Does GAad exist? UPDATE – turns out that he does!

2013-11-26 18.16.12

UPDATE:  Hypotheses are there to be tested and if you read the comments below you’ll see that my hypothesis “G. Aad does not exist and is a clever, made-up first author by the ATLAS team at CERN” has been falsified.  Such is the way of science, it was a nice idea but we have to move on to new challenges:  over at the Dynamic Ecology blog, Brian McGill is fairly certain that Dr Van in the paper Vincent, Van & Goh (1996) is made up…..

 

Original post:

Dublin.  Guinness.  Science.  It’s a heady mix and invariably under such circumstances, scientists turn their conversation to the big questions that matter, including the use of surreptitious humour in scientific publications.

In the bar at University College Dublin this evening, where I’m currently external examiner for their BSc Environmental Biology course, a small group of us traded examples that we knew of: barmen and vineyard owners named in the acknowledgements; pet dogs as co-authors; unwitting funders thanked; hidden references to hard drugs; made-up ecology listed in book indices and on Wikipedia; kids thanked for field assistance; camouflaged side swipes at rivals.

There’s a long list, but the biggest question for me, and one which I’ve wanted to write about for a while, is: does G. Aad exist?

A certain G. Aad is listed as the first author on many of the scientific papers being published by the ATLAS group at CERN – for example here:

http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-0221/3/08/S08003

Indeed, G. Aad is first author on (quite literally) hundreds of papers* from this group:

http://www.physics.ox.ac.uk/Users/vickey/About_Me_files/tvickey_pub_a4.pdf

Clearly the ATLAS team has listed the collaborators on each paper alphabetically, beginning with G. Aad, and with the UK’s most high-profile physicist, B.E. Cox, part-way down.  But whilst Professor Brian Cox certainly exists, G. Aad just seems a little too convenient, akin to Aadvark Electricians in printed phone book listings, when such things mattered.

Too convenient and too……clever:  G. Aad…..GAad…..Gaad…..God…..geddit?

An appropriate first author for publications from the team that has been searching for the God Particle.  But Dr Aad does not appear as a bona fide member of staff on the websites of any of the institutions where he is credited as working and I suspect that he is fictitious.  So unless someone knows different, I’d like to suggest this as one of the best examples of hidden humour in the science literature.

 

*Web of Knowledge lists 305 papers with G. Aad as first author, giving him an h-index of 34.  All since 2008……

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15 Comments

Filed under History of science

15 responses to “Does GAad exist? UPDATE – turns out that he does!

  1. Pingback: Friday links: does Gaad exist, stories behind classic ecology papers, evolution of chess, and more | Dynamic Ecology

  2. isoy

    well, after a few minutes of internet research (and knowing a few words of french), i could find this here:
    http://annuaire.in2p3.fr/ConsultPerson.php?button=print&cn=AAD%20Georges&dn=ou=people,+ou=cppm,+o=in2p3,c=fr
    He is listed as a scientist here:
    http://marpix1.in2p3.fr/memberPage.php

    Like

  3. isoy

    The talk at Freiburg was 2010, but he still is listet at CPPM in Marseille, so i’d guess here is there by now (my link from above again: http://marpix1.in2p3.fr/memberPage.php)
    It also shows his mail address, telephone number and even where his office is …I’d say, if that is still not enough, one should just call. And also start wondering, if B.E. Cox really exists, or simply is a dirty joke …?

    Like

    • I was going to try the phone number today and then Gordon Watts wrote his comment, which I’ll take as definitive proof! Guess I will have to update my post 🙂

      Can’t possibly comment on Brian Cox, though fairly sure he exists as I’ve seen him on TV…..

      Like

  4. Ha! Excellent. He does exist. I was at his thesis defense, and I know him well. He is currently at CPPM, in the south of France. I wonder if I could get this to go a little viral?

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  5. Marcel Vos

    For humour in science literature: http://inspirehep.net/record/1225892?ln=en

    Like

  6. Pingback: Rational explanations | Jeff Ollerton's Biodiversity Blog

  7. “G. Aad…..GAad…..Gaad…..God…..geddit?”

    Woudn’t the mere phonetic impression of pronouncing G. Aad sound rather like jihad?

    Like

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