Back in December, when NASA-funded researcher Felisa Wolfe-Simon caught criticism online for her paper asserting a particular bacteria was incorporating arsenic into its DNA, virtually rewriting the rules of life, she declined to talk to the press, saying she preferred to limit debate to the peer-reviewed press. She said, to be exact
Any discourse will have to be peer-reviewed in the same manner as our paper was, and go through a vetting process so that all discussion is properly moderated.
Apparently the peer-reviewed realm now includes the high-profile TED conference, where on Wednesday Wolfe-Simon talked about her paper. Neither video nor transcript is released as yet, but accounts suggest she discussed her controversial discovery outside the realm of peer review — in fact, in the most public venue imaginable —and one anonymous source I spoke to today said she repeated the paper’s explicit and disputed claims about arsenic incorporating DNA.
I’m curious to see the vid. For now, I’m filing this under shocked but unsurprised. This is real chutzpah, to assert you’ll stick to peer review, thank you, and refuse to talk to press, and then take the stage at TED.