Narrative on my 1964 paper accepted for publication in the AIChE Journal, but never published there.
This narrative describes my thirty-year effort to arrange the publication of an article that was accepted for publication in the AIChE Journal in 1964, and also the efforts of those who succeeded in preventing its publication. The article demonstrated that induction methodology widely used in engineering is not rigorous. It also described and applied induction methodology that is rigorous, but is not widely used in engineering. The article was easy to understand and obviously correct, but it met stubborn resistance because it conflicted with mainstream thought.
In later years, I tried several times to arrange for the American publication or conference presentation of the article, always without success. Finally, in 1994, thirty years after the article was accepted for publication in the AIChE Journal, the article was published in the International Journal of the Japanese Society of Mechanical Engineers, Series B, under the title “A Critical Examination of the View that Nucleate Boiling Heat Transfer Data Exhibit Power Law Behavior”.
When the article was published in 1994, it was just as current and just as important as it had been thirty years earlier when it was accepted for publication in the AIChE Journal, but not published.
The rejection notice stated that my article was unanimously rejected for presentation. It also accused me of dishonesty and incompetence, and forewarned journal editors of my dishonesty and incompetence.
In 1963, I was the senior engineer in charge of a heat transfer test facility at GE in Cincinnati. The test program was funded by NASA-Lewis, and its purpose was to obtain data on the heat transfer behavior of boiling potassium. (The intended system application was nuclear power generation in space.) The data indicated that, in forced convection heat transfer to nucleate boiling potassium, the relationship between heat flux (q) and temperature difference (DT) is highly linear.
In order to compare my results with those obtained by others, I examined the literature on nucleate boiling. I found the following:
· For several decades, it had been generally agreed that nucleate boiling data in the literature indicated the highly nonlinear relationship between q and DT described by Expression (1):
q a DTn (1)
where n is usually a value of 3 or 4, but can be as small as 1 (in which case the data indicate linearity), or as large as 25.
· The induction methodology that resulted in the nonlinear view was (and still is) widely used, but is not rigorous.
· Rigorous induction of literature data revealed that, during nucleate boiling, the relationship between q and DT is generally highly linear.
I described the above results, and the rigorous induction methodology I had used, in an article entitled “Nucleate Boiling—The Relationship Between Heat Flux and Thermal Driving Force”. I enclosed the article in a letter dated 1/16/64 to Professor Editor Harding Bliss, and requested that he consider it for publication in the AIChE Journal. (Professor Harding Bliss (Yale) had been the editor of the AIChE Journal since the publication of its first issue in 1955.)
The article is important because it demonstrates that the induction methodology widely used in engineering is not rigorous. It also describes and applies the rigorous induction methodology that should be widely used. (Rigorous induction methodology is also used in engineering, but not widely.)
The induction methodology widely used in engineering is described by the following:
· Plot the data on a log log chart.
· Fit the best straight line through the data.
· Note that straight lines on log log charts are power laws—ie are equations of the form
y = mxn (1)
· Conclude that the data are best correlated by a power law, and establish the values of m and n from the coordinates of two points on the line.
(In the computer form of the above, data are computer fitted to the best power law, and it is not necessary to plot the data.)
Note from Eq. (1) that all power laws of positive slope include the point 0,0. Therefore the above methodology is based on the assumption that the data are best correlated by a correlation that includes the point 0,0.
The assumption that the best correlation includes the point 0,0 may, or may not, be reasonable. For example, correlations that describe the relationship between q and DT in one phase, forced convective heat transfer would be expected to include the point 0,0 because, as the temperature difference approaches zero, the heat flux approaches zero.
Conversely, many engineering phenomena do not occur in the vicinity of 0,0. For example, turbulent fluid flow ceases long before the fluid flow rate approaches zero. Therefore, rigorous induction of data that relate pressure drop (DP) and turbulent fluid flow rate (Wturb) must allow that the best correlation may, or may not, include the point 0,0—ie may, or may not, indicate that DP = 0 at W = 0. Since the correlation does not apply in the vicinity of W = 0, the correlation prediction for DP in the vicinity of Wturb = 0 is of no significance.
Rigorous induction methodology is quite simple. It is described by the following:
· Plot the data on linear coordinates.
· Fair a line through the data points.
· Select whatever correlation form is suggested by the line faired through the data points.
· Select the arbitrary constants in the correlation form so as to give the best agreement between correlation and data.
