Image: Taleyarkhan
Lynn Freeny  /  U.S. Department of Energy file
Purdue professor Rusi Taleyarkhan is shown here with a tabletop-fusion experiment in a U.S. Department of Energy facility in Oak Ridge, Tenn.
updated 8/28/2008 1:59:09 PM ET 2008-08-28T17:59:09

Purdue University has reprimanded a scientist who has been accused of falsifying claims he produced nuclear fusion in tabletop experiments.

Rusi Taleyarkhan made headlines in 2002 when he published a paper in the journal Science claiming that he had produced nuclear fusion, long sought as an energy source by scientists, by making tiny bubbles collapse in a liquid.

A university panel did not investigate the Science paper, which was published when Taleyarkhan was a researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, but said he misled the scientific community by claiming his "bubble fusion" findings had been independently replicated.

Taleyarkhan also falsified the research record by arranging for one of his students to appear as co-author of a paper to create the appearance that the student had witnessed the experiment, the panel said.

Taleyarkhan was denied an appeal and stripped of his named professorship by a university committee on Wednesday. He may remain a member of the university's faculty but will not be allowed to serve as a major professor for graduate students for at least three years.

Taleyarkhan's attorney, John Lewis, said in a news release that Taleyarkhan would explore his legal options. "Purdue's administration have a lot to answer with how they treat people. Unfortunately, bullies win until someone stands up to them," Lewis said.

Taleyarkhan has contended that other scientists have replicated his work and has accused his critics of conflict of interest, jealousy and other motives.

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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