Sixth grade science project surprises conservationists


Meanwhile, on io9…


Updated the post. Thank you!

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Wow, that’s really compelling. It’s absolutely vital for the career of this scientist that he gets appropriate exposure from his many years of published work, but instead his name is being excluded from everything and petitions are being circulated to add the girl as one of his co-authors.


Given his entire life is on the line, it seems like a really good guy, too. He doesn’t want to discourage the girl.


Yes, this. Anyone who’s seen high school science fairs knows it’s hardly uncommon, nor inappropriate, for a teenager to take on some previous work and extend, adapt, or even merely replicate it. Indeed, from the little I’ve read she seems to have done a great job of responding to Jud’s extensive field research by confirming and extending some of his key findings under controlled conditions in the lab. She seems to have done a great job! Obviously, she should cite previous findings (and, if she’s aware of unpublished work, seek permission to cite as personal communications), but I’ve seen no firm evidence she wasn’t doing so,for example in any formal write-up of her work. She seems to have much to be proud of, and should be encouraged to persevere.

Her father, on the other hand, appears to be deserving of scorn. He seems to have enjoyed the attention paid to his daughter and the hyped claims about her findings without doing his duty, as someone who knew Jud and had even published with him, to make sure that Jud’s previous work got the credit it deserved in its own right and as an inspiration for his daughter’s project. He has let himself down, has let Jud down, and has let his daughter down.

PS Jud says in the io9 interview that he already intended to attempt to extend his field research with experiments in the lab similar to what the young Ms. Arrington did for her science project. To be sure, these experiments are fairly obvious once you know of Jud’s findings - but, even so, if young Ms. Arrington’s father knew his colleague Jud already intended to perform exactly these experiments, then his encouraging his daughter to do them becomes even more of a shabby act against Jud (and even more of a betrayal of his daughter’s curiosity and energy).


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