First post of the new year. Whoo-hoo.
While revising the course webpage for the class that I'm teaching this coming semester, I noticed something interesting and disturbing. Anyone out there remember Jan Hendrik Schon? This fellow was the focus of arguably the most serious fraud in the physical sciences in the last 50 years while he was working at Bell Labs. As you can see from the wikipedia entry above, there was a thorough investigation and the fraud was discovered, though only after hundreds of person-years had been wasted by people around the world trying to replicate work that turned out to have been fabricated in the first place. The results of that investigation had been archived on the Bell Labs website. However, now that Alcatel has taken over Lucent, those links are dead, and a seach of the new Alcatel-Lucent site does not find any trace of Herr Dr. Schon. At the moment the links on the Internet Wayback Machine still work, but there is no guarantee that these will last forever. I know that old links to, e.g., previous years' problem sets from my courses go away after some time.
This is bad. It should be the responsibility of Bell Labs to maintain this information in an accessible way for at least ten years, or some other reasonable period. In the meantime, I will host the documents on my own university account. Here is the executive summary, and here is the full report of the investigating committee.