Home Page Science Frontiers

No. 66: Nov-Dec 1989

Issue Contents

Other pages

Other Interesting Sites











Was burt stitched up?

Sir Cyril Burt was, until a few years ago, the Grand Old Man of British Psychology. But then a scandal erupted. Burt was charged with manufacturing data and even faking the existence of research assistants. A devastating biography by L. Hearnshaw seemed to ruin Burt's reputation for good. With all the attendant publicity, the label "scientific fraud" stuck in everyone's mind.

But, hold on, another book, one with a completely different conclusion, has hit the bookstores. This book, The Burt Affair, is by R.B. Joynson. Joynson demonstrates in great detail that Hernshaw's biography is seriously deficient in places. If Joynson is correct, Hearnshaw and Burt's other enemies are guilty of selective reporting. The case for fraud was fraud itself!

(Blinkhorn, Steve; "Was Burt Stitched Up?" Nature, 340:439, 1989.)

From Science Frontiers #66, NOV-DEC 1989. 1989-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987