Tuesday, December 1, 2009

59% and done

Mr. 11jigen (meaning 11 dimensions), the owner of Japanese blog, has finally sent out an official accusation (in Japanese) on massive plagiarisms in Dr. Anilir's Ph. D. thesis. He even attached over 70 printed reference materials (mostly plagiarized sources). The accusation was cosigned by Mr. 781, who had earlier sent an accusation on Dr. Anilir's use of research grant.  At this moment, 59%(!!) of the thesis is identified as plagiarisms.

It was received by the University of Tokyo administration on November 30th. Great Job, Mr. 11jigen! Many other people also contributed to the investigation of Dr. Anilir's thesis.

Friday, November 27, 2009


I just found out that two e-mails, which I received weeks ago, were erroneously filtered into the spam folder. I was completely unaware of this. The messages in the spam folder are deleted after 30 days, so it is possible that some messages were sent to the spam folder and later deleted without my knowing.

I am sorry if this happened to you. If you sent me an e-mail more than 30 days ago, but never received my reply, please let me know.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Reported in Turkey

Arda Mevlutoglu told us in a comment to this blog, that the problems with Dr. Anilir were reported by a mainstream Turkish newspaper:


The article also appears to be distributed in an internet news site:


UPDATE:  the problem was also reported in Turkish TV (ATV)
(from 3min37sec)

More detailed(?) news report on TV
(thanks to Anonymous comment for the information)

In response to the news reports in Turkey, Dr. Anilir posted an excuse in his Turkish blog:

His Japanese blog remains silent after September 26th, although he used to post at least one entry every month until September.

How was this investigation started?

This entry perhaps should have been posted first. I apologize for posting this late.

A frequently asked question about the recent investigation of Dr. Anilir's career is how it was started and spread recently, after the negligence over several years. Some people suspect (or try to downplay our effort by claiming) that it must come from personal resentment, which is completely wrong as you will understand by reading the following.

First, I have to clarify that what I am reporting on this blog is mostly not my own research, but result of collective efforts by many people (I also contribute as one of them, but my share is tiny.)

It seems that some people had suspicion about Dr. Anilir before. However, if you do not have a solid evidence, it would be difficult to accuse someone. It also involves certain risk.

Dr. Anilir was fairly well known, but he was not famous enough. Many people had not (and perhaps still have not) heard about him. Things might have changed a little, when an article featuring Dr. Anilir appeared as one of the "Front Runner" special series article in Asahi Shimbun (newspaper) on August 29th, 2009. Asahi is one of the largest newspapers in Japan (officially, 8 million copies are printed for every issue), and it featured him in substantial depth (full 1 and 1/2 page) -- although most of the content now seems to be fantasy. The "Front Runner" series featured, for example, Bill Gates in the past. Maybe he got more attention because of this article in Asahi Shimbun.

Then enters "2 channel" -- the largest internet forum in Japan. Most postings there are made anonymously, and the quality of the postings varies wildly. Some people (especially those in traditional mass media) tend to downplay or ridicule internet forums, especially "2 channel". In fact, occasionally, some stupid people use "2 channel" to announce criminal acts and get arrested. (You can usually maintain anonymity at "2 channel", but they keep the access log and disclose to law enforcement agencies upon official request. Announcement to kill someone is a crime by itself, so the police will investigate and ask for the log!)

On the other hand, although it is overlooked by traditional media, some serious (and often very professional) discussions also take place in "2 channel". It has many sub-forums (called ita or "boards" in "2 channel"), and several of them are devoted to sciences. On the "Sciences - General" board, there was a thread on paper submission, where people were discussing how to write a paper and go through the review process, etc.

Meanwhile, someone got to know about Dr. Anilir (maybe from the Asahi article, but I don't know) and looked at his publication list in his web page at the University of Tokyo. At a glance, it looked like a normal publication list with many papers. But he or she noticed that there was a very strange "paper" in the listing -- Physical Review Letters published by Cambridge University Press, and the article is claimed to have more than 10 pages. Anyone with some research experience in physics would immediately smell something strange. I am not sure if anybody with physics background looked at the publication list previously in Japan. Maybe someone noticed, but did not know how to deal with it. Actually, we learned that "feyerabend" (who I think also contributes to this blog) did notice the problem with PRL (and some others) and posted to Turkish internet forum(?) "sourtimes" earlier, on May 18th, 2009. Maybe our "2 channel" just has more population to start a large-scale movement.

Anyway, in Japan, the person who noticed the problem with "Physical Review Letters" paper posted the finding to the thread discussing paper submission, in "Sciences - General" board of "2 channel". It was on September 5th, 2009, just one week after the article in Asahi Shimbun. It got attention of scientists participating in the same thread, and on September 9th, a new thread to discuss exclusively the "Serkan affair" was started. The story was spread gradually over "2 channel" (especially science-related boards) and attracted quite a few scientists and engineers. I am just one of them.

Later, the information was spread not only in "2 channel" but also through other internet media. Investigation was also extended in other places, in particular at Japanese blog where the findings of "2 channel" are also summarized. This is also an interesting subject in the history of this affair, but let me stop here for now. I just mention that the "Serkan affair thread" in "2 channel" is now 10th in its series. Every thread is closed after 1,000 postings, so there have been almost 10,000 postings in the "Serkan affair thread" so far.

Anyhow, the current investigation was ignited by the anonymous posting in "2 channel" on September 5th. Most of the people involved in the investigation, including myself, did not know about Dr. Anilir before that epoch-making posting, so there was not even a chance to have any personal resentment. It is also interesting to recall that "2 channel" is often regarded as a crazy, underground place, especially by traditional media. At least concerning Dr. Anilir, however, it quickly accumulated most precise information which was not known by newspapers or authorities like the University of Tokyo.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

More Cancellations......

Some people are worrying (or hoping?) if he is still enjoying the same life as before. Of course, as the problem is getting attention of more people, many of his activities have been canceled or affected significantly. Some update since the last report.

