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 (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 .

The old address ( 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.