It has long been known that boiling does not commence until the temperature difference reaches a finite value. For example, Nukiyama (1934) stated:
In the early stages of my study, I found that the temperature of a metal wire easily reached as high as 105 C without the water boiling. I was in the skies because this was contrary, or so I thought, to the invariable principle that “Water boils at 100C.” . . . However, when I happened to read an old textbook, Theory of Heat, written by Clerk Maxwell, Lord Rayleigh, and others, it was lightly described that water boiled when it reached the pertinent boiling temperature for a certain pressure plus the temperature at which the cohesion of the water and its contact surface was overcome, and I realized they had already known the phenomenon.
In other words, boiling does not occur in the vicinity of DT = 0. Therefore, since boiling does not occur in the vicinity of DT = 0, it is neither rigorous nor reasonable to require that boiling correlations include the point q = 0, DT = 0.
I graduated from Yale University in 1954 with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering. Professor Bliss taught two of my chemical engineering courses, and I considered him the best professor I had at Yale. He was confined to a wheelchair, and he used an overhead projector in place of a blackboard.
After I graduated, I had no contact with Professor Bliss until August, 1963, when I called him to say that I had made important progress in engineering science, and to request his advice on how to best arrange the publication of my work. We had a long and pleasant conversation during which he suggested that I join the AIChE, and submit articles to journals of the engineering societies.
My letter of September 18, 1963 initiated our lengthy correspondence—94 letters over a period of about 3 years. Correspondence summary includes dates and cryptic summaries of our letters. Our correspondence concerned:
· Topics of general engineering importance.
· The proper administration of engineering journals.
· The acceptance/rejection of several manuscripts I submitted to Professor Bliss for possible publication in the AIChE Journal, particularly the manuscript on the relationship between heat flux and temperature difference in nucleate boiling. (Throughout our correspondence, Professor Bliss was the editor of the AIChE Journal, a post he had held since its inception in 1955)
In my letter to Professor Bliss dated 10/26/63, I elaborated on my linear view of the relationship between q and DT in nucleate boiling. In his letter dated 10/31/63, Professor Bliss noted that he had considerable experience in nucleate boiling heat transfer:
As I first read (your view that the exponent on DT is one), I was in substantial disagreement with you, because I well remember the work of Cryder and Gilliland and some work of my own (Insinger and Bliss) in which an exponent on temperature difference appreciably greater than one was certainly established, I thought.
I was happy to have an editor who had himself addressed the subject of my article, and who was in agreement with the generally accepted nonlinear view. I felt that with his background, he would be able to ensure that my reviewers were competent, and that their reviews were rational and unbiased. (I had previously had articles reviewed by persons whose reviews reflected both bias and little understanding of the subject matter.)
The first draft of the article (1/15/64) explained the lack of rigor in the induction methodology that led to the nonlinear relationship, and stated that rigorous induction of literature data indicated a linear relationship. Charts to support my linear view were not included in the article because I felt that readers would suspect that I had carefully selected only the small fraction of literature data that described a linear relationship. Rather, I recommended to the reader that he verify the accuracy of my linear view by plotting literature data of his own selection on linear coordinates.
Professor Warren Rohsenow (MIT) was one of the reviewers of the first draft. Since he had not requested anonymity, Professor Bliss sent me a copy of Professor Rohsenow’s review dated 2/29/64. The review stated:
. . . I would suggest that the author . . . attempt to show us and himself a comparison of plotting accepted boiling data on log-log and linear-linear paper and compare the two types of equations in question. This might show us something interesting.
I was amazed by Professor Rohsenow’s unwarranted complacency and his lack of curiosity. (Lacking the time or inclination to plot the data himself, he could have had a student prepare the plot.)
I wanted to respond to Professor Rohsenow’s challenge “to show us . . . “, but I did not know whether writing directly to him would embarrass Professor Bliss. So I wrote a letter dated 3/1/64 to Professor Rohsenow, and enclosed it in a letter to Professor Bliss dated 3/1/64. My letter to Professor Bliss stated:
I enclose a letter to Rohsenow because I would like to give him the benefit of my review of his review. Since I do not know whether this would violate a trust, I am forwarding the letter on to you that you may either return it to me or send it on to Rohsenow as I request.
I see no harm in transmitting your letter to Rohsenow since he did not suggest anonymity. I will do so.
