Very Little Gravitas Indeed (II)
This is a follow-up of a previous post. You could want to look here for the first part.
Well, Gabriella Carlucci, ex-TV starlet and member of the italian parliament, had done it again. He went on attacking Maiani, former CERN director, in a letter to the prime minister Prodi and other members of his government. Her arguments were taken (rather literally, apart from some additional sloppiness) by an article appeared on Libero, a right-wing newspaper. Based in its turn on an attack to Maiani appeared in a supposed website (nowhere to be found), supposedly written by a distinguished UCLA physicist, David Cline.
Rather convoluted, yes. Anyway, resuming after the dust has settled:
1) The scientific accusations contained in the site, the article and Carlucci’s letter are obviously irrelevant if not downright wrong.
2) The website had existed, but was closed down upon request of Cline, who denied in a quite outraged e-mail any connection with it.
3) You can have a look at the original content of the site, saved by somebody in pdf form, here. It has an italian and english version. The italian part is badly written and the english counterpart looks like it’s translated using babelfish. How on earth it could have been mistaken by a text written by a professor from Wisconsin (or by any person from any english speaking country, for that matter) beats my imagination.
For the ones who didn’t bother to follow the links, I specify that all the libels involved in the matter Sheldon Glashow (photo), insinuating that he had a poor opinion of Maiani, and that he had intervened to prevent his appointment as research scientist at CERN. I report in the following the letter sent by Glashow to Prodi, and disclosed to the italian press as well:
February 14, 2008
Sr. Romano Prodi
I have been shown the contents of a slanderous letter written to you by S.ra Gabriella Carlucci, MP and dated February 7, 2008.
This letter was published in Puglia-Live and has been widely disseminated.
It falsely claims that I have questioned the scientific competence of Prof. Luciano Maiani, the recently elected President of the CNR, and had opposed his appointment at CERN.
These utterly invidious and untrue allegations were part of a more general attempt to belittle the scientific standing of Prof. Maiani.
The letter denigrates his scientific accomplishments over the years and those of his colleagues, Profs. Cabibbo, Parisi and Petronzio, whose work was claimed to have caused serious damage to the image of Italian physics worldwide. Not so!
The remarks that S.ra. Carlucci attributes to me are wholly untrue and malicious.
Prof. Maiani played a key role in our collaboration decades ago, for which he was duly recognized internationally by the awards of the highly regarded Dirac Medal and Sakurai Prize. Maiani’s many research publications have been cited well over 8000 times (not including the 3600 citations to our joint work).
I have never written, suggested or thought anything remotely disparaging about the skill and accomplishments of this stellar Italian scientist.
The more general arguments in S.ra. Carlucci’s letter are equally false, slanderous and malicious.
I, and my colleagues worldwide, have the highest regard for the many outstanding contributions of Italian theorists to particle physics, among whom Profs. Cabibbo, Petronzio and Parisi (as well as Maiani) are leading luminaries and indeed may be regarded as’ ‘heirs to Fermi.’
No event associated with their distinguished scientific careers has ever caused the slightest damage to the image of Italian physics.
In the eyes of a foreign scholar, if there is anything that can damage the image of your country’s scientific institutions, it is the vulgarity and deception of this slanderous attempt at denigration of some of your nation’s most distinguished scientists.
Sheldon L. Glashow
Foreign Member, Accademia dei Lincei
I don’t think there is a whole lot to add. He said it all, and much better than I could ever dream to do myself.