London, November 24 (ANI): Reports indicate that Rusi Taleyarkhan, a nuclear engineer of Indian origin who claimed that he could perform 'bubble fusion' in a table-top apparatus, has been debarred from receiving federal funding for 28 months.
Three years ago, am investigation raised concerns about research by Rusi Taleyarkhan, of Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana, who claimed that nuclear fusion reactions could be triggered by firing sound waves into deuterated acetone1.
In 2008, a Purdue investigation concluded that Taleyarkhan was guilty of two allegations of research misconduct: citing work from his own lab as 'independent' confirmation of his findings, and adding the name of a student to a publication when they had not contributed to the research.
Taleyarkhan appealed against the ruling, but was subsequently stripped of his named professorship and banned from serving as the principal supervisor for graduate students for three years, although he remained on faculty.
The ONR, which had funded part of Taleyarkhan's research, has now reviewed Purdue's investigation.
According to a report in Nature News, its conclusions state that Taleyarkhan's misconduct was "so severe as to merit debarment" from federal funding.
Although the ruling was made in May, when the debarment came into effect, no public announcement was made.
Nature has now obtained documents from a source at ONR that relate to the debarment.
These documents include a letter from the suspending and debarring official of the US Navy, Mark O. Wilkoff, to Taleyarkhan, and a memo reporting the results of a Science and Technology Investigation Board convened by the ONR to evaluate the Purdue investigation.
According to the memo, records at the ONR "provide evidence of participation by Dr. Taleyarkhan in research fraud offenses".
The memo notes that the Purdue investigation "appeared to have no affect on Dr Taleyarkhan's professorship", and that this had prompted the ONR to impose a more severe penalty.
The memo says that the investigation's findings "are serious enough to warrant debarment because they are based upon the willingness of Dr. Taleyarkhan to engage in fraudulent, unethical and dishonest business practices", and that this "seriously and directly affects his present responsibility" to apply for US grants. (ANI)