Jeffrey Epstein has held a prominent place in the scientific community for several decades. For some of the world's most prominent scientists, Epstein was a generous benefactor, a strong supporter of their research and even a personal friend. It is also a convicted sex offender, was recently arrested and charged with allegedly sex trafficking girls in New York. The edge I've contacted more than a dozen different scientists and institutions who have been publicly linked to Epstein, with questions about their history with the multimillionaire and their reactions to his recent arrest. Some have been accused of sexual harassment and aggression. Only a handful chooses to answer. Epstein's lawyers also did not respond to a request for comment.
Like other outlets, including BuzzFeed News and WBUR According to my information, Epstein and the charities that I have controlled have poured millions of dollars into research and institutions, and I have often touted his friendships with the heavyweights of the research. Epstein's story to the scientific community shows a man who wants to embody himself in a scene dominated by white thinkers from some of the most prestigious institutions in the world. He had never obtained a scientific degree (his closest professional activity was physicist and professor of mathematics), but his interest and investment in science seemed far from superficial – it was easy to get the impression that Epstein would have liked to be a scientist. in a different life.
"Jeffrey has the mind of a physicist", Martin Nowak, mathematician and biologist at Harvard said New York Magazine in 2002. "It's like talking to a colleague from your field."
Judging by the press clips, Nowak apparently had one of the closest relationships with Epstein among alleged billionaireThe scientific orbit. Epstein gave Nowak about half a million dollars to fund his research in the early 2000s. Vanity Fair from 2003Nowak and Epstein regularly visited the private island of Epstein in the United States. Virgin Islands. When Harvard hired Nowak in 2003, he became director of the University's Curriculum for Evolutionary Dynamics (a "mathematical guide to understanding and addressing various life science issues"). This program was started using a $ 6.5 million donation by Epstein and his foundation, the Jeffrey Epstein VI Foundation, accompanied by a pledge to give a total of $ 30 million over time.
"(Epstein) changed my life," Nowak said. New York Magazine in 2002. "Thanks to his support, I feel that I can do whatever I want."
Nowak has not responded to repeated calls and emails from The edge to answer questions about his relationship with Epstein or to comment on his arrest. It is unclear to what extent the two have remained close in recent years, especially after Epstein's conviction in 2008 for soliciting sex with prostitutes (Epstein cut a legally problematic and an extremely lenient agreement with the attorneys of South Florida and then directed by former secretary of labor Alexander Acosta). The Epstein VI Foundation blog continued to promote Nowak's research as recently as in 2015.
Harvard University hit the headlines in 2006, shortly after Epstein's arrest, after refusing to return $ 6.5 million of Epstein's $ 30 million pledge that had already been given. Official Harvard Commentary to The edge Was: "Harvard does not comment on individual gifts or their status."
The theoretical physicist Lawrence Krauss, who recently resigned from his teaching position at Arizona State University while he discusses a litany of allegations of sexual harassment, remained an unconditional supporter from Epstein, even after his conviction in 2008. Krauss says the beast daily in 2011: "As a scientist, I still judge things on the basis of empirical evidence and I still have women around the age of 19-23 around him, but I've never seen anything more So, a scientist, I guess whatever the problem is believe it rather than other people. "Krauss did not respond to requests for comment.
Krauss has long been an organizer for The conferences of Epstein, helping to bring together many big names in a single event. The biggest is perhaps a 2006 conference dedicated to the understanding of gravity, held in St. Thomas, Virgin Islands, and bringing together scientists like the late Stephen Hawking; Nobel laureates Gerard & # 39; t Hooft, David Gross and Frank Wilczek; physicists and cosmologists like Jim Peebles, Alan Guth, Kip Thorne and Lisa Randall and many others. Photographs of the event Show many of these visitors who are walking around the private island of Epstein, which extends over 24 acres, that many victims would have been victims of sexual abuse.
Some evidence suggests that Epstein and his foundation have spent a lot of time exaggerating very lean associations with other researchers and institutions. Many media reported on Epstein's relationship with the New York Academy of Sciences, but a communications representative The edge the academy has no record of Epstein having ever been a member or making any financial contribution. Epstein touted his time at the Rockefeller University board, but a spokesman said The edge This was only for a single three-year term in the 90s. The daily beast would have been reported that many organizations or institutions Epstein and its associations reported receiving funds.
Wiczek attended the 2006 gravity conference, but says: "Epstein has not supported my research significantly, especially, I have no financial support from him. met and had brief conversations on some basic social occasions over the years.I just thought of him as a rich person interested in supporting science – there are such people! -And I did not know the serious charges made against him until a much more recent date. "Like Krauss, Wiczek says that while" Epstein) had noticed that he liked having young women around him, I personally had not observed any abusive behavior from a distance. "
The edge has received the following statements from other people related to Epstein:
- Lee Smolin, Perimeter Institute Theoretical Physicist: "A grant from the Jesse Philips Foundation to Pennsylvania State University supported my research group from 1997 to 2001. I have not seen Dr. Epstein since a scientific conference. in 2007, and I have no contact with him since 2008. "
- The Santa Fe Institute, co-founded by the late Nobel laureate Murray Gell-Mann, said to be a friend of Epstein: "A review of our funding reveals that the Santa Fe Institute received $ 250,000 in contributions from sources related to Jeffrey Epstein prior to 2007. An additional $ 25,000 was received in 2010, which prompted our Leaders not to accept additional funding from Mr. Epstein or related sources This decision was made beyond our current policy that no donor will ever be able to influence the content or direction of SFI research. . "
Other people related to Epstein who did not respond to requests for comment include Gross and Hooft; Stephen Kosslyn, psychologist at Harvard, who has previously acknowledged to have received funds from Epstein; Harvard and MIT geneticist George Church; astrophysicist Gregory Benford; and A.I. engineer Ben Goertzel, former recipient of a $ 100,000 Research Grant from the Epstein Foundation, and whose open source A.I. OpenCog Project has been supported by Epstein as recently as in 2013.
It is hard to believe that there are many men – who have been declared among the brightest minds on the planet – could you take Epstein's money, travel with him, share long conversations with him, and not see that there was something happening behind the scenes Whatever the reason for their association with him, the problem is that the proximity and connection of many reputable scientists to Epstein conferred on him legitimate legitimacy.
People in the United States still generally trust scientistsbut as we see it since case after case of sexual harassment and assault in sciencePredators can hide and hide behind the prestige, funding and respectability of their lab coats. A study last year find that half of the teachers and the female staff sexual harassment in science – a roadblock that is one of the reasons (among many others) that women are under-represented at the highest level Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Many institutions, including the National Academy of Sciences, are starting to take slow but laudable measures against sex offenders in science – but it is critical that those in power in the community prevent also offenders to engage in the science of the outside.