John Mather is perhaps the most striking example of how cronyism practiced a lifetime can keep you afloat when you have committed a great offense. For much lesser offenses in the same category others have sunk. Their careers have been permanently destroyed. Food has been taken away from their family dinner table. Sanctimonious pronouncements about the wages of science fraud have been issued.
John Mather however continues to whoop it up on various showboats. Is it any wonder that he tells kids around the World that the most important part of doing science is to have friendships?!
Aside from sporadic examples, John Mather seems now to be excluded from the hardcore scientific establishment. But even as that side of Mather’s identity is erased, his cronies have risen to the cause by providing him great exposure in various industry extravaganzas (called ‘conferences’) and the so-called “science festivals”.
John Cromwell Mather is now a hero of the loony fringes of the scientific establishment. Under expert guidance of well-honed image consultants, he is achieving the Rock Star status.
This summer the World Science Festival led by physics phenom Brian Greene pulled all the stops for Mather. They had him interviewed by a reporter while inspiring kids worldwide – photo-ops and all. A poignant story was put out of how some kids in an African nation walked three miles under the noonday sun to get to a videolink to Bwana John Mather. The Festival brought a life-size mock-up of the James Webb Space Telescope to the Battery Park in New York, and invited a number of luminaries. This careful orchestration finally led to photos being taken of John Mather, flanked by senior NASA Astronaut John Grunsfeld and NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver, widely known as a confidante of President Obama. Just think: After seeing this symbolic photo, who in his right mind would believe me when I say that Mather is in trouble with the NASA leadership?
Columbia University’s pride and joy, Brian Greene, believes that until physicists achieve Rock Star status, the civilization will not “jump’ to the next level. To this end, he has taken on the task of grooming John Mather.
Another prominent groomer of John Mather is H. Frederick Dylla, President of the American Institute of Physics. He has instituted a summer intern fellowship in the name of John Mather, and through that avenue, given Mather exposure. The irony of this is that Dylla is a representative of the hardcore physics establishment which seems to have gone silent on Mather. So Dylla actually may be abusing his position.
In October Mather will have even greater exposure given him by the USA Science and Engineering Festival, led by a technology entrepreneur named Larry Bock. He first inducted Mather to be an advisor. Then he inducted him to the “Lunch with a Nobel Laureate” program for inspiring kids. These most trivial bits of developments were then prominently entered into the John Mather Wikipedia entry in the main text, as if to say “I am back Baby!”
Now get a load of this: Bock then arranges for Mather to be interviewed in the National Mall by NPR – under the gaze of Abraham Lincoln. So now the media and history have been pressed into service in the cause of the John Mather Revival Campaign.
As if all these are not bizarre enough, this science fraud event at the mall is being supported to the hilt by the National Academy of Sciences!
This is a well-crafted, systematic Campaign being orchestrated by Mather’s cronies in the background. There are similar other appearances by Mather scheduled at this time. One of these will feature the Mather-Grunsfeld act again.
They have the power base. They have the stage. The have the megaphone. They have the media. They are the pillars of the society. So they are going great guns. I am only one guy with access to the Internet. So they are pressing their advantage. They are going to help John Mather beat the rap.
Only in America!
And yet, ask yourself this common sense question: Why cannot these cronies – these fine upstanding and mighty pillars of the society – help John Mather in the most direct and most effective way? Why don’t they work through the selfsame Lori Garver to take John Mather out of the NASA doghouse, out of this extreme public humiliation, and give him an exalted position appropriate to his Nobel Laureate status? Or, why don’t they arrange a high academic chair for Mather in a prestigious institute?
The answer: They know that Mather is a science fraud. They can only do so much for him.
John Mather is the exalted honoree of many brilliantly lit festivals and extravaganzas and techstravaganzas and godknowswhatelsevaganzas….
When he returns home, he goes right back into the doghouse NASA has provided him.
All his powerful friends cannot help him there!
So clearly, there are two sides: John Mather’s employers, who have found out exactly what he has done with his satellite experiment, keep him emphatically in the doghouse; they have shut down Mather’s vaunted propaganda webpage called JOHN MATHER :: SPEAKING SCHEDULE. And then there are John Mather’s promoters and protectors who would not know if a satellite has a head-end and a butt-end; they are giving Mather all the propaganda America can give. They are procuring for Mather all the children he needs for his stage props.
A NOTE ADDED ON 18 OCTOBER 2010:
There is talk that NASA Administrator Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden may not be long for office!
That does not bode well for anyone (Victor Ninov and Jan Hendrik Schon, for example) who hopes that John Mather will face accountability. John Mather may be the greatest beneficiary of this leadership turmoil in NASA. If Gen. Bolden leaves, it will take a very long time to replace him. Who will likely be the interim Administrator? Deputy Administrator Lori Garver. Here she is: