Last year’s post on the Great Minds of the 21st Century award continues to attract attention from people who want to find out more about the American Biographical Institute (ABI) and its vanity awards.
Surprisingly, there are still people clueless (shameless?) enough to list vanity scams like this on their CVs. Thankfully, the ABI decided to nominate me again this year, this time for another honour: the Albert Einstein Award of Excellence for 2011, no less. Here’s an excerpt from their letter:
One of the most compliments to a person’s career in science is an honor bestowed that symbolizes the practice and genius of one of the world’s great intellectuals – Albert Einstein. You, Mr. Dingemanse, have by the American Biographical Institute to be a recipient of its Albert Einstein Award of Excellence for 2011. You have demonstrated effectiveness and distinction in your field and are deserving of this honor.
It is with great pleasure that I accept this invitation to expound on the dubious value of this award, and the services of the American Biographical Institute in general. The long and the short of it: The American Biographical Institute is a publisher of paid inclusion reference works — you pay $400 to be included in their directory. They also sell ridiculously expensive commemorative plaques — you pay $400 for a piece of wood with your name on it. This is not something to be proud of. It is essentially a paid flattery service. That is exactly why their letters devote so much real estate to assure you of their admiration:
Your accomplishments through scientific intelligence and steadfast efforts personify the contributions Albert Einstein gave to society. … To choose a finite group representing all of the demands of the deep-thinking profession that is science took months of consideration … It is with great admiration that we have chosen you for this distinct honor. … It was my pleasure as president to have been a part of the selection process to choose honorees for the esteemed Albert Einstein Award 2011. It is those, like you, who have committed themselves to an honorable discipline that makes a difference in the enlightenment of others and to the progress of humanity.
Please don’t fall for the vanity awards of ABI. And if you must, be assured that the rest of us will award your “accomplishments” and “steadfast efforts” with the distinct honor of one of the most respected awards in the field of “scientific intelligence” — the esteemed Gullible People of the 21st Century award.