyah' all day long.”
Chang's attitude reflects an ignorance of the often-delicate nature of pioneering science. The test section, the heart of the experiment where all the action takes place, is not an engineered component that can be mass-produced at will. The test sections that the Taleyarkhan group used to create a nuclear reaction, as well as the ones used by Xu, Forringer and Bugg, were hand-crafted by one or several glassblowers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Here's the second key point: Once the glassblowers made and the researchers tested a section that worked, it continued to work until it wore out. The fact that Taleyarkhan had conveyed to a certain extent the parametric requirements to others (the glassblowers) supports the idea that the phenomenon is a genuine, legitimate effect of nature, not just a figment of Taleyarkhan and his group's imagination.
The test sections did not last forever; glass cracked, key properties changed as a result of the neutron activation, etc. The test sections that worked were more art than technology. This is the nature of pioneering research. All of this knowledge, with the exception of the Bugg and Forringer replications which came later, was available to Chang on March 8, 2006.
The larger problem that results from Chang's style is that the premise that theoretically he can print a correction later doesn't work. The reality is that, once Chang and the Times (as well as Reich and Nature) published, they had a strong disincentive to publish major corrections.
As I mentioned earlier, the Taleyarkhan group published its response to Naranjo on Oct. 6, 2006, in Physical Review Letters. The group constructed the physical conditions on which Naranjo, with "useful discussion and comments" from Putterman, based his speculation. However, experiment trumped theory, as evidenced by Physical Review Letters’ rejection of Naranjo’s preprint.
Excerpt From BBC Horizon "An Experiment to Save the World"
"Nothing is too wonderful to be true that it can't be reproduced in another experiment," Putterman said. "And this is what distinguishes science from religion."
The experimental claims have been reproduced by Xu/Butt, Bugg, Forringer and even Tsoukalas.
The Reich Articles
Now let's examine the Reich articles for instances of false or omitted facts. Reich covers some of the same ground as Chang did, so I will comment only on content unique to the Reich articles.
Reich/Nature: "Is Bubble Fusion Simply Hot Air?"
Reich begins the article with the statement that the Taleyarkhan group "reaffirmed that energy can be generated by nuclear fusion taking place in bubbles."
This is false; the authors said no such thing. Evidence for a fusion reaction is one thing; energy generation is an entirely different matter.
Reich talks about how Tsoukalas' "team looked for radioactive tritium, one of the likely products from the fusion of two deuterium nuclei" and obtained "negative" results.
The next problem is that, at the time of her article, the Tsoukalas group’s paper had not published. As she had by citing the Naranjo preprint, Reich took a tremendous risk and violated a time-honored tradition by writing a news story based on a paper that not only had not published but also had not been accepted for publication. The Tsoukalas group's paper was accepted for publication on April 11, and it published several months later, in August 2006.
The fascinating thing about the Tsoukalas group’s experiment and tritium results is that, when the experiments were taking place and in the months immediately following the experiments, they viewed the work as positive. But two years later, when some of the Tsoukalas group decided to submit the paper for publication, their perspective shifted 180 degrees to a null result.
Reich wrote that, by the spring of 2004, the Tsoukalas "team had completed several experimental runs, but had not seen any evidence for bubble fusion." In contrast to Reich's reporting, the group's draft report from around May 2004 reported nine experiments with excess amounts of tritium and one experiment with negative amounts of tritium.
Ironically, had the Tsoukalas group proceeded on course, it, rather than Xu/Butt, might have published the first independent confirmation of the Taleyarkhan group’s work.
An interesting confluence of events occurred around the time Tsoukalas was feeding information to Reich.
- Feb. 7, 2006: Tsoukalas forms illegal committee to probe Taleyarkhan.
- Feb. 20, 2006: Reich initiates her first contact with Taleyarkhan on this story.
- Feb. 9-22, 2006: Tsoukalas' committee conducts five meetings of the
- Feb. 23, 2006: Tsoukalas' committee concludes its probe of Taleyarkhan.
- Feb. 28, 2006: Nuclear Technology receives the Tsoukalas group’s paper, more than two years after the group did its work.
In e-mail communications from Taleyarkhan to me from April 30 to June 7, he explains more about the background of the inversion of the Tsoukalas group paper's bias and how the Tsoukalas group withheld positive data from the public.
Investigators can start with this quote from the end of Reich's article to probe Tsoukalas' intent and conduct: “In light of the growing concerns over Taleyarkhan's work, and his repeated claims of positive results, Tsoukalas says that he and his colleagues have now decided to submit their negative results for publication. On 1 March their paper was with the journal Nuclear Technology and was being prepared for peer review.”
Reich wrote, “Xu confirms that the tritium data were taken using the equipment that Tsoukalas and Jevremovic were also working on before it was removed by Taleyarkhan. But Tsoukalas and his team maintain that they never saw any raw data from the equipment that corresponded to a positive signal.”
The accusation by Tsoukalas of unauthorized removal of lab equipment by Taleyarkhan is contradicted by an e-mail from Tsoukalas to Taleyarkhan acknowledging and thanking him for the update on Taleyarkhan’s transfer of said equipment.
Reich blamed the alleged removal of equipment for the delay in the publication of the Tsoukalas group’s results. She wrote that "without their equipment they couldn't generate any more data" and that Tsoukalas wanted to "avoid a split in the faculty."
As for Reich's comment about Tsoukalas' alleged care for the faculty, the affidavits, particularly those from his administrative staff, that are part of the legal record in Taleyarkhan's suit against Tsoukalas provide a stark contradiction.
The excuse that the Tsoukalas group did not have enough data is contradicted by the fact that, by the spring of 2004, it had enough data to write a significant portion of the draft paper. In fact, of the numerous editing notations in the draft, none refers to a need for more data. And the context of the draft paper is very clearly a positive interpretation of the data. A future New Energy Times investigative report will show that the quote about their inability to generate more data was false.
Paragraph 14 requires careful attention. Let's examine the first sentence: “The researchers were therefore particularly upset when, in July 2005, Taleyarkhan asked the press office at Purdue to issue a press release on ‘peer-reviewed’ and ‘independent’ results that were positive for bubble fusion.”
Several facts contradict the idea that at least Tsoukalas, the department head, was upset about the press release.
One is a document written by Emil Venere: “Although a department head ordinarily is not involved in approval of news releases, we consulted extensively with Lefteri Tsoukalas during preparation of this release. … In fact, Lefteri enthusiastically approved this news release in an e-mail message the night before it was issued.”
Tsoukalas had seen a draft in the morning and wrote the following one-line e-mail at 8:25 a.m. to Venere, Taleyarkhan, Tsoukalas' administrative assistant, and Xu and Butt: “Dear Emil, Thanks. Very well written indeed. Lefteri”
Twelve hours later, Tsoukalas confirmed the final draft of the press release in an e-mail to Taleyarkhan and Venere: “Dear Emil, Thanks, This is a great story and you did a great job. Cheers, Lefteri”
Taleyarkhan initiated contact with the press office to write a press release. He made such effort jointly with Tsoukalas, a fact that Reich omitted to obtain and report.
The e-mail from Taleyarkhan to Venere, copied to Tsoukalas, says, “Dr. Tsoukalas (Lefteri) and I have discussed these developments and feel that a press release from Purdue is in order before things get out hand since reporters are getting wind of this development. Unlike for Science or Nature, engineering journals do not make press releases - at least Elsevier's does not. We've prepared a brief description/checklist of questions and associated clarifications (see attached) mentioning key aspects of this seminal development that needs to be publicized rapidly.”
Venere's submission package to a Purdue investigation committee provides plentiful evidence of Tsoukalas' direction, involvement and approval of the press release. Despite the fact that Venere felt pressed for time and thought that the press release "won't be very good," the document trail shows careful attention to detail. Venere even had time to conduct a fascinating interview with Taleyarkhan on July 8, 2005, and visit one of the laboratories.
Continuing our forensic examination of Reich's prose, we find the following: “The claims raised serious concerns at Purdue because the paper in which the results appear was written by two members of Taleyarkhan's own lab: postdoc Yiban Xu and master's student Adam Butt.”
As Taleyarkhan has stated in his C-22 appeal/rebuttal, "Xu testifies that he requested review feedback and assistance related to paper preparation for publication from Dr. Taleyarkhan and several of his colleagues."
Xu was not a member of Taleyarkhan's lab when he performed the experiment because it didn't exist, as Xu wrote to a Purdue investigation committee: “I conducted my experiments (reported in NED and in NURETH-11) in Tsoukalas' laboratory over about 5 months (from January, 2004 through May, 2004). Prof. Taleyarkhan's laboratory did not exist at the time. His laboratory was eventually set up in an off-campus space.”
Reich wrote, “Taleyarkhan's claim that there has been ‘independent confirmation’ of his results is repeated in the first sentence of his recent paper in Physical Review Letters."
Taleyarkhan and his co-authors asserted their opinion that the Xu/Butt confirmatory experiments were independent.
Reich/Nature: "A Sound Investment?"
I have not dug deeply into the patent angle of this story. What I can say from simply reading it, assuming that patent examiner Ricardo Palabrica has been quoted accurately and in context, is that Palabrica failed to understand significant aspects of the Taleyarkhan group’s experiment, such as the difference between "cold fusion" and AICF.
Reich writes, “The examiner refers to press reports about the row that ensued when Science published Taleyarkhan's paper despite objections by the scientists who peer-reviewed it, as well as a study by Dan Shapira and Michael Saltmarsh, also at Oak Ridge, who had tried and failed to reproduce Taleyarkhan's results.”
This statement is deceptive and misleading. It reads as though Shapira and Saltmarsh tried and failed to perform a replication. As explained by a quote from Taleyarkhan earlier in this article, they did not.
Palabrica expressed great skepticism about the tabletop fusion claim. Oddly, Putterman was able to obtain an AICF patent in 1997, yet Putterman wasn’t, and still hasn't shown positive fusionlike results in his AICF experiments. Palabrica applied an uneven standard.
Reich/Nature: "Bubble Bursts for Table-Top Fusion"
In this article, Reich writes that "Putterman has been a key critic of Taleyarkhan's work since 2002."
Reich misrepresented Putterman's role. She failed to report that Putterman is and has been a competitor of Taleyarkhan’s for government funding. She also fails to report Putterman's patent interests, that Putterman uses a different AICF method and that Putterman has failed to achieve fusion in his AICF experiments.
Reich writes, “In January, Taleyarkhan and his colleagues published further positive results, in which they again cited the detection of neutrons as evidence for bubble fusion.”
Reich, like many of the critics she has called on to provide authoritative opinions, omits the elephant in the living room: tritium. In their Science (2002) and Physical Review E (2004) papers, the Taleyarkhan group measured statistically significant increases in tritium.
Taleyarkhan's Nightmare, the End of the Beginning This brings us only to the end of the beginning of Taleyarkhan's Nightmare. Readers who are curious about the rest of the story may browse the online collection of source documents in this library index or wait for the next installment of Taleyarkhan's Nightmare.
Feb. 7, 2006 - Tsoukalas creates committee to investigate Taleyarkhan. Investigation is performed without regard to C-22 policy.
March 8, 2006 - Allegations from Tsoukalas (to whom Taleyarkhan reported) and Jevremovic, along with allegations from Putterman, Suslick, Naranjo, are published in Nature. Allegations are made without regard for C-22 policy.
Result: Committee disbanded
2006 DARPA On-Site Review
March 1, 2006 - Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency review team carries out on-site review, discussion and observation of several of Taleyarkhan's experiments.
Putterman insinuates that Taleyarkhan spiked experiments with californium-252.
No evidence of fraud or falsification is found by any participant during the review.
Suslick later claimed to New York Times that he saw evidence for fraud, but he has not publicly revealed the basis for such accusations. All investigative committees have dismissed Suslick's accusations of fraud.
Taleyarkhan admonishes Putterman and Suslick to include intervening shielding (ice packs).
Review team witnesses positive results; observer (Tessien) provides signed affidavit.
March 2, 2006 - On request of Tessien, Taleyarkhan repeats successful demonstration, as shown on Tessien's affidavit.
March 8, 2006 - Nature article publishes UCLA modeling results based on Putterman/Naranjo computer predictions.
UCLA predictions not performed according to Taleyarkhan et al.'s experimental conditions.
- UCLA computer predictions fail to represent Taleyarkhan et al.'s experiment accurately.
- UCLA computer predictions later empirically disproved by Taleyarkhan group.
Result: DARPA sonofusion program terminated
2006 Purdue Examination Committee
~March 8, 2006 - Purdue establishes Examination Committee. Investigation performed outside of C-22 guidelines.
June 20, 2006 - Examination committee headed by Rutledge completes work, keeps matter confidential.
Result: Bertadano (Sept. 12), Tsoukalas (Sept. 5) formally accuse Taleyarkhan of misconduct; C-22 inquiry is called.
2006 Purdue C-22 Inquiry Committee
July 11, 2006 - Jamieson establishes Inquiry Committee.
Sept. 5, 2006 - Rutledge solicits allegations .
Sept. 5, 2006 - Tsoukalas makes formal misconduct allegations against Taleyarkhan in letter to Purdue (Dunn).
Sept. 12, 2006 - Bertadano accuses Taleyarkhan of misconduct in Letter to Purdue (Dunn).
Dec. 15, 2006 - Formal Purdue C-22 Inquiry Committee completes inquiry. All allegations (fabrication, falsification and plagiarism) are dismissed. Committee finds insufficient reason for recommending the formation of C-22 investigation committee and determines no research misconduct transpired.
Feb. 7, 2007 - Purdue issues press release exonerating Taleyarkhan of research misconduct.
Result: All allegations dismissed. Anonymous accusers prompt congressional investigation. Congress calls investigation
2007 Congressional Investigation
March 21, 2007 - Miller, in response to anonymous complaints and in association with Office of Naval Research inspector general, initiates congressional investigation.
May 7, 2007 - Miller committee completes report. Report does not make any charges of fraud or misconduct. Report states that Purdue failed to investigate matters properly and fully.
Result: Purdue starts new C-22 inquiry committee.
2007 Purdue C-22 Inquiry Committee
Aug. 27, 2007 - Purdue C-22 Inquiry Committee provides report to Office of Naval Research with 34 allegations. Identifies only 12 allegations that should be examined by Investigation Committee.
Nov. 1, 2007 - Purdue charges C-22 Investigation Committee to conduct investigation of those 12 allegations.
March 17, 2007 - Taleyarkhan receives copy of draft of C-22 Investigation Committee report and sees that it contains allegations A.2 and B.2. Allegations A.2 and B.2 were not among the 12 allegations that the Investigation Committee was charged to consider.
April 18, 2008 - Purdue C-22 Investigation Committee submits report to ONR.
July 17, 2008 - ONR accepts C-22 Investigation Committee report. Purdue completes C-22 investigation. Thirty-day appeal period begins.
July 18, 2008 - Purdue issues press release stating that Taleyarkhan was found guilty on two charges of misconduct based on allegations A.2 and B.2 even though appeal phase had not ended.
Aug. 27, 2008 - Purdue denies appeal by Taleyarkhan, issues sanctions and press release.
Result: Two allegations of research misconduct are affirmed by Purdue.
2008 American Physical Society (Physics Review Letters) Review
Sept. 25, 2008 - American Physical Society/Physical Review Letters reviews Purdue sanctions.
Initial draft of response states that Taleyarkhan "acted to falsify the research record."
APS informs Taleyakhan, "We are obligated to inform readers of the extent that the decision impacts [your group's 2006 PRL paper]."
Oct. - Nov. 2008 - Taleyarkhan group responds to APS.
APS publishes editorial note stating, "A university investigative committee came to a conclusion that questions the validity of the [first] sentence in the opening paragraph [of the Taleyarkhan group's 2006 PRL paper]."
Editorial note says nothing about falsification, fraud or deceit. APS neither demands nor requests retraction from Taleyarkhan group.
Results: In scientific record, Taleyarkhan group's claim for independent replication stands.
