Nature and Scientific American on the Warpath Again

Nature and the Scientific American regularly attack and ridicule cold fusion as well as the sonofusion research performed by Rusi Taleyarkhan et al. It is not clear whether the latter has anything to do with metal lattice cold fusion, but it relatively simple, lab bench experiment that produces anomalous nuclear fusion on a microscopic scale. Therefore the editors of these magazines consider it impossible, and they assert it must be pathological science, fraud, and so on. Last year, professors working on competing sonofusion devices circulated rumors claiming that Taleyarkhan committed academic fraud. Taleyarkhan was fully exonerated by the university, so recently Nature has circulated equally baseless rumors that he has committed financial fraud.

Prof. Brian Josephson has been engaged in lively correspondence with the staff at Nature regarding their allegations. He summarizes the situation here, and copies of the correspondence are here.

Scientific American has mainly ridiculed these subjects lately, in both the print edition and the on-line blog by the editor, John Rennie, on August 24, 2006:

Let’s be finicky in our application of the phrase. For example, Newtonian physics did not get sent to Pluto. It was shown to be a valid approximation of Einstein’s relativistic physics for objects moving well below the speed of light, and as such was incorporated into the newer theory. And cold fusion, N-rays, Velikovskian planet billiards and similar crackpottery weren’t sent to Pluto either because they never enjoyed a significant period of acceptance by the scientific community (perhaps they all reside on another planet… Uranus?).

Note that Rennie takes pride in the fact that he has read no papers about cold fusion. He claims that his views are based on the majority opinion and the “consensus,” as if science were a popularity contest. Rennie boldly told us it is not his job to understand the technical issues or offer a falsifiable argument. He thinks the public does not expect that of him. A normal scientist would be ashamed to admit he harbors such strange ideas, but Rennie brags about them. See: