News Scamferences

My heart belongs to Daddy, So I simply couldn’t be bad

"A complex fraud involving a Greek scientist and her network of international researchers has been uncovered by investigators from the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF)."

Yes, my heart belongs to Daddy
So I simply couldn’t be bad

A song by Cole Porter (1938)

On 5 May 2020, the EU Commission’s European Anti-Fraud Office OLAF issued this press release:

OLAF investigation uncovers research funding fraud in Greece

The protection of EU budget foreseen for research has always been particularly important for the European Anti-Fraud Office. A complex fraud involving a Greek scientist and her network of international researchers has been uncovered by investigators from the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF). 

The case involves a grant of around €1.1 million from the European Research Council Executive Agency (ERCEA) to a Greek university. The money was intended to finance a research project run by a promising young scientist, whose father was employed at the university in question. The project was said to involve a network of more than 40 researchers from around the world under the leadership of the Greek scientist.
OLAF first became suspicious when it discovered how the international researchers were allegedly being paid. Cheques were issued in the name of individual researchers but were then deposited into bank accounts with multiple beneficiaries. Suspicions increased when it emerged that the cheques were personally deposited into the bank accounts by the lead scientist. 

OLAF’s investigative team decided to conduct an on-the-spot check at the university in question. Despite attempts from the lead researcher to obstruct the investigation, and with the help from the Greek national law enforcement authorities which provided access to bank accounts and OLAF’s own digital forensic investigations, OLAF was able to piece together the true story behind the fraud. 

Hard evidence was found, which demonstrated that the lead scientist had set up the bank accounts used to ‘pay’ the international researchers and made herself a co-beneficiary of the accounts in order to gain access to the money. OLAF followed the financial trails and was able to prove that large sums were either withdrawn in cash by the scientist or were transferred into her private account. A number of the researchers who were said to be involved in the research project were contacted by OLAF. None of them were aware that their name was linked to the project or had any knowledge of the bank accounts opened in their names or of any payments made into them.

OLAF Director General Ville Itälä said: 

“This investigation demonstrates yet again the importance of being able to access banking records in order to fight fraud successfully. The sheer size and scope of the network of researchers allegedly involved in this project posed a real challenge to OLAF’s investigators. Their ability to access and verify accounts set up to allegedly pay researchers from across the world was a vital element in getting to the bottom of this attempt to defraud the EU budget and that could have had significant detrimental effects on the reputation of the bona fide researchers whose names were being exploited as part of the fraud attempt.”

The investigation was concluded in November last year with recommendations to ERCEA to recover approximately €190,000 (the share of the €1.1m grant allegedly paid to the international researchers) as well as to the national authorities to initiate judicial proceedings against the persons involved.

If one follows the clues in the press release, they match only one female recipient of an €1.1. million ERC grant in Greece, “young” or otherwise, whose father works at the same university the grant was assigned to, namely in this case the nanotechnology grant awarded in 2008 to the Aristotle University in Thessaloniki. This same funding report also lists with the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg in Germany an international collaborator receiving € 182,778.80, which matches the sum of €190k misappropriated by the young Greek scientist and her international colleagues.

But it cannot be true.

Source: Aristotle U, ERC promo package

Because the main person accused in the OLAF press release would then be the University of Florida professor and nanotechnologist Katerina Aifantis, a genius scientist, who graduated with PhD aged merely 21 and has been the youngest ever ERC grant recipient aged just 24. The prodigy child of the Greek titan of material sciences and engineering, Elias Aifantis, who now, next to his daughter Aikaterini and possibly some Germans, seems also to stand accused by this outrageous OLAF press release.

Not possible. OLAF must have made a mistake with their overtly specific description which led to only one candidate, who must be an innocent victim of a misunderstanding. Let me explain to you what a benevolent genius Katerina Aifantis is, a person described by her father’s protege and Thessaloniki collaborator Avraam Konstantinidis as

extremely fair and does not take advantage of other people. She believes deeply in God and the Greek tradition, all the way from classical Greece to the Hellenic and Byzantine periods, as well as Greek Orthodoxy. She has great respect for goodness.

This is how BBC described Aifanti’s academic rise:

“She credits her precocity with growing up in a scientific environment – her father is a scientist working in the field of mechanics, who was surrounded by Nobel Prize winners.

I met this beautiful community in science and I really wanted to be a part of it,” she explains. “I also wanted to see exactly what he was doing so that motivated me to go fast in my studies.”

At 16, she was given the opportunity to enrol at Michigan Tech by her High School principal.”

An extremely rare honour for a child. Because Aikaterini’s father held a professorship at that same MTU faculty of engineering since 1982, and an uncorruptable scientific titan like Elias Aifantis would never let someone that young graduate that fast. But he recognised immediately that his daughter was a genius. Not just Aifantis senior, also his MTU colleague Stephen Hackney, as Science reported:

“Aifantis was 17 when she approached Stephen Hackney, a colleague of her father’s, and asked him if she could work with him on applied elasticity, which her father had developed as a mathematical theory the year she was born. “I … found it would be very romantic to study that,” she says. Hackney “was hesitant” to take on so young a researcher, he writes in an e-mail, but he gave her a project on the micromechanics of lithium battery design when he recognized that her mathematical skills far exceeded those of many graduate students.”

According to her own self-recorded CV, after having graduated at MTU, Katerina Aifantis stayed between October and December 2004 at the prestigious University of Cambridge in UK, where she obtained her Master’s degree in absolute record time of 10 weeks.

Update 29.05.2020 However, University of Cambridge revealed under FOIA:

This student took an MPhil degree (the University does not offer the MSc degree) in Engineering in the 2003-04 academic year and graduated at a Congregation held in December 2004. Her thesis is available solely in hard copy in the Department of Engineering Library [link here, -LS]”

The department head was Norman Fleck, old partner of Elias Aifantis (together they organised conferences in Thessaloniki already in the 1990ies), Katerina’s direct mentor in Cambridge was the mathematician and materials scientist John Willis, as Science wrote:

Most students at Cambridge only start research when they’ve obtained their M.Sc., but Willis “allowed me to start right away,” Aifantis says. “His trust in me and belief is what made me work extra-hard.” Within a year, she got her master’s degree in engineering and cracked Willis’s problem in theoretical solid mechanics.”

Katerina Aifantis then moved to the University of Groningen in Netherlands, where, in just roughly 3 months, she graduated with a PhD. BBC explains how that happened:

“She passed her degree in engineering at 19, then went to Cambridge University in the UK for her PhD. She was supervised by the applied mathematician, Professor John Willis.

He let me go straight ahead into research instead of making me take courses and following the traditional path,” she says.

Although she finished her dissertation within a year, she was unable to submit for a PhD at Cambridge because rules stipulate a minimum of three years of study.

John Willis and I thought that I could transfer to a different university in Europe that has no time requirements,” she explains.

She moved to the University of Groningen, which was doing similar experiments, and became the Netherland’s youngest PhD ever, aged just 21.

I guess I was very blessed in having wonderful people to support me, and also both my father and my mother were very supportive of my love for science,” she says.

Aifantis mentor there was Jeff De Hosson, with whom she submitted the doctoral dissertation titled: “Gradient plasticity with interfacial effects and experimental confirmation through nano-indentation”. It is not available online as pdf. The PhD degree was awarded on 18 April 2005. Science writes:

“So with Willis’s blessing, Aifantis set off for the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. She worked with applied physicist Jeff De Hosson, who was interested in doing experiments to test the theoretical work she had been doing in Cambridge. De Hosson allowed her “to enter the experimental world and most importantly arranged for my Ph.D. defense to take place.” Five months after arriving at Groningen, just before her 22nd birthday, she became the youngest person ever to receive a Ph.D. in the Netherlands.

Aifantis then spent a couple of years doing research with other established scientists in New York, Hong Kong, St. Petersburg in Russia, and Sheffield in the U.K. while interacting with her father’s group at Aristotle University.”

In 2008, less than a year into her first ever postdoc in Paris, Aifantis received that ERC starting grant of €1.1 million, titled MINATRAN (Probing the Micro-Nano Transition: Theoretical and Experimental Foundations, Simulations and Applications). Luckily, her father once again recognised her potential, and in wise foresight offered his own Aristotle University lab in Thessalonki to host the future ERC grant recipient as a new professor. The ERC founding president was back then another Greek science titan, Fotis Kafatos, who said about young Katerina:

a very talented young female scientist, who not only earned her PhD at the age of 21 but also published several interesting papers in highly reputable scientific journals, such as the Journal of Mechanics and Physics, The Philosophical Magazine, Acta Materiala and the International Journal of Plasticity. In some sense, she is probably in a league of her own right now.”

