Conflicts of Interest

Description of the Problem

A well-known theoretician at Institution A is called by an experimentalist at Institution B to discuss what appears to be a new discovery, based on a highly original approach to the measurements in question. The discovery supports the theorist’s highly controversial approach to the problem. However, there is a substantial amount of work needed before the results can be submitted for publication.

The theorist has been invited to present a seminar at Institution C, where she is a candidate for a position, and where competitors of the experimentalist at Institution B are found. She was not told explicitly that his conversation with the experimentalist at Institution B was privileged.


  • What should she do in preparing for his visit?
  • What are the potential conflicts of interest?
  • What ethical considerations should the theorist consider in preparing her talk?
  • Are there other actions that she could or should take in preparing for the visit?