Phil Charles fallout

Nature News has a very interesting update on the continuing Phil Charles story. Here is a precis :

  • Phil Charles has been re-instated and publicly declared innocent of all charges.
  • …but the NRF has still not said … err… what the charges were. (Here is last week’s press release.)
  • Phil Charles is is not allowed to discuss these charges
  • The NRF say the charges were definitely nothing to do with location of the MeerKAT HQ site. No sirree. Purely to do with unauthorised circulation of confidential documents…
  • Michael Feast states this actually refers to an email that Charles forwarded to colleagues
  • That email concerned …  the location of the MeerKAT HQ site
  • Royal Society of South Africa has called for “public inquiry into this damaging incident”

So if Phil was hoping to settle down to a quiet life he might be disappointed.


Update Friday : the Department of Science Technology issued this press release. It explains that although last week’s NRF press release seemed to say “the judge says you was not guilty, but we know where you live , see”, actually this was just an “unintended ambiguity”.

3 Responses to Phil Charles fallout

  1. Paul Whiteley says:

    I was shocked to see news of Phil Charles’s suspension. I worked with Phil for many years on La Palma and found him to be one of the most straight forward of people and of the highest integrity. I am pleased that the authorities have seen sense. Whatever he may have been accused of (so far not made public) I have no doubt that he would have acted with the best interests of astronomy and science as a whole.

  2. […] More Phil Charles madness I am sure most of you will remember the recent strange episode in South African astronomy, with SAAO Phil Charles being suspended for … err… well, it was never really clear exactly what he was suspended for. He endured a several day hearing behind closed doors and was publicly cleared. Except that the layer above SAAO, the NRF, said “well, anyway, we still reckon there’s issues, see”. But then the layer above them, the Ministry, said “I think you’ll find we all agree Professor Charles was cleared of all charges”. See my last update. […]

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