2008 UCLA-Purdue Investigation
Oct. 14, 2008 - Peccei and Dunn initiate investigation.
Dec. 2, 2008 - Taleyarkhan provides 830-page report and two boxes of hardware to Dunn (Purdue).
Results: Dunn's responsibilities as Purdue's research integrity officer removed on Nov. 3.
The following questions concern the document dated Feb. 23, 2006, as shown on page four of this letter.
1. Have you ever signed a copy of the Feb. 23, 2006, document?
2. If you have signed a copy, can you please provide me with a copy?
3. Was this document written by you?
4. Was this document written entirely by you?
5. Was this document written willingly by you and without undue influence?
6. Can you please describe the circumstances in which this document was created? (Why, where and how it was created. Did you enter it into a computer, or did someone transcribe your oral statements?)
7. Were you involved in any experiments at the Purdue INOK laboratory?
8. Were any of those experiments related to bubble/sonofusion?
9. Were you involved in any bubble/sonofusion experiments at any other Purdue laboratory?
10. Please consider the following facts:
The first part of the Feb. 23, 2006 document is written in third person, and the second part is written in first person.
The first part of the Feb. 23, 2006 document refers to Rusi Taleyarkhan as "Professor Taleyarkhan," and the second part refers to him as "Prof. T."?
Can you explain these discrepancies?
11. Please consider the following facts:
The Purdue news service represented in the July 12, 2005 press release (in the related text and in the photo of you and post-doctoral researcher Yiban Xu) that you were a key participant in the research.
On Feb. 10, 2005, you gave a 10-minute videotaped lecture in front of Taleyarkhan, Lefteri Tsoukalas, Sally Mason, Linda Katehi and a dozen other people which gave the appearance that you were highly qualified in bubble/sonofusion research.
Throughout the Feb. 10, 2005, presentation, you spoke of bubble/sonofusion experiments that you were personally involved with. For example, you started the presentation with the statement, "This is a project that Alex and I are working on."
MASTER’S THESES AND RESEARCH
Evidence presented to New Energy Times shows that you referenced sonofusion experimentation that you were involved with on Nov. 26, 2004 for your master’s thesis.
Signed statements provided to New Energy Times from other former students discuss your participation in and expertise with bubble/sonofusion experiments.
Information presented to New Energy Times indicates that your Project Summary submission of late 2004 stated that you were working on sonofusion experimentation.
Information presented to New Energy Times indicates that three people in the School of Nuclear Engineering saw you during 2004 and 2005 regularly performing sonofusion experiments with Xu.
NED JOURNAL AND NURETH-11 PAPERS
Several signed statements provided to New Energy Times indicate that you signed off on the transmittal letter to the Nuclear Engineering and Design (NED) journal.
Signed statements provided to New Energy Times indicate that the work of the NED and Nuclear Reactor Thermal Hydraulics conference (NURETH-11) papers was part of your thesis and that you, in fact, took credit for it as part of your thesis.
Signed statements provided to New Energy Times indicate that you appeared grateful for the opportunity to perform related work for the NED and NURETH-11 papers, that you were happy and willing to do so.
A signed statement provided to New Energy Times indicates that you performed a review of the draft manuscript for the NED paper, you offered corrections and suggestions and you willingly and enthusiastically signed the NED journal transmittal letter accepting co-authorship.
Several signed statements provided to New Energy Times indicate that you agreed to work on the bubble/sonofusion group's international conference paper for NURETH-11 in late 2005.
A signed statement provided to New Energy Times indicates that your name was added as a co-author to the NED and NURETH-11 papers because of your participation in the data acquisition of sonoluminescent signals and that you were "thrilled and gratified" to be part of the team.
A signed statement provided to New Energy Times states, "Butt, as an author, was likewise involved in several significant aspects of test cell construction, data checks, data analyses and conclusions as well as for manuscript reviews."
A signed statement provided to New Energy Times states, "From my experience of over 10 years in research, it has been common practice to be as inclusive as possible, especially in relation to offering co-authorship to students to help them feel appreciated and credited for their efforts, even if not as significant as those of others on the author list."
Based on the above facts and information, do you think that your inclusion as an author of the NED and NURETH bubble/sonofusion papers was appropriate?
12. With regard to the first three items in the summary of the Feb. 23, 2006 document, do you think these items accurately represent authorship and credit of the NED and NURETH-11 papers in context?
13. Several of your former peers wrote signed affidavits that stated that you were excited to go to France to present the NURETH-11 paper but that you did not go because of a delay in the government's processing of your passport. With regard to the last two items in the summary of the Feb. 23, 2006, document, do you think these items accurately represent authorship and credit the NED and NURETH-11 papers in context?
14. Are there any other comments you would like to make for the record?
Please respond by 5 p.m. (Pacific) on Friday, Sept. 26 so that we may include your comments in a forthcoming New Energy Times article.
15. New York Times Reporter Confirms Error in Purdue Story
New Energy Times has confirmed that the following sentence, published in The New York Times on May 11, 2007, is incorrect: "Mr. Butt signed a statement that he did not participate in any of the experiments or the analysis of the data ... ."
On Dec. 4, 2008, the article's author, Kenneth Chang, told New Energy Times that it "was bad wording on [Chang’s] part." Chang confirmed that the Butt statement he had received was unsigned.
Chang was the first to publicly release the Feb. 23, 2006, Statement of Adam Butt. The document was used by several investigation committees, including one in Congress, as a key piece of evidence to fault Taleyarkhan.
Numerous signed, sworn affidavits, now publicly available, contradict the referenced statement by The New York Times. (Student identification has been redacted for their protection.)
On April 18, 2008, Purdue University's C-22 Investigation Committee decided that Rusi Taleyarkhan, a professor in the School of Nuclear Engineering, had committed research misconduct.
Allegation A.2 states that the name of Adam Butt, a former student at the school, was inappropriately added as an author to papers related to bubble fusion work performed at Purdue.
The allegation and conclusion stated that Butt had little to do with the research. The investigation committee, as well as a previous congressional investigation, relied heavily on the Statement by Adam Butt. The document allegedly was created by Butt as a result of an
committee organized by Lefteri Tsoukalas, who has since been removed as the head of the School of Nuclear Engineering.
The document states that Butt was not involved in any bubble fusion experiments and gives the impression that Butt had little, if anything, to do with the research.
The unsigned, un-notarized document does not state that Butt wrote it willingly or without undue influence. New Energy Times spoke with Butt on Sept. 12, 2008. He refused to answer questions. New Energy Times mailed a letter with questions to Butt on Sept. 19, 2008. He failed to respond to the letter.
Taleyarkhan was present during the Jan. 31-Feb. 2, 2008, cross-examination hearings and Butt did not fare well when cross-examined about his Feb. 23, 2006, statement, according to Taleyarkhan.
"Butt was shaken up when reminded of having completely overlooked the documents he had submitted for his project work," Taleyarkhan wrote, "and the many close interactions he had with [Yiban] Xu for test cell construction for bubble fusion work."
Taleyarkhan wrote that Butt was cross-examined about the fact that he agreed well in advance to participate as co-author for a paper in January 2005.
"The statement given by Butt to the illegal investigation committee set up by Tsoukalas," Taleyarkhan wrote, "is vividly contradicted by the signed sworn affidavits/statements from Xu, Revankar, and students [REDACTED] and [REDACTED]."
16. Peter Zimmerman, Bubble Fusion Skeptic Retreats
By Steven B. Krivit
This summer, Peter Zimmerman, an emeritus professor of science and security at King's College London, went on the offensive and publicly attacked the research and character of Purdue professor of nuclear engineering Rusi Taleyarkhan.
Zimmerman is a former U.S. State Department adviser on arms control and was involved in national security for many years. He was also one of a dozen people on a federal committee that drafted the rules regarding standards of research integrity.
In an Internet discussion list, Zimmerman wrote that Taleyarkhan had committed fraud and deceit, and Zimmerman insinuated that Taleyarkhan was incompetent.
Some of the statements Zimmerman made are as follows:
"On two counts the [investigation] panel [found] Taleyarkhan dead to rights with research misconduct."
"Taleyarkhan put the name of Adam Butt on a paper to dispel one referee's blunt criticism that the paper had been done entirely by Yiban Xu."
"Taleyarkhan had Butt added even though Butt was a masters student and not competent to be much more than a clerical assistant. That's fraud."
"Much worse, Taleyarkhan advised Physical Review Letters that an earlier paper in Science had been 'independently concerned.' One may quibble as to whether Taleyarkhan had fraud in mind, but the effect was to deceive the editors of Physical Review Letters ".
"There are many other allegations where the C-22 [investigation committee] found factual basis for criticizing Taleyarkhan's work, blasting it actually."
"[These] actions cast very serious doubt on Taleyarkhan's competent performance of his experiment, and absolutely demonstrated that Yiban Xu did not do his 'confirmatory' experiment independently. Rather, he used Taleyarkhan's apparatus and had Taleyarkhan, his former PhD adviser, looking over his shoulder and Xu knew what results were expected."
"There is no grand conspiracy here; just a nasty debate between Taleyarkhan and his two students on the one hand and several very competent external scientists on the other hand."
On Sept. 10, New Energy Times asked Zimmerman some questions regarding the basis for his allegation of fraud, the Adam Butt document.
On Sept. 11, Zimmerman responded that he did not have access to the Adam Butt document, which implied that he had not read it. Zimmerman also deflected questions from New Energy Times and redirected the conversation toward technical matters regarding the bubble fusion research.
"The argument is simply over whether or not Taleyarkhan and his colleagues did a difficult experiment correctly or whether they screwed up," Zimmerman wrote. "Other [researchers] with better reputations in the community for doing difficult experiments correctly have tried to reproduce Taleyarkhan, et al. but have failed. The obvious conclusion is that Taleyarkhan and his group screwed up somewhere. My bet is that their neutron detectors were sensitive to the vibration ... from the bubble collapses. But I could be wrong. There are other problems, and counting neutrons is a really tough job.
"It is distressing to see Taleyarkhan and company press this (a) as if they had the key to a major source of energy, (b) as if they were being persecuted, and (c) they had done the experiment correctly, and that Putterman, et al. were screw-ups."
The same day, Taleyarkhan provided a detailed technical response to Zimmerman [Taleyarkhan's original message has been edited for clarity.]
With due respects to all and to Prof. Zimmerman, I respectfully offer a few notes and comments to correct the record associated with the science and technology of bubble (acoustic) nuclear fusion as published by myself and my colleagues Dick Lahey, Bob Block, Colin West, Robert Nigmatulin and JaeSeon Cho.
I leave it to Krivit and others in the press to collect the data Krivit writes about along with viewpoints. It may be useful for individuals like Zimmerman to review Krivit's Special Report on Bubble Fusion to better appreciate the human dimension, although much remains undisclosed.
1) Regarding the Bubble Fusion Papers by Taleyarkhan, West, Cho, Lahey, Block, Nigmatulin and Xu
— The fusion signal detectors we used were not only the active (electronic-based) types but also passive neutron track detector variety. In fact, the Physical Review Letters study used four separate detector types: three for neutrons, one for gamma signals.
— Control experiments were conducted, in each case keeping the same detectors, the same acoustic drive trains, etc., but only changing one parameter; changing the hydrogen-bearing liquid to a deuterium-bearing liquid. Additional experiments were also conducted for each hydrogen-bearing and deuterium-bearing liquid without acoustic drive. Only when the liquid was deuterium-bearing did the data provide 17 to 20+ standard deviation statistically significant measured values.
— Not only were 2.45 MeV neutron emissions measured at 17-25+ standard deviations, but these were measured in time-correlation with sonoluminescent light flashes.
— Gamma emissions in much lower amounts than the neutrons were also measured which occurred in between the neutron and sonoluminescent bursts, as would be the case after slowing down and being captured in hydrogen or other elements like chlorine since deuterium-deuterium fusion does not produce gamma photons. Gamma photon energy is consistent with expected energies of neutron capture in hydrogen and chlorine.
— Tritium, in statistically significant quantities - about four standard deviations - was also measured in addition to neutrons and gamma signals. Tritium was only measured when a) the test liquid was deuterated, b) while it was cavitating and c) when the thermal hydraulic conditions were in the specific range. Tritium generation and monitoring is something that has no bearing on acoustic-drive related interference. Control conditions did not result in tritium. Tritium emissions are consistent with neutron emission levels within experimental error.
— Theoretical simulations of the conditions of our 2002 Science paper and the 2004 Physical Review E paper and the 2005 Physics of Fluids paper by Robert Nigmatulin et al. have provided physics-based backing for the potential for attainment of thermonuclear fusion conditions at the rates measured in the 2002 Science and the 2004 Physical Review E publications. Furthermore, the same theoretical framework provided input as to when not to expect success; which was then found experimentally and published in our group's 2006 Physical Review Letters publication.
— In 2006, Eugenie Samuel Reich, writing for Nature, published egregious charges against Taleyarkhan alleging fraud and fabrication - all based on a single, non-peer reviewed Web-posting by UCLA researcher Brian Naranjo. Three investigation committees during the past three years have looked into these charges and all three have rejected them for lack of merit. More than 34 allegations were made against Taleyarkhan over the past several years and all 34, including the ones on fraud/fabrication, have been rejected. Unfortunately, the April 18, 2008, Purdue C-22 investigation committee report does not include this revelation since these charges were already dismissed by earlier committees. Also note for the record that the Department of Defense's Office of Naval Research has formally accepted the conclusions of these three investigations.
— The charges of use of Californium-252 made by UCLA researchers has also been addressed scientifically in the Taleyarkhan et al. group's recent manuscript published in Nuclear Engineering and Design. This is besides the obvious flaws that were explained already in the published rebuttal to UCLA in Physics Review Letters in October, 2006.
— Finally, in this arena, professor Zimmerman misconstrues the Purdue 2008 C-22 investigation committee report's statements related to expertise in neutron monitoring by Taleyarkhan and Block. The statements made in the  investigation committee report deal not with the work presented in the group's published papers but with a single occasion when an Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) group visited Purdue in 2003 - at Purdue's invitation - in their initial stage of getting up to speed on this research.
Scoping trial experiments were done for neutron measurements without the usual precautions and time-bearing steps for careful calibrations, etc. Those specific data were never intended for publication since such would require careful screening for background noise, etc. Such effects would also require control experimentation. The investigation committee report mentions and acknowledges this aspect.
The neutron and tritium monitoring methodology and approaches (as we used for deriving the published data in Science (2002), Physical Review E(2004) and Physical ReviewLetters (2006) has been reviewed in person by recognized stalwarts and pioneers of the field. These include Jack Harvey, Michael Murray, William Bugg, Bob Fleischer and other modern-day practitioners such as Larry Miller of the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, and Glenn Young, physics division director at ORNL. This is in addition to the neutron- monitoring expertise possessed by Bob Block (formerly of ORNL) and other researchers like Colin West. All concerns related to neutron pulse shape discrimination work as published by the group in Science (2002) were addressed in later publications and there has not been any technical challenge since that time to the neutron-tritium measured data published by the Taleyarkhan group.
2) Confirmation Studies (successful and not)
— For the one situation where Putterman, Naranjo et al. failed in their attempt, there are others which were indeed successful and which have been entered into the public domain (with signed testimonials and affidavits):
1. 2005 Nuclear Engineering and Design paper by Yiban Xu and Adam Butt.
2. 2005 Nuclear Reactor Thermal Hydraulics conference 11 Proceedings paper by Xu, Butt and Shripad Revankar.
3. 2006 Proceedings of the International Conference on Fusion Energy by Edward Forringer et al.
4. Report to Purdue University of successful replication experiments of the 2006 Physical Review Letters paper -by William Bugg (retired Head of Physics Univ.Tenn, Knoxville and presently a research professor at Stanford University)
5. Successful public demonstration on March 1, 2006. This was the all-day demonstration of bubble fusion in full view of the following visitors: Bill Coblenz from DARPA; Graham Hubler and Peter Schmidt from the Office of Naval Research; Ross Tessien, Felipe Gaitan and Wylene Dunbar from Impulse Devices Inc.; Ken Suslick and another one or two people from the University of Illinois; Seth Putterman and perhaps one more person from UCLA; JaeSeon Cho from Oak Ridge, plus about five to ten Purdue students and staff. Neutron production data were obtained and viewed by the various visitors that afternoon commensurate with the data published by our group in our Physical Review Letters 2006 paper of Jan.2006.