・Oct. 31, 2009, Lecture at Istanbul Book Fair, TUYAP Istanbul: canceled Updated Program, compare to Prior Announcement
・Nov. 9, 2009,  Special Lecture at Department of Architecture, Kyushu University: canceled Schedule (in Japanese, PDF)
・Nov. 27, 2009, Plenary talk at International Design Forum: canceled Updated Program, compare to Prior Announcement
・Toshiba Elevator Corp. "Future Elevator Contest": Dr. Anilir was listed as a judge, but removed from the web page on Nov. 16, 2009 without any explanation. 
"Serkan College":  apparently kicked out from the original Tokyo venue in "Midtown Tokyo".  On the web, they announce that "The location will be notified to each participant in private". "Liaison Center" used to be a co-organizer, but has dropped out. We learned that many participants are now aware of the problem and demanding an explanation from the organizer.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Getting Ph. D. is so easy (for him)

One of the true statements (which are rare!) appearing in Dr. Anilir's CV is "Ph. D. in Engineering" from the University of Tokyo, obtained in 2003.

However, it is found that over half (53% as of writing this) of his Ph.D. thesis is copied from publications or web pages of other people. The investigation is still ongoing at Japanese blog. (Japanese blog is operated by another person.) Sorry, I haven't prepared English page for the investigation of the Ph.D. thesis. But perhaps you can understand to some extent by checking the Japanese blog (Dr. Anilir's thesis is written in English, and you can see the scanned image.)

If you find the "original" of his thesis which has not been pointed out, please kindly let us know (you can use the comment section of this blog, if you prefer.)

We wonder what would be the percentage of his contribution in the end??

Even we forget about "NASA Astronaut Candidate" and all other problems, the Ph. D. thesis alone seems to be a quite serious problem.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Denied in Turkey

Breaking News --- another report by a major newspaper

Asahi Shimbun, one of the largest newspapers in Japan, published an article entitled "Todai Assistant Professor Claiming an Astronaut Candidate: Reasoning Denied by Turkish Government" on the web and in the November 14th printed issue.

This time, the article explicitly mentions the name "Serkan ANILIR". According to the article, Dr. Anilir had submitted a document issued by Turkish Ministry of Transportation to the University of Tokyo, as an evidence of his claim that he is an astronaut candidate.  (It is not clear from the article when the document was submitted by Dr. Anilir. Maybe during the recent investigation.) However, on November 13th, Asahi Shimbun obtained a written comment from Turkish government that "the document is not issued by Turkish MInistry of Transportation, and the content does not represent the fact".

The article also reports that Dr. Anilir also submitted similar letters which are supposed to be issued by NASA and a Professor in the US who invited him to NASA projects. However, they also denied the authenticity of the letters.

Asahi Shimbun interviewed Dr. Anilir in late October about the suspicion surrounding his astronaut candidate claim. He told the newspaper that he took an astronaut training course, based on an agreement between Turkish Air Force and NASA. He could not speak more details because it is a military matter.

The article also reports the problems with his publication list, which was already published by Nikkei.

Well, misrepresenting career in Japan is one thing (which would be certainly very bad), but fabricating an official document from Turkish government is quite another. Wouldn't it be a criminal offense in Turkey? Maybe Dr. Anilir is feeling so sorry about the problem, that he is cornering himself? An interesting observation is that, apparently he did not submit an "official document" from Turkish Air Force which played part according to his story. (see also this entry.)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Finally, mass media is catching up

Breaking news ----

Nihon Keizai (abbrev. Nikkei) Shimbun, one of the largest newspapers and probably the most important financial newspaper in Japan, reported problems of "Assistant Professors of the University of Tokyo". The web article is here (in Japanese). In the printed evening issue of November 9th (Monday), more details are given.

Although Nikkei does not give the name of the person explicitly, it describes the person as

  • Male Assistant Professor in his 30s, at School of Engineering, the University of Tokyo
  • Obtained Ph. D. in Architecture from the University of Tokyo, in 2003
  • Belonged to JAXA as a researcher on termed contract, until 2005
  • Recruited by the University of Tokyo as "Joshu" in 2005, and "Jokyo" in 2007
  • Has written books on the space etc.
  • Appeared in various media
  • Claimed being the "first Turkish Astronaut Candidate", presenting a photo of himself wearing NASA spacesuit
Well, that should be more than enough to specify the person. You will also find that all of the above descriptions are completely consistent with what has been discussed in this blog.

Nikkei article reports that JAXA removed 4 papers from the activity report for the year 2003 because "their existence could not be proved". According to JAXA, in one of the 4 papers, the name of an author of an existing paper was replaced by his name. Another paper was claimed to be published in "Physical Review Letters" (PRL), one of the most respected journals in physics, but it cannot be found in any issue of PRL. Well, they are not news at all, for the readers of this blog :)

The Nikkei article, nevertheless, gives several interesting new information. According to the article, NASA commented that "There is no such fact (that Dr. Anilir is an Astronaut Candidate). Now the issue is investigated by NASA security office."

Moreover, Nikkei published comments by Dr. Anilir himself about the problems. According to the article, concerning the paper in which he replaced different person's name by his name, he claimed that he "wrote an article with the same content in Turkish." Concerning the non-existent paper in PRL, he "submitted a draft". FInally, concerning the Astronaut Candidate, he "participated in a special program between NASA and Turkish Air Force" (hey, didn't he write that he did not have military background??).

In addition, Jiji, a major news agency in Japan, also reported the problem on web (in Japanese). It is rumored that there will be more coverage in the morning issue of newspapers today (November 10th).

Monday, November 9, 2009

Moved to a new domain / Access from Turkey

I learned that, access from Turkey to blogspot.com (and to several other internet services provided by Google) is blocked due to some "problematic" contents hosted in the same domain. (Presumably NOT this blog :-) )

So I have moved this blog to a new domain:  now the URL is http://dranilir.research-integrity.net/ .

