July 1, 2022

Death of Grichka Bogdanoff, one of the two star twins of the 1980s

Grichka Bogdanoff, one of the brothers of the emblematic duo that he forms with Igor, known in particular for having hosted the science fiction program “Temps X”, broadcast from 1979 to 1987, died Tuesday, December 28 in Paris, in age 72, his agent said. “Surrounded by the love of his family and his loved ones, Grichka Bogdanoff passed away peacefully to join his stars”, his family wrote in a statement sent by his agent.

Doctors in physics and mathematics, writers, television hosts, descendants of the Austrian aristocracy, figures of popular science for the general public and subjects of controversy for researchers … in more than forty years of public life, Igor and Grichka Bogdanov (who replaced the spelling of their name “Bogdanoff” in signature of their works from the 1990s) have accumulated as much popular success as they have mocked the mixture of genres they maintain, between theories on general relativity and passion for science fiction.

The romance of the origins of the Bogdanovs, which they were the first to feed, was as much a part of their characters as the story of the transformation of their faces: both have repeatedly denied the existence of a disease such as acromegaly or the use of cosmetic surgery. “We are, with Igor, experimenters, was limited to revealing Grichka in an interview, about the shape taken by their chins and cheekbones from the mid-1990s. In the experiment there are a number of small protocols. These are very advanced technologies, which is why the mystery has lasted so long. “

At the helm of the show “Temps X”, from 1979 on TF1, the Bogdanov brothers stood out in the French audiovisual landscape with period special effects and hard-wearing silver suits, worn for nine seasons in front of numerous guests, such as Jacques. Attali, Jean-Michel Jarre, Jean-Claude Mézières, or even Frédéric Beigbeder, who at 13 made his first television appearance there. On the set, Igor and Grichka demonstrate objects of anticipation, more or less at the cutting edge of technology: “the translating machine”, “the magic dictation” or the “astro-computer”, which guesses your astrological chart from your date of birth.

Scientific controversies

In 1987, when TF1 was privatized, the program was stopped. So began for the duo a long period of media abstinence, and with it the first controversies.

The writing, in 1991, of the best-selling book God and science with the academician Jean Guitton provokes the anger of the Vietnamese astrophysicist Trinh Xuan Thuan, who claims to find there passages from one of his books, The Secret Melody, published three years earlier. The dispute will be resolved amicably, and the Bogdanovs get down to writing their theses: “Quantum fluctuations of the signature of the metric at the Planck scale” supported in mathematics by Grichka from 1999, and “Topological state of space-time at scale 0” supported in physics by Igor in 2002.

The discovery of the two texts by the scientific community far exceeds their French reputation. The American physicist John Baez relays, in October 2002, a rumor agitating the researchers: the two French doctoral students would have succeeded in a “Sokal”, of the name of the physicist who made publish in 1996 an article completed in the form, but completely false. Through the works of the twins, which he describes as “Gibberish”, John Baez wants to denounce the pitfalls of selection in certain scientific journals.

The two brothers deny any hoax, but the episode goes back to the ears of a reporter from the New York Times, then from the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), which in 2003 requested an expertise of the two theses by other researchers. Overwhelming for the Bogdanovs, the report is made public by Marianne in 2010. “These theses have no scientific value”, say the researchers. Igor and Grichka Bogdanov won a defamation lawsuit against the newspaper in 2014, before attacking the CNRS on the very legality of the report – they then called the committee “Scientific Stasi”. They will lose their case and will not obtain the requested compensation – 1.2 million euros.

In the meantime, the “Bogdas” have become icons of a culture from the 1980s which are now kitsch, and produced two other scientific programs, for France 2 – “Rayons X”, from 2002 to 2007, then “A deux pas du futur”, between 2010 and 2011. In response to attacks targeting their legitimacy, they denounce a scientific community incapable of accepting an atypical point of view and castigate the media cabal.

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Since then, the appearances of the twins have become rarer: Igor Bogdanov made headlines again when he was taken into police custody in November 2017, following a complaint from his ex-partner, to whom he would have entered by breaking in. At the beginning of 2018, they project the big comeback of “Time X”, on YouTube this time, before being indicted and placed under judicial supervision, in June 2018, for an alleged case of scam targeting a man of 49 year. The twins are touring television sets to categorically deny all the accusations, declaring that they do not know that the man concerned had been placed under guardianship for several months.