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DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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February 3, 2009

Their Crime? Collaborating With Other Scientists. . .

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Posted by Derek

Nature is rightfully drawing attention to the case of Arash and Kamiar Alaei, physicians (and brothers) from Iran, who have been sentenced to years in prison for supposedly "communicating with an enemy government". Their real crime seems to have been attending international conferences, talking about HIV as a public health problem in Iran, and doing so alongside representatives of US-based groups.

As the journal points out in an open letter, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been traveling around telling everyone about how wonderful scientific collaboration is. Watch their hands, not their lips, though. My sympathies go out to the Alaei brothers, along my hopes that international pressure might secure their release or make their appeals successful.

And my sympathies also go out to those scientists and physicians in Iran who have to work under such conditions - as the record of many expatriates shows, Iranians excel in such work when fools are not clapping handcuffs on them.

Comments (8) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Current Events


1. Hap on February 3, 2009 12:45 PM writes...

Two fallacies for the price of one:

1) HIV will go away if you pretend it doesn't exist (in populations, not individuals - it'll eventually go away in individuals, but only when they do.)

2) pretending ideas you don't like don't exist will make them go away.

I know I shouldn't be surprised, but how do such thoroughly disproven ideas keep seeing the light of day? Triumph of the will, my...

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2. Sili on February 3, 2009 3:31 PM writes...

But of course they're guilty of high treason for implying that there is such a thing as hiv in Iran. I mean, it's not like there are any gay men to spread the contagion.


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3. Grad on February 3, 2009 8:48 PM writes...

The record of many expatriates shows primarily that the vast numbers of their technical people have fled rather than work in those conditions, or at least vast numbers of their technical elite at least.

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4. Bored on February 3, 2009 10:15 PM writes...

It was the dictatorial regime of Nazi Germany that gave us so many of the great twentieth-century jewish scientists. They fled to the U.S., and ironically it was those very scientists who helped to defeat the regime they fled.
These things tend to even themselves out in the long run.

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5. Geeesh on February 4, 2009 9:23 AM writes...

"These things tend to even themselves out in the long run."
I'm sure that's of little consolation to the Alaei brothers (or Jews who lost somebody in the Holocaust).

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6. emjeff on February 4, 2009 9:34 AM writes...

Not to woory, Obama has promised to reach out to the Muslim world. Soon, all will be sweetness and light....

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7. Bill on February 4, 2009 11:22 AM writes...

I'm sure the scientists working on Iran's nuclear program aren't having these problems. Shows where Iranian leaderships heads are at.

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8. HOMO-LUMO on February 4, 2009 5:59 PM writes...

Not keen on getting into the subject, but what a bunch of ... run many muslim countries (except maybe Turkey), and what a huge amount of talent wasted or going abroad cause there are no real opportunities for liberal professionals in there, let alone for scientists.

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