The old address (dranilir.blogspot.com) is of course still valid (automatically forwarded to the new address).

If you are from Turkey, have friends in Turkey, or familiar with Turkish internet forums, please spread the new address to people in Turkey. Thanks!

I suppose that access to the new place is not blocked, but please let me know if there is a problem. (Of course, your access is not blocked if you are reading this, but please let me know if you know somebody in Turkey who cannot read this.) I apologize for any inconvenience.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dr. Anilir's official positions

-- Update:  One of us asked the University of Tokyo about exact nature of Dr. Anilir's employment status: we obtained the confirmation that his "Jokyo" position is permanent one, not on a termed contract. In addition, it seems that official English title for "Jokyo" is "Assistant Professor", according to the policy of School of Engineering, the University of Tokyo.

A few readers from Turkey questioned about precise nature of Dr. Anilir's position.

What we confirmed is as follows:
  • In March 2003, he obtained Ph. D. in Engineering from the University of Tokyo.
  • After that, in Academic Year 2003, he was a "Space and Astronautical Project Research Staff" at ISAS (research division of JAXA).
  • There is no record of Dr. Anilir's exact position for Academic Year 2004. However, it is likely that he continued his "Project Research Staff" position in 2004 as well.
  • Since Academic Year 2005, he is an Assistant Professor at Department of Architechture, Faculty of Engineering, the University of Tokyo. No official affiliation with ISAS can be found since then.
In Japan, Academic Year starts in April (for example, Academic Year 2003 is from April 2003 to March 2004).

NOTE: Most of the links in this posting refer to documents in Japanese. Maybe they are not very useful for non-Japanese readers, but they are provided so that anyone can verify in principle.

I do not know what the "Project Research Staff" means at ISAS, but it usually implies an entry-level research position funded by some project money. Namely, it is not a regular (permanent) faculty or staff member of ISAS (JAXA). In fact, he does not appear in the "List of Researchers" in the ISAS annual report. This does not mean he was not at ISAS, but he was not part of the regular faculty/staff. His position was perhaps a good start for a fresh Ph. D., but looks nothing exceptional. In the annual report of ISAS for 2003, his name appears in the "Research Activity" section with the above title (and in the Publications and Presentations section.) In the annual report of ISAS for 2004, his name appears only in the Publications and Presentations section; there is no clear indication of his title. His name still does not appear on the "List of Researchers", it seems that he was not a regular faculty/staff in 2004 and in any academic year until 2007. His name is not found also in the current list of faculties at ISAS.

In any case, there is no evidence that Dr. Anilir was a "Director" of any Department at ISAS.

Dr. Anilir obtained the position "Joshu" at the University of Tokyo in 2005. The literal English translation of "Joshu" is "Assistant", maybe similar to Dozent in German system. However, the actual job was often much more independent than "Assistant", strongly depending on each place. Standard English translation was perhaps "Research Associate", but some people used "Assistant Professor " for "Joshu". "Joshu" was a part of faculty but usually they did not lecture regular class. In Science Departments, their job is often to take care of student experiment session. Since Academic Year 2007, Japanese Universities are regulated by a new law and the title of the job was changed to "Jokyo". Dr. Anilir also was transferred to "Jokyo" position. According to the new law, "Jokyo" is more like an independent faculty and closer to "Assistant Professor". In many places, the reality of the job did not change very much, however, before and after the new law. One indication of the tradition is that his group is still called as "Matsumura-Fujita Lab" (because of Professor Matsumura and Associate Professor Fujita in the group, without referring to Dr. Anilir). In any case, it would be fair to say that Dr. Anilir has been enjoying much of academic(??) freedom before and after 2007, without much pressure to "assist" his Professor.

For the English translation of "Jokyo", "Research Associate" is still popular but "Assistant Professor" is also used (and is closer to the spirit of the new law.) I think each University or Department has some policy on the translation. I do not know the policy of his Department, but probably it is legitimate for him to use the title of Assistant Professor, in English. However, there seems no justification for his frequent use of the title "Associate Professor" (see for example the slide in the photo from his talk in Korea.)

The difference between "Assistant Professor" and "Associate Professor", however, might look a negligible problem after seeing grandiose claims found in former Turkish Wikipedia article.......

Friday, October 30, 2009

More from Kenchiku-Zasshi

Continuation from the previous post:

Prof. Taro Igarashi, an Associate Professor at Department of Architecture and Building Science, Tohoku University, and the Editor-in-Chief of Kenchiku-Zasshi (a journal published by Architectural Institute of Japan) started his own twitter.

He tweets

"If I am still on the editorial board, I would like to publish an urgent special article on 'why the Serkan affair has happened?' "

"Concerning publication of the article featuring Serkan in the October issue: should we comment something in December issue? I am contacting relevant people. Will the official announcement from School of Engineering, the University of Tokyo, be made before the deadline for the issue? It's a battle against time."

Again, I am quite impressed and appreciate his openness about the problem, and that he is treating it seriously.

(Note: Family names, not given names, are usually used in Japan outside family. However, Dr. Anilir mostly refers himself as "Serkan", so he is known as "Serkan" or "Mr. Serkan" in Japan.)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Under investigation? (remarks added)

Breaking News------

Dr. Shunsuke Kurakata, a well-known scholar on architectural history, said in his tweet (at 2:51AM Oct 27th)

Additional Remarks:

It appears that Dr. Kurakata became aware of the questions surrounding Dr. Anilir, only very recently on Oct 25th. After that, he often tweets about Dr. Anilir. Dr. Kurakata is on the editorial board of Kenchiku-Zasshi (Journal of Architecture and Building Science), a journal mostly in Japanese language, published by Architectural Institute of Japan (Society of Architects and Architectural Scholars).

As an interesting coincidence, we learned that the current issue of Kenchiku-Zasshi includes an article featuring Dr. Anilir as an "Intelligent navigator, who opens up the future". Dr. Kurakata quotes the Editor-in-Chief of the journal saying "This is a human version of Sokal Affair!".

