Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Scientist: Hwang Woo-Suk


This week's mad scientist really is. You know him already as the guy who claimed to have cloned a human embryo for its stem cells but lied about key aspects of the work. He shows up again this week in SEED magazine's great feature, "I Can't Believe It's Science:"

The disgraced stem-cell researcher is currently standing trial for fraud and embezzlement, and his latest testimony is particularly outrageous. Hwang had previously conceded that, in an effort to clone an extinct species, he collected mammoth tissue that had been preserved in glaciers. Now it turns out this admission was totally truthful... if by "glaciers" he meant "the Russian Mafia." Yes, according to his recent statement to a Seoul court, Hwang Woo-Suk spent part of $1 million in corporate donations on "peripheral activities related to research" that included communicating with Russian organized crime about obtaining mammoth cells. On his expense report, Hwang testified, he accounted for this money by saying he spent it on cows. ... Sadly, even with the help of the Mafia, Hwang failed to clone the mammoth.

Perhaps with Hwang, the feature should be called "You Shouldn't Believe It's Science."