Plastic Fantastic: How the Biggest Fraud in Physics Shook the Scientific World

Plastic Fantastic: How the Biggest Fraud in Physics Shook the Scientific World

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by Eugenie Samuel Reich
     
 

"Jan Hendrik Schon was a wunderkind physicist at the world-renowned Bell Laboratories when he claimed to have discovered an easy method for making transistors, the switches that power computer chips. Had his experiments worked, they would have paved the way for huge advances in energy technology and electronics. His work was published in prestigious journals,

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Overview

"Jan Hendrik Schon was a wunderkind physicist at the world-renowned Bell Laboratories when he claimed to have discovered an easy method for making transistors, the switches that power computer chips. Had his experiments worked, they would have paved the way for huge advances in energy technology and electronics. His work was published in prestigious journals, vetted by Nobel laureates, and promoted by senior managers at Bell Labs. But when fellow researchers failed to re-create his results, the scientific community learned that it had fallen victim to the biggest fraud in the history of physics." In this compelling narrative, former New Scientist editor Eugenie Samuel Reich reveals the dangers of extreme competition in science: how brilliant men and women can blind themselves to sloppy documentation in pursuit of career advancement; how the pressure to produce can lead laboratory chiefs to promote untested data; and how incentives to publish can drive individuals to abandon professional ethics. Reich's psychological account will resonate with anyone who works in any field where the stakes rest on the tension between human integrity and professional ambition.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780230224674
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
05/12/2009
Series:
MacSci Series
Pages:
272
Product dimensions:
6.50(w) x 9.54(h) x 0.99(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 Into the Woods 11

2 Hendrik 27

3 A Slave to Publication 45

4 Greater Expectations 65

5 Not Ready to Be a Product 85

6 Journals with "Special Status" 105

7 Scientists Astray 129

8 Plastic Fantastic 151

9 The Nanotechnology Department 163

10 The Fraud Taboo 183

11 Game Over 209

Epilogue 235

Notes and Additional References 241

Index 259

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