#98-04
Issued 1/27/99

Contact: Diane Greenberg (516) 344-2347 or Mona S. Rowe (516) 344-5056

 

 

LECTURE AT BROOKHAVEN LAB
ON SCIENTIFIC FRAUD, FEB. 19

Upton, NY - The relationship among science, politics and the public will be examined by noted author Daniel J. Kevles on Friday, February 19, at 4 p.m., when he speaks in Berkner Hall at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory.

Kevles, who is a humanities professor at the California Institute of Technology, will discuss "Scientific Fraud in American Political Culture: Reflections on the Baltimore Case," as part of the Brookhaven Science Associates Distinguished Lecture Series. The lecture is open to the public
free of charge.

Molecular biologist David Baltimore won the 1975 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his research on the interaction between tumor viruses and the genetic material of the cell. Subsequently, he did extensive research on how genes control the immune system, on the behavior of viruses that
trigger cancer, and on the disease-causing mechanisms of the polio and AIDS viruses. His laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology was world-renowned.

Nonetheless, in 1986, Margot O'Toole, a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Baltimore's MIT laboratory, questioned the scientific integrity of her supervisor Thereza Imanishi-Kari, citing a paper that Dr. Imanishi-Kari and five others - including Dr. Baltimore - had published in the technical
journal Cell.

Dr. O'Toole's complaint led to public hearings on the case by Congressman John Dingell, widespread media coverage, Dr. Imanishi-Kari's provisional conviction for scientific fraud, and Dr. Baltimore's forced resignation from the presidency of Rockefeller University. In 1996, Dr. Imanishi-Kari was found not guilty on appeal.

Why did the case command so much attention? Professor Kevles says it resonated with broader political concerns and new developments in American culture. The Baltimore case was about the American public's and politicians' trust in scientists and, ultimately, about how to hold scientists accountable to the public, who pay for their experiments.

Professor Kevles, author of the critically acclaimed book, The Baltimore Case: A Trial of Politics, Science and Character (W.W.Norton, 1998) will offer insight into the complicated case.

Daniel J. Kevles earned a B.A. in physics in 1960 and a Ph.D. in history in 1964, both from Princeton University. He began his career at the California Institute of Technology in 1964, as an assistant professor of history, and he eventually became the J.O. and Juliette Koepfli Professor of the Humanities in 1986, the position that he currently holds.

Professor Kevles is the author of numerous publications, including In the Name of Eugenics: Genetics and the Uses of Human Heredity (Alfred A. Knopf, 1985) and The Physicists: The History of a Scientific Community in Modern America (Alfred A. Knopf, 1978). He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Philosophical Society.

For more information about the lecture, call Brookhaven's Public Affairs Office at (516) 344-2345. The Laboratory is located on William Floyd Parkway (County Road 46), one-and-a-half miles north of Exit 68 on the Long Island Expressway.

The U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory creates and operates major facilities available to university, industrial and government personnel for basic and applied research in the physical, biomedical and environmental sciences, and in selected energy technologies. The Laboratory is operated by Brookhaven Science Associates, a not-for-profit research management company, under contract with the U.S. Department of Energy.


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