6. Testimonial of successful public demonstration on March 2, 2006. This is a distinct and repeat demonstration of the demonstration from March 1, 2006. This was performed at the direct request of Ross Tessien of Impulse Devices Inc. He was present at all times during the experiment; from start to finish.
— It is true that the Putterman et al. group published a paper in Physical Review Letters declaring they could not reproduce the data as published in Science (2002) and Physical ReviewE (2004). This is traced to non-attainment of the experimental conditions that were attained in the successful studies; Science (2002), Physical ReviewE (2004) and Physical Review Letters (2006). The mode of sonoluminescent production, degassing, acoustic profiles and importantly, the shape and rate of bubble clusters were completely incorrect at UCLA.
Video records were transmitted to the Taleyarkhan et al. group from UCLA/UIUC for feedback. Based on what we saw in these videos, we advised them to not expect success under these circumstances. We saw that the bubble cluster shapes in the UCLA experiments were elongated and nonspherical. They also deliberately added non-condensible gases to increase sonoluminescence emission levels, which is opposite of that utilized by Taleyarkhan et al. Indeed, in the 2005 NED/NURETH-11 papers by Xu, Butt and Revankar they specifically demonstrate that under the UCLA experimental conditions successful D-D bubble fusion will not occur. This is not to say that Putterman et al. are poor scientists; this has never been stated by any of Taleyarkhan's co-authors. Just that Putterman et al. did a different experiment. Their expertise-base has been developed around single(gas)-bubble sonoluminescence, not in on-demand nuclear-scale nucleated bubble clusters in degassed liquids.
—Yes, a scoping attempt was also made in early 2001 by physicists Daniel Shapira and Michael Saltmarsh to measure nuclear emissions while Taleyarkhan was at ORNL. What is not appreciated is that Shapira and Saltmarsh did not run their experiments over months or even days. They made a single measurement [on one of my experiments] on a single afternoon over the period of about one hour while they were alone in Taleyarkhan's laboratory, using a different liquid scintillation detector.
Indeed, they did obtain a statistically significant result for nuclear emissions for excess nuclear emissions time-correlated with the region of time when deuterated bubble clusters were imploding. Shapira or Saltmarsh did not investigate for tritium nor did they conduct control experiment-related measurements with non-deuterated liquid. Because of the large size of their detectors, there were electronic issues related to gamma saturation in some time regions. The volume of the Shapira-Saltmarsh detector was 30 times larger than the one used by the Taleyarkhan team. Large does not always mean better since it can become readily overwhelmed, and this is what transpired for the Shapira-Saltmarsh detector system.
A review of the raw data has already been published as a reference in the Science (2002) paper. However, the media has distorted this scoping attempt by Shapira-Saltmarsh who are both accomplished scientists in their own right. The data obtained by the Taleyarkhan team were reviewed at length by ORNL management, taking assistance from resident expertise and eventually, after many tens of in-depth assessments, ONRL decided that the work and data obtained were on solid ground. (See comments from Glenn Young - director of the physics division at ORNL in 2004 to the New York Times and also the ORNL position statement in consultation with Prof. Lee Riedinger, executive vice president for science and technology at ORNL, both of whom participated in in-depth reviews and audits.) ONRL also took into account - for due diligence - the Shapira-Saltmarsh scoping attempts. The Shapira-Saltmarsh effort was not "experimentation."
Yes, neutron detection is non-trivial. The same goes in spades and more so for conducting bubble fusion experimentation and controlling the shape and implosion of not one but clusters of hundreds of bubbles.
In no instance that this author is aware of, have either Taleyarkhan or any of the co-authors ever mentioned that this method for attaining bubble fusion in deuterated liquids is ready for immediately resolving the world's energy problems. Many issues will need to be confronted and overcome in terms of scaling to breakeven before one is confident enough to make such claims. Unfortunately, the simplistic sound-bites of much of the media provide a distorted view of reality.
3) Regarding the work of Xu/Butt/Revankar
— Yiban Xu was NOT a doctoral student of Rusi Taleyarkhan, as stated by Zimmerman, nor was Xu his major advisor (Mamoru Ishii). Taleyarkhan had a courtesy, last-minute impromptu appointment on Xu's thesis defense committee - something requested of him by Ishii which constituted nothing more than to review his Ph.D. thesis, give comments for completeness and hear his defense. The Taleyarkhan rebuttal to the 2008 C-22 investigation committee report includes this clarification but Purdue has not, as of yet, corrected their report. During the time Xu conducted his studies, he was under the direction and sponsorship of Lefteri Tsoukalas, who served as principal investigator and who paid for Xu's salary from external sponsored funds.
— The laboratory where Xu worked was under the direction of Tsoukalas. The test cell equipment, the mode of nucleation, the protocol for nuclear emission detection, the test fluids, the drive train, the calibrations, the detection equipment, the thermal hydraulic enclosure that were used by Xu were all different, and in some cases radically so, from the ones used by Taleyarkhan at ORNL. Taleyarkhan nor anyone else from the original team participated in any of the Xu experiments, the data analyses, the drawing of conclusions or the drafting of the manuscript of Xu, Butt and Revankar. Yes, initial consulting was provided to Purdue from ORNL and that was acknowledged by Xu, Butt and Revankar in their publications. Xu and Revankar both have issued and signed a sworn affidavit to this effect. Every investigation committee that has looked at the facts and evidence have come to this conclusion.
— The only statement made in the Taleyarkhan et al. group's 2006 Physical Review Letters paper as related to the Xu, Butt and Revankar paper was: these "observations" have now been independently confirmed. The observations indeed were independently confirmed by Xu. The entire author team felt this was legitimately the case and maintains this till today. All co-authors have sworn statements to this effect and see nothing wrong. These facts were omitted in the C-22 investigation committee report but are present in the Taleyarkhan rebuttal correction which Purdue has not publicized.
— According to sworn affidavits of Xu, Revankar and several others, Xu worked over several months with Butt on conducting sonofusion studies. It was Xu's initiative to respond to a referee's comment that the work be looked at by a separate person upon which Xu took the initiative to request Butt for his participation; Butt was then asked by Taleyarkhan if he would like to do so and upon agreement, Butt then worked with Xu to perform cross-checking, re-analyses of data/drawing of conclusions, etc.—to Xu's satisfaction not Taleyarkhan's. The affidavits of Darla Mize and other administrative staff shed light into the human dynamics of the generation of Butt's statement.
— The lack of neutron detection capability by Xu for monitoring fast neutrons with pulse shape discrimination (gating of gammas)—before undertaking his confirmatory studies—is asserted in the 2008 investigation committee report. Yes, he did not have that specific expertise before his attempts but he was a 15-year veteran nuclear engineer from his days in China as an assistant professor from Tsinghua university. At Purdue, he picked up what he needed to learn from individual faculty at Purdue (not only from ORNL) as well, he learned about tritium monitoring from ORNL experts. This lack of prior expertise in these specific areas of neutron-tritium detection is misconstrued. It is not what a person knows but what he/she accomplishes after several months of full-time work with assistance/counsel from others. From there, the person describes their work in a manuscript, it then gets reviewed for the attainment of standards of scientific merit by experts chosen by the editor of a respected journal. No one has questioned the technical merit of the Xu/Butt/Revankar technical publications. It is unfair to judge someone for their past alone.
4) Final notes
It is to be noted that the two charges for which Taleyarkhan has been sanctioned are not present in any of the 34 allegations made for the round of investigations that concluded in 2008. This investigation was initiated by Congressman Miller in early 2007. These two allegations were inserted into the investigation process against the specific instructions to the investigation committee and Purdue charter for research integrity.
The same two charges that were inserted into the 2008 investigation committee final report (against all rules governing the process of investigation) were already ruled upon in 2006 by a duly appointed committee of distinguished peers—looking at the same facts and evidence. That review/investigation of facts—without political pressure from Congress—had exonerated Taleyarkhan.
Perhaps at some point Steven Krivit or some other reporter will also reveal to the public that Taleyarkhan received threats of punishment in early 2008 that were to be commensurate with the degree of lack of cooperation by Taleyarkhan with Purdue in their dealings with the federal government. Specifically, pressure was brought to bear on Taleyarkhan to agree that he had been afforded due process. All of this is despite the fact that issues of true outright fraud, discrimination and reprisal - as stated by several other employees of Purdue -were not included in the investigation.
5) Personal notes
If this all sounds egregious, amazing and unworthy of occurrence, I concur. I too, have been amazed at the twists and turns of the past several years. I leave it up to others to help set the record straight. As things stand, I bear the main brunt of the sanctions.
Only a person subject to such experiences as these can appreciate the toll it takes on family, health, finances and to the progress of science.
I have included my co-authors on the cc list so they may comment as appropriate and correct the above clarifications and notes for the record.
On Sept. 12, Zimmerman, after reading what Taleyarkhan explain, replied as follows:
"I will review your papers and that of Putterman, et al. when I have time. As I said, I do not understand the attitude ... that sonofusion is some mysterious sound-mitigated new physics. It has always been within the realm of possibility that fusion conditions could be achieved in the collapse of a bubble containing deuterium from a large enough to a small enough diameter. After all, it works in the sun and in hydrogen bombs, although the size scales are much larger."
After Taleyarkhan wrote to Zimmerman, New Energy Times wrote to Zimmerman, "This thread started with your public statement that Taleyarkhan had committed fraud. Are you still so certain of that?"
Zimmerman began to question his assumption of the Butt Statement.
"Assuming that the statement of Adam Butt is correct," Zimmerman wrote, "then there was some research misconduct."
On Sept. 12, Zimmerman wrote, "I will have some interesting information you can quote if you will agree to go off the record on some other stuff. How say you?"
New Energy Times agreed to his request and received one off-record e-mail from Zimmerman. It did not contain anything useful or interesting and appeared to be a ploy from Zimmerman to either win favor or obtain information the New Energy Times investigation that had not yet been published.
New Energy Times wrote Zimmerman an e-mail on Sept. 13. Here are some excerpts from the letter:
In your June 28 e-mail to the Hydrino Study Group e-mail list, you stated that you are "one of perhaps a dozen people on the committee that drafted the federal rules" on the standards of research fraud.
Why were you were so confident that the Adam Butt document provided proof of fraud on the part of Rusi Taleyarkhan, although, according to your Sept. 11 e-mail, you had "no access" to the Adam Butt document?
You wrote that Taleyarkhan intended to "deceive the editors of Physical Review Letters." Do you want to remain on record as making this statement?
You wrote that the Purdue C-22 research misconduct investigation committee "found factual basis for criticizing Rusi Taleyarkhan's work" and that this "cast very serious doubt on Rusi Taleyarkhan's competent performance of his experiment."
One of the main pieces of information used for criticizing Taleyarkhan's work was the alleged replication work performed at UCLA by researchers Seth Putterman and Brian Naranjo. In that experiment, the UCLA team deliberately added noncondensable gases to the experiment; this guarantees a failure.
This fact—and others like it—was in the public record. As Taleyarkhan wrote to you on Sept. 11, "in the 2005 NURETH-11 [Nuclear Engineering and Design and the Nuclear Reactor Thermal Hydraulics conference] papers by Yiban Xu, Adam Butt and Shripad Revankar, they specifically demonstrate that, under the UCLA experimental conditions, successful deuterium-deuterium bubble fusion will not occur." New Energy Times also published these facts on July 10, 2007, in "New Energy Times Special Report on Bubble Fusion/Sonofusion."
Do you want to remain on record as making the statement (shown above) regarding "factual basis for criticizing" Taleyarkhan's work and competence?
You wrote that the "Taleyarkhan group did not have a clue how to measure small neutrons or neutrons to high precision and made elementary experimental errors." After reading the e-mail Taleyarkhan sent to you on Sept. 11, do you want to remain on record as making this statement?
On Sept. 14 Zimmerman wrote back to New Energy Times and said that he would need to do some more reading, but it would take some time because he had a backache.
[The following e-mail exchange took place on March 1, 2007, one year to the day after scientists from UCLA at a Department of Defense onsite review at Purdue accused Rusi Taleyarkhan of fraud. The accusations, primarily made by Seth Putterman and Brian Naranjo of UCLA, implied that Taleyarkhan had fabricated his group's results - published before the onsite review - by spiking his experiments with a standard laboratory radioactive source, californium-252.]
Steven B. Krivit: In my interview with you on Aug. 1, 2006, you mentioned that Ross Tessien and two other people from Impulse Devices were present on March 1, 2006, at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency onsite review. Were these two other Impulse Devices people also present and witness to the repeat of the experiment on March 2?
Rusi Taleyarkhan: The other two individuals from Impulse Devices were present on March 1 only; Tessien was present by himself on March 2. The other two people were also free to join, but they mentioned that they had other commitments back home and could not stay. I'm glad now that Tessien signed the acceptance of results that came out on March 1 as well as March 2.
SK: Has anybody asked the question, "How could your experiments have been spiked with californium on both of these days with witnesses present?"
RT: No. The air on March 1, 2006, was too clouded by Seth Putterman (UCLA) and Ken Suslick (University of Illinois) with their surprise announcement of code calculations which reporter Eugenie Reich (Nature) got to hear about thereafter or perhaps before. The obvious results [that we demonstrated on that day] were overlooked even with a dozen-odd people acting as witnesses.
SK: Has anybody even suggested that the demonstrations on March 1 and 2 were also the result of californium contamination/spiking?
RT: The obvious is overlooked in the feeding frenzy caused by the alleged computer code calculations for an imaginary experimental setup by UCLA'S Putterman and Brian Naranjo. Claiming Cf rather than some other source like Pu or an accelerator-based source was convenient for them since the average neutron energy from Cf comes close to the deuterium-deuterium fusion energy of 2.5 MeV.
However, one crucial item that was overlooked by UCLA/Suslick relates to gamma emissions. A Cf source emits about four to five times more gammas than neutrons. For bubble fusion, on the other hand, the ratio is almost exactly the opposite. You get only about one gamma for every 10 neutrons. This fatal flaw/oversight was pointed out [by our group] to the referees and published in our October 2006 rebuttal in Physical Review Letters.
Fortunately, we don't have to argue about neutron-gamma emissions from Cf. As I've explained earlier, folks with conflicts of interest can be relied on to cherry-pick as convenient. As Brian [Josephson, Cambridge University] points out, teamed with a hungry reporter such as Reich, the mix is potent.
The Cf argument is moot for a more obvious reason; two other groups [Bill Bugg and Ted Forringer] whom I had never worked with in the past, taking several days each, performed their own experiments and successfully reproduced the spectra type we published in January 2006. These groups had no conflict of interest, and they were capable and experienced nuclear physicists with a sincere interest in finding out for themselves whether the Nature allegations had any merit.
They came to Purdue and ran their own experiments here with their own grant funding and resources. They ran their experiments using their own detectors after deliberately verifying the absence of Cf or, for that matter, any other neutron source. They obtained data - with up to nine standard deviations statistical significance - using two independent detector systems. They conducted their own analyses and wrote their own reports, which were peer-reviewed and accepted for presentation/publication at two international conferences in November 2006 (Bugg's report was sent to Purdue directly). The absence of any extraneous source has been specifically cited in their reports.
The obvious question here again is perhaps your very own: Has anybody even suggested that the experiments conducted during May and June by the Bugg and Forringer groups were also the result of Cf?
[Note: Reporter Eric Vance of the Chronicle of Higher Education, in an April 2, 2007, article "The Bursting of Bubble Fusion," deduced another problem with the Putterman/Naranjo accusation: "In order for this new [Cf-252 spiking] claim to be true, Mr. Taleyarkhan would have to be going to considerable effort to hide a piece of the metal near or in his experiment, along with some kind of device that shielded it and unshielded it as adjustments were made with equipment. Without such a shielding mechanism, any californium-252 in the laboratory would have registered even when the experiment wasn't running." For example, when the control experiments were running.]
