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"Tabletop" Fusion Researcher Committed Scientific Misconduct

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the rebranding-doesn't-always-work dept.

Power 161

Geoffrey.landis writes "A Purdue University panel investigated allegations against nuclear engineering professor Rusi Taleyarkhan, finding that he had in fact committed scientific misconduct in his work. Taleyarkhan had published papers in which he reported seeing evidence of nuclear fusion in the collapse of tiny bubbles in a liquid subjected to ultrasonic excitation — a finding that would be groundbreaking, if true, but one that apparently could not be replicated by other researchers. The allegations against Taleyarkhan were made in March of 2006. A local Indiana paper gives the full list of allegations against Taleyarkhan, and the resolution of each by the panel. The full report (PDF) is also available. Of the nine specific allegations, only two were found to comprise scientific misconduct. The committee 'could not find any other instances of scientists being able to replicate Taleyarkhan's results without Taleyarkhan having direct involvement with the experiments,' but notes that this comes 'just short of questioning whether Taleyarkhan's results were fraudulent.'" We've discussed this gentleman's work and the scrutiny it has received several times, and members of the scientific community seem to have given him the benefit of the doubt in many cases.

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first (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24262091)

misconduct

What misconduct? (1, Troll)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#24262909)

Purdue's investigation has done a good job of exonerating the man. The only accusation that stuck was that he "compelled" a student to claim co-authorship on one of his publications. There was no real evidence of scientific data fraud.

In fact, one frequent charge leveled makes the whole ordeal look crazy. Several times the summary mentions "flouted" copyright laws for data sharing. This is done in passing and it is quickly explained that it is not scientific misconduct. All researchers want their work to be published as widely as possible. Copyright laws make that increasingly difficult. In that spirit, they released the report as a pdf image. This is so against the goals of science and education that it degrades the report and makes the accusers look like a bunch of petty, vindictive nutjobs.

It is disaster enough that Taleyarkhan's work has not been independently verified.

Re:What misconduct? (0, Offtopic)

inTheLoo (1255256) | more than 6 years ago | (#24263009)

Did anyone else parse the article as "Scientific Microsoft" instead of "Scientific Misconduct"? Get the facts, thankfully, is not part of the "Scientific Record".

Re:What misconduct? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24263075)

Oh twitter, there you go again comparing small violations with large lies. You should know that it's OK to lie if you trying to make a buck with software but wrong to tell the truth if it will interfere with GE's turbine business.

Re:What misconduct? (1)

armareum (925270) | more than 6 years ago | (#24264819)

I don't get it. Why do you use additional accounts to create the illusion that another person is contributing the to conversation? And wtf does Microsoft have to do with this? Why even bring it up?

Do you Hate Twitter? The TNAA Wants You. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24265125)

Do you hate twitter? Do you loath Slashdot? Are you a total fuckwad? Then join the Twitter Negation Association of America (TNAA) and help ruin Slashdot. How does it work? Easy:

  • Accuse everone of being twitter. Did they say "M$" or "Windoze"? It's gotta be twitter.
  • Sign up lots of accounts to accuse twitter of the same. Hypocrisy? No, Genius! Be sure to mod up anything derogatory and genreally midless.
  • Be an ass. This should come naturally.

The point is to increase noise to signal ratios. Join today!

Re:Do you Hate Twitter? The TNAA Wants You. (1)

armareum (925270) | more than 6 years ago | (#24266317)

I don't hate twitter, I just think he's a dick. Which is a shame, because he sometimes makes really good posts - but I never mod these up, because he's a dick and deserves the karma hell he exists in. I've read slashdot long enough to know the 5 main accounts he uses. And that none of the duplicate accounts ever deny being twitter.

Re:What misconduct? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24265343)

At least he remembered to switch accounts [slashdot.org] this time.

Re:What misconduct? (1)

mike111111111111 (615817) | more than 6 years ago | (#24265259)

Mutilating reputation of a scientist as a way of earning living is an act I consider no less repulsive then an actual act of physical mutilation. This is nothing new. Fleisher and Pons were scientifically speaking mutilated in broad daylight by Tawnsend. May be Taleyarkhan is 100% worse it is described. I would rather read a report on attempted repro, may be I will get only 10% of it, I am not a physicist. But there are key points that indicate what is found, and what is missing compare to experiment people trying to reproduce. And usually one can understand what is actually going on. And in the case of Fleisher and Pons there was actually a paper trail, which is so vivid. If you just read it they were mutilated with pompous words while not a single attempt was done to reproduce their results. And those who claimed to try to do so were merely biding time. The paper trail vividly presents absence of any try to reproduce levels of loads, appropriate treatment of materials, and blatant lack of accurately gathered data points. If anything we can discuss extremely poor track record of people criticizing this area of research.

Fraud... (3, Insightful)

ZwJGR (1014973) | more than 6 years ago | (#24262095)

Better late than never, this guy has been either bullshitting or been genuinely incompetent for years.
When I first heard about his whole ultrasonic bubble excitation fusion experiment, I honestly thought: WTF? This was quite a while ago, and all the evidence was against him then as well.

It is people like these who give research scientists a bad name...

Re:Fraud... (5, Informative)

vertinox (846076) | more than 6 years ago | (#24262183)

When I first heard about his whole ultrasonic bubble excitation fusion experiment, I honestly thought: WTF?

The bubble itself is a quite interesting phenomenon, thought it is most likley not fusion as Taleyarkhan claims.

For those not familiar of Taleyarkhan and the issue of the bubble this is a good BBC video [google.com] I saw a while back on the who topic and controversy. Either way the bubble was discovered by someone else and I personally think should be investigated for other properties other than table top fusion.

Re:Generation Z science annotations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24262707)

There we go.
"Look, the bubble is interesting" = "LOL"
"I think it can be tabletop fusion" = "WTF?"

Re:Fraud... (1)

ssintercept (843305) | more than 6 years ago | (#24263353)

i just saw that video a few days ago and was more fascinated by the ultra-sonic bubble than the prospect of cold fusion.

