NASA: RESPOND TO THE ALLEGATION OR FIRE JOHN MATHER

The resurrection of John Mather is not only accompanied by the grandiloquent, bombastic language of his earlier phase of celebrity, but some new notes are emegring. In one of his India engagements, the web site there has really pulled all the stops (But did Mather himself write the blurb that appears there?). It starts modestly enough with:

Having won virtually every academic honour throughout his career as a student and researcher, he topped it all off with the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2006…

Then there is all the usual stuff about Mather being the greatest discoverer of all time…blah blah blah. But now, witness:

Currently, Dr Mather heads the James Webb Space Telescope Project, which shall replace the immensely successful and legendary Hubble Telescope and shall become the eyes of mankind in the infinity of Space.

Now, Mather is the Senior Scientist on the Science Working Group of the JWST Project. There must be likewise a counterpart engineering group, a project management group etc. And to make all these work, there must be a Project Manager in overall charge. That person would be the one that is heading the Project. I cannot be sure what goes on within NASA, but I cannot see that by any stretch of definition you can say that Mather heads the JWST Project. Unless, of course, he has been appointed the Project Manager, in which case the above paragraph is 100% legit.

Here is something else that is very rich:

Not confining himself to the niche academic arena, Dr Mather has detailed every nuance of the COBE mission through his bestseller, “The Very First Light: The True Inside Story Of The Scientific Journey Back To The Dawn Of The Universe”. His efforts have opened a whole new world of cosmology to the common man and inspired a whole new generation of astrophysicists. In fact, Dr Mather was one of TIME Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2007.

Niche academic arena! What is that? Is this like a frog pond? Is he deriding his academic colleagues? What is clear is this: He is peddling his book!

He certainly is “detailing every nuance” of his accomplishment. He just ignores the small matter that he is a science fraud. That all of the above stuff about COBE is a gigantic fraud.

Reader, imagine this spectacle: An American science fraud enabled by American taxpayers and empowered by American scientific establishment and backed by the American Government going around strutting on the stages of the World. Occasionally, he is executing the intellectual equivalent of a guitar-playing rockstar’s pelvic thrusts, to fire up “a whole new generation of astrophysicists.”

NASA under the previous Administrator did not give me any response to my direct official referral to them, but seems to have acted most decisivley on the matter. They indecorously removed Mather from the high HQ leadership post of Chief Scientist, and sent him back to being an employee in Goddard Space Flight Center – his pre-Nobel post. Symbolically, this meant to me that they were discounting Mather’s Nobel Prize. I invite NASA under the new Administration – which seems to be reversing the previous Administration’s course and re-empowering Mather – to challenge me on my allegation. How difficult is it to send me a simple statement that my allegation is not valid? I invite NASA to stand behind their employee John Mather on this. I will post here any such statement. I will give it great exposure. I will also include it in my book.

It is not enough for Mather to use the opportunity to deliver a Commencement Address to deny that he has committed science fraud. The denial must come from NASA. If NASA cannot find it possible to issue such a denial, then they should fire John Mather.

There’s no two ways about it. President Barack Obama has made it amply clear how he wants his administration to conduct its business. He has shown that he means business. And he has specifically promised to return science to its rightful place.

ADDED 02/14/09:

And, NASA, one more thing: I apprised the pre-inauguration Obama team of the fraud. I have also advised the Obama White House not to appoint a new Administrator until you have cleaned up your mess. See my post “A NEW NASA ADMINISTRATOR?” in this blog. I have no idea if they have so much as read my communications, let alone pay any attention. So I do not presume my advise will have any effect. But something for you to think about!

Think thus: You have perpetrated the most gigantic fraud in human history upon the World in the name of the US, and have kept mum about it. You have deceived the Swedes and garnered the first Nobel Prize for NASA. And now you are about to palm off your baggage to an innocent new President. You have no qualms about this President being tarnished in the history books by something he had nothing to do with.

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