While they might have to reflect seriously on their editorial policy, we appreciate the openness of Dr. Kurakata and his colleagues.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Dr. Serkan Anilir was invited to speak at "TEDx Taipei" in Taiwan, on October 17th. His name was on the program until a few days before the event. As always, he was introduced as an "Astronaut Candidate". However, mysteriously, his trace cannot be found anywhere in the final program.

He was also invited to speak at a Symposium in Sendai, Japan, organized by Miyagi University on November 5th, together with a famous architect Mr. Kitagawara. Again, he was introduced as an "Astronaut Candidate", and he was supposed to speak about "environment of earth, viewed from the space." However, we just learned that apparently his name is now removed from the program - by strikeouts! It seems that there was more mercy in Taiwan.

The reason of the cancellation is not known :-) We can just tell you that, apparently quite a few people alerted the organizers of something.......

Saturday, October 24, 2009

How to send an accusation, in the 21st Century

Friends, I am sorry for not posting a new entry for a week. Did you think that I was running out of new materials? It is in fact quite the opposite: I am overwhelmed by too many materials! Hopefully I will be able to cover them, one by one.

Meanwhile, there were some developments in Japan. A nice guy :-) finally sent out an official inquiry to the University of Tokyo, concerning Dr. Anilir's use of research funding. There is a dedicated address (operated by an independent office), in order to receive accusation on possible misuse of research funds at the University of Tokyo. Accusations is not a new business, but the new aspect this time is that he made the letter public, along with the postal tracking code, on the internet. Anyone could track the delivery of the letter :-) [The letter was delivered to the office, and then already forwarded to the University.] Did anybody foresee such a use of the internet?

Want to see the photo of the package? also this one?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Plagiarism in 11 dimensions

Dr. Anilir claims he is a cosmologist who studied "11 dimensional theory of the universe". In his book "Space Elevator", he tries to explain his "theory" to the readers. Because it is a book for general public, he does not attempt to explain scientific details. (It is certainly understandable. However, we do not find any serious scientific paper on cosmology by him.) Instead, he shows several nice-looking figures to illustrate his "theory".

However, unfortunately, many of them seem to belong to other authors.

In page 66 of "Space Elevator", Dr. Anilir presents a figure with the caption "'Anilir model of the universe' from the viewpoint of the newly created concept of 'outside the universe'".
However, the identically-looking figure can be found at the web page of Dr. Schombert at University of Orgeon : http://abyss.uoregon.edu/~js/lectures/cosmo_101.html See also http://abyss.uoregon.edu/~js/copyright.html
The original figure of the curved surface seems to be (shown above, the figure in black and white)
William P. Thurston and Jeffrey R. Weeks. The Mathematics of Three-dimensional Manifolds. Scientific American, pages 108--120, July 1984.

Dr. Anilir is even selling "11-dimensional universe T-shirts": http://bearing.ws/
The web site claims "Let's start traveling another dimension, wearing the shape of the universe nobody has seen before." Sorry, I am afraid that the shape was seen before....

Likewise, he presents a strange-looking figure in page 65, with the caption "Model of the '11-dimensional theory of the universe' submitted to a physics journal of Cambridge University. A new concept going beyond the standard theory in cosmology was proposed."

Curiously, however, the same figure appears to illustrate "4-dimensional house" in the web article featuring Dr. Anilir: http://magazine.moonlinx.jp/sp/000490.html Apparently Dr. Anilir himself is rather confused. Is it 11-dimensional or 4-dimensional?

In fact, again, we can find the identical figure at


In page 71, he again shows a beautiful picture with the caption "'Outside the universe' captured by 11-dimensional point of view. Looking from 'outside the universe', there exist various universes with different laws from the environment in the earth. The universe is kept by the balance of each." (Sorry if this does not sound meaningful; I tried to translate what the original Japanese caption says.)

Now, we are not so much surprised when we find the identically-looking figure elsewhere:

http://az.theforceisstrong.co.uk/entranced/graphics.php (second of the figures at the top)
(A bigger figure, shown above, was salvaged from the internet archive)

So, what about Dr. Anilir's "11-dimensional theory of the universe"? We don't find any scientific paper of him on the subject, and several figures which are supposed to represent the theory are apparently taken from works of other people.....

Thursday, October 15, 2009

SERKAN College

A reader from Turkey asked about "SERKAN College" - what is it?

http://serkancollege.jp/ (content is in Japanese)

In short, it is not really a college or university. It has no official status as an educational institution and does not grant any degree. However, of course, people attending the "SERKAN College" are well aware of that and there should be no misunderstanding among the participants about this point.

"SERKAN College" is in fact an opportunity to attend a series of lectures (6 lectures of 2 hours each), given approximately once every two months, by Dr. Anilir. Someone has made the arrangement and taken the task of organization. You have to pay 10,000 Japanese Yen (about US$ 110 as of writing this) to attend each lecture, so 60,000 Yen in total to attend the entire series. They do not have their own building but are renting some lecture rooms. "SERKAN College" has been offered in three cities: Tokyo, Osaka, and Shizuoka. In Tokyo, they write that the capacity is 80 people and it was filled quickly.

So it is not a college in usual sense at all. However, it is remarkable that quite a few people are willing to pay 10,000 Yen each time (and spend their precious time) to attend Dr. Anilir's lectures. And their purpose is not to obtain any degree or qualification; they are motivated by genuine interest in his lectures. This certainly underwrites his talking skill. On the other hand, as always, he is introduced as "cosmologist" "astronaut candidate" and so on, at "SERKAN College". And he is supposed to talk, for example, about cosmology as a "cosmologist". Most attendants apparently believe in those "experiences" and "qualifications" of Dr. Anilir. What a shock for them, if they learn many of the claims might not be true?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

In every field, there is a pioneer

Even a genius like Dr. Anilir must pay respect for his forerunners.

But perhaps Dr. Alsabti did not get as far as publishing several books for public, being invited to various governmental committees, opening a "college" with his name........