Re:Fraud... (3, Interesting)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 6 years ago | (#24263497)

i just saw that video a few days ago and was more fascinated by the ultra-sonic bubble than the prospect of cold fusion.

Yep... but note that the ultrasonic bubble collapse thing-- "sonoluminescence"-- isn't something that Taleyarkhan discovered. It was his claim that sonoluminescence produces fusion that was noteworthy, not the sonoluminescence itself.

OMG.. (3, Insightful)

SuperDre (982372) | more than 6 years ago | (#24262207)

this is ofcourse still up for heavy debate.. the conclusion is based on some statements that because other scientists can't replicate it without the help of the professor it would be misconduct.. Maybe all the other scientists just don't understand the 'problem'.. because you don't know how something works (even with full documentation) doesn't mean it is impossible.. If this guy had a trackrecord of 'misconduct' then it would propably be something else, but he hasn't...

Re:OMG.. (3, Insightful)

langelgjm (860756) | more than 6 years ago | (#24262561)

Maybe all the other scientists just don't understand the 'problem'.. because you don't know how something works (even with full documentation) doesn't mean it is impossible..

You're quite right. I don't know the details of this specific case, but generally speaking, replication isn't as simple as it may seem. Even given full documentation and information, there is often an element of intangible know-how that goes along with an experiment - "tacit knowledge." [wikipedia.org] I'd suggest reading the chapter on the TEA laser [wikipedia.org] in H.M. Collin's Changing Order [amazon.com] for anyone interested in learning about the difficulties involved in replication.

Re:OMG.. (0, Troll)

Grave (8234) | more than 6 years ago | (#24263601)

If it can't be replicated by others, it is useless to the world. After all this time, for him to not have been able to demonstrate it for others, means he is full of crap. End of story.

Re:OMG.. (1)

hclewk (1248568) | more than 6 years ago | (#24264493)

could not find any other instances of scientists being able to replicate Taleyarkhan's results without Taleyarkhan having direct involvement with the experiments

So... very poor point, but I don't think that was a troll; I just don't think you are as smart as you think you are.

Re:OMG.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24262619)

this is ofcourse still up for heavy debate.. the conclusion is based on some statements that because other scientists can't replicate it without the help of the professor it would be misconduct..

That's not what the linked stories actually say. He was found guilty of misconduct on two charges, neither of which were "made up his results".

There is of course suspicion that his results are fraudulent, but the enquiry makes no such conclusion.

Re:OMG.. (1)

Oligonicella (659917) | more than 6 years ago | (#24264587)

Bull. Knowing how something works is not part of the process of experimentation. If I provide an experiment to prove something and it works, it will work regardless of the understanding of the executor.

How disappointing. (4, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 6 years ago | (#24262279)

I really want to see one of these fusion processes work. It would make a radical change in our society, by removing any reason for the US government to care what happens in the middle east.

-jcr

Re:How disappointing. (1)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 6 years ago | (#24262303)

This kind of fusion will not work because the new math he had to invent isn't valid. Sorry to disillusion you.

What we can look forward to is a bunch of free energy nut jobs raving about how the oil companies are covering up this wonderful discovery...

Re:How disappointing. (1)

TomRK1089 (1270906) | more than 6 years ago | (#24262413)

Like the ones who seem to have convinced my father's cousin that he can run his car on tap water?

Re:How disappointing. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 6 years ago | (#24262621)

I think that makes your father's cousin a raving loony, and the ones who convinced him a little richer...perhaps unfortunately.

Re:How disappointing. (1)

TomRK1089 (1270906) | more than 6 years ago | (#24264255)

Not all that surprising, considering my father's side of the family. Thankfully he hasn't dropped any money on it....yet.

Re:How disappointing. (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 6 years ago | (#24263555)

"bunch of free energy nut jobs?" Are there in fact a "bunch" of them out there? Is this really a thing where you live, there being a bunch of people who are crazy about free power? I think what's more likely to happen is the linux nutjobs somehow getting involved. Like as soon as we do discover cold fusion, they'll be protesting until someone specifically says that it can be used to power linux too.

Not that it's likely, just that I personally am dubious as to how many people there are out there that can be described as "free energy nutjobs." I could be wrong.

Re:How disappointing. (1)

Raenex (947668) | more than 6 years ago | (#24263709)

Free energy, as far as nutjob themes go, is fairly popular. Wikipedia has an article [wikipedia.org] on it. Even MythBusters has gotten in on the act.

Re:How disappointing. (1, Informative)

GroeFaZ (850443) | more than 6 years ago | (#24262661)

To bring it further off-topic, the US will not stop caring about what happens in the Middle East as long as Israel exists. Not to speak out against Israel, just stating a fact.

Re:How disappointing. (3, Insightful)

wild_quinine (998562) | more than 6 years ago | (#24262665)

I really want to see one of these fusion processes work. It would make a radical change in our society, by removing any reason for the US government to care what happens in the middle east.

I really want to see one of these processes work, but it's massively shortsighted to care on the basis of what happens in the middle east. We're talking about the next step in world energy here, not the end of one government's petty feud with a geographical area.

Re:How disappointing. (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#24262731)

I really want to see one of these fusion processes work. It would make a radical change in our society, by removing any reason for the US government to care what happens in the middle east.

You really think the USA is going to abandon Israel?
Or that the Suez Canal will suddenly stop being a critical transportation juncture?
Will combatting Islamic terrorists suddenly stop being an issue?

Be honest with yourself:
the best case scenario is that OPEC prices drop to match synthetic oils
the worst case, the sellers of synthetics match prices with OPEC

Re:How disappointing. (3, Insightful)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 6 years ago | (#24262831)

If we didn't need oil, we wouldn't have troops in the ME. If we didn't have troops in the ME to begin with, 9/11 would never have happened.

You're ignoring the cause of the problem, which is that we stick our noses into everyone's business.

