Chemistry Scandal BrewingDecember 4th, 2005
This post originally appeared on www.paulbracher.com/blog
The word on the street is that any day now, a professor at a top 10 chemistry department will retract multiple papers from a highly-respected scientific journal. While I don’t want to be the person who outs the man in print, I am surprised that no one seems to have broken this story on the Internet.
And the story is a juicy one–at least for nerdy chemistry-types like me. Apparently, instead of checking the data himself, the advisor fired one or more students because they could not reproduce the questionable results. Eventually, other students set a trap to catch their offending labmate and later discovered exactly how the original grad student fabricated data. Now, someone’s going to lose a Ph.D. and who knows what else will happen. I can’t imagine that the professor won’t be held responsible in some manner.
The most scandalous aspect of the story is how long the professor has taken to announce his misconduct. The misconduct has been known for months, but so far, the only news on the subject has come through chemistry gossip channels. The papers were ground-breaking, and I imagine that a number of labs around the world are working on the same subject. Shouldn’t the professor stand up and admit the data was fabricated so that people will stop wasting grant money trying to replicate the results? Can he be held liable by the government for negligence? Will Congress look into this? Will major news outlets pick up the story?
More thoughts when the retractions are published. As a disclaimer, the above information may be wrong given the fact that no “official” news has been published on the subject. This said, I’ve heard the same story from no fewer than five different people, most of whom have a direct tie to the chemistry department in question.
- The Super Terrific Happy Fun Blog » Still Waiting… Says:
December 12th, 2005 at 11:48 pm […] Yet another week has gone by without those chemistry retractions I’ve been waiting for. What the hell is taking so long, buddy? Over a month ago, I heard that someone suggested it’d be best to wait for the holidays, when people are away from work and broadband Internet access, to finally come clean. You’re not actually considering this, right? […]