- News Home
17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
- About Us
Fusion Controversy Heats Up ... Again
22 March 2007 (All day)
A Congressional subcommittee has stoked the flames under the cauldron of controversy that is bubble fusion. Those flames all but died out last month after an internal investigation at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, absolved nuclear engineer Rusi Taleyarkhan of any scientific misconduct surrounding his research on producing nuclear fusion in collapsing bubbles (ScienceNOW, 7 February). But yesterday, Representative Brad Miller (D-NC), who heads the Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee of the House Committee on Science and Technology sent a letter to Purdue's President Martin Jischke requesting a copy of the university's internal reports on their inquiry.
Miller says he'd like to know whether or not to believe Taleyarkhan's controversial claims that he's seen evidence for fusion in collapsing bubbles. But he's more interested in Purdue's investigation. "I think it's more of a concern about the procedures at Purdue to make sure they are assuring ethical conduct in research," Miller says. He adds that because the federal government spends billions of dollars on research at universities each year, it's essential that Congress ensure that misconduct investigations operate as intended.
Miller says it's not clear that happened in this case. "Despite the University's statement that no misconduct had occurred, many disturbing questions remain about the scope and adequacy of the investigation," says Miller's letter to Jischke. Among those questions: Why Purdue officials seem to have stopped one investigation in September only to launch another, and whether they looked into the full array of complaints against Taleyarkhan, including an alleged manipulation of scientific data.
In the past, Purdue officials have declined to make reports of their investigation public in order to comply with university rules on confidentiality. But in a statement issued late today, Purdue officials said they plan to comply with the committee’s request. Just what will happen after that depends on what the reports show, says Miller. But chances are the bubble fusion controversy will keep boiling for months to come.