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What you need to know about now infamous scientist Dwi Hartanto

Ni Nyoman Wira
Ni Nyoman Wira

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Tue, October 10, 2017  /  11:38 am
What you need to know about now infamous scientist Dwi Hartanto

Dwi Hartanto poses with a large check for 15,000 euros in prize money. (

Dwi Hartanto was among the participants who attended the Visiting World Class Professors event in 2016, a program organized by the Research, Technology and Higher Education Minister and the International Indonesian Scholars Association in which participants were invited to discuss and connect with reputable Indonesian diaspora researchers. 

Dubbed ‘The Next Habibie’ for his achievements in aerospace engineering, Dwi was said to be an assistant professor at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in the Netherlands. His team had reportedly successfully launched a Satellite Launch Vehicle (SLV), also known as The Apogee Ranger V7s (TARAV7s).

However, it turns out the popular scientist had fabricated many of his achievements.

On Oct. 7, Dwi released a five-page clarification letter on the official website of the Indonesian Student Association (PPI) in Delft, in which he apologized and admitted his mistakes and also cleared up some of the false information that had been circulated in the public.

Below are some of the facts related to the now infamous Dwi Hartanto:

Educational background

Dwi is currently studying for his doctoral degree at TU Delft's Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science. “The information about my position as post-doctoral or assistant professor at TU Delft is not true,” he stated, adding that he was also not a doctoral candidate in the space technology and rocket development field.

He also did not graduate from the Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan, but instead received his degree from AKPRIND Institute of Science and Technology in Yogyakarta.

Satellite Launch Vehicle

In contrast to what he told the media, Dwi has never built an SLV. He was once a member of a team that designed one of the embedded flight computer subsystems for a Cansat V7s rocket for Delft Aerospace Rocket Engineering (DARE), which is a rocketry activity for students at TU Delft. 

“The project was only an amateur project of university students,” Dwi stated. “It was not a project from the Netherlands' Ministry of Defense, Netherlands Aerospace Center [NLR], Airbus Defense nor Dutch Space.”

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Lethal weapon in the sky

Dwi has also claimed to be the winner of an inter-space agency technology research competition in Germany this year, thanks to his "Lethal Weapon in the Sky" technology research. He even posted a photo of himself holding a large check with 15,000 euros (US$17,659) written as the prize.

However, he clarified that he never won the competition and that the "Lethal Weapon in the Sky" itself doesn't actually exist. “I manipulated the check template and filled it in with my name and the nominal of 15,000 euros,” he stated. “The photo was published on my social media with my claim I was the winner.”

The photo was actually taken when he visited the Space Business Innovation Center in Noordwijk, the Netherlands, during his participation in a hackathon competition alongside other students.

Meeting B.J. Habibie

In one media report, Dwi claimed to have received a phone call from someone who was close to Indonesia’s third president, B.J. Habibie. Dwi said he was later asked to meet with the former president. He also claimed he was offered the chance to change his nationality by the government of the Netherlands.

In reality however, B.J. Habibie never asked Dwi to meet him. It was actually the other way around as Dwi was the one who asked the Indonesian Embassy (KBRI) in Den Haag to introduce him to Habibie. His statement about changing his nationality was also not true.

According to his clarification letter, starting from Sept. 25, TU Delft has conducted a series of ethics code trials on Dwi. “Up until this clarification is released, TU Delft is still in the process of making a decision,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, the PPI Delft also released a statement letter on Oct. 4 regarding the matter. Aside from condemning Dwi’s actions, they have also coordinated with KBRI Den Haag concerning mediation between Dwi, TU Delf and other related parties. (kes)