Hence, as Science aptly wrote: “She needn’t have worried” about getting the grant.

And this was how Katerina Aifantis became professor at Thessaloniki. She collaborated with the University of Erlangen-Nürnberg in Germany (the collaborator MZ used to be Elias Aifantis’ postdoc), Katerina even had her franchise lab with postdocs in Erlangen. The ERC grant ended on 30 September 2013, as most ERC grants it definitely must have provided breakthrough results. Surely, because this was the Aifanti promise:

“In layman’s terms, this means she will explore the possibility of creating tiny lithium batteries that could be implanted in computer chips or directly into the head or heart of human patients. […] “We could all do with these brain batteries,” she giggles, showing her girlish sense of humour.”

But a genius’ place in America, so Aifantis went to the country her genius father already established himself in. From August 2013 on, not even waiting for the ERC project to end, Katerina Aifantis became associate professor at University of Arizona in Tucson. In 2016, she received a research grant to collaborate with her BSc degree mentor Hackney at MTU.

Screenshot Aifantis lab at UF

As soon as that grant ended, Katerina Aifantis left Arizona and joined the University of Florida in August 2017, where she now has her nanotechnology lab, funded by the Department of Energy and NSF. The lab website is decorated with photos from the most prestigious award ceremony a scientist can be honoured with, after the Nobel Prize itself. The FLOGEN SIPS Award, bestowed upon Katerina Aifantis in 2019 by the illustrious conferencier Florian Kongoli.

What do you mean, you never heard of him or his FLOGEN events? As the Dutch journalist Pepijn van Erp narrates here, Kongoli hosted an impressive number of science luminaries, among them several Nobel Prize winners, like Andre Geim and Fraser Stoddart. They sure didn’t look disappointed in the videos.

In fact, the award Katerina Aifantis received was named “Stoddart International Scientific Award“. Previously, in 2015, her father Elias received another FLOGEN award. The 2020 FLOGEN scamconference event will take place in November 2020 in Phuket, among its organisers are listed both Elias and Katarina Aifantis.

Do you now see what a infallible scientist and a role model Professor Katerina Aifantis is? As if this is not enough, she is presently saving us all from the Coronavirus. In Greek media in April 2020, she told the audience about face masks and their capacity to filter out nanoparticles. Her own research, Aifantis said, is about developing nanostructured electrodes for brain stimulation which will be used to treat Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

So I want to warn you laddie
Though I know that you’re perfectly swell
That my heart belongs to Daddy
Cause my Daddy, he treats it so well

Aikaterini and Daddy in Moscow, 2016.

Please allow me to conclude with this quote from the 24 year old Katerina in 2008, just when she received her ERC grant:

“Asked if she expected her academic success to lead to riches, she says: “The last thing that interests me is the money. If I was interested in money, I would not have made my research public so everyone could share it.”

Update 8.05.2020

Greek journalist Sofia Christoforidou shared this interesting link with me. Turns out, the Aristotle University Thessaloniki sued the ERC in the EU Court of Justice, over well, what coincidence, the MINATRAN grant, held by Katerina Aifanti. ERC apparently tried to claim back additional ~€250k, but most embarrassingly, lost the case in full. In the verdict from 17 January 2019, “The Court:

  1. Annuls points 1, 2 and 3 of the operative part of the judgment of 6 April 2017, Aristoteleio Panepistimio Thessalonikis v ERCEA (T‑348/16);
  2. Declares that the claim formulated in debit note No 3241606289 of the European Research Council Executive Agency (ERCEA) of 26 May 2016 for the return by Aristoteleio Panepistimio Thessalonikis of part of the subsidy it received for the Minatran project, amounting to EUR 245 525.43, is unfounded up to an amount of EUR 233 611.75 and that the latter amount corresponds to eligible costs;
  3. Dismisses the action brought by Aristoteleio Panepistimio Thessalonikis and the application filed by ERCEA as to the remainder;
  4. Orders ERCEA to bear its own costs and to pay those incurred by Aristoteleio Panepistimio Thessalonikis in Cases T‑348/16 and T‑348/16 OP;
  5. Orders ERCEA to bear its own costs and to pay those incurred by Aristoteleio Panepistimio Thessalonikis in Case T‑348/16 OP-R.

