Science: Violating Nature

During his two-year stint as a postdoctoral fellow at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry near Munich, Robert Gullis, 27, impressed his boss as "probably the most diligent man I've ever known." Indeed, the results of the young British scientist's experiments on the effects of opiates on nervelike cells were notable enough to be published in several journals, including Nature. Now Nature has printed another communication by Gullis: a letter admitting that his results were fraudulent—"mere figments of my imagination."

Gullis' deception was discovered when his former colleagues, in repeating the tests, were...

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