Re:How disappointing. (4, Informative)

emarkp (67813) | more than 6 years ago | (#24262957)

You misspoke. If the world didn't need oil, the ME wouldn't have the money and power to be a threat. 9/11 might just as well happened--bin Laden's excuse is that he didn't like US troops on the Arabian peninsula. However, he cut his teeth against us in Somalia (no oil there) and against the Soviets in Afghanistan (no oil there either).

Re:How disappointing. (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 6 years ago | (#24264067)

You misspoke. If the world didn't need oil, the ME wouldn't have the money and power to be a threat. 9/11 might just as well happened--bin Laden's excuse is that he didn't like US troops on the Arabian peninsula. However, he cut his teeth against us in Somalia (no oil there) and against the Soviets in Afghanistan (no oil there either).

But now I have no reason to flog myself for the atrocities perpetrated against my society. :-(

Re:How disappointing. (2, Insightful)

rubycodez (864176) | more than 6 years ago | (#24264793)

the locations don't change the fundamental reasons for Bin Laden's hatred of the U.S: actions by U.S. in Lebanon, support of Israel, support of what he considers amoral leaders in the middle east.

Bin Laden, unlike G W Bush, has no reason to lie about his motives regarding terror.

I think you are wrong. (1)

afxgrin (208686) | more than 6 years ago | (#24263181)

"If we didn't need oil, we wouldn't have troops in the ME. If we didn't have troops in the ME to begin with, 9/11 would never have happened."

As long as Israel continues to exist, and receives funding from the United States, Al-Qaeda would have reason to attack the United States.

Read Bin Laden's letter to America [guardian.co.uk] , it explains all of this.

You don't even need to go far in the letter:

"As for the first question: Why are we fighting and opposing you? The answer is very simple:

(1) Because you attacked us and continue to attack us.

a) You attacked us in Palestine: "

Even if you weren't burning gasoline in your cars, you'd still be consuming oil for plastics, lubrication, vasoline, and any other petroleum based product or process.

The fun that can be had with racialist concepts (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24264307)

Causality isn't the only place you can have rhetorical fun. Racialist concepts is also one.

Who does Osama bin Laden mean when he says "us"? Naturally, he means either Arabs - the Arab populace, the Arab man, the Arab race, the Arab Unity, the Arab Peoples of the World - or he means All Muslims - the United Muslim Faith, the Muslim Ummah, the Global Muslims, the Muslim Group.

A small fun can be had by comparing this with the standards that apply in Europe. If someone in Denmark had argued, "they are attacking us, the White Race, our unified group, the White Peoples of the world, in Serbia", he would have been punished for it, because a different standard and a different set of rules applies to him than what applies to Middle Easterners. But that's just a small fun, and a pretty obvious and uninspired one.

The bigger fun is to use the same concepts flexibly yourself. For example, I can define my membership of the Global Christian group. I can then define a Global Muslim group. I can then refer to the treatment of Christians in Indonesia. Suddenly it is justified for me to take a circular titanium saw to the kneecaps of Pakistanis that have emigrated to Brazil, and a blowtorch to their faces. And all because of the flexibility of racialist constructs.

The fun that can be had with causality games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24264167)

If the Arab populace on the street was not rabid, then they would not have caused the sheiks to desire US presence. If the sheiks had not desired US presence, 9/11 would never have happened. Curse the Arab street.

If God had not placed oil in the middle east, He would not have caused the US to need to be there. Curse God.

If the US population in the 1920s had not refrained from teaching their children to have fewer children, then they would not have caused a baby boom, which caused the US to need oil. Curse the US population of the 1920s.

If Muhammed Atta's dad had given him chocolate when he was a kid rather than a spanking, Muhammed Atta's dad would not have caused him to desire to listen to extreme religious rhetoric, which caused him to make 9/11 happen. Curse Muhammed Atta's dad for causing 9/11 to happen.

'Tis a funny game, causal constructions. Chomsky is especially a fan, as are many others. But also a game that can quickly turn violent.

Re:The fun that can be had with causality games (1)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 6 years ago | (#24265183)

'Tis a funny game, acting blameless with the blood of millions on our collective hands. Americans are quite good at it. Blameless for the situation of the black bottom class, how dare they be bottom class. Blameless for the middle east, how dare they be mad at us for 50 years of murder.

Maybe if the US would follow some of the morals it claims to follow through the Bible when it's politicians pander to those groups, we wouldn't have ever seen a 9/11, because we never would have murdered anyone.

I guess it's easier to say "It's not my problem" than to accept responsibility. It's the American way, after all.

Re:The fun that can be had with causality games (1)

Lost Engineer (459920) | more than 6 years ago | (#24265341)

Let's put the blame where blame belongs. The United States has made some poor foreign policy decisions in the past. Certain factions in the middle east are responsible for using America/Jew-hating to empower themselves and for creating their own underclasses of hopeless young men/women with nothing but the hate. These men/women are personally guilty for carrying out acts of terror on civilians.

So let's all take responsibility for the things we've actually done wrong instead of trying to pile all the blame in one place. And move forward, with contrition and candor.

Re:The fun that can be had with causality games (2, Insightful)

Sj0 (472011) | more than 6 years ago | (#24265367)

Wow. "The United States has made some poor foreign policy decisions in the past." is how you euphemise 50 years of assassination, war, murder, and propping up murderous regimes while tearing down democracies with the hidden talons of the CIA.

You're too well indoctrinated. I doubt you could take responsibility for something if you wanted to.

Watchmen and Bullies (1)

CustomDesigned (250089) | more than 6 years ago | (#24265391)

I'm not disputing whether the US has "blood on its hands". But being perfectly innocent does *not* protect you from things like 9/11, or worse (see Sudan). In fact, the bullies of the world prefer helpless victims to ones that might fight back. If you are strong, you can either be a bully, or you can use your strength to protect those weaker than you from bullies. Of course, then there are complications like the guy you are protecting being lazy and not taking basic realistic steps for self-defense.

