Plastic Fantastic: How the biggest fraud in physics shook the scientific world – Eugenie S Reich
This is the story of wunderkind physicist Jan Hendrik Schön who faked the discovery of a new superconductor …
Thanks to his Index of Irrational Expectations, a Harvard professor is able to identify companies whose share price is either too high or too low due to excessive optimism or pessimism. Instead of publishing his findings, he uses his model to amass a vast fortune. As agreed with his wife, this wealth is used to fund good causes. For example, a campaign for more women in senior positions, chairs of Peace Studies at military academies and work to counter the huge corporate influence in the political process. By taking over a major company, “Specific Electrics”, the professor is even able to strike at the heart of the defense industry.
Naturally, all of this provokes a backlash. Not to mention accusations of insider trading and dubious political motives. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) become more and more intrusive in their interest. There are hearings on Capitol Hill and legal battles. The professor eventually throws in the towel and settles all the allegations against him, before going back to the study of refrigerator pricing, albeit as a very rich academic. A wonderful satire, written with restrained humour and plenty of inside information.
Available at bol.com
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