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|63270. Sat Apr 01, 2006 10:45 am
Why did the Germans give Jan Hendrick Schon given a standing knocking?
For trying to escape.
They couldn't afford a room.
Because they thought he was one of the most brilliant scientists of his generation.
One of the most dramatic cases of scientific fraud involved Jan Hendrik Schon, a German physicist who claimed a number of great breakthroughs in the field of nanotechnology. He’s remarkable not only for the scale of his deceptions, but more significantly for the fact that his work was properly peer-reviewed - he wasn’t some maverick, working alone, but a man seen as heading for the Nobel who worked with prominent collaborators.
His claims were startling and revolutionary, and he received honours everywhere he went (including a “standing knocking” in Germany). A Princeton professor said that Schon had “defeated chemistry”. His papers were published only in leading journals. And yet the holes they were full of were staringly obvious. The case brought into question the effectiveness of the whole system of peer-review.
“In 2001, he was listed as an author on an average of one research paper every eight days.” [two or three a year is good going, according to one of the sources below.]
Investigators “found that whole data sets were reused in a number of different experiments.”
I saw these results being presented to a German audience," says James Heath of UCLA, "and they knock on the chairs instead of clapping. It was incredible - they got a 'standing knocking.' I thought, These guys are going to Stockholm." Less than five years after finishing graduate school, Jan Hendrik Schön was in contention for the Nobel prize.
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