SK: Has Putterman or Naranjo retracted his accusations of californium spiking?
RT: Not to my knowledge.
SK: Has Nature/Reich published a correction to the record with regard to their publication of Putterman and Naranjo's accusations of californium spiking?
18. UCLA-BBC Experiment is “Red Herring,” According to Taleyarkhan Group
On Feb. 16, 2005, Seth Putterman appeared on a BBC Horizon television program and implied that he disconfirmed the Taleyarkhan group’s external neutron source acoustic cavitation experiment. The Taleyarkhan group calls it bubble fusion. The Taleyarkhan group has told New Energy Times that the BBC show had little bearing on and was a diversion from the reality of their work.
The experiment was performed between Oct. 7 and Oct. 10, 2004. On Jan. 13, 2005, Brian Naranjo, apparently the lead researcher on the project, sent a summary of the group's work to the BBC.
The same day, Colin Murray, the producer of the show, informed Rusi Taleyarkhan that the group had failed to replicate his work, and West requested comment from Taleyarkhan.
"The test cell, standing wave mode, rate, timing and evolution of clusters and transient drive, the energy spectrum of neutrons used to nucleate to name a few parameters," Taleyarkhan wrote, "all appear radically different from those used for the reported results by Taleyarkhan et al. in Science (2002) and in Physical Review E (2004).
"The UCLA scoping experiments demonstrate yet another set of experimental parameters that may not lead to significant nuclear fusion during neutron seeded acoustic cavitation and could be useful as a guide for other researchers in the field. For the record, I had cautioned BBC about the potential perils of sponsoring such an undertaking, however noble the motive."
Although it is unusual to see science - let alone an important subject such as sonofusion - vetted on television, Putterman gave The New York Times his reasons on March 15, 2005: "’I'm desperate for money, and here's a chance to infuse my laboratory with overhead-free money,’" Dr. Putterman said. "’We had fun.’"
In the UCLA-BBC experiment, Putterman claimed that both Taleyarkhan's and his own team's attempted replication failed to show temporal synchronicity between the sonoluminescence flash and the neutron signal within a sufficiently precise time window.
The images below are captured from the BBC film. The top yellow line indicates the neutron signal. The bottom yellow line indicates the sonoluminescence signal. The faint red lines indicate the precision of the timing window of the detector.
According to the film, the window, as shown below, is unacceptable and would fail to confirm the bubble fusion claim because it does not enforce a precise enough coincidence in the temporal synchronicity of the two signals.
According to UCLA-BBC, if the timing window is greater than one nanosecond, the source of the neutrons can’t be from the external neutron generator, and the neutrons were indeed from bubble fusion. Stated another way, in his opinion, Putterman, a timing coincidence of one nanosecond would constitute proof of bubble fusion.
Here is another example of an unacceptable signal pair, according to UCLA-BBC:
And another example of an unacceptable signal pair:
Then BBC showed what it would consider an acceptable timing window. In this narrow window, a near-synchronous sonoluminescence flash and neutron signal are observed.
The Taleyarkhan group says its signal pairs are temporally synchronous within 10 nanoseconds, as shown from Figure 5A (below) in the group’s seminal paper from Science (2002).
According to the visual examples provided by UCLA-BBC, their demand for a nanosecond timing window is met or, if not, is within a hair-splitting difference.
On Nov. 12, 2008, New Energy Times asked the Taleyarkhan team to consider two questions:
1. On the matter of the nanosecond timing window, what is its response to UCLA-BBC's verdict that both the Putterman group replication attempt and the Taleyarkhan group replications were disconfirming?
2. Is the difference between one nanosecond and 10 nanoseconds critical as a requirement for confirmation?
"Putterman's story that sonoluminescence flash/neutron detection coincidence is the only way to prove there is sonofusion is rubbish," Colin West wrote.
Instead, West said, asking questions of Putterman and his associate Ken Suslick would be more worthwhile.
"I would rather we challenge the failures of Putterman and Suslick," West wrote. "Why have they not made a resonant chamber that shows the same performance as ours. For example, where are the ‘clicks?’ Why is the effect of a surface float different in their apparatus from the behavior in either my old Harwell chambers or the newer Taleyarkhan/JaeSeon Cho designs?
“Why do they not replicate our (degassed) experimental conditions? Why did the Naranjo model not include the cooling packs despite Rusi having reminded them that the packs were present and stressed that the effect of the packs was important?”
"The timing issue is a red herring," Richard T. Lahey wrote, "since, in our sonofusion work, we do NOT have a single bubble collapsing, as Putterman is accustomed to in his sonoluminescence experiments. Rather, we have a cluster of bubbles collapsing where the interior bubbles can emit D-D fusion neutrons at different times. We have explained all this in a detailed Physics of Fluids  publication which apparently none of our critics has read or understood."
Taleyarkhan also calculates that the time of flight for neutrons in this experimental configuration (performed when he was at Oak Ridge National Laboratory) casts further doubt on the meaningfulness of Putterman's timing issue.
A group led by Seth Putterman, a physicist at UCLA, has failed in its attempt,  funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, to replicate the sonofusion research of the group led by Rusi Taleyarkhan, professor of nuclear engineering at Purdue University. Academic and government investigators are beginning to ask why the attempt failed and how the money was used.
Taleyarkhan states he was advised by DARPA's director, Anthony Tether, that funds were approved for DARPA/Office of Naval Research award N00014-05-1-0459 in 2005 for UCLA (as the prime contractor) to collaborate with Purdue on an attempt to reproduce external neutron-induced D-D fusion in deuterated acetone, as published in Science  and Physical Review E .
In an e-mail to a sonofusion researcher on Nov. 12, 2008, William Coblenz, the DARPA program manager for the project, explained the termination of the DARPA program.
"The DARPA Sonofusion [program] had as its goal the independent verification of the claims made of acoustic cavitation induced inertial confinement fusion," Coblenz wrote. "The program ended without verification of the fusion claims, and I would not expect the agency to fund similar work in the future."
In the final report for the project,  Putterman writes to the government, "This project was to attempt to achieve a 'carbon copy' of the apparatus that [Taleyarkhan] used to generate data published in Science and Physical Review E."
In their paper , the UCLA researchers, along with Ken Suslick, a sonochemist with the University of Illinois, reported that they failed to replicate the Taleyarkhan group’s results.
Failure to Replicate Results or Failure to Replicate Experiment? In the final report for the project, Suslick writes to the government, "An exact duplicate of Taleyarkhan's reactor was built."
However, that is impossible because, as the Taleyarkhan group has told New Energy Times, even the group itself did not know how to make an exact duplicate; it was hit and miss. The fabrication of the test sections was, and still is, an art.
Only after the test sections were used and the Taleyarkhan group could see the spherical bubbles (not cometlike), could see their rapid formation (many per second, not one every few seconds) and could hear the loud clicks did the group believe that the test sections made by the Oak Ridge glassblowers had a good chance of working.
Putterman writes in the final report, "At a kick-off meeting at Purdue in May 2005, Taleyarkhan presented us with blueprints for his acoustic chamber. ... Based upon these blueprints, UCLA organized for 'identical' parts to be produced by various contractors."
Taleyarkhan provided no such thing. He had only a hand-drawn sketch with some specifications, nothing at all like any mechanical drawings. Lahey, on the other hand, had later developed mechanical drawings for the test section, and he offered them to Putterman, but Putterman did not respond to Lahey's offer. New Energy Times reported this on July 10, 2007, in our Special Report on Bubble Fusion/Sonofusion. (Putterman failed then and more recently to provide comment to New Energy Times on the design matter.)
The Taleyarkhan group explained that there were at least two explicit, significant variations from the stated configuration and protocol in the UCLA group's attempt.
The UCLA paper  states that the "acetone was degassed." However, it also states, "Adding small amounts of air increases the SL yield."
The Taleyarkhan group says that such an addition would absolutely cause the experiment to fail.
The UCLA paper also states, "In most runs, however, the top plunger was near to but not in contact with the free surface."
Taleyarkhan states that, if the top plunger is not in contact with the surface of the liquid, the experiment will fail. He states that these details were presented to UCLA during the May 2005 workshop.
Putterman and Naranjo declined to respond to a New Energy Times question about these variations in the protocol they used.
Also, for inexplicable reasons, the UCLA group did not appear to search for tritium. Neither its published paper  nor the final report  to the government mentions an attempt to measure increase in tritium. Considering that this signature is equally convincing of fusion, if not more convincing than neutron signals, the lack of reference to an attempt to measure tritium increase is concerning.
Where Did the Money Go? Taleyarkhan expressed outrage to New Energy Times that some DARPA funds were used not to attempt the replication but to discredit his group's work.
In fact, a UCLA paper published in Physical Review Letters  states that DARPA funds were used for computer-modeling simulations of the Taleyarkhan group's Physical Review Letters  experiment and speculates about how the Taleyarkhan group’s work is wrong.
But Taleyarkhan wrote that he had a conversation with Coblenz about this use of DARPA's funds, and according to Taleyarkhan, Coblenz did not approve the UCLA modeling work.
"I've talked recently with Coblenz," Taleyarkhan wrote, "and asked if he had commissioned Putterman to use DARPA funds to perform modeling/simulations of my PRL studies which were done not with external neutrons but with dissolved alpha emitters. He denied asking for/approving this."
On May 23, 2007, New Energy Times sent Taleyarkhan's quote to Coblenz and Jan R. Walker, a DARPA representative, with a request for comment. Walker responded but declined to comment "due to the ongoing investigation/inquiry."
What's worse is that, according to Taleyarkhan, the UCLA modeling, as published in Physical Review Letters , doesn't even accurately represent the work reported by Taleyarkhan's group .
Specifically, Taleyarkhan states that the UCLA  work failed to take into account the use of ice packs. Putterman should have known better, Taleyarkhan says, because Putterman was present at a March 1, 2006, DARPA review meeting at Purdue when Taleyarkhan told him of the importance of their use.
Despite the fact that Taleyarkhan advised Putterman about the requirement to use ice packs, Putterman's colleague, Brian Naranjo, uploaded a preprint to the Internet a week later with no reference to ice packs.
Months later, on Oct. 6, 2006, the Naranjo paper published - still without reference to ice packs.
Putterman and Naranjo failed to respond to New Energy Times about the question of why the ice-pack reference was omitted.
Taleyarkhan states that the UCLA modeling published in Physical Review Letters  has been discredited by two Taleyarkhan group papers, one in Physical Review Letters  and the other in Nuclear Engineering and Design . Naranjo attempted to respond to the Taleyarkhan group's Physical Review Letters paper, but Naranjo's manuscript was rejected by the journal.
New Energy Times asked Putterman and Naranjo whether UCLA had made any other responses to the two refutations by the Taleyarkhan group  . Putterman and Naranjo failed to respond.
There are other strange problems. The DARPA-approved work was an attempt to address the Taleyarkhan group’s work reported in Science  and Physical Review E , not the work published in Physical Review Letters .
Finally, in Putterman’s government report, he writes that he used some of the money from the award to build "a world class neutron detector," which does not appear to be part of the requirements for a replication of the Taleyarkhan group’s work.
New Energy Times requested a clarification on the use of these DARPA funds from Putterman and Naranjo. They have not responded.
References: 1. Camara, C.G., Hopkins, S.D., Suslick, K.S. and Putterman, S.J., "Upper Bound for Neutron Emission From Sonoluminescing Bubbles in Deuterated Acetone," Physical Review Letters, Vol. 98, p. 064301, (Feb. 9, 2007)
2. Taleyarkhan, R.P., West, C.D., Cho, J.S., Lahey Jr., R.T., Nigmatulin, R.I., Block, R.C., "Evidence for Nuclear Emissions During Acoustic Cavitation," Science Vol. 295, p. 1868 (March 8, 2002)
3. Taleyarkhan, R.P., Cho, J.S., West, C.D., Lahey, Jr., R.T., Nigmatulin, R.I., Block, R.C., "Additional Evidence of Nuclear Emissions During Acoustic Cavitation," Physical Review E, Vol. 69, p. 36109-1, (2004)
4. Joint project of Seth Putterman PI, Rusi Taleyarkhan and Ken Suslick to Reproduce Nuclear Fusion in Collapsing Bubbles Surrounded by D-Acetone
5. Naranjo, B., "Comment on 'Nuclear Emissions During Self-Nucleated Acoustic Cavitation,'” Physical Review Letters, Vol. 97, p. 149403 9Oct. 6, 2006)
6. Taleyarkhan, R.P., West, C.D., Lahey, Jr. R.T., Nigmatulin, R.I., Block, R.C. and Xu, Y., "Nuclear Emissions During Self-Nucleated Acoustic Cavitation," Physical Review Letters, Vol. 96, p. 179903(E), (Jan. 2006) Erratum
7. Taleyarkhan, R.P., Block, R.C., Lahey, Jr., R.T., Nigmatulin, R.I., and Xu, Y., Reply to [Naranjo] 'Comment on 'Nuclear Emissions During Self-Nucleated Acoustic Cavitation," Physical Review Letters, Vol. 97, p. 149404 (Oct. 6, 2006)
8. Taleyarkhan, R.P., Lapinskas, J., Xu, Y., Cho, J.S., Block, R.C., Lahey Jr., R.T. and Nigmatulin, R.I., "Modeling, Analysis and Prediction of Neutron Emission Spectra From Acoustic Cavitation Bubble Fusion Experiments," Nuclear Engineering and Design, Vol. 238, No. 10, p. 2779-279, Aug. 2008
On July 31, Professor Ken Suslick, a sonochemist with the University of Illinois, posted this response:
There has indeed been malfeasance by the upper Purdue Administration, at the level of Dean and above. Krivit says Taleyarkhan has been “exonerated” of scientific fraud. “Exonerated” is NOT the same as “not investigated.” Taleyarkhan has not yet been formally investigated by Purdue for true scientific fraud: i.e., falsification of data, selective (”cherry-picking”) of data, contamination of apparatus with tritium and with Cf (a neutron calibration source known to be in his lab), intentionally misleading misuse of statistics. The decision by the Purdue Administration not to formally investigate is extremely troublesome. It has analogy to convicting Al Capone of tax evasion rather than murder.
On July 31, a person with the name of "Randy Starline" posted a response to Suslick:
To Ken Suslick:
Each and every one of your arguments and “scientific” allegations can be addressed from the very first paper of Rusi Taleyarkhan and his team’s work published in the journal Science.
Your californium concerns are completely bogus. You don’t need to be a fusion guru to be able to completely disprove your argument that californium is present.
And it is based on the very fact that the spectra of fusion sources and californium are radically different, notably in the presence of gammas (or lack thereof for fusion). Note that Taleyarkhan’s results showed no gammas; therefore, no californium is present.
Also note that the Taleyarkhan team’s experimental setup included ice-pack shielding. It doesn’t take a scientific genius to expect that this would bring energies of the detected neutrons down, thereby crying out for the need for proper bookkeeping when it comes to accounting for this crucial aspect of the setup.
That said, it is very easy for you folks who were “attempting” to replicate his work to simply juggle those books by ignoring those darn ice packs, thereby likewise deliberately falsifying the data yourselves.
Now, according to every newspaper and report in which you, Seth Putterman (UCLA), and your other anti-Taleyarkhan cronies in the scientific community who have been quoted liberally slandering Taleyarkhan and his work, that is called scientific fraud and constitutes a crime.
If you take your and your fellow “replicators'” results and properly account for the various aspects of the setup (and if you were even using the correct setup yourselves), you will see that your data fall right on top of Dr. Taleyarkhan’s results.
New Energy Times asked Taleyarkhan to review and respond to the comments from Suslick and "Randy:"
Randy has correctly pointed out that Cf produces a lot more gammas than neutrons. D-D thermonuclear fusion produces NO gammas. Suslick/UCLA's cherry-picking of just neutron spectrum shape is something Randy points out accurately, as well as their failure to account for gammas which, if it were Cf, would be the dominant signal. We measured virtually no gammas - only a small amount - which come out when a fraction (5-10 percent) neutrons interact with structural atoms of H, Cl,.