The lawsuits date back to June 2016 and are available in detail here. The ERC (presumably unsuccessfully) appealed on 2 April 2019, demanding a refund “for the amount of EUR 184 157 together with EUR 36 831.40“.

Update 11.05.2020

University of Groningen never replied to my FOI inquiries, but they did silently supplement the records for Katerina Aifanti’s PhD dissertation with a full thesis document as pdf.

The thesis is large and contains lots of experimental research, which could never have been done in the 10 weeks Aifantis was in Cambridge or 3 months in Groningen (the official version). It does contain this declaration:

“The work described in this thesis has been made possible by financial
support from the US National Science Foundation, under its Graduate
Research Fellowship Program.”

The thesis promotors were De Housson and Willis, or examiners the Groninger professors HA De Raedt, P Rudolf and L Kok. Aifantis thanks “the National Science Foundation of the USA for supporting me through their Graduate Research Fellowship Program” at Michigan Technological University, which she received in September 2003 to graduate at Cambridge. The real mentor seems to have been however Daddy:

“The person responsible for my love for science is my father. His devotion to his work, in particular to his gradient theory, which dates back to the time I was born, is what motivated me to study mechanics. The feeling of being able to write a thesis which is based on ideas he introduced, at the time I was a newborn, cannot be described.”

Aifantis then thanks “my spiritual guide Fr. Simeon, as well as all the monks of the Holy Trinity orthodox monastery of Thessaloniki for appreciating what a God gift science is” and concludes with:

Every gift that is perfect is from above, coming from You, the Father of lights.”
Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom

Update 15.05.2020

It is worth downloading the thesis pdf from the University of Groningen website and open its metadata. The pdf was created from the file “Microsoft Word – Thesis_final_3.doc” on 30.03.2005 by the author “Avraam”. Who is probably Avraam Konstantinidis (mentioned above), the loyal family friend, former PhD student and postdoc of Elias Aifantis, now associate professor in Elias’ Thessalonoki lab and tipped to be successor to Elias’ chair. There is absolutely no logical reason for Konstantinidis to have anything to do with a PhD thesis officially done in Groningen and Cambridge.

Update 26.05.2020

A reader alerted me to some inconsistencies in Katerina Aifantis’ PhD thesis (done in 3 months in Groningen). The thesis contains some experimental data, which was apparently later reproduced in a peer reviewed publication, Aifantis et al Acta Materialia 2006, with her PhD mentor De Hosson as penultimate and her Cambridge mentor Willis as last author. The data reuse as such is perfectly fine. But.

The problem seems to be: the same analysis, on iron-silicon alloy samples provided by a Czech collaborator, was presented in a selective fashion to create a fantasy fit curve for the PhD thesis. Out of 7 values in the Acta Materialia paper (where no curve is shown), only 4 data points were used in the thesis (multi-coloured frames). Since it is obvious all these data points were acquired simultaneously in Groningen on those Czech-donated samples, one wonders why Aifantis dropped 3 of them from her thesis.

When the omitted 3 data points (labelled in red) are re-introduced, the beautifully elegant (yet hand-drawn) curve makes no sense whatsoever, in fact, to draw it while aware of the omitted data points might amount to data falsification. Finally, for some reason the analysed sample was also differently labelled: Fe-14wt%Si (PhD thesis) versus Fe-2.2wt%Si (publication).

Update 29.05.2020: The Czech collaborator Pavel Lejcek, professor at Institute of Physics in Prague, hypothesised about the erroneous Fe-14wt%Si description:

It is a mistake in the Thesis. The concentration of silicon in the bicrystals we have been producing at that time varied from 2 to 3 mass (wt) %. This corresponds to 4 – 6 atomic % of Si.

Lejcek suspects a “printing error (14 instead 4 – but not wt.%)” and added in his next email to me:

We did sent the samples 15 years ago to Jeff de Hosson whom we know. If it was realized in one or in more steps, I cannot say now more. I do not know when the measurements were completed. I am not the author of the Acta Mat. paper (and am absolutely not disappointed by that fact).

The only question remains: why did De Hosson and Aifantis decided to drop 3 values and pencil-draw a false curve?

