Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Can't Leave Well Enough Alone

I've hammered Penn State over its efforts to have some Nobel mystique rub off on it. First there was the announcement that the University had hired a Nobel Prize winner, when in fact they had only gotten one to agree to spend a couple of weeks on campus once a year for a few years. Then they tried to spin the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize which was split between Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change as a win for the Penn State faculty members that sat on the panel.

One those faculty members is Richard Alley. Early this morning I posted a congratulatory message to Alley for his election to the National Academy of Sciences.

Today the Penn State Propaganda Portal has a headline Penn State scientists elected to National Academy of Sciences. The good news is that they've toned down the Nobel hype. Here's how they handle it in the release.
Most recently, he [Alley] is one of several Penn State earth scientists who were contributors to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the 2007 Nobel Prize with Al Gore.
On the other hand, these bullshiters couldn't leave well enough alone. Note that scientist is pluralized in the headline. Last night I searched the NAS announcement of the new members on the string "Pennsylvania State University" and Alley was the only one to come up. Did I miss someone in my search? Well, not exactly. Here's the lede in the press release.
Richard Alley, the Evan Pugh professor of geosciences, and Barry Marshall, the Francis R. and Helen M. Pentz Professor of Science, are the newest Penn State members of the National Academy of Sciences which announced the election of 72 new members and 18 foreign associates from nine countries in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.
Barry Marshall is the Rent-A-Nobel-Laureate who, starting this spring, visits Penn State for two weeks each year. Here is how he is listed on the NAS Web site's announcement.
MARSHALL, BARRY J.; clinical professor of microbiology, University of Western Australia, Crawley (United Kingdom)
You see the NAS doesn't even bother to list Barry's affiliation with Penn State.

Couldn't the marketers that run this place simply have been happy that a home grown scientist made it into the NAS? What a bunch of twits.

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