South Korea Formally Strips Disgraced Scientist Hwang of ‘Top Scientist’ Title
SEOUL, South Korea
South Korea’s government stripped disgraced cloning pioneer Dr. Hwang Woo-Suk of his “top scientist” title this week, just days after his university fired him for faking much of his celebrated stem cell research.
Hwang received the title last June in recognition of his purported breakthroughs, which raised hopes for the use of stem cells to develop new cures for hard-to-treat diseases, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
But the government warned in January that it planned to withdraw the honor after revelations that Hwang’s research claims were faked.
The Science Ministry-affiliated committee that awarded Hwang the title met to formally divest him of the honor, says Hong Nam-Pyo, a ministry spokesman.
Hwang was the first and only recipient of the title, which earns the holder 3 billion won (US $3.1 million) a year in government financial support. Hwang received the money for last year, but the government froze the fund after the scandal broke, says the spokesman.
Seoul National University fired Hwang earlier this week over the scandal. He had been a professor there since 1986.
Hwang has publicly apologized for the scandal, but claims other researchers deceived him with falsified research results.
Hwang may also face criminal charges as prosecutors have been investigating the scandal.
— Associated Press
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