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Jan Hendrik Schön loses his PhD

schon.jpgPosted on behalf of Quirin Schiermeier

The University of Konstanz in Germany was correct to withdraw the doctoral degree of disgraced physicist Jan Hendrik Schön, a court in the state of Baden-Württemberg has ruled.

Schön, who was a staff physicist at Lucent Technologies’ Bell Labs in New Jersey, is notorious for having perpetrated a remarkable string of fabrications in the fields of organic and molecular electronics, several of which were published in Nature and Science between 2000 and 2002.

Last year, Schön had successfully sued his alma mater for its 2004 decision to revoke his 1997 PhD thesis (for which there is no suspicion of data fabrication). But in a 14 September judgement, the court agreed with Konstanz that later misconduct also showed ‘unworthiness’ to hold the doctorate. The court added that the judgement could not be appealed.


  1. Report this comment

    Tori Owens said:

    Wow. Accountability is all science has to stay relevant. Ethics issues set us back a million years. I’m highly saddened for researchers and scientists all over the world.

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    Unstable Isotope said:

    This seems like an extreme action. If there was no wrongdoing in Schoen’s thesis it is a bit overboard. I’m sure they are embarrassed to have their name linked to such a notorious fraud but still…

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    Brian Coats said:

    I don’t think this is extreme at all. You hear about MDs losing their licenses all the time. They may not have cheated on their licensing exams, but they must maintain accountability and ethical practices.

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    gromit said:


    are MDs w/o licenses still MDs?

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    John Peloquin said:

    I didn’t know one could have their doctorate revoked, but I think it’s a fitting punishment. One’s integrity is really at the heart of Science and when you’ve demonstrated you lack such a fundamentally necessary character trait for good Science, you shouldn’t be allowed to use the Ph. D. title as it’s almost a Union Card for Scientists

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    Mark Rosen said:

    The academic community is governed by the academic code. Schon’s violations of that code are so egregious that he deserves to be stripped of the privilege of the degree his university granted him.

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