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Old 23rd May 2007, 10:33 AM   #48
pgwenthold
Penultimate Amazing
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 17,464
Originally Posted by JJM View Post
Further to my questioning what part GG played in his publications:
I just said to myself “self, maybe you can find the names of GG’s students and see what papers were co-authored by them.” So, I went to the ISU site http://www.public.iastate.edu/~astro/gradswww/ and looked to see how many graduate students co-published with him. Correlating his post-2001 publications http://www.discovery.org/scripts/vie...wnload&id=1362 (warning, PDF) with the students results in (drumroll please): zero, zip, bupkis, nada. Except for some solo review articles, it seems all his other publications in that period were residual from the time he was mentored. Double-checking the ISU students and their mentors, it doesn’t seem he had any graduate students. (I did not check post-docs, assistant profs often have a token post-doc.)

No doubt some co-authors were graduate students; just not his; as I suspected.

Actually, when I look more closely, I do see the problem with the publication list. I didn't realize when I first looked that Wallerstein was his grad adviser, and Lambert was his post-doc adviser. That he is still putting out publications with his grad school and post-doc advisers is making him look better than he is. Going through the pub list and setting aside the publications with his advisers, I count about 12 independent papers since 2002. However, a good number of them seem to be "review" or "accounts" of research, and are not cutting edge research results. For example, I doubt that

"Stellar atmospheres of Nearby Young Solar Analogs" in New Astronomy in 2002 is based on his telescope observations. Similarly, papers such as

"Rummaging through Earth's Attic for Remains of Ancient Life"
"Habital Zones in the Universe"
*"Condensation Temperatures Trends Among Stars with Planets"
*"The Sun's Interior Metallicity Constrained by Neutrinos"
*"Indium Abundance Trends Amoung Sun-like Stars"
"The Chemical Compositions of Stars with Planets: A Review"

do not appear to contain new work, but are assessments and interpretations of other people's results. The papers marked with * are all in the "Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society". I don't know the journal, but given these papers, I am suspecting that it is more of a "highlights" journal, such that I would question the other paper ("Parent Stars of Extrasolar Planets" in press). That leaves 4 scholarly publications, one of which is another review, but I'll grant him an invited review to "Reviews of Modern Physics."

In terms of "scientific reserach," probably the most relevent are

"Parent Stars of Extrasolar Planets VII: New Abundance Analyses of 30 Systems" in Astronomical Journal
"A Re-evaluation of the Super Li-rich star J37 in NGC 6633" in Astrophys Journal

These two look to be resulting from astronomical observation. Then there is the Icarus paper in 2003. Icarus is a solar system journal, so there might be some insight there.

So in the end, I take back my comment about the publication record. When it comes to _independent_, _scholarly_ activity, it is very weak.

Moreover, the publication record reveals another problem: telescope time. Critical for an astronomer, it appears the only telescope time he is getting is when he can get C Law to take some measurements for him at Washington. A major player in astronomy has to be able to demonstrate an ability to get regular telescope time somewhere aside from a spare time that he can squeak out on his old grad school scope. It would be one thing if he were getting massive time on the old scope, but it's clear that it is only remnants of free time that he is getting. He clearly is not getting enough scope time to get a nationally recognized research program (It's not mentioned, but I doubt he has any other legitimate funding, either). When you don't have scope time, you need to find something to do, which is why he has done all these "comparison" and "trends" papers, where he doesn't have to make new observations but can write about what other people are seeing. One could argue that it approach is a valid way to go about the business, but likely not what was expected for him.

So in the end, the fluffy publication list doesn't hide the truth that, in fact, this guy has NOT been a quality independent scientist. He doesn't have much of a research program at all, and his colleagues, who see him day to day, can see that very clearly. They can see darn well that he doesn't have any of his own telescope time. Why would they want to promote an astronomer who hasn't demonstrated that he can get a telescope to use?
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