Update 8.07.2020.

The University of Florida does not answer emails at all, sources informed that Katerina Aifantis is likely in the middle of obtaining tenure there. But the University of Groningen now answered my Freedom of Information inquiry (their replies in cursive):

1. The full PDF-file of the PhD dissertation: 

The thesis has been available for many years (and still is) through the website of the De Hosson group. After your initial request we have transferred a copy to the official portal of the University of Groningen.

2. The date when the thesis was submitted at the University of Groningen: 

The manuscript and the title page were approved on 22 March 2005 and 23 March 2005 respectively. The manuscript approval occurs through the evaluation committee, the title page by the PhD office. The printed thesis was received on the 29th of March 2005.

3. The date of the oral exam: 

The oral examination, officially called public defense, was held on the 18th of April 2005.

4. The date when Dr Aifantis , as a PhD-student, was first present at the lab of Dr De Hosson:

The first meetings in the lab were in 2004. The start of the project, as registered in the University PhD-database was on the 18th of January 2005.

5. The date of the first e-mail contact between Dr De Hosson and Dr Aifantis:

The first contacts date from 2002/2003 at the Nato science series workshops & institutes & nanostructured materials conferences’. After that, there has been repeated contact concerning the ‘Hall-Petch relationship’. The exact date of the first e-mail contact is not known.

I then asked the University of Groningen about a more specific date than ‘2004’ as an answer to my fourth question. They replied:

We have tried to obtain this information, but the specific date when Dr Aifantis was first present in the lab, is not officially registered. The official start of the project was, as stated before, on the 18th of January 2005. People involved in the research at that time remember that Dr Aifantis was present in Groningen from November or December 2004. A more specific date cannot be recalled.

Aifantis graduated in Cambridge in December 2004, she went to De Hossen’s lab in Groningen right after. She officially started on 18.01.2005, the final PhD thesis document authored by “Avraam” was submitted on 29.03.2005, meaning the entire PhD thesis research by Katerina Aifantis took, writing included, merely 10 weeks.


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40 comments on “My heart belongs to Daddy, So I simply couldn’t be bad

  1. Pingback: FLOGEN SIPS conferences, where Nobelists meet fringe scientists and frauds - Pepijn van Erp

  2. Wow, just wow.

    If this is true, despite the fact that this “prodigy” was born and raised in the US, it appears that the darker side of Greek culture never left her.

    My guess is that U of F will do absolutely nothing, if she is bringing in grant money. Didn’t happen during their “watch” (clearly, for lack of a better phrase, because admins dont provide any oversight of academic labs).

    Might want look carefully at her publications.


    • As much as I am also amazed by the level of this fraud, I cannot ignore the obvious racism in your comment @NMH.


    • dark side of Greek culture!!! and, bright side of US culture???
      NMH disgusting, just disgusting 😦


      • ahem There is even a wikipedia page on this problem:

        Disgusting? Please.


      • The wikipedia page that @NMH cited (with much zeal I have to admit) is part of the general wikipedia article on Political Corruption that serves as an umbrella for corruption pages for each country, here:

        Disgusting might be not the right characterization indeed, dangerously ignorant better 🙂


      • Can you explain how the phenomenon of Psycho Barbie Eleni Antoniadou happened in Greece?
        Remember, she is a NASA astronaut thanks to whose self-made plastic trachea Andemariam Beyene is still alive?


      • @Leonid Schneider I thought your blog and related scientific journalist work are not sparked by any kind of race/country/culture bias and I am very disappointed to see that in this message. To answer you with an analogy, you may want to explain us how Edward Snowden happened in the US and why does the guy still live in exile?

        Liked by 1 person

      • I won’t have a Greek patriot accuse a Jew of anti-Hellenic racism, on my own site. And your whatabouttism you can shove elsewhere. Go read Retraction Watch then. Comment thread ends here.


    • You’re ignorant. There is wikipedia corruption page for US, for Germany, for Canada, …, stop it!


    • The content doesn’t change when you dress it up with sophisticated words, culturism is one of the many faces of racism dear @NMH. Thank you for the insightful clarification.


      • I try (but often fail) to make my language as precise as possible.

