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).

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