From the pen of cub reporter Mike Bielawski comes the exciting news that a scientist — that’s right, an honest-to-God scientist — is coming to Vermont to expose a nefarious scheme to steal the 2020 election from Donald Trump.
The scientist in question is one Douglas G. Frank, reputed to be a “world-renowned physicist with 60 peer-reviewed scientific publications, including cover and feature articles in the world’s leading scientific journals.” Those are words from the press release announcing Frank’s appearance, dutifully transcribed by Bielawski.
Okay, I’ll bite. Who is this Frank guy, and how does being a physicist qualify him to uncover election fraud? I mean, it reminds me uncomfortably of WIlliam Shockley, an honest-to-God Nobel Prize winner who brought disgrace on his own head by advocating “scientific proof” that Black people are just plain inferior to whites.
That’s what happens when an expert in a narrowly-defined field decides his genius can be freely transferred to any other area of life. And with all due respect, Frank can’t possibly be a scientific genius in Shockley’s class. Can he?
CNN referred to Frank as “an Ohio math teacher… on leave from his teaching position,” which is a bit unfair to him but closer to the mark than “world-renowned physicist.” Some Googling (DuckDuckGoing, actually) turned up a curious career that began brightly and then went off-course for unknown reasons.
Frank got a bachelor’s degree from a California college in 1983, then pursued a doctorate at the University of Cincinnati. He got it in 1990. At the time he was, indeed, a prolific writer in his field. He did, indeed, have his name attached to dozens of articles in peer-reviewed publications. His field of expertise: surface analytical chemistry. What that has to do with voting machines, I have no idea.
He left the academic field in 1996, a curious thing to do for a young and “world-renowned” researcher. He hasn’t published a scientific paper since 1997. According to one bio, he basically became a corporate researcher-for-hire and also helped found a private school for gifted children where he chaired the Math and Science Department and served as Director of Music.
Perfectly respectable, but quite the comedown for a “world-renowned physicist.” But no matter what led him to walk this curious path, none of it has anything to do with election security.
If his path from Ph.D. to schoolteacher is unexplained, so is his recent emergence in the orbit of Mike Lindell, founder of MyPillow who’s now trying to run his company into the ground with his high-profile nuttery. Frank had his cellphone seized under a search warrant by the FBI in a probe into the election-denialist activity of Lindell et al.
As if that’s not enough, Frank has also posited himself as an expert on earth science and medicine. Specifically, he’s taken up the denialist cause in both fields. Which is pretty on-brand for a guy who’s in the Mike Lindell school of election trutherism.
After all of that, if you still want to hear from this “world-renowned physicist.” his appearance is being sponsored by, wouldn’t you know it, an Evangelical church in the Burlington area. No, it’s not Ignite; it’s the Vibrant Church of South Burlington. He’ll be speaking on January 14, and his appearance is sponsored by none other than Vermont Grassroots, the same organization that brought the national anti-critical race theory roadshow to Vermont last spring.
I think it’s safe to dismiss anything “world-renowned physicist” Douglas Frank has to say about election security.
Must admit, I don’t see moving from academic research to education of children as ‘quite a comedown.’ It’s definitely a different path, but let’s not denigrate educators so easily? Lots of very good and admirable reasons to get out of a competitive academic s***show.
Of course ending up as a flunky of Lindell, that’s a Miltonian fall from grace…
It’s “quite a comedown” for a “world-renowned physicist.”