Mallove and the case of MIT
The saga of cold fusion at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where Dr. Mallove was chief science writer for the past five years, is a case study of how science should not work. Mallove resigned from MIT in June, be*cause he felt that he could no longer represent the university, given its "tragic and indefensible abrogation of academic standards" on the issue of cold fusion. An alumnus of MIT with degrees in astronautical engi*neering and environmental science, Mallove over the past two and a half years became intrigued enough with the cold fusion phenomenon-and with the' dishonest response to it from the scientific establishment-to write his book.
Mallove's 17 -page resignation .letter catalogues MIT's brutal and dishonest response to cold fusion. Among the incidents he reports is that a review article he prepared for MIT's magazine Technology Review was dropped, after be*ing scheduled as a cover story, because an MIT senior physi*cist found it too positive. The same physicist told Mallove that he had "50 years of experience in nuclear physics and I know what's possible and what's not .... I don't want to see any more evidence! I think it's a bunch of junk and I don't want to have anything further to do With it."
Mallove comments, "I'm profoundly embarrassed that we have such closed-mindedness here on scientific issues."
Another incident Mallove relates concerns disparaging statements about Pons and Fleischmann ("possible fraud," and "scientific schlock") by MIT's Ronald Parker in May 1989 and printed in the Boston Her-ald. Parker claimed he did not say those things, and Mallove issued an MIT press release with Parker's denial. Then aiyear later Mallove heard a tape recording where Parker indepd said what the Boston Herald writer had reported-and more.
Fudged data at MIT?
The most egregious incident involves the MIT Plasma Fusion Center's own cold fusion exIleriments in 1989, which were reported as negative at the time and used to make the case that Fleischmann and Pons's experiment could not be replicated. The actual data from the experiment as published by MIT show nothing of interest in the heavy water and light water cells. However, the processf;:d but unaveraged data presented in an unpublished graph dated three days prior to the published version indicates that there was some excess power in the heavy water cell.
The question Mallove asks is "why do we see no evidence of this possible excess power in the graphs that are in the final report and the published paper?! The inescapable answer seems to be that the averaged data for the heavy water was moved down an arbitrary amount SQ that it now has more the appearance of the null result in thei case of the light water averaged data. Interestingly, the light water averaged data seem to be consistent in level with the corresponding curve of raw processed data; that is, it has inot been moved down."
Mallove was promised by Parket in June an answer to his questions on the MIT cold fusion experiment and access to
the raw data, but as of mid-August, nothing had been provid*ed him. Mallove has now requested Ia formal investigation.