Friday, September 27, 2002 Fenwick Island, DE
NOTE: Thousands of hopelessly misinformed activists descended
on Washington, DC today vowing, as they do each year, to disrupt the annual
meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. The APS Washington
Office is closed as a precaution.
1. MISCONDUCT: SHOEN INVESTIGATION COMMITTEE
A committee appointed by Bell Labs to investigate allegations of falsified
data in papers on which Jan Hendrik Shoen was the lead author, confirmed
the worst fears of the physics community. The Committee, chaired by Malcolm
Beasley, concluded it was "a clear, unambiguous case of scientific
misconduct." The panel cleared Shoen’s coauthors of scientific
misconduct, but concluded, that "by virtue of their coauthorship,
they implicitly endorsed the validity of the work. There is no implication
here of scientific misconduct; the issue is one of professional responsibility."
The panel noted that this difficult issue has not been carefully considered
by the scientific community. It will certainly be considered now. Victor
Ninov had as many as 15 coauthors in his fabricated work on super-heavy
elements (WN 19 Jul 02).
2. THE QUESTION: WHY WOULD A BRIGHT,
RESPECTED SCIENTIST DO THIS?
In a prepared statement, Schoen said he believes his discoveries are real.
He is not the first scientist to attempt to anticipate what Nature will
do. Nor is he the first to go into denial if the experiment shows that
Nature has something else in mind.
3. ISS: RUSSIA WANTS TO MOTHBALL THE
Just last week, WN reported that a National Research Council panel, The
Task Group on Research on the International Space Station, had raised
serious questions about the value of continuing research on the ISS (WN
20 Sep 02). On Wednesday, it was disclosed that a top Russian space
official, Valeri Riumin, had written his NASA counterpart, Bill Gerstenmaier,
to propose mothballing the ISS to save money. Riumin called the situation
"desperate." It seems there will never be enough celebrity tourists
to make ISS pay. Russia, of course, has experience, having mothballed
Mir for more than a year. It looks like a plan the US should embrace.
From a political standpoint, it’s not quite the same as scrapping
4. INTELLIGENT DESIGN: NATIONAL ACADEMY JOINS COBB COUNTY
In Cobb County, Georgia, as elsewhere, religious fundamentalists failed
to get creationism taught in the schools, so they said it was really "creation
science." When that failed, they pushed for its thinly disguised
twin, intelligent design. They persuaded the Cobb County School Board
to adopt a sticker for high school science textbooks: " Evolution
is a theory, not a fact, regarding the origin of living things."
Bruce Alberts urged Academy members in Georgia to lobby the Cobb Board
to remove the disclaimer.