In 1999, Pentagon-funded researcher Carl Collins claimed that he was able to get a nuclear isomer of Hafnium 178m2 to release an enormous amount of gamma radiation -- despite only putting a relative small bit of energy in. The controversial experiments were met with ridicule from many in the scientific establishment. So Darpa, the Defense Department's premiere research arm, decided to carry out a test, to show once and for all whether the sort of triggering Collins described was possible.
The Triggering Isomer Proof (TRIP) test was carried out at Brookhaven National Laboratory. But, in spite of its high profile, the results were never published. Because of other failures to replicate Collins results, many assumed that the TRIP results were negative, and that was the end of it. However, Peter Zimmerman -- a former scientific advisor to the State Department, and staunch isomer skeptic -- noted in an article for the American Physical Society that there were those claiming the TRIP experiment had actually panned out. He quotes Ehsan Khan of the Department of Energy, who asserts that:
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