Jan Hendrik Schon – One Of The Most Promising Physicists in The World

Categories: Biography

Jan Hendrik Schon was the most promising physicist alive in 2002. He was born in Germany in 1970. He was a very bright student who was very quick at solving physics problems as a student. He spent nine years to finish his diploma and his PhD in Physics at the University of Constance in Italy. He was also a year younger than most of his peers because he was able to avoid military service by moving to Austria. He then moved to take part of an internship at Lucent Technologies’ Bell Labs in New Jersey.

His main field of study was in experimental physics at Bell Labs. Bell Labs at that time was mainly focused on the innovation of transistors which is a device used to amplify electric signal or electric power. Bell Labs had Schon focused on finding a way to create transistors out of purified form of plastic. The main idea behind trying to use plastic for transistors was to be able to make more flexible electronics so it could be fitted onto clothing.

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Right when he began working at the Labs in 1998, he was seen working with many of his fellow colleagues at Bell Labs trying to figure out a way to conduct electricity with plastic. As time went on, he began to work by himself. One day in 2001 after returning from Constance, Italy, he proclaimed he had made a breakthrough and that he had figured out a way to build the circuit from the purified plastic. He showed the graph of his data to his colleagues at Bell Labs and they were ecstatic about this breakthrough.

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After his breakthrough, he quickly began to write up a research manuscript which was quickly published onto the journal Science which was the most prestigious research journal to be published on. His manuscript in this journal only increased his fame throughout the world because many newspapers at that time were quick to publish breakthroughs found in the Science journals. Between 1998 and 2001, he wrote about one research paper every eight days which was extraordinary. People couldn’t believe how much progress he was making in such a short amount of time. He began to win many science accolades and was becoming distinguished as one of the best physicists ever until 2002 when people began to figure out the truth. Other researchers and scientists were beginning to attempt to replicate Schon’s marvelous breakthroughs. But there was one problem. Scientists were having trouble figuring out how Schon was able to produce these results as he did not publish in the journals how he was able to obtain these results. As people were not able to reproduce his results, questions and allegations began to come up against Schon’s results. Closer examination of his findings in his journals showed that he was using the same data over and over again but he was just slightly manipulating it. Schon was able to come up with findings that satisfied everyone initially because he conversed with his many colleagues and fabricated results that also proved his colleagues’ theories as well. Cornell University Professor Paul McEuen was one of the first to suspect Schon of his results. McEuen found the data to be too perfect and many scientists began to question Schon after him. When people asked for Schon to show the data from his lab notebooks, Schon said this was not possible due to his computer having some problems which caused him to lose his data. All these allegations led to Bell Labs to conduct an official investigation on Schon and published the results of the investigation to the public. Schon faced 24 allegations of falsified data and sixteen of them proved to be true. Schon was immediately fired from Bell Labs and his doctorate was revoked by the University. He ended up leaving the U.S after the scandal.

Schon was using shortcuts and falsified data and claims to reach fame in the science world but this ended up backfiring on him quickly as he ruined his life and basically wasted his entire student life studying. He lost all hope in becoming a reputable source for physics. From the Schon scandal I’ve learned that shortcuts are not worth it in the long run as these things end up catching up to you at some point and could potentially ruin whatever you are trying to succeed in and accomplish.

Updated: Feb 02, 2024
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Jan Hendrik Schon – One Of The Most Promising Physicists in The World. (2024, Feb 10). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/jan-hendrik-schon-one-of-the-most-promising-physicists-in-the-world-essay

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