My letter to Professor Rohsenow dated 3/1/64 was my response to his challenge. In the letter, I wrote that I had in fact plotted data from the following benchmark reports that presented nucleate boiling data in digital form:
· Experiments on Pool-Boiling Heat Transfer from a Horizontal Surface, P. J. Berenson, International Journal of Heat and Mass Transfer, (1962), 5, pp 985-999
· Heat Transfer to Boiling Liquids Under Pressure, Cichelli, M. T. and Bonilla, C. F., (1945), Trans AIChE, 41, pp 755-787.
The letter states:
It will no doubt amaze you as I myself was amazed, but I was unable to find any non-linearity in the data from the above reports. It is true that the data plots up quite well on log-log paper, but as my manuscript points out, this is simply a mirage and the same data plots up beautifully on linear paper. I showed such plots to Dr. Bonilla and he shared my amazement, although he seemed inclined to believe that both methods are correct.
My letter did not include any charts to establish linearity. Instead, I challenged Professor Rohsenow to select the data he felt established nonlinearity:
If you will send me the coordinates of five runs of Berenson’s which you will select, I will plot them up and send you copies that we may reach a rapport in this matter.
I had plotted all of the data Berenson had reported, and I was quite certain that Professor Rohsenow would not be able to find even one run that would indicate nonlinearity.
Moreover, I was certain that Professor Rohsenow had ready access to Dr. Berenson’s data because Professor Rohsenow was active in heat transfer at MIT at the same time Dr. Berenson obtained the data used in the publication cited above. Also, Dr. Berenson’s adviser was Professor Griffith, a colleague and former student of Professor Rohsenow. Therefore I felt quite certain that Professor Rohsenow knew Dr. Berenson, and was quite familiar with his experiments and results.
Since Professor Rohsenow did not soon respond to my challenge to select the data that would “show us”, I sent a second letter dated 3/13/64 directly to him, with a copy to Professor Bliss. (I kept Professor Bliss in the loop in order to increase the likelihood that Professor Rohsenow would respond to my challenge.) Enclosed in the second letter was a chart that I felt would “show us”. In order to preclude the possibility that Professor Rohsenow would claim that I had carefully selected data that indicated linearity, the letter states:
. . . I have plotted the same runs you did on page 119 of your contribution to Modern Development in Heat Transfer by Ibele.
Certainly Professor Rohsenow must have felt that the runs he had selected supported the highly nonlinear relationship described by the widely used correlation that bears his name. With regard to the enclosed chart, my letter states:
The important thing to note in the enclosed graph is that every point falls with one or two degrees F of a straight line on linear paper. Moreover, this one or two degrees is the error Berenson set on the temperature difference alone without counting the error in heat flux! If you will look very closely at the graph you included on page 119, you will notice that:
1. Due to the vagaries of log-log paper, the points are themselves sometimes ten degrees F wide—i.e. it is sometimes ten degrees from one side of your point to the other side of it.
2. In spite of the above, a number of your points fall five or ten degrees off the straight line you have drawn through the points.
The letter further states that a high degree of linearity “is common to all the nucleate boiling data I have found”.
My letter and the accompanying chart should, in my opinion, convince any competent and open-minded person that the widely accepted nonlinear view resulted from induction methodology that is not rigorous, and that the data in the literature indicate a high degree of linearity.
The “extremely favorable” review stated:
I did not receive a written notice that the paper had been rejected until 8/18/64. However, as noted in my letter to Dr. Miller (the review referee) dated 8/14/64, I learned from Dr. Gaertner (on or about 8/7/64) that my article had been rejected.
My letter to Dr. Miller dated 8/14/64 noted that I had not yet received a written rejection notice, and stated:
. . . I am surprised that your committee has rejected (my manuscript on nucleate boiling heat transfer) . . . since it has been accepted for publication in the AIChE Journal.
. . . I would suggest that you send copies of the negative reviews to Dr. Bliss in order that he may reconsider his decision to publish subject ms.
It did not occur to me that Professor Editor Bliss could be coerced into rejecting the manuscript he had accepted for publication several months earlier.
It should have.
(The rejected paper was the final draft of my article—the same draft that had been accepted for publication by Professor Bliss on the basis of favorable reviews by Professor Seban and the anonymous reviewer who had stated: “This is possibly the most stimulating and exciting article I have ever been asked to review” and “I strongly recommend this paper for publication”.)