        I’m an American, and often hear other (Europeans in particular) writing off Americans as gun-toting, beer drinking, pick-up-truck-gas guzzling, obese, war-like xenophobes. I have mixed feelings about this, but I can’t throw these comments away as racism because, IMO, there is plenty of truth to it, particularly where I live. The reason this seems relatively true is because the cultural norms where I Iive now (a blue county in a red state) are decidedly different compared to Europe (which I have traveled to, or even the west coast of the US where I grew up), and often going in an unattractive direction. Does this mean that everybody acts like this? Of course not, but the average is, again, decidedly different out here in red state land compared to the rest of the world.

        So, yes, I recognize there are differences in cultures that can be very unattractive. I guess that make me a culturist, but I really don’t see any race (black vs white involved), so I reject the racist term here. If I was born and raised where I am now, there is little doubt in my mind that I would take on at least some of the unattractive norms of the area. Its hard to buck cultural norms.

        I suggest, AKI, that you stop trying to be a truth-denying social suggest warrior, accept the truth, and try to make things better in a way you think is best.


      • Here is an example of the darker side of middle American culture: right-wing conspiracy theories that Covid-19 is fake news, and nobody is dying. Whether I like it or not, this is accepted by many where I live. I have trouble imagining this being generally believed in the west coast of the US, or the places I have traveled in Europe:


  3. Klaas van Dijk

    Within The Netherlands, at least 5 different libraries have a hard copy of the PhD thesis of Katerina Aifantis. See and etc.


  4. The Aifantises were even more at home at the SIPS conferences than I thought at first look. Katerina is mentioned as member of the ‘international committees’ for each consecutive year since 2014. And both are mentioned as editors (together with Kongoli) for several of the CD-ROMs with articles. When Elias got the Fray Award in 2015 there was a symposium in his name. Of course Katerina was one of the participants, but also was Jeff de Hosson, her promotor at the University of Groningen in 2005.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sardanapalos

    Fraud and misappropriation of research funding is, unfortunately, quite common across cultures and academic systems. In some cases is obvious (embezzlement), while in other cases is more subtle (use of funding to exert control of scientists, create a culture of fear and subordination, and destroy the very fabric of academia, i.e. academic freedom), IMHO the latter is way more dangerous because it is difficult to spot and tackle (i.e., it is systemic). Hence, instead of consuming ourselves in an endless fight about stereotypes and prejudices (it is one of the basic functions of the human brain to create patterns; in many cases is useless and misleading) let’s see how we can make science and academia better.

    For the case in question it is imperative that the authorities look deeper into the career of this ERC grantee and ascertain that her Ph.D. degree and her publications are legitimate and that they are the result of her intellectual effort and not someone else’s.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The “Germans” can be identified from their own websites as Prof. Michael Zaiser (formerly a Postdoc with her father) and Prof. Aldo Boccaccini (no obvious connection). Confirmed by a local source.


    • University of Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) categorically denies all involvement in the OLAF investigation. They sent me this message, in English:

      “Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nuremberg was not contacted or asked for comments in the course of the OLAF investigation into the MINATRAN project. The project costs of FAU were fully reimbursed by the EU. There were also no claims for the recovery of subsidies made to FAU.”


  7. That letter from dad to “influential person” in other university made me want to puke (american slang for getting sick and putting lunch from the stomach to the floor). Faculty live in this entitled, rarefied thing called “ivory tower” where there is a lot of back scratching going on. References to god will go far to make you look a little pure to pave the trail with gold.


  8. Dear Sir thank you so much for the enlightening piece. We knew about the massive fraud but people were not naming names. It has become crystal clear now. To the fellow readers that complain about racism or culturalism or for our great orthodox God that Katerina seems so much to believe in. Please shut your pie hole. Greece is right now a corrupted hellhole, nepotism, jingoism, witchdoctoring abound. And oh did I mention nepotism? political interventions? corruption? sexism, racism, right-wing nutjobs?
    no non-native Greek can ever grasp the dystopian reality of contemporary Greece. Thank you, Sir.

    Liked by 1 person

    • She studied in an american uni (where daddy was teaching ok) then went to UK (Cambrige for God’ s shake) and NL and within less than a semester got her MS’s and PHD. And those were not greek universities.