As a super power, the US is going to have a huge effect on other nations, intentional or not. The question to ask is, are we going to be a bully, or a watchman on the wall (or just retreat to our resource consuming paneled house and ignore the riff raff)?

Re:How disappointing. (1)

CycoChuck (102607) | more than 6 years ago | (#24264181)

So the US is suppose to pull out all support we have in Israel? The US has been involved with that country since it was formed after World War 2. The only thing that is keeping the other Middle East countries from doing a gang bang on Israel is the fact they are afraid of US retaliation.

Re:How disappointing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24264369)

"If we didn't need oil, we wouldn't have troops in the ME. If we didn't have troops in the ME to begin with, 9/11 would never have happened."

You're an idiot. We stuck our noses in the ME before our high oil usage. We pushed out the then Iranian government largely due to wanting to have a presence in the ME due to the Soviet threat. Obviously, back then the fear was communism and nuclear arms.

And then there's our support of Israel, which precedes the oil issue by over a decade.

"You're ignoring the cause of the problem, which is that we stick our noses into everyone's business."

You're still an idiot. We invaded Europe during World War II? We sided with the Nazi party, as did the Bathist party in the ME did?

Our current world view policies hinge directly from the millions of deaths that came about when we defended allies during WWII. You seem to forget that the US was largely an isolationist country until then (some parts of Asia, particularly Japan, would disagree, but comparably/relative to now or other major players in the past, we kept out of trouble).

btw, you might want to note that SINCE sticking our noses into matters, the world has certainly gotten complex, but the number of wars and deaths from wars has been reduced heavily. Prior, the world was losing over a million people per year. Since WWII, not so much. Arguably, this could also be less from our policy and from the fear of nuclear arms, but then you could also argue they are the same.

You don't need future tech (3, Informative)

jmichaelg (148257) | more than 6 years ago | (#24262785)

You don't need future tech to give the middle finger to the Middle East - you can do it now.

One way you can reduce the Middle East's influence is to drive down the value of oil and you can do that by switching your car to natural gas. There are several companies like this one [cngoutfitters.com] that will sell you a kit to make the switch. Googling "cng conversion kits gas" brings up a host of sources.

Since natural gas is not taxed as heavily and demand is lower, a gallon-equivalent of natural gas costs about half what gasoline costs. The conversion kits allow you to choose between natural gas and gasoline so if you're somewhere you can't find a natural gas station, you can switch back to gasoline. If you there isn't a natural gas station near where you live, you can install a natural gas compressor [myphill.com] in your garage that'll fill your car overnight. The downsides are you lose some trunk space to the extra tank, natural gas stations aren't as numerous as gasoline stations and since methane doesn't store as many calories as gasoline, you lose about 10% of your engine's power. For me, the later issue isn't a big deal since my car has more power than it needs to get me around.

Natural gas is domestically produced and there's enough of it to last 100 years and that's not counting the undersea hydrate fields. I'd rather burn domestic gas than give Al-Qaeda a cut of every dollar I spend on gasoline.

Re:You don't need future tech (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#24263245)

That's fine when it comes to gasoline consumption.
 
But gasoline consumption is but one use of oil. In the long term, we need to rethink the infrastructure of a whole slew of industries which use petrochemicals as their input feedstocks.

Re:You don't need future tech (2, Insightful)

CycoChuck (102607) | more than 6 years ago | (#24264223)

We can get off Middle East oil IF the environmental wackos would let the US actually drill its own oil. Just because we can come up with other things to power our cars, it doesn't mean we don't need oil. Oil is used in just about everything in our lives, from the Tupperware container you store leftovers in to the triple antibiotic you use on cuts and scrapes.

Re:You don't need future tech (1)

jmichaelg (148257) | more than 6 years ago | (#24264633)

You're right that we could provide more of our oil. Had we drilled in ANWR when it was first proposed in the 90's, we'd have an extra 1.5 million barrels/day or about 15% of our domestic consumption. That would help a lot. Offshore would help on top of that.

But the fact is we didn't and it's going to take time to get Congress to wake up to that fact and act.

In the meantime, those of us who aren't Congress can do something today that'll help cut the flow of funds to people who really don't like us. It really fries me when I think that of each dollar I'm leaving at the gas pump, some fraction of it is going to Al-Qaeda.

Re:How disappointing. (1)

philspear (1142299) | more than 6 years ago | (#24263597)

It's "TABLETOP fusion", not "under the hood fusion."

In all honesty, if this worked and was able to be implemented soon, this would eliminate our need for coal, not oil. We would have to make fusion power plants, then get people to start using their electric cars before this would make much of an impact on oil imports.

Re:How disappointing. (4, Insightful)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 6 years ago | (#24264169)

To be honest there's no real reason to think fusion would be cheaper than coal, and nuclear fusion isn't much different to nuclear fission in most practical regards. It would be more like an improved form of nuclear fission than a revolutionary new technology.

Fusion (in the most viable tokamak form) does produce radioactive waste products because of all the neutron flux, but (like lots of forms of fission) the waste isn't dangerous in the long-term. I also haven't seen any real data on how much fusion would cost on a practical level.

So I don't see why fusion should be treated as anything more than a possible improvement to fission in the future; why aren't we going for fission as the technology to free us from the Middle East in the meantime?
That's what the US did last time there was an oil crisis, and it worked out well, but this time our reactors are much better and safer for the experience.

Wanting something doesn't make it true (1)

Geoffrey.landis (926948) | more than 6 years ago | (#24264669)

I really want to see one of these fusion processes work. It would make a radical change in our society, by removing any reason for the US government to care what happens in the middle east.

Unfortunately, wanting something doesn't make it real [xkcd.com]

ooo Sexy (1)

ndnspongebob (942859) | more than 6 years ago | (#24262311)

"TableTop"-less Fusion? Count me in.

looking back (4, Informative)

smoondog (85133) | more than 6 years ago | (#24262325)

When I was in graduate school/postdoc, I wrote for the Stanford Daily a couple of times for fun as way to practice my writing skills. One of the articles I wrote was on this research [stanforddaily.com] . Interestingly, I interviewed Nobel winner Douglas Osheroff and he shared his thoughts with me on this research. If memory serves me, he thought it was interesting, but prematurely published.