Monday, October 12, 2009

Did the Turkish Air Force General recommend Dr. Anilir to NASA for an astronaut candidate?

Response from readers in Turkey indicates that, in Turkey, Armed Forces are very serious and fearful presence. So, I would like to provide more details about what Dr. Anilir told about his relation to Turkish Air Force General in his books.

I am showing images of Pages 15 - 17 from his book "Space Elevator". (See this entry for his books.) The relevant paragraphs, starting at the bottom of Page 15, reads (in Japanese):


(skip to Page 17)
This may be translated to English as follows:
Later, when I was visiting NASA as a research scientist, it happens that the Air Force General (NOTE: the correct translation may be the Commander of the Air Force -- thanks for the comment) of my home country, Turkey, came to meet the top administration of NASA and people from American Military.
Around that time, in Turkey, there was a movement to produce the first astronaut from the nation. Usually, most of astronaut candidates have military background; it is customary to choose astronauts from Air Force pilots or research scientists at military institutions.
I was introduced at the meeting, as a Turkish national who was active at NASA. However, we did not talk much on the occasion. I left the table, after being asked just a few questions, like subject of my study at NASA and my academic back ground.
It was only after I came back to Japan, that I was notified I was selected as one of the astronaut candidates, thanks to a direct recommendation by the Air Force General.
The reasons why I won the recommendation by the Air Force general, even though I was not from military and was just majoring in architecture, were the following, I heard: My advantage in physical abilities, as I was once a member of Turkish national ski team. My pilot license that was obtained when I was a college student, just because I was fascinated with the sky. My skill in several languages, thanks to my experience of living in various countries. And finally, the fact that I was working on space development.
Even though he is from military, the Air Force General thought highly of me, who was outside the military, and added me to the list of candidates. This shows his fairness and flexible attitude, which I respect very much.
Meeting between people opens the door to new voyage.

Very vivid and moving story, isn't it? :) However, after seeing the questions surrounding the "astronaut candidate" claim, it might look different. The affiliation with NASA is discussed in another entry. The claim that he was a member of Turkish national ski team will be discussed elsewhere -- but did readers from Turkey know about that?!

There is a similar story on another book "The space in your pocket". Here, he also shows a photograph (shown at bottom) with the Air Force general. Although it was attributed to the later date, the caption clearly says the person in the picture is the General who recommended Dr. Anilir for an astronaut candidate. The caption says (in Japanese)

May 14th, 2008. The person in the center, showing his back, is Turkish Air Force General. This is the person who recommended me for an astronaut. At Izmir(?) University.
We can imagine how the Turkish Air Force General was proud and happy when he saw Dr. Aniril, who was selected as an astronaut candidate because of his recommendation, in spacesuit with stars and stripes on shoulder.

The apparently same photograph in color (shown below) can be found in his Japanese blog: (dated Dec 9, 2007) http://blog.anilir.net/?eid=622294
Strangely, in his blog, he describes the photo as a scene from "Infra-Free Workshop" at Izmir Economic University, in December 2007 (whereas the photo is dated as May 14th, 2008.) In the blog, he also says that the woman standing next to him is his mother.

According to the comment by Arda Mevlutoglu:
The young man in uniform is an NCO-cadet. He is in his second year in NCO School, hence the Roman numeral "II" just above the crescent and the star figure in the rank insignia. You can also see the letters "M.Y.O.", the abbreviation of "Meslek Yuksek Okulu", which translates as "Occupational High School" (?). M.Y.O is the place where NCO's are trained.

This basically means that, the older man in uniform standing against the camera is basically in charge of the younger man in uniform, i.e NCO-cadets. From this angle and color density, my educated guess is, he is a major, hence the silhouette of his rank symbols on top of his shoulders. He is light years away from being a general and aeons away from being the commander of Turkish Air Force or any other person who is authorized to advise Mr Anilir to any position such as an astronaut!


Turkish Wikipedia entry "Serkan Anilir"

Armagan, a reader from Turkey, kindly took the effort of translating Turkish version of Wikipedia article on Dr. Anilir. As he pointed out (and we were also noticing partially through computer translations), there was a significant difference from what is told in Japan (and in English version of Wikipedia). Of course, anyone can edit Wikipedia so we are not sure who wrote them, but this still suggests an interesting difference between what is told in Turkey and elsewhere. As of writing this, the entry "Serkan Anilir" in Turkish Wikipedia seems to be deleted(?). In any case, I am posting Armagan's valuable contribution with his (her?) permission. We will later discuss the discrepancy from what has been known or told outside Turkey.

The Turkish wikipedia entry for Serkan ANILIR: (As last accessed on 6 September, 2009, 4 am) (Anyone may verify my translation indepentently. However, recently - September 2009 onward, please note that there is heavy editing activity on both the Turkish and English wiki articles of Serkan Anilir, which can be tracked on the revision histories of respective language wiki sites. Also, since the publication of blogs in Japan in early September about Dr. Anilir's career, we must expect more overhaul of his encyclopedic info.elsewhere, as well.)

