Physics

1,600 scientists sign petition against Cern physicist’s ‘open discrimination’ | Science


More than 1,600 scientists have backed a campaign condemning the Italian researcher who claimed physics was “invented and built by men”.

They have signed a petition in response to comments made by Prof Alessandro Strumia of Pisa University, who said male scientists were being discriminated against because of ideology.

After making the comments during a presentation at Cern, the European nuclear research centre in Geneva, on 28 September, Strumia was suspended on Monday pending an investigation for his “unacceptable” presentation.

The audience of mostly female physicists heard he had been overlooked for a role in favour of a woman and that anyone who spoke out was attacked, censored or risked losing their job.

The signatories at particlesforjustice.org wanted to “state, in the strongest possible terms, that the humanity of any person, regardless of ascribed identities such as race, ethnicity, gender identity, religion, disability, gender presentation, or sexual identity is not up for debate”.

It added: “The thin veneer of scientific rigour with which Strumia’s talk began was followed by open discrimination and personal attacks, which we condemn unconditionally.

“We write to strongly express our view that the science case presented by Strumia was fundamentally unsound.”

Strumia told BBC News, which first reported the controversy, that the high-energy physics community was about 100 times larger than the number of researchers who had put their names to the statement.

The signatories “mostly come from those countries more affected by political correctness”, he said.

He also denied that his use of data in his Cern presentation about women being favoured for jobs in the sector reflected bias.

“The data about citations and hirings show that women are not discriminated [against] in fundamental physics. We reward merit, irrespective of gender,” he said.



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