Interesting to look back on this in light of this finding.

No more flying cars ? (1)

karvind (833059) | more than 6 years ago | (#24262343)

Do you mean no more flying cars either ? :(

Mr. Fusion (1)

WPIDalamar (122110) | more than 6 years ago | (#24262355)

Who cares about tabletop fusion?

I want my "Mr. Fusion" that I can slap into my car!

Re:Mr. Fusion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24262689)

Me too, 30 miles per banana peel sounds nice.

Tell them about Global Warming (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24262367)

Boy, somebody should tell this Purdue panel to take a look at Global Warming too.

"members of the scientific community seem to have given him the benefit of the doubt in many cases."

Sure sounds similar to me...

Because one did commit misconduct... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24262393)

you still shouldn't out the others working on similar things:

-------------

By 1991, 92 groups of researchers from 10 different countries had reported excess heat, tritium, neutrons or other nuclear effects.[73] Over 3,000 cold fusion papers have been published including about 1,000 in peer-reviewed journals (see indices in further reading, below). In March 1995, Dr. Edmund Storms compiled a list of 21 published papers reporting excess heat and articles have been published in peer reviewed journals such as Naturwissenschaften, European Physical Journal A, European Physical Journal C, Journal of Solid State Phenomena, Physical Review A, Journal of Electroanalytical Chemistry, Japanese Journal of Applied Physics, and Journal of Fusion Energy (see indices in further reading, below).

The generation of excess heat has been reported by (among others):

                * Michael McKubre, director of the Energy Research Center at SRI International,
                * Giuliano Preparata (ENEA (Italy))
                * Richard A. Oriani (University of Minnesota, in December 1990),
                * Robert A. Huggins (at Stanford University in March 1990),
                * Yoshiaki Arata (Osaka University, Japan),
                * T. Mizuno (Hokkaido University, Japan),
                * T. Ohmori (Japan),

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_fusion#Experimental_reports [wikipedia.org]

"Despite a backdrop of meager funding and career-killing derision from mainstream scientists and engineers, cold fusion is anything but a dead field of research. Presenters at the MIT event estimated that 3,000 published studies from scientists around the world have contributed to the growing canon of evidence suggesting that small but promising amounts of energy can be generated using the infamous tabletop apparatus."

"MIT's Peter Hagelstein, on the other hand, said "cold fusion" reactions have yielded surplus energy from as far back as the initial experiments in 1989. Verification of these controversial results is not the problem -- many labs around the world have reproduced parts of the results many times. "

http://www.wired.com/science/discoveries/news/2007/08/cold_fusion?currentPage=all# [wired.com]

U.S. Navy Report Supports Cold Fusion:
http://www.infinite-energy.com/iemagazine/issue44/navy.html [infinite-energy.com]

""Last March, scientists at the annual conference of the august American Physical Society heard presentations on cold fusion. Next month, the Second International Conference on Future Energy will be held in Washington, D.C. The vast majority of physicists remains skeptical, but at the Office of Naval Research, six of the nine experiments performed produced an unexplainable amount of excess heat.""

http://www.concordmonitor.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060808/REPOSITORY/608080316&SearchID=73253345954312 [concordmonitor.com]

"Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have developed a tabletop accelerator that produces nuclear fusion at room temperature, providing confirmation of an earlier experiment conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), while offering substantial improvements over the original design."

http://www.scienceblog.com/cms/ny_team_confirms_ucla_tabletop_fusion_10017.html [scienceblog.com]

Science in Neglect - Nobel Laureate Speaks Out For Cold Fusion:
http://newenergytimes.com/news/2005/2005Lietz-ScienceInNeglectJosephson.htm [newenergytimes.com]

"The foreword by Dr. Frank Gordon in a [extern] summary report of February 2002 is so far the strongest statement of the Navy about their research:

"We do not know if Cold Fusion will be the answer to future energy needs, but we do know the existence of Cold Fusion phenomenon through repeated observations by scientists throughout the world. It is time that this phenomenon be investigated so that we can reap whatever benefits accrue from additional scientific understanding. It is time for government funding organizations to invest in this research. "

http://www.heise.de/tp/r4/artikel/18/18580/1.html [heise.de]

Edmund Storms (Los Alamos National Laboratory), discusses the methods used to generate low energy nuclear reactions (LENR):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ltZhii3g2HY [youtube.com]

Re:Because one did commit misconduct... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24262683)

Despite a backdrop of meager funding and career-killing derision from mainstream scientists and engineers, cold fusion is anything but a dead field of research.

The same can be said of creationism, but that doesn't mean it isn't totally bullshit.

BTW, the "tabletop" fusion in the current article isn't at all the same thing as CNF. This work is based on the observation that collapsing bubbles in a fluid generate extremely high temperatures, which some people think could be used to trigger ordinary hot fusion.

Re:Because one did commit misconduct... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24262983)

(AC #1)

"BTW, the "tabletop" fusion in the current article isn't at all the same thing as CNF. "

Agreed, that's true, but the connection is made quite fast by many, while some seriously interesting work on cold fusion/LENR is being done by very qualified people.

Re:Because one did commit misconduct... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24263049)

I don't think we should discount anything as 'total bullshit' that we don't fully understand. Cold fusion and creationsism included. Particularly that last one, we don't have any evidence that it did happen that way but we don't have any that it didn't, either. As with any other ideas about how the universe came to be. Back on the topic at hand, though, at least this one's a little more capable of being fully understood. How cool would it be if we -could- make this happen? People publish stupid studies about the most popular names for cats, for petes sake. At least cold fusion would be useful.

Re:Because one did commit misconduct... (1)

wideBlueSkies (618979) | more than 6 years ago | (#24266035)

>>The same can be said of creationism, but that doesn't mean it isn't totally bullshit.

