Bubble fusion is the theory that nuclear fusion can be induced by rapidly collapsing bubbles in certain fluids. According to a new investigative report [by New Energy Times, Steven B. Krivit] into Oak Ridge National Laboratory records, a highly publicized finding from 2002 that cast the controversial tabletop nuclear fusion experiment into doubt has itself been cast into doubt.
In fact, the reporter who examined the Oak Ridge document dump also found possible vindicating evidence that might have supported some of the embattled researchers—including lead author Rusi Taleyarkhan, now at Purdue University.
The Pro-bubble Fusion paper from 2002
In the 2002 paper, “Evidence for Nuclear Emissions During Acoustic Cavitation,” Taleyarkahan and his five co-authors fired neutron pulses into collapsing bubbles of the solvent acetone. When the acetone contained the isotope deuterium, they said they also observed statistically significant traces of both neutrons (beyond the flux of neutrons going into the experiment) as well as the radioactive isotope tritium. Both are hallmarks of nuclear reactions of some kind, whether fusion or not.
Oak Ridge labs claimed the 2002 paper was wrong
Technical reports posted on the Oak Ridge website in 2002 (one of which is now archived on New Energy Times’s site) claimed to contradict Taleyarkhan’s controversial findings. At the time, publications such as the New York Times and the news pages of Science provided a platform for the non-peer-reviewed critiques, sometimes without a Taleyarkhan rebuttal.
Krivitz at New Energy Times
Krivitz indicates – Oak Ridge’s Dan Shapira and Michael Saltmarsh found no substantive flaws in the Taleyarkhan group’s research. Instead, when faced with confirmatory data, some of which Shapira measured, Shapira and Saltmarsh proposed three alternative hypotheses.
They wrote that they had performed their own replication of the Taleyarkhan group’s experiment. They didn’t. Instead, they made independent measurements on the Taleyarkhan group’s experiment. Shapira and Saltmarsh told the media that they measured no evidence to support the Taleyarkhan group’s claim. But they did.
“Not only was there excess tritium production in the Taleyarkhan group’s experiment, checked by a resident ORNL expert, but also Shapira and Saltmarsh knew it,” Krivit writes. “Not only had the Taleyarkhan group measured excess neutrons with its detector, but so did Shapira and Saltmarsh, independently with their own detector.”
The lab’s associate director then told Shapira to perform an independent replication of Taleyarkhan’s experiment, but in one-quarter of the time Shapira said he’d need to properly run such an experiment.
“He said, ‘OK, well, you have three months, and together with Taleyarkhan, you should repeat the experiment,'” Shapria told Krivit. “So essentially, Taleyarkhan set it up. The only thing I brought is my own neutron detector. I told him to add it to the setup, that’s all. I was asked to do it. I didn’t volunteer to do it. I wasted a year on the analysis and the write-up and setting up the experiment.”
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Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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