Careless scientist admits plagiarism

An acclaimed scientist has apologised for plagiarism after more than 20 passages of his book were found to be taken from Wikipedia, academic websites and other online sources.

Professor Lewis Wolpert, 84, said the passages had been included by accident in his 2011 work on ageing, You’re Looking Well. The book has been withdrawn from sale by publisher Faber and Faber.

The professor also apologised for lifting copy from other sources and including them in his book, Why Can’t a Woman Be More like a Man?, which has not yet been published.

Prof Wolpert, an emeritus professor of biology at University College London, who has a history of mental health problems, said: “I have been guilty of including some unattributed material.

“This lack of attribution was totally inadvertent and due to carelessness on my part. I take full responsibility.”

The South Africa-born academic, who moved to Israel in the 1950s to escape apartheid, claims that he downloaded the material for research and “after a gap of maybe weeks or sometimes months, I simply did not recall that I had not written these passages myself”.

Prof Wolpert, who now lives in north London, added: “I would never knowingly claim someone else’s material as my own.”

Last updated: 4:45pm, January 23 2014