During some tests, an excess of neutrons was detected and originally attributed to a short lived fusion reaction. On January 24, 1958 they released a press statement revealing the secret project and heralding its success with promises of limitless inexpensive power.
The announcement was premature. After re-examining the data, another press release announced the device never achieved fusion at all. English nuclear science lost a lot of respect in the scientific community because of the error.
Find out what else occurred on this day in science history.