She has gained awards and accolades, and has been feted internationally for her scientific work, however now a girl hailed as one in all Greece’s youngest and brightest minds has come below extra intense scrutiny than ever earlier than.
The rise and attainable fall of Eleni Antoniadou, 31, has develop into the topic of intense dialogue amongst Greeks.
For years she has been giving interviews portraying herself as a researcher working for Nasa; an professional on regenerative drugs; a maker of cutting-edge synthetic organs; a passionate activist in opposition to organ trafficking; and a coach of astronauts.
However evidently not a single Greek information outlet, out of dozens which have interviewed her, ever bothered to test if every part that had been attributed to her was completely correct.
The tipping level got here earlier this month when Greek Training Minister Niki Kerameus handed Ms Antoniadou an award at a privately organised occasion for her contribution to science.
The minister later posted a photograph on her Fb account and borrowed a quote from Antoniadou: “You may develop into no matter you might be dreaming of.”
This provoked a response from quite a lot of Greek scientists, who spend most of their days finishing up lab analysis and have little time or inclination for publicity.
A Greek professor who teaches at a French college determine to do an in depth search on-line to see the way it was attainable for such an adolescent to have achieved fairly a lot.
When he posted his findings on social media, there was outrage among the many educational group. Others adopted swimsuit, together with Greek Hoaxes, a bunch devoted to uncovering pretend information.
Greek Hoaxes accused Ms Antoniadou of misrepresenting her achievements and hit again with a sequence of counterclaims.
What she has achieved:
Declare: She labored on the world’s first synthetic trachea that was efficiently transplanted to a affected person.
Counterclaim: She was a postgraduate scholar at UCL and was remotely concerned with the surgical procedure. The transplant ended with one of many greatest scandals in trendy drugs, coated right here by the BBC. The affected person died after his physique didn’t settle for the transplant. Lengthy after his dying, Ms Antoniadou gave interviews in Greece saying how she had saved the affected person’s life and the way the affected person was dwelling a standard life.
Declare: She has been working for quite a lot of years as a researcher at Nasa.
Counterclaim: She attended a 10-week summer season college there and took a variety of footage across the US area company’s services sporting garments with the Nasa brand. Nasa has denied she works instantly for the company, however has not excluded the chance that she could also be working as a sub-contractor.
Declare: She has known as herself a PhD.
Counterclaim: She holds two postgraduate titles.
Declare: She is a profitable entrepreneur and CEO of an organization known as Transplants with out Donors that makes synthetic transplants.
Counterclaim: Her firm doesn’t seem anyplace and the web area that it owns is inactive.
Who did she persuade?
Greek media had for years portrayed and promoted her because the brightest thoughts Greece has produced in many years. The fixed publicity typically culminated in numerous sorts of honours.
International toy maker Mattel has even made a Barbie doll trying like her, as a part of its sequence “Sheroes”.
And the centre-right European Individuals’s Get together tweeted a poster with a very powerful Greeks of the previous century together with her picture on the centre.
She even managed to get on the lists of the BBC’s 100 Ladies for 2014 and Forbes’ 30 Below 30 record for 2015.
How has she responded?
Because the tales in regards to the younger scientist started to swirl, Eleni Antoniadou posted a cropped image of a Nasa award of benefit on social media insisting she had been working for Nasa, and she or he denied making an attempt to compete with older teachers.
“Daily I proceed to study by collaborating in easy or extra sophisticated initiatives, like that of AI at Nasa with which I am concerned recently,” she wrote.
“For me the aim was by no means to compete with academia or examine my first steps in science as a brand new researcher with individuals who have been round for many years. On the finish of the day, the essential factor is to work at all times collaboratively, by serving to the individuals round you go ahead and to not go a step downwards.”
The BBC tried to get in contact with Ms Antoniadou however she was not out there for remark.