Perhaps.

I suspect that if there were a bit of scientific evidence of creationism - something to go on other than religious texts - there would be a flock of people investigating the topic..especially given the importance of the answer (important on many levels).

Rather the fusion/cold fusion thing does have a bit of 'unexplained result' to dig into, thus the interest and studies.

Scientific Fraud (3, Informative)

Ganty (1223066) | more than 6 years ago | (#24262573)

There was a TV programme on this guy a couple of years ago. No other scientists were able to duplicate his work so as part of the investigation the TV production company gathered together the finest fusion scientists they could find and they tried one last time to duplicate the experiment. Although Rusi Taleyarkhan agreed to interviews he refused point-blank to take part in the on camera experiment and (surprise surprise) there was no evidence of fusion.

Ganty

Re:Scientific Fraud (3, Interesting)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 6 years ago | (#24263571)

There was a TV programme on this guy a couple of years ago

NB: The following is more about the quality of the TV show than any attempt to wish away the apparent irreproducability of Taleyarkhan's results so that we can all have Mr Fusions for Xmas.

If I believed in Taleyarkhan, that TV program certainly wouldn't have changed my mind. The scientist conducting the experiment appeared to be an outspoken critic of Taleyarkhan and we (the audience) had to accept his word that differences in equipment c.f. Taleyarkhan's experiment were inconsequential. As far as I remember, the originally stated purpose of the experiment was to check if the neutrons detected were in sync with the flashes from the bubbles (something not shown in T's results). We were told at the end that the experiment had failed, but with little explanation as to how (no flashes? no neutrons? not in sync? the first two of those would not have been "as was to be demonstrated").

As for Taleyarkhan attending the experiment, why would he do that? If he'd participated in any way, it would have destroyed the independence of the test.

...which was a pity, because in an earlier show they gave the same treatment to a test of the "memory of water" theory beloved of homeopathic medicine: in that case the experiment was presented beautifully, from the careful setting up of independent, blind tests through to analysis of the results for statistical significance. One of the best science documentaries I've seen.

The "desktop fusion" show was not up to the same standard.

Railroading (0, Troll)

transami (202700) | more than 6 years ago | (#24262595)

I call B.S. Taleyarkhan is being railroaded. They are trying to discredit him on the basis of mis-representative claims of reproduction and authorship, rather then refuting his work experimentally, as is proper science.

This whole thing has the bad smell. Why is Congress so involved in this... writing letters pressuring Purdue to discredit Taleyarkhan? How can two other schools be involved and not share any of the blame? See...

    http://www.physorg.com/news10336.html

If there's any chance this type of fusion might work, there should be plenty of people and $ involved in research. That kind of research will discredit or accredit Taleyarkhan. Anything else is politics. And I for one and sick of it.

Re:Railroading (3, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#24262651)

did you even read the summary? No one has been able to duplicate his work. ever. while it is interesting and someone should study the work for other possible effects overall it has been a massive failure.

Re:Railroading (1)

Rungi (1098221) | more than 6 years ago | (#24262961)

They all forgot to add cheese.

Re:Railroading (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 6 years ago | (#24264091)

did you even read the summary? No one has been able to duplicate his work. ever. while it is interesting and someone should study the work for other possible effects overall it has been a massive failure.

and?

I don't see how "i couldn't replicate it" turns into "scientific misconduct".

I agree with GP on this, something smells fishy here.

It isn't (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 6 years ago | (#24265905)

The fact that no one has been able to replicate the work is not scientific misconduct, and the article says so flat out. The two cases of scientific misconduct that the panel found were that he published a paper under a student's name when that student was not involved in the work whatsoever, and he stated in a scientific publication that his work had been independently verified when it had only been verified by teams working directly with him, which the panel did not consider to be independent.

So basically, he was found guilty of exaggerating the independence of work that he assisted with. No evidence was found to support the claim that he intentionally and fraudulently falsified data. A scientific misdemeanor not a felony. Of course the summary and discussion will all focus on what people think he did rather than what the panel actually found.

Re:Railroading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24264213)

"[o]verall it has been a massive failure."

A more massive failure than the last fifty years and twenty billion dollars poured down the Tokamak et al Big Fusion rat hole? "Trust us ... we're almost really soon now there. We just need another twenty years and hundred billion dollars". Riiiiight. Net power produced to date: 0.0 watts. ... well, Big Fusion has not been a *complete* failure - there have been *very* lucrative careers made and lush conferences in nice places like Paris and Tokyo ...

"Alternate fusion doth never prosper: what's the reason? Why if it prosper, none dare call it fusion."

Re:Railroading (-1, Troll)

moxley (895517) | more than 6 years ago | (#24262759)

Why was parent modded Troll??

Seriously, that is some abusive moderation.

I can understand the temptation to use your mod points to mod someone you disagree with down, I am sure we all feel like it now and then - but that isn't what they're for.

I think 99% of those of us on Slashdot who have mderator access are better than this...You should be to....shame.

Re:Railroading (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24262901)

What on earth is the motivation for people suppressing this type of fusion? Even members of Congress in the pay of the oil and farm lobbies would surely put the needs of their constituents before...

Ah, I see.

Re:Railroading (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 6 years ago | (#24263931)

They are trying to discredit him on the basis of mis-representative claims of reproduction and authorship, rather then refuting his work experimentally, as is proper science.

Uhh, they have refuted his work experimentally, or at least failed to reproduce it despite trying. While I agree that one of the claims sustained against him was petty (adding a student's name to a paper when the student didn't do the work), the other claim -- that his work was independently reproduced when it in fact was not -- goes right to the heart of the issue.

Too much time at Harry's (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24262615)

Guy probably spent a bit too much time at Harry's. But only after getting some free hot dogs at Jakes or listening to the Piano Man at the Neon Cactus. He doesn't strike me as a frat boy but he probably made an appearance or two at Stacks.