Randy also correctly points to the fact that, if UCLA (Naranjo) had included the ice packs in his data for the spectrum shape for neutrons, his data would then come on top of what we measured, as we showed in our new NED paper last month.
What is not said in all of this is that UCLA/UIUC were told on March 3, 2006, to include the ice-pack shielding, but despite the admonishment, they retained their predictions all through 2006. To date, they did not tell Eugenie Samuel Reich (Nature), either, who took their February 2006 Web posting (non-peer-reviewed paper) as the gospel truth and started this saga of slander. Randy correctly cites them as having engaged in what they accuse the Taleyarkhan team of having committed.
Also, after three years of investigations, all allegations of fraud (especially the well-publicized ones related to Cf) have been rejected by the Feds. Randy is supported by this, too.
Despite the fact that the 2007 Purdue C-22 Inquiry Committee dismissed the allegations of californium spiking, the 2008 Purdue C-22 Investigation Committee brought them back for reconsideration in the Purdue C-22 Investigation Committee Final Report. Taleyarkhan provided an authoritative response to the californium spiking allegations in his appeal/rebuttal to the Purdue report.
The Inquiry Committee asked Brian Naranjo of UCLA whether his computer simulation would be more authoritative than an eyewitness who attested that there was no californium spiking. The report said that Naranjo said that his simulation did not have that power and that the committee had no record of an eyewitness to such data fabrication.
On May 11, 2007, Suslick had told the West Lafayette, Indiana, Journal & Courier, "’’If Taleyarkhan wants to dispel all of this, he can do so very quickly. He can bring a bunch of people into his laboratory and reproduce his experiment right in front of their eyes.’"
The Journal & Courier wrote, "Suslick is giving Purdue documentation that he says proves Taleyarkhan was involved in research misconduct."
Suslick was an eyewitness to - and participant - in the experiments performed on March 1, 2006, during a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency review meeting. JaeSeon Cho, formerly with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, wrote the following in a signed and sworn affidavit on Jan. 26, 2008.
Neither I nor anyone from Purdue, to my knowledge (and I was present for virtually the entire time), prevented any of the visitors from getting answers to their questions on sonofusion. In fact, on March 1, 2006, Ken Suslick was invited to choose the CR-39 detectors to use for monitoring neutron emission during the self-nucleated experiments. At the end of the experiments, positive results for neutron emission for the self-nucleated experiments were obtained, as read by several people.
Cho's statements about positive results are also supported by the signed affidavit of Ross Tessien of Impulse Devices, on March 2, 2006.
Abstract "Tritium measurements conducted in controlled experiments to investigate nuclear emissions during acoustic cavitation of the organic deuterated fluid - reported by Taleyarkhan et al. in Science, 8 March 2002  - provide positive evidence for excess tritium produced (and attributed to D-D nuclear fusion.)...The results point to statistically observable tritium increases in post-cavitation deuterated acetone samples..."
Conclusion "Tritium measurements in deuterated acetone subjected to acoustic processing as reported by Taleyarkhan et al  point to positive evidence for increased tritium production. Several runs were made under nearly identical conditions to establish repeatability. Most (but not all) involving deuterated acetone point to a net growth in tritium counts."
Abstract "An attempt to reproduce the tritium measurements in an acoustic cavitation experiment with deuterated acetone has shown no evidence of tritium production attributed to D-D fusion. The average number of disintegrations per minute observed is within 1 sigma of zero.
Conclusion "Evidence of tritium production attributed to D-D fusion sought in this study. The average dmp count observed is within 1 sigma of zero. Therefore, the claim of Taleyarkhan et al. was not confirmed in the experimental study presented.
Dr. Taleyarkhan with falsifying intent caused his name not to be included in the author bylines of the NED and NURETH-11 papers to disguise the extent of his involvement in the execution of the work reported and in the writing and submission of the papers.
Even though a large volume of evidence clearly shows that Dr. Taleyarkhan was heavily involved in every aspect of the research and publication of the manuscripts, the Committee concludes that there are a number of reasons why a senior mentor’s name may not appear as an author of a publication. Thus we cannot unequivocally deem the omission of his name as an intentional act of falsification of the author byline.
Conclusion A.1 Rebuttal Source: July 28, 2008, Taleyarkhan C-22 Appeal/Rebuttal Report (Taleyarkhan states that Purdue's conclusion was misleading.
His additions are in blue and deletions are in red.)
Even though a large volume of evidence clearly shows that Dr. Taleyarkhan and his colleagues (Drs. West, Lahey, and Cho) werewas heavily involved in everysome aspects of the research and publication of the manuscripts, the Committee concludes that there are a number of reasons why a senior mentor’s name may not appear as an author of a publication. Thus we cannot unequivocally deem the omission of his name as an intentional act of falsification of the author byline.
Source: July 28, 2008, Taleyarkhan C-22 Appeal/Rebuttal Report
Additionally the following are pointed out:
• Two duly constituted Committees (the 12/15/2006 C-22 Inquiry Committee Report; and ONR-mandated Aug.27, 2007 Inquiry Committee Report) have unanimously concluded that there was no research misconduct for this category of allegation.
• Referring to affidavits of Dr. Xu (1.31.08, para. 16), and Revankar (1.31.08, para.9) it is sworn by these two co-authors of their NED/NURETH-11 manuscripts that there was no involvement in any of the crucial aspects related to deriving observations of successful sonofusion results from an experimental confirmation study (as tabulated in Table 1).
Table 2 identifies the metrics developed by an earlier duly formulated 2006 C-22 Inq.C to show that there was no involvement nor participation in key aspects related to experiment design, setup, experiment conduct, data acquisition, detector usage and calibrations, data analyses and the drawing of conclusions.
There indeed was involvement and consulting assistance provided by the original discovery team members (Taleyarkhan, Cho, West, Lahey, Nigmatulin and Block) for test cell setup, and training on operation, as well as for review feedback, composition of manuscript and for reaching out to publishing bodies.
• Neither Taleyarkhan nor any other member of the original team was involved in the capacity of being a referee, nor as an editor with the authority to accept or reject the NED and NURETH-11 papers. All members of the original discovery team have provided sworn affidavits to this effect.
Therefore, while it is useful to point to areas where Taleyarkhan and colleagues were involved with the NED/NURETH-11 papers, it is equally important to point out the substantial and crucial areas where they were not. The NED work was a confirmation study, not an undertaking for reaching a novel discovery.
Source: July 28, 2008, Taleyarkhan C-22 Appeal/Rebuttal Report [Bracketed additions are clarifications by New Energy Times]
Table 2. Judging the Independence of Dr. Xu et al. Confirmatory Studies
- Per Metrics from the Dec. 15 2006 C-22 Inquiry Committee Report
Criterion / Question
Was location the same as the ORNL
Dr. Xu et al. experiments were performed at Purdue
Did Dr. Xu et al. receive funding
from Taleyarkhan et al. (2002)?
Dr. Xu was funded by Purdue’s School of Nuclear
Was the tritium detector/spectrometer the same as that used
by Taleyarkhan et al. (2002)
Dr. Xu et al. used a different tritium detection
Calibration of Detector:
Was the Dr. Xu et al. tritium
spectrometer calibrated by
Taleyarkhan et al. (2002)?
The calibration was performed by [one of the world's foremost experts DoE/ORNL employee] Dr.
M. Murray who traveled to Purdue during 12/2003
to deliver and set up the LS6500 Beckman
Measurement protocol: Was the protocol for tritium detection
the same as that used by Taleyarkhan
et al. (2002)?
The protocol and approach for liquid scintillation
counting for tritium was different. Dr. Xu et al.
detected tritium production using an organic liquid -based
Ultima-Gold scintillation cocktail versus the
use of an aqueous-based Ecolite cocktail used by
Taleyarkhan et al. (2002, 2004)
Test apparatus (reactor cells):
Were the test cells used by Dr. Xu et
al. the same as the ones used by
Taleyarkhan et al. (2002)?
Dr. Xu et al. used different test reactor cells that
were different and distinct than the ones used to
conduct the experiments in Oak Ridge, TN by
Taleyarkhan et al. (2002)
Did Dr. Xu et al. use an identical
experimental approach for nucleation
and sustaining the sonofusion
experiments as reported by
Taleyarkhan et al.(2002)?
The experimental approach for timing, starting and
maintaining the sonofusion process was radically
different. Dr. Xu et al. used a fundamentally
different experiment approach; whereas,
Taleyarkhan et al. used an accelerator based 14
MeV neutron microsecond-pulsed neutron source,
Dr. Xu et al. at Purdue used a continuous spectrum
randomly emitting neutron sources, both Cf-252 and
Facility, geometry and functionality:
Was the thermal-hydraulic design of
the experiment station identical to
that of Taleyarkhan et al. (2002)?
Dr. Xu et al. used an experimental geometry which
was radically different (i.e., they used an enclosed
passive freezer containment versus the use of an
active chilled-air driven cooling system used in the
Participation in experiments: Did
anyone from Taleyarkhan et al.(2002)
participate in the conduct, data
acquisition and analyses of the Dr.
Xu et al. experiments?
Dr. Xu formally testifies that he conducted the
experiments, acquired the relevant data and
analyzed the data independently and drew
conclusions with no participation by the
Taleyarkhan et al. (2002,2004) team members.
Did Dr. Xu/Mr. Butt receive
Taleyarkhan et al.(2002,2004) team
members on test cell design, setup
This assistance has been acknowledged by Dr. Xu et
al. directly in the Acknowledgment sections of their
2005 NED and NURETH-11 papers.
[Editorial Assistance:] Did Dr. Xu/Mr. Butt receive review
comments on their manuscript,
assistance and assistance for
reaching out to Science, PRL and
Elsevier Publishing House for
consideration for acceptance and
publication in NED.
Dr. Xu testifies that he requested review feedback
and assistance related to paper preparation for
publication from Dr. Taleyarkhan and several of his
[Peer Review:] Did Dr. Taleyarkhan et al.
(2002,2004) manage the editing,
independent reviews and decision to
accept or reject the Dr. Xu et al.
This function was performed by Dr. G. Lohnert,
Principal Editor of the Elsevier Journal of Nuclear
Engineering and Design. Dr. Lohnert has provided
sworn testimony to this effect to state that the
decision to accept was his and his alone and based
on the merits of the paper and in no way was he
influenced by Taleyarkhan et al. (2002,2004).
New Energy Times notes the following:
1. Neither Taleyarkhan nor his co-authors made the test section (cell) used in the Xu/Butt replication. The test section was made by one of three glassblowers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory who had developed an understanding of and had the required skills to fabricate such test sections.
2. Taleyarkhan occasionally visited the School of Nuclear Engineering's loaned space at the pharmacy laboratory when Yiban Xu was performing the
replication experiments. However, Taleyarkhan states he was there on other business
with other students. The lab was not "Xu's lab." It was under the general direction of Lefteri Tsoukalas. Xu worked at one of several workstations within the so-called pharmacy lab. Taleyarkhan states that, during the five-month period when Xu was running the reported experiments (running a complete experiment from start to finish generally takes 8-10 hours), entry-exit logs required by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission show that Taleyarkhan was in the lab no more than a few minutes at a time for a total of no more than about two hours over the entire five-month period.
23. Purdue Explanation of Fabricated Allegations Looks Like Cover-Up
by Steven B. Krivit
WEST LAFAYETTE, IN -- After fabricating allegations of research misconduct against Purdue professor Rusi Taleyarkhan, Purdue administrators attempted to defend their actions, New Energy Times recently learned.
On Oct. 14, 2008, New Energy Times reported that the Purdue C-22 Investigation Committee, with the help of Purdue administrator Peter E. Dunn and Purdue counsel William Kealey, fabricated the allegations
New Energy Times recently learned that, on July 28, 2008, Taleyarkhan wrote in his Appeal/Rebuttal report to Purdue that he realized the allegations were fabricated. On Aug. 21, 2007, the Purdue Appeals Committee offered its explanation for its inclusion of the new allegations.
The Appeals Committee wrote in its report on Aug. 21, 2007:
The 2007 Inquiry Committee forwarded a total of twelve allegations to the Investigation Committee, which the Investigation Committee then "aggregated and restated" for the sake of clarity. It is our opinion that the broad issues in allegations A.2 and B.2 were identified by the 2007 Inquiry Committee and should not be considered to be "new" charges. ... In our opinion, C-22 does not prohibit the Investigation Committee from considering charges that are derived from the original charges if they choose to do so.
The Inquiry Committee forwarded 12 allegations to the Investigation Committee for consideration. As defined by the C-22 policy, these allegations had to be submitted to the dean in writing and signed. The Investigation Committee considered those 12 allegations and reviewed - and dismissed - all 12. But then somebody (as yet unidentified) involved with the Investigation Committee added two other allegations.
Purdue's C-22 policy governing research integrity does not prohibit the Investigation Committee from adding its own charges, though this would be in stark contrast to the spirit of the American system of justice, which requires no overlap among accuser, judge, jury and executioner. Further, it is contrary to the practice Purdue used with the other allegations; they all had named sources.
Here is why the Purdue explanation begins to look like a cover-up. The Investigation Committee went to great lengths, as shown in its Final Report, to show how the allegations were cross-referenced between the Inquiry Committee and the Investigation Committee. As I reported on Oct. 14, 2008, and in a video on Oct. 20, 2008, the cross-reference fails.
Second, the Investigation Committee explains its procedure for evaluating the allegations in the Executive Summary section of the Final Report. The first sentence says that the "Inquiry Committee forwarded twelve allegations."
Third, the Executive Summary does not mention that the Investigation Committee brought in new "charges that are derived from the original charges."
Fourth, the Investigation Committee wrote that it "aggregated and restated" the allegations "for the sake of clarity." If the committee intended to provide clarity, it failed.
Before Lefteri Tsoukalas was removed as the head of the Purdue School of Nuclear Engineering, an illegal committee that he organized produced the Feb. 23, 2006, Statement from Adam Butt. Someone provided this document to Kenneth Chang of The New York Times. Chang has declined to confirm or deny whether Tsoukalas provided the document. Chang has confirmed that he received other related documents from Tsoukalas. Chang made the decision to publish the unsigned, unnotarized, unsworn, unverified document.
The Statement from Adam Butt caused severe problems for Rusi Taleyarkhan, a professor in the School of Nuclear Engineering. In response, numerous people came to Taleyarkhan's defense with testimonials and affidavits. A number of the affidavits accuse Tsoukalas of serious grievances. Some of them are now part of the public record in legal proceedings.
The main purpose of this index is to provide a comprehensive archive of all documents related to Bubblegate. This index includes some minor overlap with the Bubblegate News and Press Releases Index because there are key news items and press releases that have played such a significant role in the events that they are included here as well. This index also serves as a chronology, so events with no related documents are also listed.
A recent claim  demonstrating a nuclear process triggered by electrolysis is challenged. An analysis, based on relative diameters, is used to demonstrate that predominant pits could not possibly be attributed to alpha particles or to less massive nuclear projectiles.
This conclusion is supported not only by positive results from a replication experiment but also by results from the experiment on which the original claim was based. Although the numerous SPAWAR-type pits seem to be highly reproducible, their interpretation is not clear.
Earlier, we reported in this journal that the pits generated in CR-39 detectors during Pd/D co-deposition experiments are consistent with those observed for pits that are of a nuclear origin. Recently, that interpretation has been challenged. In this communication, additional experimental data and further analysis of our earlier results are provided that support our original conclusions.
The following letter summarizes our group's rebuttal to a recent paper published by Ludwik Kowalski, a retired professor from Montclair State University.
We address Ludwik Kowalski's criticisms as follows:
We perform a brief summary of our control experiments. These experiments rule out radioactive contamination, chemical interactions, and mechanical damage as the sources of the pits observed in the Pd/D co-deposition experiments.