      (of course that doesnt mean that you cannot find nepotism and corruption in greek uni’s. but this story prooved that it can happen in the best academic families)

      Liked by 1 person

      • To anybody who wonders how a PhD thesis can be done in just 3 months, simply look at chapter 8:

        Click to access katerina_aifantis_phd.pdf

        No experimental section that would pass for any decent scientific journal – can only be interferred that possibly the measurements were done with TEM, but absolutely no mentioned of precise setup or instrument used, no TEM pictures or any other characterization of the material studied (poor Czech collaborator who was drawn into this), just four low-quality x/y plots (Figs. 8.2 to 8.4) that give me a strong early 1990s vibe.

        Very honestly, this part would not even pass as a Bachelor student lab project report in my group, not even to speak of an academic thesis of any kind. To collect such data, you possibly need something between one afternoon, if things run very well, and one week if there are significant experimental issues.

        Where is the scientific rigor – for example repetition of experiments on different samples to at least obtain some error bars on the values collected in Table 1? Not to speak of such things as studying a series of materials of different composition for comparison.

        In our institution “A doctorate is awarded to candidates who have demonstrated their ability to independently conduct original and significant scientific research” – not even a dozen measurements is not “significant research”

        And the rest of the thesis is simply “lyrics with a lot of equations” – not a single “hard” experimental data, only some plots of “parameter space” that do not even quality as “simulations”, as for example in molecular dynamics (MD) or so.

        Shame on the thesis committee to let something like this pass


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  13. This was clearly written by someone who has never worked alongside Ms. Aifantis and has no idea how brilliant and ambitious she is. She truly was a prodigy at MTU. I say this as her former classmate. She was always miles ahead of those who were several years her senior. As a child doing her undergrad, she was often more disciplined and knowledgeable than some PhD students. If she wanted something, she worked for it. She studied and researched constantly. This is what she does for fun because she is truly passionate about what she studies. Her father is indeed a genius, and I had the pleasure of taking an independent study course with him during my undergrad at Michigan Tech. He set VERY high standards for his daughter and constantly challenged her. Nothing excited her more than solving a challenging problem. I saw it for myself at MTU: Katerina learned at lightning pace, she would study a concept until she fully understood it, she asked many questions, was highly competitive and strived for perfection, and she could apply what she learned in any practical scenario in a fraction of the time it took other classmates to understand the basic concepts. You are deceiving yourselves if you believe this gifted young woman was granted any special privileges. I am grateful to have known and worked with this amazingly talented woman and I wish her all the success in the world. She was the hardest working student I have ever met, and her unselfish goals were always for the betterment of humanity.


    • And for the record, Ms. Aifantis is not an only child as you stated above.


    • Indeed, thanks for spotting a mistake, she is not the only child, there is also a son, I believe a musician.
      In any case, I fully agree with you in every respect, didn’t you read my article? Both father and daughter Aifantis are indeed geniuses, and so is their friend, Ruggiero Maria Santilli.
      Please write to OLAF and ERC and explain to them that Dr Aifantis’ “unselfish goals were always for the betterment of humanity.
      If they really took the money, they surely donated it to the Greek Orthodox Church, for charity.
      And also, dear friend MTUGrad, I am so sorry you are being persecuted as well and afraid to reveal your real identity. Stay strong, and thank you for being so brave!


      • NMH, the failed scientist and incel

        This was written by someone who seems to think that being a genius with incredible ambition is as virtuous, or more virtuous, as being honest and fair.


      • I rather enjoy my privacy and don’t feel persecuted in any way. I have nothing to gain or lose; I am merely stating what I know about this family after spending my undergraduate years in their company, and many long nights studying alongside Katerina as we were in many of the same classes together. Ms. Aifantis never cared for money. She would be the first person to stand up for others and point out injustices. She taught me a lot, and she enjoyed teaching others. She’s not a cheat. She’s not a thief. Her family lives a very humble life. If anything, her flaw is that she can be naive to the selfish ambitions of others who would take advantage and exploit her gifts.


      • What kind of friend are you, that after all those many long nights studying together you allow this horribly unfair persecution of Katerina and her genius father by OLAF? Why do you comment here instead of writing to the EU Commission demanding justice and a public apology? Right, because you wish to enjoy your privacy. Shame.


      • How do you know that I haven’t sent testimony? Bunch of trolls.


      • Post it here, troll.


  14. Pingback: Schneider Shorts 17.02.2023 – A universal cure of high moral excellence – For Better Science - Digital Wisdom

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