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Science Careers Blog

March 6, 2008

When a Doctorate Doesn't Mean Doctor

According to an article in Chemical and Engineering News this week, seven U.S.-educated scientists working in Germany have been charged with impersonating a doctor because they used "Dr." before their names on Web sites and business cards. The maximum penalty for the crime is one year in jail.

German law, it says here, prohibits anyone who didn't receive their doctorate from a German or European Union institution from using the title "Dr." One of the scientists interviewed for the article was able to get the charge dismissed, but others are still waiting. "More than anything, this is a big annoyance," says David G. Heckel, a director at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology who earned his Ph.D. at Stanford, and one of the scientists who's been charged. "But there is also the uncertainty of not knowing what is going to happen."

You can read the full article here.

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