Serkan Anilir (born 22 March 1973) , Turkish scientist, physicist, academician, the first Turkish astronaut candidate, JAXA Technological Development Department President, lecturer at University of Tokyo. Serkan Anilir was born in 1973 in Cologne, Germany. Eldest of a worker family's three children. Graduated from [Istanbul] Yildiz Technical University's Faculty of Architecture in 1996 and was admitted to Germany's Bauhaus Academy during the same year for post graduate [study]. In 1997, entered as assistant to the same university's computerized design department and directed the space station design of European Space [sic. and Aviation] Agency. Realized his engineering graduate study on high technology structures. In 1999, upon invitation from Japan, came for doctoral study to University of Tokyo. The same year, was employed by the Kajima Company's design division, where he directed the design of the 800-meter high DIB200 building, which was planned to be constructed in Japan. Upon reverberations the project brought about, was invited in 2000 to NASA's Space Elevator Study Program and was appointed to head the project during the same year. Two months later, renewed the Space Elevator Project under the name of ATA and headed a group comprised of 58 experts and students at JAXA. To date, played roles in the designh of JAXA's Hayabasu Satellite and the development of the Kibo Module, which is planned to be annexed to the International Space Station. Besides the ATA Space Elevator, prepared annenna designs with his own group for Solar Antennae Project, again one of the most important technology programs of JAXA. The designs prepared as part of the satellite and antennae designs have also been turned into toys by the Bandai company. In May of 2005, gained his assistant professorship [dozent-ship] by designing [accommodation] units, while maintaing the concept of Buildings That Do Not Require Infrastructure - Infra-Free concept, through transferring space technology to the Earth, enabling aid to survivors following natural disasters and permitting habitation in the Third World without any need for infrastructure. Thereby, became the youngest and the only foreign lecturer at the University of Tokyo. In 2004, won Cambridge University's Physics Award by his Space In the 11th Dimension Theorem, which he wrote during his years toward a doctorate degree, and in 2005 the American Medal of Honor for Science and Technology. On the same subject, published his first book in Japan titled Outside of Space. Dr. Anilir, who served as guest professor at Princeton, Hong Kong, Roma, Naples, Munich and Montreal universities, also participates in research in NASA Johnson Space Center and NASA Ames Reseach Center. Having assumed the responsibility of training and technology [operations] of the Design and Engineering Committee at the American Space Aviation Institute [?NASA], Dr. Anilir has more than 100 international publications, and he is included in the Scientists of the Century Encyclopedia published by the Marquis Group. Since 2005, heads the presidency [directorship] of JAXA's technology development and transfer group and serves as an academician at the University of Tokyo. Dr. Anilir is also the first Turkish astronaut canditate, one of [our] select scientists that promote Turkey in the international arena in the field of science and technology. In 2006, has been chosen as the [sic] youngest brain that guides science in Japan. And through his television and radio programs which commenced in 2007, continues to represent our country [Turkey] in the far-east. In 2006, transferred his ATA Space Elevator project to cinematic screen. In 2007, drew and directed the scenes about Infra-Free systems within the 28-part Real Drive animation series, which was broadcast on Nihon Television. In 2008, his third book he wrote in Japan, Time Machine, was also made into a movie, and premiered at EXPO Center in the city of Tsukuba. Dr. Anilir is one of the most recognized foreigners in Japan. Today, continues his endeavours in his country [Turkey] through a project called Let's Become A Scientist For A Day. In 2009, opened his own school called Serkan College in Tokyo and began to give education on advanced technologies.

BOX: Serkan Anilir Birth: 22 March 1973 Cologne, Germany Nationality: Republic of Turkey, Institutes: Kajima Corporation (Tokyo) NASA (Houston) JAXA (Tokyo) University of Tokyo (Tokyo) Tokyo Science University (Tokyo) Tsukuba University (Tsukuba) Princeton University (Princeton) University of Rome (Rome) University of Naples (Napoli) University of Montreal (Quebec) Awards recieved: Spain, Zamora Award (2002) England, Cambridge Physics Award (2004) USA, American Medal of Honor (2005) Japan, Young Scientist Guiding Technology Award (2007)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Has Dr. Anilir ever worked at NASA?

Dr. Serkan ANILIR claims that he has once worked at NASA as a leader of a space elevator project. According to what he writes in the Japanese book "The space in your pocket" (see also this entry):
  • Started working at NASA in April 2001 as a member of "Space Elevator" project team, while he was still a Ph. D. student (p. 49)
  • Later became an "advanced project leader" at NASA
  • Returned to Japan after the project expired
  • Obtained Ph. D. in March 2003
  • Started working at JAXA after finishing Ph. D. ("lecturer" according to his book, but the official report says he was a "project research staff" which is usually a non-permanent, entry-level position)
  • While he belonged to JAXA, he was also working at NASA
  • He was selected as a NASA astronaut candidate in 2004, thanks to the recommendation by the Turkish Air Force General.
The claim of being an astronaut candidate was already examined in another entry. Here we will discuss his affiliation with NASA. NASA makes many documents available on web, which can be searched from here. However, a simple search with the keyword "Anilir" yields no result. How is it possible that he was an "advanced project leader" there and still managed to leave no trace in NASA documents? This adds to the doubt on the existence of "ATA space elevator project" which was carried out at NASA, according to his books in Japanese.

He was invited to a panel discussion at "113th J. I. Forum" by Koso Nippon (Japan Initiative) on December 20th, 2006. According to the record (in Japanese), he said (in Japanese)

which is translated as
However, unfortunately, NASA is also [a part of] the Air Force. I was promoted to Colonel when I was at NASA; actually all the scientists at NASA are military personnel.

NASA was created according to "National Aeronautics and Space Act of 1958", and is nothing but the civilian agency as defined in Sec. 102 (b)

The Congress further declares that such activities shall be the responsibility of, and shall be directed by, a civilian agency exercising control over aeronautical and space activities sponsored by the United States, except that activities peculiar to or primarily associated with the development of weapons systems, military operations, or the defense of the United States (including the research and development necessary to make effective provision for the defense of the United States) shall be the responsibility of, and shall be directed by, the Department of Defense;
It is very difficult to understand how Dr. Anilir misunderstood such a fundamental fact about NASA after working there as an "advanced project leader". It is even more difficult to understand how he could be promoted to Colonel by working at NASA. That would be a very special accomplishment, achieved only by Dr. Anilir. Maybe we should call him Col. Anilir, instead of Dr. Anilir, to show our respect :-) Oh, and by the way, this might solve the mystery why he was proudly wearing the spacesuit with the "stars and stripes" (American national flag.)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Dr. Anilir's Mysterious Publication List for 2003

Dr. Serkan ANILIR obtained Ph. D. in Engineering from the University of Tokyo in 2003. Then he took a research staff position at Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS), now part of JAXA. Dr. Anilir's his scientific works were reported in the publication list within the annual report of ISAS for 2003. (original version)

NOTE: after the problem was surfaced, ISAS removed the 4 publications by Dr. Anilir from the annual report on the web, because "there were mistakes". The removal is announced, dated November 5, 2009, on the web page for the annual report 2003 (in Japanese). The removal of the publications was also reported by Nikkei and Asahi newspapers. See this and this entries of this blog. The "corrected" publication list no longer contains the 4 publications, existence of which was questioned by us. In the following, the original publication list before the removal is discussed. In fact, there are other publications in the list, and we wonder if existence of all of them has been confirmed or not.

