Conflict at IPICYT in 2008

We present the most relevant facts about the problem in 2008

April 30th. Dr. José Luis Morán López, head of the institute from 2000 to 2005, was sanctioned by the public function ministry (Secretaría de la Función Pública). He was removed from his position as professor, and was enjoined from any position as a federal public servant for ten years. The charges are for "Violations to budget laws and norms" (Violacion leyes y normatividad presupuestal). The sanction can be consulted online, (PDF in Spanish).

May 27th. Dr. Rios removes Professor Humberto Terrones from his position as chief of the AMD. He is replaced by Dr. Haret C. Rosu Barbus. During the first weeks after Dr. Rosu was placed as chief of the AMD, several students, professors and technicians are intimidated and threatened. The audio of one of such threats has been made public, and was later posted in a video in YouTube, with English subtitles.

In May Dr. Ríos sends an e-mail to everybody at IPICYT informing that Mauricio Terrones had been removed from his position of AMD coordinator (Deputy head, and graduate program coordinator) and that the position was going to be held by Román López-Sandoval

June 12th. The students of N&N send a letter to Dr. David Ríos asking for his intervention with regard to the threats by the new head of the AMD and his associates.

June 14th. The students of the N&N group send a letter to Professor Harry Kroto expressing their concern regarding the recent administrative changes and the future of the group.

June 25th. A group of the international scientific community sends a letter to president Felipe Calderón, expressing their deep concern with regard to the situation at IPICYT

July 10th. A note is published in Nature, Vol 454, 143 (2008), where the international community expressed support and concern to solve the dispute. In July, a note is published in Nature "Scientists rally to Mexican researchers' plea", this talks about how a group of scientists from around the world call to Mexican leaders to resolve a dispute affecting the reserach of nanotechnology researchers Humberto and Maurico Terrones at IPICYT. How their lab facilities are being transfered to other people. The then department heads responded the scientist's letter saying that the actions are "unbalanced, based on false premises and damage the prestige of our institute".

In July a meeting is held at CONACYT in Mexico City. Dr. Humberto Terrones notifies the head of CONACYT, the Director of Research Centers, and independent observers, of the recent events. The remotion of Dr. Rosu as chair of the AMD is agreed to as a result of the irregular actions committed during his rule. David Rios commits to remove Haret Rosu on August 4th

September 4th. Nature publishes a response letter to the note published in July 10th (Nature, 455, 27, 2008). Here senior staff members of IPICYT state that the story "Scientists rally to Mexican researchers' plea" is "unjustifiably biased in favour of Harold Kroto and the reserarch group of the Terrones brothers whom he defends". They also say that the researchers, students, postdocs and technicians of the advanced-materials department continue to work normally, where "the group remains the most well supported at IPICYT". Another metioned statement is "Mexican science is definitely not under threat, neither will it be affected by changing a single division head of a CONACYT centre. Indeed, the new measures enable the Terrones to enjoy more time on their research, which should help to boost their scientific output."

December 8th. An external commission determined that there is an institution-wide conflict at IPICYT, not limited to the Advanced Materials Department (PDF in Spanish ). Among other reasons to reach that conclusion we have learned that they were given wrong and biased information about the N&N group at IPICYT.

go to: 2009, 2010