Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
Plastic Fantastic

Plastic Fantastic

How the Biggest Fraud in Physics Shook the Scientific World

MacSci

Eugenie Samuel Reich

St. Martin's Press

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This is the story of wunderkind physicist Jan Hendrik Schön who faked the discovery of a new superconductor made from plastic. A star researcher at the world-renowned Bell Laboratories in New Jersey, he claimed to have stumbled across a powerful method for making carbon-based crystals into transistors, the switches found on computer chips. Had his experiments worked, they would have paved the way for huge advances in technology--computer chips that we could stick on a dress or eyewear, or even use to make electronic screens as thin and easy-to-fold as sheets of paper.

But as other researchers tried to recreate Schön's experiments, the scientific community learned that it had been duped. Why did so many top experts, including Nobel prize-winners, support Schön? What led the major scientific journals to publish his work, and promote it with press releases? And what drove Schön, by all accounts a mild-mannered, modest and obliging young man, to tell such outrageous lies?

Reviews

Praise for Plastic Fantastic

“Eugenie Samuel Reich offers an inside look into how the scientific establishment deals with human imperfection. Plastic Fantastic is a transfixing cautionary tale of how easily wrongdoers can hide and thrive in modern science.” —Jörg Blech, author of Inventing Disease and Pushing Pills

“In a warts 'n all expose of the scientific process, Eugenie Reich investigates the world's greatest scientific fraud. Fascinating, startling and highly readable. If you thought science was as pure as the driven snow, prepare to be shocked.” —Justin Mullins, consultant editor, New Scientist

“A riveting tale of scientific detective work, and a story about an important issue in science that is often overlooked. A well researched page-turner.” —Amir Aczel, author of Fermat's Last Theorem

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About the author

Eugenie Samuel Reich

Eugenie Samuel Reich is a former editor at New Scientist. She has written for Nature, New Scientist, and The Boston Globe, and is known for her hard hitting reports on irregular science. Several of her reports have resulted in institutional investigations. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Eugenie Samuel Reich

From the Publisher

St. Martin's Press

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