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Victor Ninov (Bulgarian: Виктор Нинов, born 1959) is a former researcher in the nuclear chemistry group at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) who was alleged to have fabricated the evidence used to claim the creation of element 118 ununoctium and element 116 livermorium.
Ninov was trained at the Gesellschaft für Schwerionenforschung (GSI) in Germany. His hiring by the LBNL from GSI had been considered a coup: he had been involved in the discovery of elements 110 (now named darmstadtium), 111 (now named roentgenium) and 112 (now named copernicium) and was considered one of the leading experts at using the complex types of software needed to detect the decay chain of unstable transuranium elements.
An internal committee at the lab concluded that Ninov was the only person in the large project to translate the raw computer results into human-readable results and had used this opportunity to inject false data. Re-analysis of the raw data did not indicate the events which Ninov's analysis originally reported.
Re-examination of the data from the experiments conducted at GSI during which Ninov's team had discovered elements 111 and 112 found that the original data had been altered, however repeats of the experiments confirmed the discoveries.
Reports on the Ninov affair were released around the same time that the final report on the Schön affair, another major incident of fraud in physics. As a result, the American Physical Society adopted more stringent ethical guidelines, especially those regulating the conduct of co-authors.
- "At Lawrence Berkeley, Physicists Say a Colleague Took Them for a Ride", George Johnson, The New York Times, 15 Oct 2002. History of the Ninov affair
- Ninov, Viktor (1999). "Observation of Superheavy Nuclei Produced in the Reaction of 86Kr with 208Pb". Physical Review Letters. 83 (6): 1104–1107. Bibcode:1999PhRvL..83.1104N. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.83.1104.
- At Lawrence Berkeley, Physicists Say a Colleague Took Them for a Ride George Johnson, The New York Times, 15 October 2002
- Rex, Dalton (2002). "Misconduct: The stars who fell to Earth". Nature. 420 (6917): 728–729. Bibcode:2002Natur.420..728D. doi:10.1038/420728a. PMID 12490902.
- New results on elements 111 and 112 European Physical Journal, July 2002
- Second experiment at VASSILISSA separator on the synthesis of the element 112 European Physical Journal, June 2003
- After Two Scandals, Physics Group Expands Ethics Guidelines Dennis Overbye, New York Times, 19 November 2002
- Observation of Superheavy Nuclei Produced in the Reaction of 86Kr with 208Pb – Communication in "Physical Review Letters" stating observation of the element 118 published by Victor Ninov's research group
- Sanacacio.net Copy of NY Times article on the Ninov controversy
- Atomic Lies An essay about V. Ninov's career