Science Betrayed

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0120110317

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.

Adam Rutherford investigates some recent and historical scientific misdemeanours.

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Science Betrayed: Part 2 - Andrew Wakefield and the MMR scare.

In the second and final part of this series, Dr Adam Rutherford tells the extraordinary story of one of the most contentious cases of medical misconduct of the last few decades, and the serious public health consequences that followed.

Andrew Wakefield was the doctor at the centre of the MMR scare that dominated the public health debate at the beginning of this century.

His research, published in the Lancet in 1998, argued that there is a link between the triple vaccine MMR and the onset of autism in some children.

What followed was a public health scare that led to a dangerous drop in uptake of the vaccine, and the biggest outbreak of measles in this country for 20 years.

Almost 13 years later, Andrew Wakefield has been found guilty of dishonesty and serious professional misconduct on several counts by the General Medical Council, and has now been struck off.

But the consequences of his misconduct live on.

Why did it take so long for the extent of his deception to be revealed? Adam Rutherford talks to the key players in this incredible saga, and asks whether there are lessons to be learned about how scientific misconduct is investigated, and who is responsible for making sure scientists tell the truth.

Producers: Alexandra Feachem and Roland Pease.

Dr Adam Rutherford investigates the case of medical misconduct that led to the MMR scare.