 The publications attributed to Dr. Anilir are as follows (the numbers given by this blog):
  1. S. Anilir: The Role of Space-Based Manufacturing in an Evolving Space Economy: SPACEAN Workshop Publications, Turkish Air Force, Ankara-Turkey, (2003).
  2. S.Anilir: Designing in Parallel Universes and 11th Dimension: Physical Review Letter, January 2004 Edition, p.22, (2003).
  3. S. Anilir S.: Energy for Housing in the 21st Century- Advanced Technology Paths from Space Solar Power into Terrestrial Architecture: Journal of the Faculty of Architecture, Middle East Technical University (METU): Vol. 23, No. 9-10, (2003).
  4. B.TODD, S.Anilir: The NEEMO Project, A Report on how NASA utilizes the ‘Aquarius’ Undersea Habitat as an Analog for Long-Duration Space Flight: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Magazine, (2003).
  5. S.Anilir: Terraforming Mars: Popular Science Magazine, December Edition, Ankara, Turkey: p.12-18, (2003).
We found the following.

No. 2: The "Physical Review Letter" paper does not seem to exist, as discussed in another entry.

No. 3: The Journal exists and can be seen on-line. However, his paper cannot be found. In fact, it is a biannual publication and only "No. 1" and "No. 2" are issued. ("No. 9-10" in Dr. Anilir's entry cannot be found.) Moreover, it seems that the Journal was not issued in years 2001-2003. (Volume 20 in 2000, Volume 21 in 2004).

No. 4: NOAA Magazine existed and its archive is available on-line. However, Dr. Anilir's article cannot be found. On the other hand, in a different Proceedings, we found a paper with the same title.
Bill Todd and Marc Reagan, The NEEMO Project: A Report on How NASA Utilizes the “Aquarius” Undersea Habitat as an Analog for Long-Duration Space Flight
Engineering, Construction, and Operations in Challenging Environments: Earth & Space 2004, pp. 751-758, (doi 10.1061/40722(153)103)
The first author "Bill Todd" agrees with the above list. However, the second author of the Proceeding is Marc Reagan, not Serkan Anilir. It looks as if the title is taken from the paper of Todd and Reagan, the name of the second author is replaced by Dr. Anilir's name.

No. 1: The workshop might be the one found in this URL. So far we do not find Dr. Anilir's contribution here. Is there a published Proceedings?

No. 5: We are looking for the information about "Popular Science Magazine" published in Ankara, Turkey.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Dr. Anilir's books in Japanese

Armagan, a reader from Turkey, has the following question:
I wish to know what sort of books he has mainly written in Japanese;
are they serious academic treatises or popular children's books to encourage students about science?
I am answering the question here, as it might be of interest for other readers, too.

He has published three books so far in Japanese. He also contributed to another book which is a collection of articles written by many people. However, here I focus on the three books, of which he is the sole author. They are not academic publications, but for general public. The books are thought to encourage students about science, although they are also read by adults. Even when he talks about "science", often the actual content is more like a fantasy.

1. "Uchuu Elebehtah" (Space Elevator) published 2006/6/22
2. "Taimu Mashin" (Time Machine) published 2006/11/23
3. "Poketto no Naka no Uchuu" (The Space in Your Pocket) published 2009/8

Although the title of the first book is "Space Elevator", there is not so much detailed discussion of space elevator (although there is some explanation, of course.) The rest of the book is mixture of his personal experiences and his essay on various scientific subjects.

In the second book "Time Machine", he tells about his experience of trying to make a time machine when he was 15 years old. (The story already appeared in "Space Elevator" but he writes more details in this book.)

The third book "The Space in Your Pocket" is again mixture of his personal experiences (a kind of autobiography) and essay on various subjects (scientific and otherwise). Actually there is some overlap in his stories, with the other two books (it is not just a copy from the other books, but he tells again about the same story in several places.)

I do not know precise sales information of these books, but it seems that they have been selling well. All the publishers of his books are well-known, respected publishing companies in Japan.

Many of his personal "experiences" and author information in these books are now questioned. For example, see the posting on the "astronaut candidate" claim. We are also curious how his stories told in Japanese books are compared to what is told in Turkey. I will discuss these points later.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

National Pride

This entry is not very informative, but I couldn't resist :)

As you know, NASA is an American organization. However, space development requires global cooperation, and there are many international people who are involved in NASA projects. They include international astronauts and astronaut candidates. Let us look at some pictures of those bright people. As you see, everybody has his/her national flag on shoulder -- astronauts are a national pride, of course!

Julie Payette (CSA - Canada)
[Image Credit: NASA]

Leopold Eyharts (ESA - France)
[Image Credit: NASA]

Paolo A. Nespoli (ESA - Italy)
[Image Credit: NASA]

Koichi Wakata (JAXA - Japan)
[Image Credit: NASA]

Christer Fugelsang (ESA - Sweden)
[Image Credit: NASA]

Serkan Anilir (??? - Turkey?)
[Image Credit: Serkan Anilir?]

Robert J. Hieb (NASA - USA)
[Image Credit: NASA]

Wait, what happened to "the first Turkish NASA astronaut candidate"??

(For a more serious analysis, see this entry).

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Does Dr. Anilir's "ATA space elevator project" exist?

One of the most important works of Dr. Serkan Anilir is known as "ATA space elevator project". However, a careful examination reveals many questions, which make even the existence of the project doubtful.