(In my view, Professor Bliss should have sent a strong reply to Dr. Miller stating that, in his view, I was competent and honest. Also, both Professor Bliss and Professor Kezios should have sent strong replies to Dr. Miller stating that they did not request or desire his appraisal of my honesty and competence, or his implied editorial advice.)
My letter to Dr. Miller dated 8/18/64 was my response to his accusation that I am incompetent and dishonest. The letter stated:
Thank you for your letter of August 6 in which you express the opinion that I am both incompetent and dishonest. I sense that your mind cannot be changed on this point, and that any attempt to do so would prove to be an exercise in futility. Nevertheless, I would remind you that these same qualities were attributed to Galileo, Darwin, Pasteur etc ad nauseum. It is historically true that their work also failed to come up to the “high standards” of their colleagues. For that reason, you may forgive me if I am not overly concerned about the standards you would set for me. Like the aforementioned, my only standard is simple honesty. If that is not sufficient to place me in good stead, then I prefer to be placed otherwise.
With further regard to your letter, I sense that you have written it for the benefit of Messrs. Bliss and Kezios, and that your advice is intended for their benefit rather than mine. Even so, since I had not requested your advice, it was rather presumptuous of you to proffer it. Therefore, you may forgive me if I choose to disregard your advice and continue publishing my work in an honest and sometimes impolitic manner. The politic view has an ample outlet in the Congressional Record and has no need of space in the scientific journals.
Also in response to Dr. Miller’s letter, I sent a letter to Professor Bliss dated 8/18/64 in which I enclosed the negative reviews from Dr. Miller. The letter stated:
You will note that (the reviewers) are unanimous in their opinion that I am an incompetent liar. Now, perhaps I am incompetent, but I am no liar.
Professor Bliss’s letter dated 8/17/64 arrived after I had sent him the negative reviews I had received from Dr. Miller. His letter stated:
I must acquaint you with the fact that I have had a vigorous complaint about my acceptance of the above paper. The responsible person making this complaint states that you are wrong in your contentions. He is going to send me his documented case, and I think I should check this with the reviewer who was so favorable.
I have never gone back on my word with regard to an accepted paper, and I do not do so now, at least. However, if you are wrong, then this would be adequate reason for such a reversal.
All I am going to do at the moment is write you again, enclosing the complaints when received, contact the favorable reviewer, and put a temporary stop on publishing the paper. I will write you again when I’ve heard from the favorable reviewer.
I am sorry about this, but my job as editor is a tough one. Let us see what the favorable reviewer says.
In my letter to Professor Bliss dated 9/8/65, I pointed out that recent publications reported a linear relationship, and therefore Professor Bliss’s statement “The simple fact of the matter is that no competent reviewer believes you.” was no longer accurate. (The quote is from Professor Bliss’s letter of 9/7/64.) My letter cites two such publications, and states:
I think you will agree that the publications (cited) are sufficient to demonstrate that it can no longer be said that “no competent reviewer believes you”.
I hope you will agree that (my nucleate boiling manuscript) should now be published without further ado, and I trust that you will so inform me in the near future.
PS If it would be convenient, I would appreciate your forwarding this letter to your colleague, Professor Westwater.
My letter initiated more correspondence with Professor Bliss, but the fact that other publications also reported a linear relationship had no impact on his decision to not publish my article in the AIChE Journal.
The January, 1973 issue of the AIChE Journal contained an editorial by Professor Editor Robert C. Reid (MIT). The editorial stated:
. . . papers which are truly advances are few and far between. In fact, they are not often even recognized as milestones in the sense that they must, by definition, diverge from the existing mainstream of thought.
Since Professor Reid’s editorial suggested an open mind, I sent him a letter dated 10/22/73 in which I described the background of my accepted and rejected manuscript, and stated:
My purpose in writing you is to determine whether you would be willing to reopen the question of my accepted but as yet unpublished article.
Your recent letter to me was quite interesting. Since Professor Bliss left me no files, I have no prior record of your paper. I would certainly be amenable to receiving three copies of it . . . and I shall have it reviewed.
My letter of 11/9/73 stated:
What would be the use of reviewing any article which had already been favorably reviewed and accepted for publication?
. . . my article does not require another review decision . . . What is now required is an editorial decision.
I have sent you one copy—a reproduction of the galley proofs—in order that you may base your editorial decision on the article itself. What I actually desire is that you publish the article with the original acceptance date—April 21, 1964!!!
