A Nobel laureate and her co-authors on a 2001 paper on the sense of smell have retracted the study, saying they had discovered problems in the data and were unable to duplicate their findings.
Linda Buck shared the 2004 Nobel Prize in medicine for her work on smell. It was not immediately clear how important the retracted research, done in mice, was to the body of work that led to her Nobel.
— Read more at Nobel laureate recants key paper on smell, at SFGate. Thanks to Clare for the link!
Well, certainly I don't understand this any better than you, Robin, and as the post says, it's not clear how this is going to affect the body of work that lead to the Nobel. But I think it's interesting: Linda Buck was a proponent (sometimes! – she wouldn't admit to it, occasionally) of “Weak Shape” smell thoery when the “Emperor of Scent” was published. She doesn't come off at all well in the book, dismissing Turin's vibrational theory without reading anything about it. At least this part of the book comforted me that this side of academic life is not confined to the Humanities department…
Wow. Thanks for this news. Now we wait for the other shoe to drop?
You know, my interest in the science of smell & the shape vs. vibration theories is, well, minimal at best. I don't really know a darned thing about LB, just dutifully reporting the news, LOL…
On the “this side of academic life”, however, yes, it is pervasive. At one time I hoped to finish my Ph.d. and teach, and while I sometimes regret not finishing my degree, I've never regretted the decision not to spend my life in academia.
I'm not waiting for anything
What a bummer to realize that the basis of your Nobel is wrong! I'd be upset. I'm getting annoyed with myself for not remembering what song your post title came from.
Does this help —
It's just my job five days a week…
Nope, guess I'll have to google it.
Oh… I should have known that one.
Rocket Man, Elton John!
Yeah. I felt so silly when I saw it.
This retraction does not change one iota to the the fact that Linda Buck discovered olfactory receptors and changed this field of science forever. It is primarily for this great discovery that she got the Nobel Prize with Richard Axel. As the facts stand today, she was taken in by a collaborator who made up data. It could happen to any scientist and it is a great shame that it happened to her. She courageously did the right thing and went public when doubts emerged. None of this has any bearing on vibrational vs shape theories of smell.
Thanks for clarifying! That's what it sounded like in the article, and while it didn't say what she got the Nobel for, I assumed it was for discovering olfactory receptors – should have looked it up obviously. I also should have clarified that the book described her as a giant in the field, and that you didn't dispute what she had found. It was just that particular bit that stood out in book!
Okay, I guess it *does* say down at the bottom there what she got it for! Oops! But why does it say “key paper” if it's not clear whether it's key or not? Sensationalist reporting, I guess.
Adding another “thanks for clarifying”.