Now Online: The AD-X2 Controversy

This is the story of an agency fighting to defend the principle of scientific integrity and of a public servant standing up to do what is right while under attack in politics and the news media.

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Now Online: The AD-X2 Controversy

During the 1940s, scientific integrity was put into question by a packet of salt

(NIST: Gaithersburg, MD) — The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has released a documentary, The AD-X2 Controversy, that highlights a moment in history when scientific integrity came under attack.

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Check out the documentary on YouTube and go behind the scenes on the NIST website.


It all began in the 1940s when an entrepreneur began selling AD-X2, a chemical additive that he claimed would extend the life of car batteries. But at the National Bureau of Standards, the federal agency now known as NIST, scientists had evidence showing that the additive was ineffective. Then the showdown began.

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What came next is a story of scientific tests, government hearings, firings, rehirings, a media firestorm, and much, much more… all, as actor Sean Astin—whose grandfather, the scientist Allen V. Astin, led the agency at the time—put it, “over batteries?”

Published: Thursday, January 4, 2024 – 12:00