We reiterate that the pits obtained as a result of Pd/D co-deposition exhibit the same features as pits obtained using a nuclear source - the pits are dark in color, circular/elliptical in shape, and exhibit bright spots in the center - points which Kowalski has chosen to ignore.
As he initially presented at the American Physical Society March meeting in Denver, Colo., on March 5, 2007, Kowalski claims that the Pd/D pits are too big to be due to an alpha particle. He ratios the size of the Pd/D pits to the 241Am pits and gets a value of 1.7. He then uses a calibration curve obtained from the open literature to compare the size of a 1 MeV alpha to a 4 MeV alpha and gets a ratio of 1.23. The 6 micron Mylar spacer experiments he (as well as we) has done indicate that the majority of the particles emitted in the Pd/D system have energies on the order of 1 MeV. That’s how he came up with the 1 MeV value. But 241Am emits a 5.6 MeV alpha, not 4 MeV. Using his calibration curve, the ratio is now 1.3. The problem with his calibration curve is that it is for chips obtained from the United Kingdom. Our chips come from Japan. As we indicate, CR-39 quality varies by manufacturer. Using a calibration curve obtained for Fukuvi CR-39, the ratio is 1.5. Given the uncertainties (±10%), the 1.5 number is in agreement with Kowalski’s 1.7 ratio, thus confirming that he has performed and published an independent replication of our work.
We briefly discuss our 6 micron Mylar spacer experiments and indicate that, from the LET curves, the particles are either < 0.45 MeV protons or < 1.05 MeV alphas. We also include an example of the computer modeling of a track. The modeling is consistent with ~1 MeV alpha particles.
We perform further analysis of our sequential etching results that was presented in the supplementary material. The Pd/D pits and 241Am pits were on opposite sides of the same chip (we discuss earlier that we routinely expose one corner of our CR-39 detectors to an 241Am source for use as an internal standard). Consequently, both types of pits have been exposed to the same etching conditions. In our response to Kowalski, we measured the diameter of a Pd/D pit and an 241Am pit as a function of etch time. Plots of pit diameter vs. etch time show a linear response for both pits. The slopes of the lines are the same, indicating that both pits are being etched at the same rate. Even in his paper, Kowalski states, “In general, an hypothesis about particles responsible for unusual pits would be acceptable only if these pits grew at the same rate as pits due to postulated particles.” We have met that condition.
Corona discharge - as initially suggested by Andrei Lipson at the 8th International Workshop on Anomalies in Hydrogen / Deuterium Loaded Metals in Catania, Italy - is an unlikely explanation for the pits observed in Pd/D co-deposition. To create a corona discharge in aqueous systems, the applied voltage needs to be >15,000 V, which would instantly terminate and destroy the experiment. Our cell voltage is < 8 V. We also indicate that 1 MeV alpha tracks are also shallow and that, if the pits were due to a corona discharge, we would have seen pits in the copper electroplating experiment. We saw no pits in the copper experiments.
With regard to Kowalski’s comments, we find some of his terminology to be odd. He refers to “nuclear projectiles” and “post-electrolysis pits.” The pits are not caused by nuclear projectiles. They are caused by energetic particles. The term “post-electrolysis pits” implies that the pits were created after electrolysis, a claim for which he has failed to provide support.
In addressing Kowalski’s comments, we have strengthened our position that the pits observed as a result of Pd/D co-deposition have a nuclear origin and that Kowalski has succeeded in his very first attempt to replicate our claims and, as Kowalski confirms, in his very first attempt and one that is "highly reproducible."
1. Kowalski, Ludwik, "Comment on 'The Use of CR-39 in Pd/D Co-deposition Experiments' by P.A. Mosier-Boss, S. Szpak, F.E. Gordon and L.P.G. Forsley, Interpreting SPAWAR-Type Dominant Pits," European Physical Journal, Applied Physics, Vol. 44, p. 287-290 (2008)
2. Mosier-Boss, Pamela, Szpak, Stan, Gordon, Frank, and Forsley, Lawrence P.G., "The Use of CR-39 in Pd/D Co-deposition Experiments," European Physical Journal, Applied Physics, Vol. 40, p. 293-303 (Dec. 13, 2007)
3. Mosier-Boss, Pamela, Szpak, Stan, Gordon, Frank, and Forsley, Lawrence P.G., "Reply to Comment on 'The Use of CR-39 in Pd/D Co-deposition Experiments': A Response to Kowalski," European Physical Journal, Applied Physics, Vol. 44, p. 291-295 (2008)
By Steven B. Krivit Two years ago, New Energy Times reported a bold proclamation:
Scientists at the U.S. Navy’s San Diego SPAWAR Systems Center have produced something unique in the 17-year history of the scientific drama historically known as cold fusion: simple, portable, highly repeatable, unambiguous and permanent physical evidence of nuclear events using detectors that have a long track record of reliability and acceptance among nuclear physicists.
Soon after we began reporting on this set of phenomena, replications started to take place. Following those experiments, I became - for a while - less confident about the "unambiguous" aspect of the above statement. I was surprised to see the variety of uncertainty and doubt that some people developed in their interpretations and raised in chat rooms and science conferences.
Ludwik Kowalski, a retired professor from Montclair State University, created confusion with his interpretation of his own successful replication of the SPAWAR experiment.
Kowalski stated that he successfully replicated the SPAWAR experiment, but oddly, he interpreted his results - and the original results of SPAWAR - as negative.
His unscheduled presentation at the American Physical Society meeting in Denver in 2007 was the beginning of his public challenges to the SPAWAR claims. He asserted unequivocally that SPAWAR-type pits could not be caused by alpha particles, protons or neutrons.
After the conference, he continued his speculations in an electronic chat room. Kowalski represents on his Web site that his motivation is to help other physics teachers and students learn about LENR.
"By criticizing the SPAWAR paper, I am trying to be useful," Kowalski wrote. "I hope that this will be appreciated, especially by SPAWAR researchers. Nothing would make me happier than their success. I just cannot be quiet when things are not clear to me in this field."
"I honestly hope that your contributions will soon be recognized by mainstream scientists," Kowalski wrote in another message to Mosier-Boss.
For a while, Pamela Mosier-Boss responded to his questions, but after she declined to continue the never-ending debate with Kowalski in the chat room, he published his speculations in a formal journal paper, challenging the SPAWAR claims. The SPAWAR team promptly responded to Kowalski's confusion and corrected his misunderstandings and the scientific record.
The rebuttal paper by Pamela Mosier-Boss et al. reveals the errors of the speculations of Kowalski and those of Andrei Lipson and Alexei Roussetski.
Lipson and Roussetski had performed an experiment in the weeks before June 2007 to seek an alternative explanation for the SPAWAR-type pits they analyzed on the detectors from another group's replication effort.
As a result of their experiment, Lipson and Roussetski stated that a corona discharge produces identical, "absolutely similar to the pits (ground beef)" as observed on the other group's detectors.
However, Lipson and Roussetski, who have little experience in electrochemistry, did not perform an "absolutely similar" experimental comparison. The SPAWAR experiments are done in a conductive solution. Lipson and Roussetski did their corona discharge experiment in the air. The difference is not trivial.
Lipson had told me about his explanations months before he presented them in Oct. 2007, at the 8th International Workshop on Anomalies in Hydrogen / Deuterium Loaded Metals, in Catania, Italy. After I conferred with the SPAWAR/JWK researchers, I sent him the following e-mail, several weeks before he presented his corona discharge assertion to the LENR scientific community at the Catania workshop:
Date: 19 Sep 2007 2:25 p.m.
To: Andrei Lipson, "LPGForsley "
From: Steve Krivit
Subject: Corona Discharge
Your abstract for Catania which reports the corona discharge seems to compare apples to oranges.
It appears that you are suggesting that the corona discharge is responsible for what you identify as the ground beef, your attribution for non-nuclear particle tracks.
But your test does not seem valid.
- Your test was done in air; the SPAWAR expt. was done in a conductive liquid.
- Your test was done with several hundreds of volts; the SPAWAR expt. was done with 5 volts.
I am very confused as to: a) why you consider this test significant and b) why you have reported this effect in your abstract without *explicitly* noting these important differences.
Can you explain?
At 03:44 AM 9/22/2007 -0500, [Lipson] wrote:
Concerning your naive question on validity of corona pit simulation.
It is your right to think that we are stupid Russians who compare apples and oranges. Though it is also well seen that you are only a journalist, but not a physicist. Seems I already tried to explain you the things on corona simulation when we met in Moscow. May be you did not understand my Russian-English. Never mind. ... Hope my explanation will show you how to compare apples with oranges.
I am accustomed to such responses when I ask Ph.D. scientists difficult questions.
Despite these significant differences that I discussed with Lipson before the Catania conference, Lipson reported his speculation that he and Roussetski had confirmed an alternative explanation for the SPAWAR-type pits.
As reported in "SPAWAR-JWK Review of Reply to Kowalski," the SPAWAR/JWK group have thoroughly discredited Kowalski's attempt to discredit his own and its claims by the use of track diameters, as well as the corona discharge idea in a peer-reviewed journal.
The SPAWAR/JWK group "Triple-Track" paper also provides unambiguous signs of neutron emission - from its lab, from SRI and from UCSD. During the 2007 APS meeting question-and-answer session for Kowalski's talk, Forsley clarified to Kowalski a point regarding track size that related to possible neutron emissions.
It is interesting to note that some of the most die-hard skeptics, like Kowalski, are now people who are inside the LENR field. This is not entirely bad news. The silver lining of this cloud is that it shows a maturation of the field, sufficiently that there are competing groups willing to go to battle against one another.
Secondarily, challenges such as Kowalski's - he deserves credit for his efforts - are useful for the journal editors because they get a chance to see the skeptics' best attempts to debunk this new science.
The parameter space for the SPAWAR co-deposition experiments is still very broad. For example, early indications suggest that gold cathode wire seems to give the strongest results, then palladium, silver and nickel, in decreasing order.
On Monday, Dec. 8, when the Kowalski paper  and the SPAWAR/JWK paper  went online, Kowalski sent an e-mail to the CMNS Internet chat list defending against SPAWAR/JWK's rebuttal.
Kowalski’s Dec. 8 e-mail revealed several quirky anomalies.
First, he challenged the SPAWAR/JWK researchers to post more of their data to the CMNS list.
"That would help those of us who want to examine their arguments more carefully," Kowalski wrote.
New Energy Times asked Forsley to comment on Kowalski's challenge.
"We don't play these games," Forsley said. "We publish our papers in reputable peer-reviewed journals. I really don't care what people write in chat rooms or their blogs. That's their problem."
At the end of his e-mail, Kowalski asked, "What has to be done to convince skeptics that SPAWAR-type CR-39 tracks are indeed due to alpha particles of ~1MeV?"
Considering the nature of his recent paper, the irony is that Kowalski is perhaps the most outspoken LENR skeptic today.
On the surface, Kowalski appears sympathetic to LENR. I may be wrong - and I hope I am - but I doubt that Kowalski will ever publicly accept that LENR is real, no matter what evidence LENR researchers provide.
References 1. Kowalski, Ludwik, "Comment on 'The Use of CR-39 in Pd/D Co-deposition Experiments' by P.A. Mosier-Boss, S. Szpak, F.E. Gordon and L.P.G. Forsley, Interpreting SPAWAR-Type Dominant Pits," European Physical Journal, Applied Physics, Vol. 44, p. 287-290 (2008)
2. Mosier-Boss, Pamela, Szpak, Stan, Gordon, Frank, and Forsley, Lawrence P.G., "Reply to Comment on 'The Use of CR-39 in Pd/D Co-deposition Experiments': A Response to Kowalski," European Physical Journal, Applied Physics, Vol. 44, p. 291-295 (2008)
Because of a resurgence of interest in the SPAWAR Systems Center Pacific co-deposition experiment, the laboratory protocol based on its Pd-D/Codep/CR-39 experiment, developed by Stanislaw Szpak, Pamela Mosier-Boss and Frank Gordon, is now available online.
Please note that the protocol package contains The Galileo Project Version 5.1 Sept. 5, 2007, Protocol. It has not been updated. That protocol is optimized for alpha detection in a wet configuration, though it also works for neutron detection.
Since that protocol was developed, second and third protocols have been developed: Protocol 2, optimized for alpha detection in a dry configuration; and Protocol 3, optimized for neutron detection in a dry configuration.
Instructions have not been written for protocols 2 and 3. However, the 2007 Galileo Project Report and the published SPAWAR papers are useful resources to review.
The SPAWAR/JWK group has 20 LENR papers published in refereed journals. This Web link shows the complete list.
One of the major problems with the 5.1 protocol, particularly for the Electrolysis Charging Phase (See Appendix: Electrolysis Current Table), is that some of the results - accumulated over time, are too strong - that is, they cause an oversaturation. Consider snowflakes: they are light and gentle. Ask anyone in Lake Tahoe, California what's it's like to shovel four feet of snow from their sidewalk and you get the idea of oversaturation.
If you accept that the signals are "caviar" (Forsley's term; see 2007 Galileo Project Report) rather than "hamburger" (Lipson's term), you will see that the problem with these experiments is not lack of a signal. The problem is the opposite: There is far too much signal, and it is oversaturating the CR-39, for human as well as computer analysis. A useful modification to protocol may be to reduce the charging time. An instance also has been reported of an electronic detector being damaged from oversaturation.
Postscript: From: Dr. M. Srinivasan, Chennai, India
I am happy to note the renewed interest in neutron detection. Horace has raised the issue of the superiority of cost effective methods such as CR-39 track detectors.
Has anybody in the CMNS community attempted the use of Bubble Neutron Detectors developed and marketed by Chalk River Nuclear Laboratories of Canada. (See www.bubbletech.ca.) They do sell a stack of 36 detectors for spectroscopy, which give crude energy discrimination.
About two years ago, I subscribed to your newsletters, and since then, I have read 100 percent of them, expecting some breakthrough to happen.
You will find more information on me in the attached letter.
Although my career was not in nuclear or physics research, I have a background in nuclear physics from back in the 1960s, and I have an M.Sc. in electrical engineering.
I have always been interested in the fundamental physics of matter, and being retired, I continue to read reports and books in this domain, and I even give lectures to the general public, explaining what matter really is.
Because of that, I have followed the work in both hot fusion and cold fusion, and frankly, I believe much more in the latter, because I am convinced that there are many ways to bring protons together, smarter than by the hard way of collisions.
In the attached paper, I present the way I see this problem of the "Coulomb barrier." Because I am not an expert, you may think that my approach is overly optimistic or even unrealistic. I am very interested in receiving your comments (even negative!) on it, because in the lecture that I give, I introduce cold fusion as the most probable source of future energy, with possible ways of achieving it. So if I am fundamentally wrong, just tell me!
And many thanks for the efforts of all the people around you to keep this technology on the road, despite the official discouraging position of the scientific community.
91160 - Longjumeau, France
Thank you for considering my last letter for study. I admit obviously that some parts of it are highly speculative and may look like a naive dream!
However, recent findings are giving some substance or base to these dreams, even if they are still far out of reach.
For example, concerning the most speculative thinking: temporarily transforming protons to neutrons to let them fuse. It is now known that this transformation happened in the process of star creation: If an anti-neutrino hits a proton, the proton is temporarily changed in a neutron. Some neutrons can then fuse, and reverting back to protons, they create heavier matter.
The Coulomb barrier has been overcome! This process is believed to be at the origin of heavy elements. So scientists do believe that this temporary "symmetrical flip-flop" of the quarks between protons and neutrons is possible. Now, obviously, if we want to use that effect, we have to produce anti-neutrinos.
Don't ask me how to do that. If I knew it, ... I would be rich! But don't forget that the neutrino is present in huge quantities everywhere, and we know how to produce them. So one could think that, with intensive research, the production of anti-neutrinos could be done one day. The full thing is still speculative, but not so crazy after all!