In his Japanese books (for general public), he describes the "ATA space elevator project" was pursued at NASA. However, in Turkey, he claimed that he was the "Head of the Space Physics Department" of JAXA (Japanese counterpart of NASA), where the "ATA space elevator project" was carried out. However, there is no evidence of his claimed position and even of the Space Physics Department.

He gave a talk on the "ATA space elevator project" at ASANSOR 2005 in Istanbul, Turkey. His presentation file can be retrieved from here.
Note added (October 10, 2009): apparently the file is removed from ASANSOR site above. A colleague has a backup copy for your examination. Appeal to ASANSOR people: we would appreciate your co-operation to discover the truth.
The "cover" page (page 1) of the presentation is shown above.

On page 2, it appears that he lists the awards he obtained for the project. However, none of the records can be found from other sources.

On page 3, he shows the "ATA Project Team". Several people on this page are actually well-known persons (although we are not sure they are involved in the project.) However, there is an entry "Prof. Dr. Susumu NARA 2004 Physics Nobel Award Winner, Kyoto University". The physics Nobel laureates for 2004 were Gross, Politzer, and Wilczek (all in the USA). Moreover, no person of the name "Prof. Susumu NARA" is found among physicists at Kyoto, let alone among Japanese Nobel laureates.

On page 16, he presents a "U.S. Patent 6,378,203" which is supposed to be crucial for the "ATA space elevator project." However, the patent number given by him shows a completely different patent by different people. In fact, no U.S. patent related to Dr. Anilir can be found. You can verify that by yourself here: doing a search with "Anilir" as the search term yields no result.

The content of his presentation up to page 18 is introduction. Starting page 19, Dr. Anilir presents some technical analysis of the space elevator project. However, the technical part is very similar to the material on the webpage by Ranko Artukovic of Zadar, Croatia. In fact, many figures look identical. For example, we show page 21 of his presentation (left: upper panel), along with Fig. 2 of Artukovic (left:lower panel). At Internet Web Archive, you can verify that Artukovic's web page existed in 2001, well before Dr. Anilir's talk.

Finally, in his Japanese book "Space Elevator" (p. 32) and also in the web article, he uses a beautiful picture (shown left) to explain the "ATA Space Elevator project." However, it turns out that the same picture had appeared in the proceeding of International Astronautical Congress in 2004, by Dr. Brad Edwards. The picture actually consists of several parts, and these parts were first published in July 2004 issue of Discovery Magazine, in order to illustrate Dr. Edwards' plan for space elevators.

In conclusion, although the "ATA space elevator project" is often advertised as a very important project, the organization responsible for the project is unknown. The Project Team members include an unknown "Physics Nobel Award winner." The project is apparently based on a non-existing U.S. patent. More seriously, the technical analysis and the concept figures are strongly suspected of blatant plagiarism. It is difficult to expect that a real project on space elevator is ever carried out as "ATA space elevator project" led by Dr. Anilir.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Is Dr. Serkan ANILIR a cosmologist?

Dr. ANILIR claims he is a cosmologist (宇宙物理学者, cosomological physicist) and has studied "11-dimensional theory" of universe. He gives a brief explanation of his theory in his popular book "ポケットの中の宇宙" (the space in your pocket). He also tells the reader of his struggle for such an achievement. He claims he was awarded a prize for his work on the 11-dimensional theory.

In the CV which was on his web page at the University of Tokyo as of September 8th, 2009, he lists the following paper (later the entry was deleted from his web page):

ANILIR S., “ A Proposal to understand the 11th Dimensional membrane universes and their architectural forms in space environment”, Physical Review Letters, Cambridge University Press, 2003/09, p. 39-50.

However, anyone with research experience in physics would immediately question the above entry.
  • Physical Review Letters is published by American Physical Society, and not by Cambridge University Press.
  • Physical Review Letters only publishes Letters, and the length of each article is restricted to 4 pages or less.
  • Physical Review Letters discontinued using traditional page numbers, and articles are identified by a six-digit article number since 2001.
There cannot be a paper published as "p. 39-50" in Physical Review Letters, which is one of the best known and most prestigious journals in field of physics.

In the annual report of JAXA for year 2003 (when Dr. Anilir belonged to JAXA), a similar but different entry is found:
S.Anilir: Designing in Parallel Universes and 11th Dimension: Physical Review Letter, January 2004 Edition, p.22, (2003).
However, there is no paper published with Dr. Anilir as an author, in any Physical Review journals. (This can be verified at Physical Review Online Archive.) Furthermore, no publication in physics of Dr. Anilir can be found at Web of Science (subscription required), arXiv e-print archive, and SPIRES high-energy physics literature database. These databases cover most of publications in current physics research.

Is Dr. Serkan ANILIR an astronaut candidate?

Dr. Serkan ANILIR is said to be the first Turkish national selected as a NASA astronaut candidate. The statement appears on the author bio of his books, articles about him published in magazines and on the web. [An example of his profile in English]

In fact, in one of his Japanese books "ポケットの中の宇宙" (poketto-no-naka-no-uchuu, the space in your pocket), he tells the vivid story how he became the astronaut candidate. There is even a picture of Dr. Anilir in spacesuit, with the caption "Distributed to media when Dr. Anilir was selected as an astronaut candidate in year 2004." The same picture in color (shown above) appears in the web page announcing Dr. Anilir's lecture at Wakayama University in October 2006.

However, his name cannot be found anywhere in the list of astronauts or astronaut candidates published by NASA.

Moreover, serious problems are pointed out concerning his "spacesuit" picture:
Hence, there is a strong suspicion that Dr. Anilir's "spacesuit" picture is fabricated from an old picture taken in 1992. In fact, it is very similar to a picture of a NASA astronaut Mr. Richard J. Hieb who was on the STS-49 mission. It seems quite probable that Dr. Anilir's "spacesuit" picture is a fabrication based on the picture of Mr. Hieb in 1992.