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Yes, It's Old News, But

... a scientific scandal, involving a woman who received a chemistry Ph.D. at august Columbia University, and was a candidate for a Ph.D. in molecular biology at Heidelberg University in Germany, only recently came to my attention. Here's a photo of the Columbia Quad.

Image result for columbia university

The story is so fascinating that even the date of the investigative documents involved (2010) can't keep me from going over the ground here.

 Here's a link, for those who want to go further into the matter than I plan to go here:

Because federal grant money was involved, the HHS Department's Office of Research Integrity did a thorough review of the matter.

The culprit, Bengu Sezen, claimed to have developed a way of selectively activating C-H bonds. Think of the words "hydrocarbon" and "carbohydrates" and you have two good reasons for caring about the C-H bonds.

The selective activation of C-H bonds continues to be an active field of research. Alas, Sezen's claims to progress were an utter dead end.

One picturesque detail to arise out of the fraud: Sezen used correction fluid, ordinary "white out," to fake laboratory results, removing certain peaks in a spectrum read-out that didn't meet her hypothesis.

What fascinates me? Well, to begin, that white out. That's something I know. I don't really know what "to selectively activate C-H bonds" means. I'm not sure why it is considered tough to do so. I have no idea what the spectrum resulting from an experiment on the subject should look like. I'm a terrible ignoramus. BUT ... I know what correction fluid looks like and have used more than my share!

That this is a scandal about work on C-H bonds also reminds me in an odd way of the Velikovsky controversy of the '60s. Regular readers of this blog may know that the Velikovsky controversy is something of a "thing" for me.

One point I remember from reading about IV's theories: the passing of a celestial body close to Earth was supposed to explain the raining of "manna" while the Jews were in the wilderness. Why? Well ... one skeptic explained, such an event (if it had occurred) might explain the entry of hydrocarbons into the atmosphere, and Velikovsky might simply have confused hydrocarbons with carbohydrates. One C-H bond with another. So he might have thought he had a naturalistic explanation BOTH of the manna AND of "fire and brimstone" from the heavens. Killing both of those birds with the same astronomical stone.

Okay, too much free association.


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