Now concerning the (less speculative??) effect of overcoming the Coulomb barrier by combining an electromagnetic field and muons-protons association, recent experiments have been done with powerful lasers, where muonic neutrinos produce temporary muons or, with neutrinos in the Tau family, heavy muons, which can get close enough to protons to decrease significantly the positive charge. Could we, in that way, allow protons to fuse? Why not?
So again, it is advanced thinking but not completely dreaming! The laboratories working on this laser-triggered approach are looking to accelerate protons for medical use (curing brain tumors) more easily than using huge accelerators. Again, there is a gap between this work and proton fusion, but mastering the proton charge variation through this research could open a way to fusion.
My point is not only that I believe the warming effect of cold fusion experiments proves that proton fusion (with a low occurrence probability) is possible within some particular conditions, but also that, if there was more research on ways of decreasing and overcoming the Coulomb barrier, we could have a chance of a breakthrough.
I hope that my "nonscientific, not proven" approach can trigger some curious eminent specialist to revisit the domain!
De : Steve Krivit
Envoyé : lundi 5 juin 2006 23:33
À : Jean-Claude Robillard
Objet : RE: the Coulomb barrier
I discussed your letter to the editor with one of my technical editors, and we don't want to approach the murky waters of this type of theory at the moment. There is too much contention over this subject matter. Infinite Energy is more open to this; they may be more receptive. There are many ideas of yours in the letter that I personally enjoyed reading.
Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.
To: "Steve Krivit"
Subject: RE: the Coulomb barrier
Date: Sat, 25 Oct 2008 00:29:52 +0200
X-Mailer: Microsoft Outlook IMO, Build 9.0.2416 (9.0.2910.0)
Since 2004, I have been actively reading New Energy Times magazine. As I wrote you in a letter (see attachment) and an exchange of e-mails in 2006 (see e-mails sequence below), I do believe that cold fusion is possible and that there must be other ways to overcome the Coulomb barrier than the ITER monster machine (I have been visiting the pre-ITER prototype in Cadarache, France).
You also have been an advocate of fusion, but recently, apparently, you seem not to believe in it anymore, to the profit of weak interactions processes.
I believe that you oppose far too much the two nuclear actions (weak interaction versus fusion). You obviously have been convinced by the excellent work and papers from Allan Widom and Lewis Larsen on weak interactions and ultra-low momentum neutron nuclear reactions (I refer particularly to the paper dated May 2, 2005).
Like you, I was impressed by these papers, but I do not get the same reading as you. The nice thing in this paper is the description of the surface phenomena in a palladium electrode, where protons and plasma oscillations lead to electrons entering nuclei with enough energy to generate slow-motion neutrons through weak interaction. If this does not generate energy by itself, the authors explain later, a sequence of nuclear reactions (see formulas 26 to 30) contribute to the heat generation and nuclear transmutations, noticeably Helium-4, that are described as nuclear decays. So reading this paper, one can believe that there is no fusion, simply weak reactions.
But one could read the overall process described differently: Through the energy supplied initially to the electrons, it is said that e- and p+ are producing a low-momentum neutron. This can be seen as the trick that I was dreaming in my letter in 2006: "changing momentarily a proton in neutron to overcome the Coulomb barrier."
Effectively, this (weak reaction) can happen because, between a neutron and a proton, there is just a mirror inversion of quarks which can happen (weak reaction) due to the energy brought and the electromagnetic conditions applied. Note that the proton may have changed effectively into a neutron, as explained by Widom and Larsen, but it is also possible that there is still a condensed pair proton-electron which looks and behave like a neutron (which in this case does not imply an inversion of quarks).
But let's suppose, as in the Widom-Larsen paper, that we have just got a neutron. If you follow the nuclear transmutations described later (equation 26), you can see that, at a certain point, the Li3-8 transmutes in Be4-8 + e-, which can be read as the fact that one proton reappears, as well as an electron. It could be a decay or an electron-proton condensed pair brought to Li3-8 disassociating. Whatever it is, the important fact is that a proton that was temporarily changed in a neutron or a neutral pair has been integrated finally in a nucleus. THIS IS FUSION - maybe not a direct proton-to-proton fusion but still a fusion because the transmutation overcoming the Coulomb barrier has allowed a proton to be joined to other protons. Please keep in mind that only this fusion generates the heat.
This is why I believe that, even if these papers are right, you should not oppose weak interactions to fusion so abruptly. Conversely, I believe that these excellent papers bring some proof that there are ways to overcome the Coulomb barrier and induce nuclear fusion to generate new energy.
Again, I am not a specialist fully equipped with the mathematics and quantum theory baggage, but I try to be pragmatic and, as you say, open-minded. So let's stay open-minded, and I believe that, in your fight to support LENR, you should not follow too deeply one way against another, and certainly not claim that you do not believe any more in fusion. After all, even if weak reactions are playing a role in LENR, only fusion (or transmutations) really provide the energy that we are looking for.
I hope that this can be helpful.
Thanks for your action in LENR.
De : Steve Krivit
Envoyé : samedi 25 octobre 2008 03:15
À : J.C.Robillard
Objet : RE: the Coulomb barrier
Bonjour Jean-Claude Robillard,
I am open to hearing your opinions, but I have some questions for you.
You said, "You should not follow too deeply one way against another, and certainly not claim that you do not believe anymore in fusion."
Can you please tell me why you think I should "believe in fusion?"
You said that "only fusion (or transmutations) are really providing the energy that we are looking for."
I presume you were trying to compare fusion with weak interactions. Can you please defend this statement?
To: "Steve Krivit"
Subject: RE: the Coulomb barrier
Date: Sat, 25 Oct 2008 16:39:30 +0200
1) For the first question, I believe that there is a misunderstanding about the term fusion. When I say that "you should believe in fusion," I am obviously talking about "cold fusion," obtained by LENR, not "hot fusion," like the ITER project. I do believe that both ways to obtain fusion are achievable, but "hot fusion" up to now has been obtained only in nuclear H bombs, not in a sustainable, usable, and practical way in the different prototypes of ITER.
This is why I have been following and appreciating the efforts of New Energy Times to encourage efforts toward a more practical way to produce energy.
Up to recently, I understood that you believed that the extra heat generation came from cold fusion triggered by LENR, even when official science claimed that this was impossible.
Then, suddenly, you seem to question fusion, mainly because of a lack of correlation between the quantity of Helium-4 released and the energy generated (the famous 24 MeV). You have seen and published the many comments concerning this correlation ratio, which might be wrongly measured if all Helum-4 is not released. So the faulty 24 MeV cannot be taken as a proof of no fusion.
And the point that I wanted to underline to you is that, even if weak reactions are a key triggering factor, the bulk of heat generation must come from the nucleus reorganization, because this is the place where high energy is at work between the quarks. And since all these experiments are dealing with light elements and low numbers of protons (He, Li, Be, etc.), we are talking about the only way of rearranging a nucleus: fusion (adding neutrons or protons to existing nuclei).
Again, note that, in the Widom-Larsen papers, the equations describing the mutation from Li to Be include one additional proton to the nucleus. This is a transmutation but also the fusion of one proton to the others. This is why I think that you should still believe in fusion even when triggered or explained by weak reactions. Note that, in their paper, Widom-Larsen clearly state that weak reactions do not contribute to the heat generation; only transmutations deliver the heat (I agree with that).
2) I believe I just answered this question above. I do not compare weak interactions to fusion. The first may be triggering the second, but again the energy generation is coming from transmutations of the nucleus, which, for light elements, include fusion - not a direct D+D proton fusion but still, at the end, proton fusion to nucleus.
Concerning my background, I have a M.Sc. in electronics, with an initial level of physics (initially, in the 1960s, I was willing to have a M.Sc. in nuclear sciences), but as I reoriented my career later in electronics and telecom, I retained a strong interest in fundamental matter physics, through reading books and publications.
So, even if I am not a specialist fully trained in the associated mathematics and theory, I believe that I have got, through reading and some conferences, a good feeling and understanding of where the physics science stands, in term of what may happen at the particle level, the origin of them, and the forces behind.
You are perfectly entitled to say that this does not give any credibility to what I write. However, if you read again what I wrote back in 2006, you will see that my "dream" of a way to overcome the Coulomb barrier is in fact now demonstrated and explained through these plasma/proton oscillations at the palladium surface, and weak interactions which are changing a proton in a neutron, allowing it to merge with a nucleus. This is quite in line with my feelings! Not so bad for a nonspecialist! I admit it is pure feelings, and in front of experts, it certainly does not help you much!
Date: Sun, 26 Oct 2008 21:32:55 -0800
From: Steve Krivit
Subject: RE: the Coulomb barrier
What does it matter to you what I believe or think? In other words, why do you care what my opinion is? The science is what the science is. What difference does my opinion make?
You wrote, "My 'dream' of a way to overcome the Coulomb barrier is in fact now demonstrated and explained through these plasma/proton oscillations at the Palladium surface, and weak interactions which are changing a proton in a neutron, allowing it to merge with a nucleus."
Subject: Weak interactions and fusion
Date: Sun, 26 Oct 2008 19:58:06 +0100
I want to return to my answers to your questions, especially the first answer, because I reread the Widom-Larsen paper from May 2005, and I realized that I was wrong in writing that, in the equations described, rearranging the nucleus implies fusion.
In fact, what the paper is describing is first an "activation" of the lithium by adding the neutrons obtained before by the weak interactions described (inverse beta decay). Then, the activated lithium, with an excess of neutrons, is expected to decay naturally through a beta transmutation of one neutron. Consequently, the additional proton found in Be is not added. So, if things go that way, I agree that there is no fusion involved.
But, then, I am surprised by the level of energy generated; according to the paper, this decay would produce 16.003 MeV! This seems to me very high for a weak interaction. Although I am not an expert, I would expect that the rule of energy conservation, in a weak interaction changing a neutron in a proton, in a static mode, should not produce more energy than the mass difference between the two, which means the same as what was taken to trigger the inverse beta interaction at the beginning (that is, 1.293 MeV). I remember having read somewhere that the maximal energy generated in this type of interaction is 1.71 MeV. Did I miss something? If not, than where is the energy production? We have to deliver energy at first to accelerate the electron and trigger the generation of a neutron, and the decay later would simply give that energy back!
So I am still not convinced by this weak interactions chain. Conversely, I would rather think of another type of weak interaction (known as electron capture), where an accelerated electron would pair temporarily with a proton (which would look like a neutron), and enable them, being neutral, to fuse actually with another nucleus. As you can see, I am a firm believer in cold fusion!
JCR: This seems to me very high for a weak interaction. Although I am not an expert, I would expect that the rule of energy conservation, in a weak interaction changing a neutron in a proton in a static mode should not produce more energy than the mass difference between the two, which mean the same as what was taken to trigger the inverse b interaction at the beginning. …
SK: That's perfectly understandable. If it were expected, everybody would already have known it.
JCR: I remember having read somewhere that the maximal energy generated in this type of interaction is 1.71 MeV. Did I miss something?
SK: Perhaps not. According to Widom and Larsen, it's a new understanding of a unique application for weak interactions. It's not in the textbooks yet.
JCR: So I am still not convinced by this weak interactions chain. Conversely, I would rather think of another type of weak interaction (known as electron capture), where an accelerated electron would pair temporarily with a proton (which would look like a neutron), and enable them, being neutral, to fuse actually with another nucleus. As you can see, I am a firm believer in cold fusion!
SK: If the weak-interaction idea continues to interest you, please keep me informed of your process. I am enjoying following your inquiry.
Revival Of Normal Temperature Nuclear Fusion Fever?
by Takashi Kurokawa, Science and Technology Department Nikkei Sangyo Shimbun Online “Technoscience” Section
Oct. 24, 2008 Translated by John Bukacek
Southampton University Professor Martin Fleishmann (right), who ignited interest in research in nuclear fusion at room temperature, and Cambridge University Brian Josephson, a theoretical physicist known for superconductivity research, at an international conference in Marseilles, France in 2004.
Photo: S.B. Krivit
What would happen if a nuclear fusion reaction could be induced using water as a raw material? There would no longer be a need for petroleum or uranium, or even solar cells for electrical power generation. In fact, in March of 1989, a joint team from the University of Utah in the U.S. and Southampton University in the U.K. and researchers from Brigham Young University in the U.S. almost simultaneously announced experimental data showing that the dream of “nuclear fusion at normal temperatures” had really occurred, causing a hubbub around the world. This is because nuclear fusion was thought to occur at temperatures of 5,000,000°C or higher.
Follow-up experiments were immediately conducted in various places. However, all of the experimental data indicated one type of problem or another, so enthusiasm for this research cooled off. Around 1992, it was ridiculed as “pseudoscience,” and it almost completely ceased to be a topic of discussion.
However, some researchers steadily continued research in this field – about 100 researchers throughout the world. In August of this year, the 14th International Conference on Condensed Matter Nuclear Science was held in Washington D.C. The attendance was about 200, which included participants other than researchers. The list of registrants included representatives from the U.S. Government, such as the U.S. Navy after an absence of more than 10 years. Last year, the American Chemical Society even held a symposium on nuclear fusion at normal temperatures at its national meeting.
Nuclear fusion at normal temperatures has once again started to be the focus of attention for both the government and academia in the United States. It appears to hold some promise as a solution to energy and environmental problems. Two years ago, Tadahiko Mizuno, assistant professor at Hokkaido University, one of the researchers who has kept up his research on nuclear fusion at normal temperatures, was visited by research representatives from the U.S. Navy [Michael Melich], and was asked, “We will provide $200,000 (about 20,000,000 yen), so will you join our team?” Assistant professor Mizuno said “I turned it down, thinking that I did not want to be involved in results produced in the United States.”
International Conference on Condensed Matter Nuclear Science held in Washington DC in August of this year (presentation by Hokkaido University)
Photo: Yu Toriyabe
Assistant professor Mizuno announced new results at an international conference this year. He reported that heat and gamma rays were produced when palladium and an aromatic hydrocarbon were injected into hydrogen gas at 80-100 atmospheres, and the temperature was held at a temperature of 800°C, though that is higher than room temperature. He conjectures that this is a result of the fusion of carbon and hydrogen atoms.
At previous international conferences, he had reported data showing that 18 elements had been newly produced by introducing palladium into deuterium, and continuing electrolysis for about three months. He believes that not only did nuclear fusion occur, but once elements were produced, they underwent nuclear fission, producing a large number of different types of elements. These experimental data describe the occurrence of some type of nuclear reaction.
In 1986, three years prior to nuclear fusion at normal temperatures, there was a lot of excitement around the world about “superconductivity at room temperature.” Those involved in nuclear fusion research say “normal temperatures,” and researchers in the field of superconductivity say “room temperature,” but they mean the same thing. Unfortunately, superconductivity with electrical zero resistance has not yet been achieved at room temperature. Rather than calling this “pseudo-science,” it has been called “Unidentified Superconducting Object” (abbreviated as USO) [the word “uso” in Japanese means “a lie” or “a fake”.] However, specialists believe it is real, and hold international conferences on it every year. Let’s delve into this in more detail on another occasion.
One must consider first that non-specialists are not allowed to participate in discussions among specialists in basic science. That is because non-specialists cannot judge whether what is discussed is correct or in error. If non-specialists were to participate in the discussion, they would probably have to obtain specialized knowledge. If research in basic science is crushed at the seed level, nothing will be produced. Let’s leave the research and discussion up to the specialists. Then we can all rejoice together when usable nuclear fusion at normal temperatures becomes a reality.
31. Selected Excerpts from the 2nd Presidential Debate
The following are excerpts from the transcript of the second McCain-Obama presidential debate that took place on Oct. 7, 2008.
Barack Obama: We are going to have to deal with energy because we can't keep on borrowing from the Chinese and sending money to Saudi Arabia. We are mortgaging our children's future. We've got to have a different energy plan.
Energy we have to deal with today, because you're paying $3.80 here in Nashville for gasoline, and it could go up. And it's a strain on your family budget, but it's also bad for our national security, because countries like Russia and Venezuela and, you know, in some cases, countries like Iran, are benefiting from higher oil prices.
