Saturday, November 18, 2006

MIT's Tonegawa steps down

I was pleased to read the online CNN report regarding the fallout over Susumu Tonegawa's inappropriate bullying of a highly recruited female faculty candidate to MIT. It's far more than an issue about gender in science; it's about fairness and ethics. It may not seem like enough for some people that Tonegawa resigned as director but stays on at the Neuroscience Institute but given his ego, this will be a hard pill to swallow. Afterall he did win the Nobel Prize in 1987 and founded MIT's Neuroscience Institute in 1994. I think this is a positive move for my PhD alma mater but also for science in general. There must be action when unfair practices in science are disclosed. However I remain disappointed in Susan Hockfield's lack of public condemnation.

As a woman in an extremely powerful academic and scientific position, I thought she should have been more vocal than she was. On her recent election to the Board of the Carnegie Corporation, the Corporation president, Vartan Gregorian said:

Susan Hockfield is a trailblazer and role model for women in science and technology," said Gregorian. "We believe her knowledge and scientific perspective will bring even greater strength to our influential board. Carnegie Corporation's mission is consistent with MIT's tradition of innovation, research and meritocracy, and I am greatly honored that she has accepted our invitation to join the Corporation as a trustee this early in her administration.

Maybe she choose to work behind the scenes on this one, but that doesn't work for the greater my opinion......

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