Maybe too many early mornings getting in line at Where Else? for Breakfast Club.

Boiler up.

Myths.. (1)

Tsalg (828169) | more than 6 years ago | (#24262623)

It's amazing how many tabletop cold fusion experiments [wikipedia.org] have attracted public attention, and all turned out to be fraudulent when they claimed to have started nuclear reactions. The worldwide large-scale not-so-cold fusion project ITER [iter.org] has just started, with an estimated cost of 5bn EUR, and there are still guys out there trying to outsmart them on a tabletop and some cookbook chemistry.

Truncated RSS headline (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24262715)

I had completely different expectations when I clicked on the article. The RSS feed read: " "Tabletop" Fusion Researcher Committed S..."

Not necessarily "Nothing to see here"... (1, Interesting)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#24262913)

The committee 'could not find any other instances of scientists being able to replicate Taleyarkhan's results without Taleyarkhan having direct involvement with the experiments,

I see two possibilities there...

First, he could have made up numbers. Absolutely unforgivable, and we should all break out the tar and feathers.

However, if reputable scientists have reproduced his work, even with his direct involvement, then he has accomplished something interesting (even if not necessarily what he believes).

Re:Not necessarily "Nothing to see here"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24263625)

Not if he rigged the gieger counters, etc. We don't know what he did with his direct involvement, so we don't know yet if there is something interesting or not. My guess is not.

Re:Not necessarily "Nothing to see here"... (1)

Repossessed (1117929) | more than 6 years ago | (#24263889)

What I want to know, given that results have apparently been reproduced with him involved, is what is happening different when the guy is involved? Is something different about his device, his sensing equipment? Does he just like setting up one part at a different angle? Does his body odor involve a strange mutant chemical that effects the results of the experiment? Or is he just really good at making people see what they want to see?

I have no clue about how the experiment is done, so I don't know what to look for, but something must be different if he can repeat the results while other people watch, even if its just that he rigged the experiment (hell, maybe his equipment is outright defective).

Both not repeatable and a tiny effect (4, Informative)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#24262915)

It's really frustrating. When Pons and Fleischman originally announced "cold fusion", there was an immediate attempt at Stanford to replicate the result. The researchers gave a talk, which drew hundreds of people. In their first attempts, they had the apparatus surrounded with radiation detectors and alarms, in case there was a sudden burst of radiation. After a while, they realized that wasn't going to happen. The effect, if any, resulted in a few extra neutrons per hour over background.

They saw some variations in neutron flux, but discovered that people standing around the apparatus affected the result. Humans have lots of water and are neutron reflectors. So they moved the apparatus into a cube of lead blocks. No more neutron emissions.

Somebody may eventually get fusion this way, but probably won't get out more power than they put in. If you can figure out some way to put a macroscopic amount of energy into a microscopic volume, you can get a little fusion. It's been done with big capacitor banks, with lasers, with explosive compression, and with the Farnsworth Fusor. But far more energy goes in than comes out.

Re:Both not repeatable and a tiny effect (1)

tirerim (1108567) | more than 6 years ago | (#24264021)

Right, the problem with fusion is that it needs to be self-sustaining to be useful. The only way that's going to happen is if the reaction continuously generates enough heat to keep going, which almost certainly requires some significant minimum scale, and makes any sort of tabletop method pretty much impossible.

I think we'll have real fusion power plants once we figure out how to scale up the current methods enough to be self-sustaining. That's not easy, though, as it amounts to containing a small sun, and the containment technology also needs to be powered by the fusion.

c0m (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24262923)

Re:c0m (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24264725)

Buzz off. I did not give you permission to post here.

Cold fusion and antigravity (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 6 years ago | (#24262965)

The perpetuum mobile machines of the present.

Now, I don't want to discount it as snakeoil altogether, but it's one of the fields where a lot of money is pumped into questionable "research". It saddens me that some self proclaimed scientists manage to siphon money away from honest, hard working researchers by producing spectacular (if only ... ok, I don't find a better word, fraudulent) results that surprisingly nobody can reproduce.

Partly at least this can be blamed on our society that wants immediate return of investment. I gave you money, so dammit, produce something! I can't wait the years it takes to produce meaningful results, I want results NOW!

Fusion is a decade or two (maybe three) away. Always has been, and as long as this way of funding remains, always will be. Fusion (and hey, maybe antigravity, who knows?) requires a lot of fundamental research for years with no immediate results, nothing to show off to VC, nothing to patent and nothing to milk for money. And unless we're willing to do that kind of research, nothing will change.

Re:Cold fusion and antigravity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24264141)

what about "lifter" technology?

It may or may not be "anti-gravity", but it does lift objects.

Simple Fix... (3, Funny)

cliffiecee (136220) | more than 6 years ago | (#24263093)

The committee 'could not find any other instances of scientists being able to replicate Taleyarkhan's results without Taleyarkhan having direct involvement with the experiments'

The fix for this is very simple. Rename the entire process to the "Taleyarkhan Effect." Taleyarkhan will then be directly involved in every experiment, and the results will be reliably reproducible.

Re:Simple Fix... (1)

Dekker3D (989692) | more than 6 years ago | (#24265267)

yes, and one day we'll have a giant generator with the withered corpse of this taleyarkhan guy embedded in the middle to keep it all going. it'll be dedicated to running the world's largest supercomputer, which in turn would be used solely for running windows 47, codenamed "fuzzball", on bootcamp. it'll be grand!

how horrible!!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24263125)

This guy claims he did something and no one else can repeat the experiments. Chalk it up that he's wrong and move on. WTF is the big deal about this? Is the physics department at Purdue going to put a "Rusi has been naughty" note on his permanent record and beat him with a wet noodle? If he's been using funds improperly, fire his ass.

