Top French scientist tweets apology for ‘scientific joke’: ‘Star or sausage?’ | World News - Hindustan Times
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Top French scientist tweets apology for ‘scientific joke’: ‘Star or sausage?’

Aug 06, 2022 06:41 AM IST

A picture shared by Étienne Klein drew backlash on Twitter, prompting him to apologise. 

France’s love for food is well-known. But sharing a photo of a Spanish delicacy - and then calling it a star - brought a top scientist under fire, finally prompting him to apologise to his 92.5 K followers on Twitter.

Étienne Klein shared a photo and said it was that of Proxima Centauri. ((Étienne Klein/ Twitter) )
Étienne Klein shared a photo and said it was that of Proxima Centauri. ((Étienne Klein/ Twitter) )

Étienne Klein, Research Director, The French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission or CEA, last week shared a picture on the microblogging site and gave quite an elaborate description, which many ended up believing. He said it was taken by the James Webb Telescope. “Photo of Proxima Centauri, the closest star to the Sun, located 4.2 light years from us. It was taken by the James Webb Space Telescope. This level of detail… A new world is unveiled everyday,” read his post, roughly translated from French.

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The James Webb Space Telescope is one of the largest and most powerful. Last month, NASA released the deepest and sharpest infrared images of the distant universe known so far, which were captured by the JWST.

But the photo that Klein shared was not that of a star. It was a slice of chorizo, Spanish sausage relished for its bold flavours. The ‘joke’, however, was not relished so much.

“In view of some comments, I feel compelled to clarify that this tweet showing an alleged snapshot of Proxima Centauri was a form of amusement. Let us learn to be wary of arguments from authority as much as of the spontaneous eloquence of certain images….,” tweeted Klein on August 1.

On Wednesday, he finally apologised, and added that he intended "to urge caution regarding images that seem to speak for themselves." “I come to present my apologies to those whom my hoax, which had nothing original about it, may have shocked,” read his tweet, roughly translated from French.

"Well yes, people fell into the trap because it was a scientist who made the comment," read a post. Another user pointed out that the image was shared earlier too. "However, this joke is old, made during the lunar eclipse of July 27, 2018," the post read.

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