I called Professor Reid on 12/3/73 to find out if he was taking any action on my manuscript. My notes state:
He (Professor Reid) said the matter was active and that the AIChE Heat Transfer Division was considering the matter. He said he expected to have the matter resolved and that he would notify me within a week.
Professor Reid did not notify me within a week, or even within a month! However, he did send me a letter dated 1/9/74 that stated:
I have received a review of your subject manuscript . . . I honestly do not feel that there is sufficient new material to justify publication in the Journal at the present time. . . . .
My letter to Professor Reid dated 1/16/74 stated:
In my letter of November 9, 1973, I believe I made it quite clear that I had no interest in having my previously reviewed-favorably-and-accepted-for-publication-in-the-AIChE journal manuscript reviewed again. In our telephone conversation of Dec 3, you indicated that you understood this, and that the AIChE HTD was considering the matter and that in fact the HTD would make the editorial decision with regard to publication of the subject manuscript.
You will therefore understand my utter amazement at your non sequitur letter of Jan 9 in which you forward some reviews and indicate that the editorial decision with regard to publication was made by yourself and not by the AIChE Heat Transfer Division!!!!
Since you find these reviews “fair and reasonable”, I am returning them to you. They do not indicate a sufficient understanding of the subject to be useful to me.
In short, another exercise in futility was complete.
My letter to Professor Ralph Greif (University of California at Berkeley) dated 10/5/90 submitted an abstract of my linear view for presentation at the 1991 ASME/AIChE National Heat Transfer Conference.
Professor Greif’s letter of 2/11/91 was a rejection notice, and enclosed several negative reviews.
The reviews reflected so little competence that I sent the letter dated 2/27/91 to Professor Greif. The letter described the 1964 episode with the AIChE Journal, and enclosed a copy of the galley proofs. It also cited a number of reasons the reviewers gave for rejecting the manuscript, and explained why the reasons were unsound. For example:
The power law is implied by theoretical models and “fundamental studies” and dimensional analysis. (Don’t these reviewers know that the scientific method is induction BEFORE deduction? Don’t they know that nature dictates behavior—not models and theories and studies?)
Demonstrating that the data are linear is not sufficient “to fully refute the power law”. (This statement is patently ridiculous. Data is both necessary and sufficient to establish behavior.)
The letter goes on to state:
I am sure your advice to revise my nucleate boiling article in line with the reviewers’ comments was well intended. But I will not do that because the manuscript in its present form is correct, and I will not make it less than correct. I would rather it went unpublished for another 30 years.
My article was finally published in 1994, but not in the AIChE Journal. It was published in the International Journal of the Japanese Society of Mechanical Engineers, Series B, Volume 37, No. 2, pp 394-402 (1994).
It was just as current and just as important in 1994 as it was in 1964 when it was accepted, but not published, in the AIChE Journal.
The article is seldom (if ever) referenced in American engineering literature.
 In 1963, the “Rohsenow correlation” was the most widely used and recommended correlation for nucleate boiling heat transfer. (It is still (2005) the generally recommended correlation.) Professor Rohsenow was recently honored by the ASME on the 50th anniversary of his nucleate boiling correlation.
 It is mind-boggling to note that, in spite of its paramount importance, there was and is very little data presented in digital form in the literature. Generally, the data are “presented” in the form of dimensionless groups plotted on log log charts. From such charts, it is identically impossible to quantify the underlying data. See my letter to Professor Bliss dated 9/18/63.
 I met Professor Bonilla (Columbia) while working at GE in 1963. I was in charge of a boiling liquid metal heat transfer experimental facility, and was working on a NASA space power program. Dr. Bonilla was a consultant to GE. After I left GE, we continued to correspond, and I was visiting him at his home in 1963 when I showed him the linear charts of the data he had published in 1945. As noted in my letter, he was amazed that the data indicated linearity, but he considered both the linear view and the nonlinear view to be correct. I was unable to convince him that only one view could be generally correct.
 I later surmised that the “responsible person” was Professor James W. Westwater (University of Illinois-urbana)
 I never learned this person’s title or first name. That is why he is referred to simply as “Hsu”, in the manner of Professor Bliss.
 Professor Charles P. Costello (University of Washington). He was the anonymous, favorable reviewer. Via Professor Bliss, I had sent him a letter requesting that he reveal his identity to me, and he did. We exchanged several letters.