Purcell Raps Promotion Of Leet's Testing Theory

Edward M. Purcell, Gerhard Gade University Professor, last night criticized L. Don Leet, professor of Geology, for his methods in promoting his theory of nuclear test detection. The remark came at the conclusion of a lecture by Leet, explaining his controversial hypothesis.

Purcell claimed Leet had been offered a chance to present a detailed scientific to high Administration officials but had refused to do so. "All Washington is not out to sabotage Professor Leet's inspection system, or to get contracts for themselves to investigate seismic shock waves." Purcell said he had made the statement to clear up possible "misconceptions" about Leet's case.

Use Scientific Facts

"It's fine that we can stir the thing up again, but let's do it with scientific facts, and by talking to people, and not with smokescreens in the Scientific American, the Boston Traveler, or the CRIMSON."

Leet said he was sorry the subject had been broached, and that he had tried to avoid it during the lecture. "But I would like to go on the record," he said," as saying that I have not been misinterpreted, misunderstood, or misquoted by the CRIMSON, or the Boston Traveler.

I talked to people for two and a half years before I finally resorted to the public press." He said further that his own charges of Administrative indifference had never been factually refuted.


An article describing Leet's hypothesis will appear in the latest issue of the Scientific American, out this week. It is Leet's thesis that the pattern of shock waves radiated by a nuclear blast are very different from those of earthquakes and other natural phenomena.

An underground blast sets up only compression or "P" waves, with very little of the shear and surface ("S") waves that normally accompany a natural underground disturbance. As a result, the seismographs detect only what Leet terms "the lonesome P." an energetic compression wave which lacks the shear and surface waves that usualy follow it.

According to Leet, the lone P created "a unique and unmistakable criterion" of a nuclear detonation. He noted that the waves showed great penetrating power, and may be detected as for as halfway around the earth from the point of the explosion.

Leet freely admitted the hypothetical nature of his proposal, but said that the lonesome P has been a "positive and definite phenomenon, present without exception" in each of the six cases he has studied. "I feel it is the duty of science to find out whether this is a real phenomenon, regardless of its political implications," he said.

He also observed that "the best way to advance science is to start a little rhubarb."