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Episode 1

Episode 1 of 2

Duration:
30 minutes
First broadcast:
Thursday 17 March 2011

Science Betrayed: Part 1

What happens when science goes bad? From the anthropological hoax of Piltdown man back in 1912, through to more recent cases, such as that of Dr Hwang Woo-suk, the Korean scientist accused of faking his "breakthrough" into stem cell research, there have been some dramatic and spectacular examples of scientists, who, for whatever reason, have chosen to be less than honest with their research and data.

In the first of this two part series, Dr Adam Rutherford investigates how common cases of scientific misconduct are, and the motivation for the scientists who stand accused. How damaging are cases like these, not only to their respective fields, but to the public perception of a pursuit whose central premise, many would claim, is a quest for universal truth, whatever that truth might be.

Adam Rutherford looks at some of the science scandals that have been hitting the headlines over the last few years, and assesses the impact they've had. He asks if deceit and misconduct are more common than we think, or whether, like any enterprise that involves humans, it's simply the work of a few rotten apples.

Producers: Alexandra Feachem and Roland Pease.

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