A while ago I wrote here about a recent “conference of Nobel Laureates” convened by Jeffrey Epstein in the Virgin Islands. This was based upon stories in boston.com (Boston Globe) and marketwatch.com (Wall Street Journal), which were based upon this press release from Epstein’s foundation. The foundation also has stories about this on their web-site (see for instance here).
Looking into it more carefully, it appears that everything in the press release refers to something that happened not this spring, but back in 2006. More details about the 2006 event are in a piece by Lawrence Krauss at Edge.org. The pictures and quotes are the same as in the 2012 press release. Still available on-line here is a schedule of talks from the 2006 conference.
When I saw this I was wondering why it didn’t give a specific date for the conference, and how Epstein had gotten the same prominent people as in 2006 to return this year, despite his well-known problems with the law in the interim. I have no idea why the Epstein Foundation recently issued this peculiar press release.
Epstein is a rather curious story, for some background, see this New York Magazine profile from 2002, and this Harvard Crimson piece about him when he donated $30 million to establish a Program for Evolutionary Dynamics in the Harvard math department. At the time of the 2006 conference, Epstein was under investigation by the police for having hired under-aged women for sex, and he ended up serving 13 months in prison as a result. He was arrested soon after the conference. Some recipients of donations from Epstein returned the money, but not Harvard.
Update: About the Program in Evolutionary Dynamics, I should point out that after losing Epstein to the penal system, it has landed on its feet, with a $10.5 million grant from Templeton.
For another article about Epstein, from 2003, see this at Vanity Fair.
Update: Another strange Epstein press release has appeared: Jeffrey Epstein’s Involvement With the Edge Foundation. It’s an endorsement of John Brockman and his Edge Foundation, with text that was also posted on all sorts of odd internet sites back in 2010. Very strange…