Read the allegations and the findings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24263203)

Read the allegations and findings first: what did this guy commit? He put a student on a paper when a student didn't do the experiment for it? Let me tell you, it happens in academic research every day, it could be formally called misconduct, but also it could be called being nice and helping the student to graduate with a better publication list. The only other allegation is that he heavily helped other people reproduce the data and then claimed that hey reproduced it. Yes, it is fishy, but, come on, does it rise to a real misconduct standard? Maybe he just was nice and helped hem a lot wih the experiment, and when they offered to put him on the paper he declined. Misconduct is when you falsify the data, like the Koreans did with the stem cells or like Jan-Hendrick Schon did. That IS misconduct.

The allegations against this guy read very prosecutorial, and some of them are a cruel joke. Give me a break, since when republishing already published data in a review paper construes misconduct? The headline on Slashdot is misleading and it makes it look like this guy lied to the scientific community. His experiments may be wrong or misinterpreted, but they don't rise to the proper standards of misconduct.

Now, why am I defending people who do fishy science? Because people by their nature make mistakes and it is important to separate mistakes from real fraud. if we start criminalizing mistakes or lapse of judgment, which is what seems to be happening with this case, then we loose the opportunity to deal harshly with the real misconduct, and we give people a huge disincentive to publish controversial findings. It is hard to get controversial research funded or published as it is now, so please, don't make it harder, and let the prosecutors concentrate on real cheats.

P.S. I have nothing to do with cold fusion research, or this guy, or Purdue for that matter.
 

This ain't copyright infringement (4, Informative)

l2718 (514756) | more than 6 years ago | (#24263357)

Allegation: Taleyarkhan intentionally used data in a paper to a scientific journal that already had been used in another journal written by other authors.

Conclusion: While Taleyarkhan broke copyright laws, the authors agreed to share the data and have not claimed plagiarism. This is not research misconduct.

In fact, there is no copyright in data (that is, in the facts); actually, using data published by others is a hallmark of scientific progress. That's why they published the data in the first place. If he had claimed the data as his own it would be scientific misconduct; if he failed to attribute the data to its authors it would be scientific misconduct. But there is no way for him to break copyright laws by publishing facts that were generated by others. In fact, even if he used the author's actual graphs and tables (which may be copyrighted), it is not so obvious that he actually broke copyright laws -- scientific use (with attribution) may very well come under the defense of fair use. We are seeing here the results of the propaganda campaign to extend copyright beyond all bounds.

Re:This ain't copyright infringement (4, Informative)

claus.wilke (51904) | more than 6 years ago | (#24263807)

scientific use (with attribution) may very well come under the defense of fair use.

It helps to read the report. Attribution was missing, that was the whole point of this allegation.

Re:This ain't copyright infringement (1)

pavon (30274) | more than 6 years ago | (#24266031)

That would just be plagiarism not copyright infringement. Nothing about copyright law or fair use requires you to attribute the work. Which is exactly what the parent post said - that the panel was right in calling it potential scientific misconduct*, but wrong in calling it copyright infringement.

* just potential because he did have permission to use the data and the team hasn't complained about not be attributed.

hey, (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24263871)

anyone can see "evidence of nuclear fusion in the collapse of tiny bubbles" but only in absolute vacuum, 0 degreesK, and zero gravity..

No Wai (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24264045)

Obligatory Image Macro [judyonthenet.com]

Good reason to be cautious to condemn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24264079)

The historical baggage of science has been that individuals or small groups did things others thought impossible, and derided them for.

Maybe physical persecution was more rare and more in the middle ages, and maybe the majority of less published scientific advancement is rather done by a larger group doing incremental research, but the contribution of individuals at least can't be denied.

In my view people making very improbable claims (cold fusion, perpetuum mobiles etc) should therefore well be viewed with a lot of caution, and especially warnings being given to those who might spend money on them, but actual trial by jury and punishment should be reserved for the most extreme and wilful cases when there is zero doubt whatsoever. If it ever happened that someone was found guilty of scientific misconduct by a peer panel, and their claims were later proven to be correct, it would hurt science for decades.

Follow the money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#24264081)

Fine lad's - let's apply the same level of scrutiny to the technical papers of Taleyarkhan's detractors -
I'm certain with enough scrutiny we can find *something*. Just like they did to Taleyarkhan.

Someone (or corporation) wants sonofusion discredited badly - just like cold fusion.

Questionable allegations (1)

Tacubaruba (553520) | more than 6 years ago | (#24265163)

If you look up "Bubble Fusion" on Wikipedia, you'll see that there have been replications. Perhaps not convincing enough replications to change people's minds, but there does seem to be something interesting enough going on with the collapsing bubbles to warrant further investigation. I'm concerned that everyone who makes a claim that could revolutionize energy production finds themselves facing attempts to destroy their reputations. What kind of environment is that to perform science in? If you follow the cold fusion research, you know that while cold fusion has not proved practical (it can be replicated, but not reliably), there is obviously some phenomenon at the heart of it that is certainly worth looking into. Pons and Fleishman reported a real phenomenon that - while it might never work out as an energy source - is nevertheless an aspect of nature that deserves study. However, it appears that whenever any natural phenomenon that could potentially make oil and coal obsolete, that science and anyone interested in it becomes a target. As badly as we need to get off of oil, people trying to find alternatives should be rewarded, not attacked.

Plasma wakefield accelerator (1)

Ceriel Nosforit (682174) | more than 6 years ago | (#24265339)

Strikes me as odd that one one has tried to implement a plasma wakefield accelerator in a configuration that would fuse hydrogen.

Gut reaction... (1)

lordsid (629982) | more than 6 years ago | (#24265629)

This seems like the typical gut reaction of any society who doesn't understand a new theory or technology. I can't count or list how many different discoveries have had this same reaction by both the scientific community and the public. Galileo comes to mind. It is likely that only after this guys death will they really discover what his work meant. Sounds like some serious penis envy in the scientific world.

This is exactly what is wrong with our world.

Tinfoil hat on! Conspiracy theory! (1)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 6 years ago | (#24266321)

Is it me, or does everyone that seems to make some progress involving cold fusion is accused of faking results and scientific misconduct? Is this kind of behaviour normal?
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