Unexplained Phenomenon: Leading North Carolina Physics Professor Arrested In Argentina For Allegedly Smuggling Cocaine

Professor Paul Frampton of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is not in his classroom his week because he is sitting in Devoto Prison in Buenos Aires for allegedly smuggling cocaine in his luggage. Frampton insists that he is innocent and that he will return to his research into “phenomenology” at the physics department. Frampton is an accomplished physicist and an adviser to the National Republican party, including drafting the science portion of the Republican platform for the 1988 Convention.

Frampton was arrested in Buenos Aires on January 23rd after police say that they found 2 kilograms of cocaine in a specially built compartment in his luggage before he boarded a plane to Raleigh-Durham International Airport.

Frampton insisted that there was ample evidence of his innocence and lack of knowledge. The problem for the defense will be the weight and size of the cocaine. Two kilograms of cocaine translates into 4.40924524 pounds of the powder. That is not an insignificant amount to hide in luggage.

Having said that, it is not unknown for innocent tourists to be turned into unwitting drug mules without their knowledge. In this case, however, the drug smugglers would have had to gain access to his luggage to add the secret compartment either at his hotel or at the airport.

Notably, the university cut off his pay after his arrest. I am rather astonished by that action. Frampton is presumed innocent and it is now finding it difficult to fund his own defense. He has served the university well since his hiring in 1981 and held one of its top positions as a chaired professor. Frampton is reported as saying “The university has done nothing, absolutely nothing, to help me. You would expect a university of that caliber would do everything possible to get me out of prison.” I am not sure about “everything possible” but he has a going point about cutting off his $106,835-per-year pay. Notably, Frampton has continued to work on peer-reviewed publications with his colleagues while incarcerated.
Before you assume that a “phenomenologist” is by definition a narcotics suspect, let me clarify. Particle phenomenology is the field of theoretical particle physics dealing with the application of theory to high-energy particle physics experiments.

Frampton holds the prestigious Louis D. Rubin Jr. Distinguished Chair of Physics and Astronomy. Here is his “short” vitae:

Paul Howard Frampton – Louis D. Rubin Jr. Professor of Physics


BA 1965 (Oxford Double First)
MA and DPhil 1968 (Oxford)
D.Sc. Advanced Degree (Oxford) 1984
Research Areas

High energy theoretical physics including particle phenomenology
Theoretical cosmology
Research Support Sources

DOE grant, Principal Investigator since 1981
Five Representative Papers

“Anomaly Cancellation and Conformality in Quiver Gauge Theories” (with E. Di Napoli) Phys. Lett. B638, 374-381 (2006). hep-th/0603065.
“Turnaround in Cyclic Cosmology.” (with L. Baum) Phys. Rev. Lett. 98, 071301 (2007) hep-th/0610213.
“Dark Matter Candidate from Conformality.” Mod. Phys. Lett. 22A, 931-937 (2007). astro-ph/0607391.
“Flavor Symmetry for Quarks and Leptons” (with T.W. Kephart) JHEP 09:110 (2007). arXiv:0706.1186
“Cyclic Universe and Infinite Past.” Mod. Phys. Lett. A22, 2587 – 2592 (2007). arXiv:0705.2730

Gauge Field Theories, 1986, 2nd edition 2000, 3rd Edition 2008.
Dual Resonance Models, 1974, 2nd Edition 1986.
Major Distinctions

Louis D. Rubin Professorship
Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science 1990
Fellow, British Institute of Physics 1986
DOE Outstanding Junior Investigator 1981
Fellow, American Physical Society 1981
200 refereed journal papers cited 5 thousand times
Total number of publications over 350
Major University Responsibilities

Chair of Established Lectures Committee, 1992-97
Major External Responsibilities

Wrote Science and Technology plank in National Republican (NR)
Platform. NR Convention, New Orleans 1988
Project director. Superconducting Supercollider (SSC) in North Carolina for the NC state government. May-August, 1987
Chair of the Organizing Committee for the following conferences: Eighth Symposium on Particles, Strings and Cosmology, 2001
Tenth and Last Workshop on Grand Unification, 1989
Third Workshop on Grand Unification, 1982
First Workshop on Grand Unification, 1980.

Source: Fox

24 thoughts on “Unexplained Phenomenon: Leading North Carolina Physics Professor Arrested In Argentina For Allegedly Smuggling Cocaine”

  1. ‘Don’t take any luggage that doesn’t belong to you,’ he doesn’t even hear that. He’s in another world, an alternate universe.”

    Indeed! The universe that fits on the head of his – – – k.

    “It’s clear from those messages that it was not my bag,” he said. “That should be sufficient to exonerate me.”

    BWaaaa Ha Ha Ha! Given that he accepted a dilapidated suitcase – from a stranger – on a dark street – in a South American country – ignoring the sage advice of a good friend and lawyer – made multiple incriminating texts from his phone – and checked the bag for flight out of the country…There’s NO WAY the authorities should think he was a mule.

    Classic! This should be a story line in an upcoming Big Bang episode! While 60% of his brain is thinking about physics, the core 10% is lapping up on-line conversations and dreaming of getting laid. The 60% was temporarily overpowered by his wanker and he’s now working out Euclid in a stinking SA holding cell. That’s all there is to this story except:

    Frampton said. “This means that the jobs of tens of thousands of tenured professors are at risk.”

    No, but they should be!

  2. It is now May 14. Does anyone know what is happening to Dr. Frampton? It seems like all news has stopped.

  3. Either way, he was not thinking clearly. $100k+ annually may not be rich by some standards, but he wasn’t gonna make enough profit to warrant such a stupid move; unless he stole it.???

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