Feeds

Scientists unplug tabletop fusion

Hubble, bubble, toil and trouble

Top three mobile application threats

Rusi Taleyarkhan

Readers may recall back in 2002 there was an awful fuss kicked up when Rusi Taleyarkhan announced he had achieved one of science's holy grails: tabletop fusion. The claim was met with understandable scepticism, after all we'd been here before.

The promise of limitless, greenhouse gas-free, nuclear waste-free energy was too great to ignore however, and millions of tax dollars were sunk into trying to replicate the "star in a jar" experiments.

Today marks the fourth anniversary of the original announcement and four years in which nobody outside Taleyarkhan's research group has been able to reproduce the positive results.

Now, even Taleyarkhan's colleagues at his new home of Purdue University, West LaFayette, Indiana, are publicly doubting the work, Nature reports.

Purdue faculty members Lefteri Tsoukalas and Tatjana Jevremovic, along with others who wished to remain anonymous, said that since Taleyarkhan began working there he has removed the equipment they were using to try and replicate his work. Taleyarkhan has also not let anyone else see the raw data from the runs he claims produced neutrons, the scientists told Nature.

Taleyarkhan's big idea of sonoluminescent fusion involves firing soundwaves at a container of bubbling acetone "seeded" with a beam of neutrons. The theory goes that the tiny bubbles expand and then violently collapse, producing extreme temperatures as hot as the centre of the sun, thereby hot enough to fuse hydrogen nuclei provided in the mix by heavy water.

The Purdue researchers claim Taleyarkhan even tried to stop publication of their own, negative results.

Brian Naranjo at the University of California, Los Angeles, is set to add to his woes with an analysis of more recent data that suggests he didn't detect genuine fusion, but a background lab source of neutrons.

Taleyarkhan defended his findings in a 2005 episode of the BBC's Horizon strand, protesting: "My lab has been audited, my instruments have been audited, my books have been audited, the data speaks for itself."

Though the consensus is that bubble fusion is theoretically possible, without a lusty rebuttal these latest blows could sound the death knell. ®

3 Big data security analytics techniques

More from The Register

next story
KILLER SPONGES menacing California coastline
Surfers are safe, crustaceans less so
Opportunity selfie: Martian winds have given the spunky ol' rover a spring cleaning
Power levels up 70 per cent as the rover keeps on truckin'
Liftoff! SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts Dragon on third resupply mission to ISS
SpaceX snaps smartly into one-second launch window
KILLER ROBOTS, DNA TAMPERING and PEEPING CYBORGS: the future looks bright!
Americans optimistic about technology despite being afraid of EVERYTHING
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
R.I.P. LADEE: Probe smashes into lunar surface at 3,600mph
Swan dive signs off successful science mission
Elon Musk's LEAKY THRUSTER gas stalls Space Station supply run
Helium seeps from Falcon 9 first stage, delays new legs for NASA robonaut
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Top three mobile application threats
Learn about three of the top mobile application security threats facing businesses today and recommendations on how to mitigate the risk.
Combat fraud and increase customer satisfaction
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.