Questions About Honor for UCLA Chemistry Professor

December 17, 2015

The American Association for the Advancement of Science has been asked to review the nomination of Patrick Harran, a chemistry professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, to become an AAAS fellow. The association announced that it was asked to reconsider the nomination by its chemistry section, which made the request "after it became apparent that an initial review of Dr. Harran’s nomination materials had not included all relevant information." The Los Angeles Times reported that the objections concerned Harran's lab safety, which was the subject of much scrutiny after the death of one of his assistants in a lab fire in 2008. Harran faced felony counts related to alleged violations of state health and safety standards and could have served more than four years in prison if convicted. In 2014, he reached a deal with authorities -- opposed by the lab assistant's family -- in which he did not admit wrongdoing and legal charges were dropped. He did pledge to create and teach an organic chemistry course for college-bound urban students for five summers, to perform 800 hours of community service and to pay $10,000 to a burn center. He has repeatedly denied wrongdoing in the incident.

The AAAS said it would announce any decision in the matter.

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