Bell Labs Fires Its Top Scientist

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Bell Labs Fires Its Top Scientist

Jan Hendrick Schon, Bell Labs’ top researcher since 1998, has been fired by Bell Labs, reportedly for falsifying and manipulating scientific data and then reporting his research results as valid from 1998 to 2001. The research covered studies in the fields of molecular electronics, superconductivity, and molecular crystals, and was published in several noteworthy scientific publications.

The inconsistencies of the research data were discovered by independent scientists when they tried to reproduce the results of the reported experiments, but were unable to do so. Bell Labs then brought in its own committee of scientists and engineers to examine the data and perform tests, and reportedly found that Schon had “intentionally or recklessly” falsified data at least 16 times.

The committee also determined that Schon had done this on his own, “without the knowledge of any of his co-authors.” Schon was considered an innovator and expert in the field of nanoelectronics, the creation of molecule-sized electronic components. Bell Labs, a Nobel Prize-winning laboratory, is the research facility for Lucent Technologies.