About ten years ago Antonia Demas, a self-described "middle-aged woman,'' returned to graduate school after raising a family, intending to develop the work she had been doing informally for many years. Volunteering in an elementary school in Trumansburg, N.Y., near Ithaca, she had used food and cooking in the classroom as teaching tools, and she proposed to explore ways of tying the school lunch program to the academic curriculum and improving education about nutrition. She has now become embroiled in a dispute with a professor she says plagiarized and stole her work and with Cornell University, which she says covered up the unethical behavior with feeble investigations that cleared the professor.

The case threatens to become the latest cause célebre as an aide to U.S. Rep. George Brown (D-Calif.) investigates this and other alleged instances of senior researchers misappropriating the work of junior scientists they have worked with or mentored....

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