"I thought I had put the hafnium bomb where it belongs …. We killed it with laughter." – Peter Zimmerman, p.49 Physics Today, Jan. 2005.
The stimulated isomer energy release (SIER) from the 31-year isomer of Hafnium-178 was first proven at Orsay, France on March 24, 1996 with the inelastic scattering of alpha particles from a unique isomer target that had been produced at Dubna in Russia. The yield was over 300 times the recommended upper limits (RUL’s) that define the largest possible efficiencies for nuclear reactions occurring by known mechanisms. For a decade since, those results have been confirmed and reconfirmed by triggering with broadband X-rays from Bremsstrahlung devices and from monochromatic X-rays from synchrotron radiation (SR) sources by an international team of 15 scientists from 7 laboratories in 6 countries. All confirmations and reconfirmations have been subject to peer review and have been published. The significance is real; and it is proven.
A "controversy" has been manufactured by a few scientists, some quite prestigious; and their arguments have depended upon uncertainty in what constitutes "proof." They have been sustained further by political force. Certainly, some researchers have seen nothing in experiments purported to be testing for isomer triggering. That is the normal situation in a rapidly developing field of research. Some results are positive; some are negative. However the measures of confidence for the positive results are far greater than the confidence limits for the negative conclusions.
The following graph summarizes the levels of confidence for the recent results. Confusion often results from the statement for confidence levels in terms of "sigmas." Sigmas are the "standard deviations" of the counting statistics for the photons produced by SIER. The black points show the mathematical connection between "sigmas" and the number of 9’s of confidence. For example two nines would be 99% confidence, while six nines would be 99.9999% confidence. This is an established mathematical relationship between confidence and sigmas.
Confidence reported by the authors for the negative results obtained at Argonne  over 3 years of performance is shown by the large black open zero. Coincidence measurements are plotted in blue. Positive results for the 2002 Rusu Dissertation results  upon which TRIP was modeled are shown by the diamond symbol. The positive measurements from the Texas Group are shown in red and are typified by the results from Fig.5 of Ref.  that are shown here by the red "+" symbol read on the left scale. Confidence is fourteen nines, meaning certainty of 99.999999999999%. Confidence for the positive TRIP experiment (GSB) is about 100 billion times greater than confidence in the negative results of Ref. . The "best" positive results, reported in
Table 1 of Ref. , would plot off the scale of abscissas. Confidence for that is 1,824 nines – far too many to write out explicitly. In other terms, the "odds" for triggering are substantially better than google:1.
It is incorrect to assert that "Hf-isomer triggering has not been proven." Such a statement is simply politics. It is correct to say that for whatever reason, such triggering has not been universally accepted.
 I. Ahmad, et al., Phys. Rev. C71, 024311 (2005).
 C. Rusu (PhD Dissertation, U of Texas at Dallas, 2002)
Available from: http://tls.il.proquest.com/umi/dissertations/disexpress.shtml
(Order Number: 3087127).
 C.B. Collins, et al., Laser Phys. Lett. 2, 167 (2005).
Carl B. Collins
May 6, 2005
Updated May 26, 2006