Igor and Grichka Bogdanoff, eccentric French TV star twins on the centre of a infamous scientific controversy – obituary

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Igor and Grichka Bogdanoff, who died of Covid inside days of one another aged 72, had been fraternal twin brothers who grew to become well-known in France as presenters of common science and sci-fi tv programmes – and for his or her as soon as good-looking options which grew to become grotesque and exaggerated through the years, lending them the looks of siblings of the Bride of Frankenstein.

Within the early years of this century, the Bogdanoffs grew to become infamous within the worldwide scientific neighborhood when, in what grew to become generally known as the “Bogdanoff Affair”, they contrived to get papers that they had written – about such issues because the origins of the universe, superstring idea and spacetime – printed in respected peer-reviewed scientific journals, regardless of a report later discovering that their theses had been of no scientific worth.

Their “severe” scientific careers started within the Nineteen Nineties when the Bogdanoffs, who had falsely claimed to have PhDs, determined to rectify the omission and launched into research on the College of Burgundy.

Grichka gained a PhD in arithmetic in 1999 and Igor in physics in 2002, although they had been each awarded “honourables”, the bottom grade qualifying as a go, one in all their supervisors describing his position as “like educating My Truthful Woman to talk with an Oxford accent”.

On the identical time, in 2001 and 2002 they translated their doctoral work right into a collection of articles with titles equivalent to “Topological discipline idea of the preliminary singularity of spacetime”, which they succeeded in getting printed in numerous scientific journals.

It was not lengthy, nonetheless, earlier than some physicists started to scent a rat, or rats, one describing their papers as “spoofs” constructed in “delightfully meaningless combos of buzzwords … which apparently have been taken significantly”.

The Bogdanoffs responded by publishing supportive statements from one tutorial, who denied writing them, whereas scientists who had authorised the papers for publication had been variously defensive or red-faced and apologetic.

One, who had authorised a paper by Grichka, admitted that he had given a beneficial opinion “primarily based on a speedy and indulgent studying of the thesis textual content. Alas, I used to be fully mistaken. The scientific language was simply an look behind which hid incompetence and ignorance of even fundamental physics.”

The controversy attracted the amused consideration of the mainstream press and brought on a lot angst in scientific circles about peer-review procedures. In reality not all overview evaluations had been constructive. Eli Hawkins, appearing as a referee on behalf of the Journal of Physics A, wrote of one of many Bogdanoffs’ papers that “It could take up an excessive amount of house to enumerate all of the errors: certainly it’s tough to say the place one error ends and the subsequent begins.”

An official report from the French Centre nationwide de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), which grew to become public in 2010, declared that the Bogdanoffs’ theses had “no scientific worth” and concluded: “Hardly ever have we seen a hole work dressed with such sophistication”.

The twins angrily denied accusations that that they had perpetrated a deliberate hoax or been responsible of peddling shoddy science, rebutting one grievance, a few paper written by Igor known as “Topological Origin of Inertia”, by claiming that it had been a “conjectural paper written as a heuristic train to grasp a believable (and surprising) software of our ‘topological method of preliminary singularity’.”

Igor Yourievitch and Grichka Yourievitch Bogdanoff had been born on August 29 1949 within the small village of Saint-Lary, Gascony, south west France, Igor previous his brother into this world by 40 minutes.

Their father, Yuri Mikhaïlovitch Osten-Sacken-Bogdanoff, was a Russian painter of noble Tatar origin; their mom, Maria “Maya” Dolores Franzyska Kolowrat-Krakowská, was the daughter of Countess Bertha Kolowrat-Krakowská, a member of a noble Bohemian household who had married a member of an Austrian princely household, with whom she had 4 kids.

Maya, nonetheless, was the results of her mom’s affair within the Twenties with the African American tenor Roland Hayes, a scandal that led to her divorce and brought on her to lose entry to her elder kids, her grand houses in Berlin and Prague, and her fame in society.

She and her child daughter retreated to the Château de Saint-Lary, close to Auch, the place Igor and Grichka had been introduced up, its library inspiring in them a fascination with astronomy and science fiction.

Each brothers accomplished levels in arithmetic, and in 1976 they printed The Keys to Science Fiction, which led to visitor appearances on French tv.

Three years later they made their debuts as hosts of a sci-fi collection known as Temps X, which ran for 10 years, wherein they appeared in a spaceship setting sporting futuristic fits, introducing French viewers to such collection as The Twilight Zone, Star Trek and Physician Who.

Darkish-haired, square-jawed and handsome, the Bogdanoffs grew to become the pin-ups of France’s small display screen and went on to current and produce a number of extra tv reveals, largely coping with science fiction and house exploration.

They continued to publish works of science fiction earlier than launching themselves into the extra severe popular-science market in 1991 with Dieu et la Science (“God and Science”), drawn from interviews with the Catholic thinker Jean Guitton.

However the ebook, which grew to become a bestseller in France, introduced accusations of plagiarism from an American-based Vietnamese astronomer Trinh Xuan Thuan. After a authorized battle, throughout which a decide initially dominated in Thuan’s favour, the events settled out of court docket.

Thuan steered that the controversy had satisfied the brothers of the necessity to get hold of PhDs as quick as attainable, because the again cowl of their ebook falsely claimed that that they had doctorates. John Barrow, professor of mathematical sciences on the College of Cambridge, recalled, in an interview with The Unbiased in 2002, that the Bogdanoffs had approached him “anxious to acquire PhDs in a short time”, however that he had turned them away, calling the work they submitted “laughable compendiums”.

In 2002, after virtually a decade’s absence from tv screens, the Bogdanoffs returned with a twenty first Century model of Temps X, known as Rayons X (“X-Ray”). By this time, nonetheless their appears had undergone a unprecedented transformation, their cheekbones, lips and chins so plumped up that they themselves admitted to wanting “extraterrestrial”, whereas denying having had cosmetic surgery.

In 2010, after they turned up throughout the Cannes movie competition at a celebration for the jeweller Chopard, one commentator described their cheekbones as “so excessive and bulbous as to look to threaten their homeowners’ imaginative and prescient”.

In the meantime, in 2005, the Bogdanoffs had been appointed to chairs in cosmology at Megatrend College in Belgrade, an establishment based in 1989, allegedly funded by warfare profiteers from Slobodan Milosevic’s get together, which has been described as a “diploma mill,” with a fame for “fast, fairly than high quality, training and hyperlinks to political events.”

In later years the brothers had been reported to have turn into well-known in bitcoin cryptocurrency circles. Their final recognized tv look, in 2020, was on the French model of The Masked Singer after they took the stage dressed as parrots and carried out renditions of Bamboleo by the Gipsy Kings and Yesterday by The Beatles.

The twins had been admitted to hospital in mid-December after contracting Covid-19. Pals have been quoted as saying that they weren’t “anti-vaxxers”, however as a result of they believed that their wholesome existence would shield them from the virus that they had not been vaccinated.

Grichka by no means married, however Igor was twice married and had six kids, 4 from his first marriage and two from his second marriage to Amélie de Bourbon-Parme, a author and historian. Each marriages had been dissolved.

Igor and Grichka Bogdanoff, born August 29 1949: Grichka died on December 28 2021 and Igor on January 3 2022

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