I was awake rather early this morning and couldn't go back to sleep. The TV was on (normal for me) and I started surfing the channel. At that hour, you mostly get crap and other informercials. However, as I got to the Science Channel, it has just started showing a program with a title that certainly caught my eye. It was called "The Dark Secret of Hendrik Schon".
To those of you who have no clue on who Hendrik Schon is, do a google search. I, on the other hand, am quite familiar with his work and the debacle that occurred. I was at Brookhaven when the proverbial crap hit the ceiling fan, and since there were either many former Bell Labs scientists that were there who still had contacts, or people who just came from Bell labs, I got to hear a lot of news about the investigation. So this is something that I've sort of followed closely over the years.
Anyway, of course, I had to view the TV program (which means that it would certainly prevented me from falling asleep the rest of the morning before I had to wake up). In any case, I found the show to be rather odd. It started with all this weird focus on nanotechnology and "nanobots", including some "disaster" scenario on runaway nanobots taking over our world. Yowzah! What did this had to do with Hendrik Schon and his "dark secrets"?
I think it was 5 or 10 mins into the show that Schon was mentioned and what he has done at that time (2001) and what he was trying to accomplish. He certainly had a series of impressive credentials by the time he was offered a job at Bell labs. No one doubted that. The show then mentioned something about Moore's Law, and how Moore's law might be halted due to the physical limitation to how small one can make a silicon chip. This is where Schon came in when he did his work on organic field-effect transistors. The show went on to give an explanation on why this is such an important and possibly revolutionary finding.
But then, it keeps going back to this nanotechnology and nanobots thing in between describing Schon's work. Only close to the end did it start to mention the scandal and how Schon was "caught" at either duplicating data or fabricating data for some of his work. And then back to nanobots....
It was a very strange program, and I think, too heavy on a very transparent attempt at sensationalism. I would have been more captivated if they had focused more on the scandal, the time line of when things happened, an interview of all the principal players who were the first to voice doubt in what Schon was producing, an interview with some of the panel doing the investigation, etc.. Those would have given a lot more insight into what was going on, and the atmosphere at Bell labs at that time. Instead, all I got was some superficial coverage of what was a very important event in physics. And then, more of those nanobots that could destroy all life forms.
Maybe they're hoping that the threat of possible annihilation could give the show as much free publicity as that being given to the LHC. Not gonna happen!