With cheekbones “so excessive and bulbous as to seem to threaten their house owners’ imaginative and prescient,” as an Australian newspaper described them a decade in the past, the Bogdanoff twins drew consideration wherever they went.
The controversial movie star scientists, who each obtained doctorates after penning a collection of impenetrable and allegedly meaningless physics papers, have been descendants of the Aristocracy and, later, a meme beloved on social media platforms like Reddit and 4chan.
However their voyage by way of the celebs ended just lately in a Parisian hospital, the place each Grichka and Igor Bogdanoff had been admitted on the identical day final month after contracting COVID-19. Grichka, the youthful twin, died within the intensive care unit on Dec. 28. Igor adopted him on Monday. Each have been 72.
A supply near the brothers informed French outlet Le Monde that neither had been vaccinated in opposition to the virus.
The socialite scientists made headlines virtually precisely a yr in the past for allegedly “swindling” a millionaire, a 53-year-old man recognized solely as “Cyrille P.” in the subsequent lawsuit, convincing him to take a position tons of of 1000’s of euros in numerous initiatives, together with an try and revive Temps X, the pop science present that first skyrocketed the brothers to fame in 1979.
Many years earlier than they beamed themselves, decked out in futuristic spacesuits, into the houses of households throughout France, the twins have been born in a citadel in Gascogne in 1949. Descended from German and Austrian the Aristocracy, Igor and Grichka have been raised by their grandmother, Countess Bertha Kolowrat-Krakowská, whose scandalous affair with Roland Hayes, the primary Black American to realize worldwide fame as a classical musician, produced the twins’ mom.
The brothers went on to review utilized arithmetic on the Institute of Political Science and the École Pratique des Hautes Études in Paris. They then discovered a distinct segment for themselves as writers, producers, and presenters of Temps X, which ran from 1979 into the mid-eighties.
Igor and Grichka first invited controversy with the 1991 publication of a guide, Dieu et la Science (God and Science), which went on to change into a French bestseller. Its debut, nevertheless, roiled lecturers after a College of Virginia astronomy professor filed a plagiarism lawsuit over the manuscript.
Settling out of court docket, the Bogdanoffs started work in the direction of their doctorates in 1993. After defending their theses and publishing 5 articles in a number of peer-reviewed physics journals, each brothers handed with the bottom attainable grade.
Tracing their story in 2002, a New York Times reporter wrote that one in every of their advisers described the twins as “wunderkids” who had problem understanding they weren’t “the Einstein brothers.” The adviser, Dr. Daniel Sternheimer, informed the Occasions that educating the brother was like “educating My Truthful Girl to talk with an Oxford accent.”
Their papers, revealed in journals like Annals of Physics, claimed, amongst different ideas, to establish what occurred each earlier than and throughout the Large Bang. The Bogdanoffs’ work was first disputed in 2002, after a College of Excursions physicist raised considerations in an electronic mail to a different tutorial. The scientist, Max Niedermaier, referred to as the twins’ writing “delightfully meaningless combos of buzzwords,” fretting that their proof had nonetheless “been taken severely.”
Requested why the brothers had been conferred their levels, Dr. Sternheimer mentioned, “These guys labored for 10 years with out pay. They’ve the proper to have their work acknowledged with a diploma, which is nothing a lot as of late.”
He referred to as the next scandal, nicknamed “the Bogdanoff affair,” a “storm in a teacup.” The dispute led to a report that discovered the twins’ theses held no scientific worth, however Classical and Quantum Gravity, a peer-reviewed journal that revealed a Bogdanoff paper, finally declined to print a retraction.
Social media customers would ultimately come upon the brothers, who by the flip of the century had apparently found cosmetic surgery. (Each would repeatedly deny that they’d ever had in depth beauty surgical procedures carried out.)
Starting on Reddit in 2015, customers ran wild with conspiracy theories in regards to the brothers, claiming, amongst different issues, that the Bogdanoffs had “psychic powers” and will management the cryptocurrency markets.
This final declare stemmed from a tv look in June final yr, when Grichka remarked on French present Non-Cease Folks that he and his brother helped develop the supply code for Bitcoin. Each additionally claimed that Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous title for the determine presupposed to have invented Bitcoin, had given them two “historical” Bitcoin in “bodily type.”
“When it comes to credibility,” a French editor informed news site Decrypt on the time, Igor and Grichka “are equal to a scientific model of the Kardashian household.”