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SPECIAL NEWS REPORT
Bubble fusion: silencing the hype
Nature reveals serious doubts over claims for fusion in collapsing bubbles
Fresh questions surround Rusi Taleyarkhan's work on bubble fusion, according
to an exclusive news report from Nature to be published online at
www.nature.com/news/bubblefusion at 1300 London time (GMT) on 8th March.
Taleyarkhan, a nuclear engineer at Purdue University, came to prominence in
2002 when he claimed to have achieved table-top nuclear fusion in collapsing
bubbles. If the effect is real, and could be harnessed, it could potentially offer an almost limitless source of energy, and as a result millions of dollars are going into attempts to repeat the work.
Now several of Taleyarkhan's colleagues at Purdue University have told Nature that their confidence in his work and results has been seriously dented since he arrived in their department in 2004.
Faculty members Lefteri Tsoukalas and Tatjana Jevremovic, along with several others who do not wish to be named, say that since Taleyarkhan began working at Purdue, he has removed the equipment with which they were trying to replicate his work, claimed as 'positive' experimental runs for which they never saw the raw data, and opposed the publication of their own negative results.
In addition, Brian Naranjo at the University of California, Los Angeles, is submitting to Physical Review Letters an analysis of Taleyarkhan's recently published data that strongly suggests he has detected not fusion, but a standard lab source of radioactivity.
Bubble fusion is theoretically possible - but do these latest findings spell the end for this particular line of enquiry?
Contact for background information
Eugenie Samuel Reich (Freelance journalist, Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA)
Tel: +1 617 354 0329 / +1 617 821 1538
Ruth Francis, Nature London
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