Nice juxtaposition

1.  Larry Summers, who certainly encountered problems after he conjectured about innate limitations on women’s ability to excel in science, supports free speech. From the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Lawrence H. Summers, the former president of Harvard University, has joined the Board of Advisors to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, the free-speech advocacy group announced today. Mr. Summers certainly knows a thing or two about controversial speech: He stepped down from Harvard’s presidency in 2006, shortly after making much-criticized comments about women’s intrinsic abilities in the sciences.

2. The New York Times announces the winners of the prestigious Kavli Prize, decided by the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters; 7 winners, five of them women:

Mildred S. Dresselhaus, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, won the nanoscience prize for her research on carbon nanotubes…

Cornelia Isabella Bargmann of Rockefeller University, Winfried Denk of the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg, Germany, and Ann M. Graybiel of M.I.T. will split the neuroscience prize for work aimed at elucidating how the brain processes information from the environment.

The winners of the astrophysics prize … David C. Jewitt of the University of California, Los Angeles, and Jane X. Luu of M.I.T.’s Lincoln Laboratory discovered the Kuiper Belt in the form of a slow-moving (meaning it was very far away) object in 1992.

The third winner of the astrophysics prize, Michael E. Brown of the California Institute of Technology…

4 thoughts on “Nice juxtaposition

  1. It’s fascinating how myths form. Summers did not resign “shortly after” the women in science remarks. In fact, he rode out the storm of his women in science remarks, and resigned six months later, in the expectation of a vote of no confidence related to the forced removal of the Dean of Arts and Sciences. There’s also this little bit:

    Along with the recent faculty complaints about the ouster of Kirby, a former dean made new accusations about Summers and his problems working with professors and administrators.

    Professors also expressed concerns about Summers’s role in Harvard’s defense of his close friend Andrei Shleifer, an economics professor who a federal judge said conspired to defraud the US government. Summers said he had no role in Shleifer’s defense.

    I don’t hav a link handy, but I’ve read elsewhere that the Harvard turmoil had more to do with various factors squabbling over real estate (the Business School had a big land grab planned, something like that), than with those vicious women ganging up on poor Summers, History’s Greatest Martyr to Rampant PC by the Feminazis ™.

  2. John (and others): the remark you are referring to has been removed.

    I do think, btw, that the article you linked to does allow some role for his remarks about women. As far as I can see, LS thought he was facing a vote of no- confidence and that’s presented as causally very important. But he got one earlier over women; these votes of no confidence tend to have an accumulative effect.

  3. Hello Anne, yes, I completely agree that the prospect of the second vote might not have been enough had the first one not taken place. It wasn’t really your account I was calling a “myth” so much as the Chronicle’s “shortly after.”

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