So we've got to deal with that right away. That's why I've called for an investment of $15 billion a year over 10 years. Our goal should be, in 10 year's time, we are free of dependence on Middle Eastern oil.
And we can do it. Now, when JFK said we're going to the Moon in 10 years, nobody was sure how to do it, but we understood that, if the American people make a decision to do something, it gets done. So that would be priority number one.
And it is absolutely critical that we understand this is not just a challenge, it's an opportunity, because if we create a new energy economy, we can create five million new jobs, easily, here in the United States.
It can be an engine that drives us into the future the same way the computer was the engine for economic growth over the last couple of decades.
And we can do it, but we're going to have to make an investment. The same way the computer was originally invented by a bunch of government scientists who were trying to figure out, for defense purposes, how to communicate, we've got to understand that this is a national security issue, as well.
And that's why we've got to make some investments and I've called for investments in solar, wind, geothermal. Contrary to what Sen. McCain keeps on saying, I favor nuclear power as one component of our overall energy mix.
But this is another example where I think it is important to look at the record. Sen. McCain and I actually agree on something. He said a while back that the big problem with energy is that for 30 years, politicians in Washington haven't done anything.
What Sen. McCain doesn't mention is he's been there 26 of them. And during that time, he voted 23 times against alternative fuels, 23 times.
So it's easy to talk about this stuff during a campaign, but it's important for us to understand that it requires a sustained effort from the next president.
One last point I want to make on energy. Sen. McCain talks a lot about drilling, and that's important, but we have three percent of the world's oil reserves and we use 25 percent of the world's oil.
So what that means is that we can't simply drill our way out of the problem. And we're not going to be able to deal with the climate crisis if our only solution is to use more fossil fuels that create global warming.
We're going to have to come up with alternatives, and that means that the United States government is working with the private sector to fund the kind of innovation that we can then export to countries like China that also need energy and are setting up one coal power plant a week.
We've got to make sure that we're giving them the energy that they need or helping them to create the energy that they need.
Paolo Tripodi's message of sadness for Russian researchers not attending ICCF-14
In Issue 30 of New Energy Times, we reported that many of the Russian researchers expressed concern - months in advance of the ICCF-14 conference - that they were not receiving the logistical support from conference organizers David Nagel and Michael Melich in a timely manner.
They were right to be concerned; all but Alexander Karabut failed to obtain visas in time for the conference.
One researcher, Andrei Lipson, received a visa just as the conference was ending. He traveled to the U.S. shortly after the conference ended at the invitation of Michael Melich, affiliated with the Naval Research Laboratory and the Naval Postgraduate School.
Melich and Lipson are associates; they co-authored a paper that Melich presented at ICCF-14, and, as Melich reported at the conference, he arranged to fund their work through a grant from the New Energy Foundation.
The other Russian researchers (who are not affiliated with Melich) were told by conference organizers that the visa failure was the fault of governmental administrative delays.
On Oct. 13, 2008, Melich told New Energy Times that the Moscow consulate instructed him that the Russian researchers could not apply for their visas earlier than May 1, 2008, and that this was the primary constraint that prevented the researchers from having enough time for their visa applications.
However, the Web site for the U.S. consul states no such early cutoff for visa applications; in fact, it is the opposite. The site encourages applications to be submitted as early as possible.
On Oct. 21, 2008, New Energy Times contacted Christofer Van Bebber, vice consul for the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. Van Bebber confirmed the Embassy's policy.
"There is no need to wait for a certain date before applying," Van Bebber wrote.
On Oct. 22, New Energy Times provided this information to Melich and asked whether he could explain the discrepancy between his statement and Van Bebbers'. The message to Melich was copied to Nagel and conference staff Robert Smith and Marjorie Burdetsky.
New Cold Fusion Theory Published Hungarian researchers build on lithium idea from Widom-Larsen, optical phonon idea from Hagelstein
Kalman, Peter , Keszthelyi, T., and Kis, D., "Solid State Modified Nuclear Processes," European Physical Journal, Applied Physics, Vol. 44, p. 297-302 (2008)
1. Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Institute of Physics, Department of Experimental Physics
2. Budapest University of Technology and Economics, Institute of Nuclear Technics, Department of Nuclear Energy
It is theoretically shown that an attractive effective potential is generated via optical phonon exchange between two quasi-free, different particles in deuterated Pd which, in turn, enhances the probability of their nuclear fusion reaction. Mechanisms, that may be responsible for extra heat production and nuclear isomer formation, are also discussed. Creation of 4He pairs due to the significantly increased probability of the p +7Li → 2 4He + 17.35 MeV and d +6Li → 2 4He + 22.37 MeV nuclear reactions is predicted. Some of the basic questions of fusion reactions in solids seem to be successfully explained.
The United States opened a new chapter of cooperation with India on Wednesday night as Congress gave final approval to a breakthrough agreement permitting civilian nuclear trade between the two countries for the first time in three decades.
The Senate ratified the deal 86 to 13 a week after the House passed it, handing a rare foreign policy victory to President Bush in the twilight of his administration and culminating a three-year debate that raised alarms about a new arms race and nearly toppled the government of India.
Although experimentation on low-energy nuclear reactions (LENR) has excited scientists and news organizations since 1989, the "promise" that it would one day provide inexpensive and long-lasting energy to run home appliances, for example, remains the same-a promise, not a reality.
However, if David J. Nagel, Ph.D. is successful in his pursuit of $10 million annually in U.S. government funding over a five-year period, the new form of nuclear energy could possibly move from the "science" category to "products," he told several hundred ISA EXPO 2008 attendees Wednesday.
The IAEA Fusion Energy Conference marks the 50th year of open, collaborative nuclear fusion research. The International Atomic Energy Agency event is taking place in Geneva, which is where the Second United Nations Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy took place 50 years ago. Research had been conducted in extreme secrecy then and although the Cold War was still on in 1958, the conference marked the first time countries came together to share research on nuclear fusion.
India launched its first unmanned spacecraft to orbit the moon early Wednesday, part of an effort to assert its power in space and claim some of the business opportunities there.
The Indian mission is scheduled to last two years, prepare a three-dimensional atlas of the moon and prospect the lunar surface for natural resources, including uranium, a coveted fuel for nuclear power plants, according to the Indian Space Research Organization.
The spacecraft will not land on the moon, though it is supposed to send a small "impactor" probe to the surface.
In a tour de force of office supply physics, researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles, have shown that it is possible to produce X-rays by simply unrolling Scotch tape.
In the current issue of the journal Nature, Dr. [Seth J.] Putterman and his colleagues report that surprisingly fierce flows of electrons were unleashed as the tape was unpeeled and its gooey adhesive snapped free of the surface. The electrical currents, in turn, generated strong, short bursts of X-rays - each burst, about a billionth of a second long, contained about 300,000 X-ray photons.
Fusion is the source of energy that's 30 years away, and always will be, skeptics quip.
In principle, the energy released when light atomic nuclei are fused to form heavier ones is much greater than the energy required to coax the light nuclei into fusing in the first place.
That's how the sun has been shining for billions of years. And ever since the first hydrogen bomb tests in the 1950s, scientists have hoped to reproduce the sun's magic in a controlled fashion, unlocking an unlimited source of energy. But the dream has been elusive.
With great explanatory skill, Seife, a journalism professor at New York University, explains how fusion works and why it is so hard to get power out of it. Seife reviews the parade of hubristic and sometimes comic or outright dishonest claims that fusion scientists have made over the decades.
What would happen if a nuclear fusion reaction could be induced using water as a raw material? There would no longer be a need for petroleum or uranium, or even solar cells for electrical power generation. In fact, in March of 1989, a joint team from the University of Utah in the U.S. and Southampton University in the U.K. and researchers from Brigham Young University in the U.S. almost simultaneously announced experimental data showing that the dream of "nuclear fusion at normal temperatures" had really occurred, causing a hubbub around the world. This is because nuclear fusion was thought to occur at temperatures of 5,000,000°C or higher.
Follow-up experiments were immediately conducted in various places. However, all of the experimental data indicated one type of problem or another, so enthusiasm for this research cooled off. Around 1992, it was ridiculed as “pseudoscience,” and it almost completely ceased to be a topic of discussion.
However, some researchers steadily continued research in this field – about 100 researchers throughout the world. In August of this year, the 14th International Conference on Condensed Matter Nuclear Science was held in Washington D.C. The attendance was about 200, which included participants other than researchers. The list of registrants included representatives from the U.S. Government, such as the U.S. Navy after an absence of more than 10 years. Last year, the American Chemical Society even held a symposium on nuclear fusion at normal temperatures at its national meeting.
A superior court judge Thursday dismissed the murder charges against two men arrested three years ago in the slaying of a New Hampshire scientist in Norwich.
The news was met with smiles and tears from Joseph Reilly, 42, and Gary McAvoy, 46, who stood anxiously before Judge Susan B. Handy in a New London courtroom. Both men were charged by Norwich police in the brutal May 14, 2004 beating death of Eugene Mallove, 56.
More than three years after their arrests, a Superior Court judge Thursday dismissed charges against the two suspects in a 2004 Norwich slaying, leaving Norwich police with a four-year-old unsolved murder.
"There are still unanswered questions that need to be answered," said Chief State's Attorney Kevin Kane, who was the former New London County state's attorney. "There is a big difference between probable cause and proof beyond a reasonable doubt."
Joseph Reilly, 42, and Gary McAvoy, 46, had been charged with murder in 2005 by Norwich police in the brutal May 14, 2004, beating death of Eugene Mallove, 56, a scientist and writer from New Hampshire. Mallove was found outside his childhood home at 119 Salem Turnpike. His clothing was bloodied and disheveled, indicating a violent struggle.
More than four years after local scientist Eugene Mallove was brutally murdered outside his childhood home in Connecticut, the hunt for his killer is back where it started after charges against two suspects in the case were dropped this week.
A Connecticut judge ruled Thursday that there was not sufficient physical evidence tying Gary McAvoy, 46, and Joseph Reilly, 42, to the 2004 killing. The men, both charged for the murder in 2005, are serving sentences on unrelated theft convictions and are now eligible for parole.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who often played futuristic heroes in his movie career, took a look at some big science of a more terrestrial kind with a tour of the world's largest laser system.
The superlaser, known as the National Ignition Facility, or NIF, is being constructed at the Lawrence Livermore nuclear weapons lab in Northern California, at a cost which currently stands at $3.5 billion.
It is designed to focus 192 lasers at a single target the size of a pencil eraser to create a huge release of energy known as fusion ignition. If successful, the NIF will simulate the pressures and heat of a nuclear explosion, meaning scientists can study the performance and readiness of nuclear weapons without detonating a nuclear device.
Edward Moses, associate director of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, spoke about the other big fusion research program: inertial confinement, or laser fusion program.
Moses said that the lab expected its National Ignition Facility to get its first ignition in 2010.
A member of the audience asked him how much energy it would create, and he gave an impressive-sounding number. But then the questioner asked him to clarify whether that meant the facility would generate net energy, and Moses said no, that was not the point.
"NIF should be looked at as an exploration to learn more about fusion, not as an energy-producing experiment," he said.
Moses said that overall efficiency "from the wall plug" to that released from the laser reaction was expected to be only 20 percent of the input power in the foreseeable future.
He mentioned that John H. Nuckolls, director of the lab, suggested that, "by 2100, their goal is to capture 10 percent of the energy market."
New Energy Times closely follows all of the various forms of fusion research, and I had the opportunity to speak with Craig Smith, a senior scientist with Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, on the progress of the National Ignition Facility, the primary U.S. research facility dedicated to conventional inertial confinement fusion.
Attention to this form of fusion research has been overshadowed recently by the rhetoric about the magnetic confinement fusion research program, which now has all its bets placed on ITER, the international thermonuclear experimental reactor to be built in Cadarache, France.
I asked Smith to comment on the progress at Lawrence Livermore and when we might expect any practical applications from that energy research.
Smith explained that the National Ignition Facility "has, at least as part of its mission, the development of fusion energy technology, and this plant consists of 192 separate lasers, any one of which is, by far, the largest laser in the world."
After a brief review of the differences between magnetic confinement fusion and inertial confinement fusion, Smith responded, "My understanding is that, by the year 2010 or so, there will be some experimental applications that will give us important answers concerning the viability of inertial confinement fusion as an energy source."
Despite the less-than-optimistic outlook for inertial confinement fusion as practical application, Smith was clearly enthusiastic about conventional nuclear power.
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger toured the stadium-sized NIF facility Monday for briefings on its missions. NIF, the world's largest laser, was constructed under the auspices of the Department of Energy's National Nuclear Security Administration. NIF is 99 percent complete and is scheduled for completion in March 2009. Shortly thereafter, U.S. scientists will begin experiments preparing for fusion ignition, the energy source that powers the sun and the stars.
While at the National Ignition Facility, the Governor was briefed on LIFE. LIFE (Laser Inertial Confinement Fusion-Fission Energy) is an energy production concept that will use a laser system similar to NIF that could be used to generate abundant carbon-free electricity far into the foreseeable future.
The world's largest laser facility is nearly complete and experiments will begin in March 2009 to determine how well it works.
It's called the National Ignition Facility (NIF) and is being built at the Lawrence Livermore Lab in Alameda County. What scientists hope to accomplish with NIF could solve many of the world's energy problems by creating fusion.
"When we get fusion ignition in the lab there's a good chance in the next 18 months that we'll fundamentally change how people look at fusion as a source of power," said LLL Director George Miller.
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the star of "Total Recall" and other science fiction blockbusters, stared into the future Monday and discovered that it is clean, bright, and energy efficient.
The governor, accompanied by former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, toured the world's largest laser at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, where scientists hope to achieve nuclear fusion, which may prove to be a long-term source of clean power.
"This is a mind-blowing technology," Schwarzenegger said after the tour. "In the meantime, we've got to continue to work on renewable energy. We want to reduce our reliance on carbon fuels and dirty coal and increase our use of solar, geothermal and wind power."
For more than half a century, scientists have dreamed about using fusion - the source of the sun's energy - to produce electricity. Now, thanks in large part to research at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, that dream could be realized in the next couple of decades.
The latest and most promising means of economically producing safe, carbon emission-free electricity is Laser Inertial-Confinement Fusion-Fisssion Energy, or LIFE.
It is a combination of fusion and fission, the process used in today's atomic power plants. Fusion energy would be used to set off fission reactions in spent nuclear fuel and old nuclear weapons.
LENR-based power generation much safer and affordable than fission or hot fusion Unlike the deadly energetic neutrons and X-ray/gamma radiation produced by nuclear fission or hot fusion reactions, the charged-particle products produced by LENRs (beta and alpha particles) cannot penetrate a piece of paper or the human skin ; they could not escape through the outer casing of an LENR system in the first place.
Future commercial versions of Lattice’s purely weak interaction, LENR-based systems would not require expensive, bulky shielding or radiation confinement structures. Neither would they have any costly end-of-life nuclear waste disposal issues, as LENRs do not in the end produce biologically significant quantities of long-lived hot radioactive isotopes. That being the case, it would seem unlikely that government regulation of LENRs would be anywhere near as onerous as it is for existing fission and the hoped-for fusion technologies. Altogether, it seems reasonable to assume that power generation based on LENRs would be much less expensive as well as safe from accidents or intentional sabotage.
A revolution in power generation
Prior to W-L theory, weak interactions were thought to be useless for power generation.
In contrast to hot fission and fusion associated with the controversy over nuclear weapons and the potential of a nuclear war in the aftermath of WWII, Enrico Fermi’s beloved weak interactions became somewhat neglected. It was looked upon more as a scientific curiosity of theoretical interest with no practical applications. After all, every physicist and chemist ‘knows’ that radioactive beta decay rates are mainly low-energy and, being random, cannot be controlled; and hence useless for power generation applications. Also, no one considered the possibility of creating neutrons directly via the weak interaction; there just didn’t seem to be any reasonable way to get weak interaction rates high enough to be useful. The Widom-Larsen theory of LENRs and hundreds of credible experiments have demonstrated otherwise.
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