Tuesday, December 22, 2015

"AAAS Chemistry Section Will Not Proceed with Nomination of Patrick Harran as Fellow"

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) today announced that its Section on Chemistry has voted not to move forward with the nomination of Patrick Harran as a Fellow, following re-review of his nomination. 
On December 18, the AAAS Council approved the Chemistry Section steering group’s request to conduct a complete re-evaluation of Dr. Harran’s nomination after it became apparent that an initial review of nomination materials had not included all relevant information. Members of the nomination reviewing committee recently became aware of a 2008 case involving the death of a technician in the UCLA laboratory of Dr. Harran. 
The AAAS Council Subcommittee on Fellows, which is empowered to review the nomination and election process, is also considering changes to the Fellow review process for subsequent nominations. 
In a tradition dating to 1874, election as a Fellow of AAAS—the world’s largest general scientific society—is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers that recognizes efforts to advance science or its applications. 
Under AAAS bylaws, Fellows are nominated either independently by three existing AAAS Fellows, as in Dr. Harran’s circumstance, or by the elected leadership of topical membership Sections. Following review by the relevant topical sections, Fellows are then ratified by elected members of the AAAS Council, without interference or influence by AAAS staff. Fellows are honored in an induction ceremony at the AAAS Annual Meeting.


  1. Always the right time to do the right thing.

  2. Glad that there were enough people with metaphorical balls.

  3. Perhaps every other AAAS Fellow who has ever had someone working in their lab without proper PPE, training, and supervision should be removed as well. Oh right, there probably wouldn't be any Fellows with wet labs left.

    The only thing the separates most other PIs from Harran is dumb luck.

    1. That's one way life - and learning from mistakes - works.

  4. It's a good decision and the right thing to do. I would be the last person to be part of an Internet group trying to dole out mob justice, but there's a time and place for everything and this just seemed wrong on both counts.

  5. I'm one of the individuals who sent emails to members of the AAAS Chemistry section. I did receive replies from about half of them, and got one reply within an hour. So, I think it is helpful for people to express their opinions this way.
    I'm gratified that AAAS is taking another look at this incident, and will be changing the way they evaluate nominations. It also appears from the C & E News Safety Zone blog that ACS is changing its award criteria, to take serious safety incidents into account.
    Speaking out publicly does make a difference.


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20