The transcript is in, and Summers needs a holiday


4 comments posted
Applaud President Summers

I applaud President Summers and Harvard for making public these statements. Whether I agree with him or not, is not at issue, just yet. I want to take his comments in context, read his softeners, and also appreciated he was speaking for himself, as well as see where his logic may have failed, if it did at all.

I will say more, later, but I believe Harvard has made the right decision in releasing the actual words rather than relying on recollections. I only trust, this is not a bowdlerized text we have and is a faithful transcription.

Thank you, media girl, for being on top of this one!

Matsu's picture
Posted by Matsu on 18 February 2005 - 12:49pm
Factoid - Men in science, Men from Mars

"The Making of the Atomic Bomb" by Richard Rhodes, a Pulitzer Prize winner, ISBN 0-684-81378-5, has a chapter called "Men from Mars." If memory serves me, of the core scientists on the A-bomb, 49-percent were Jews, 48-percent were marked down as Protestant, and the rest Catholics.

And why were there such a large number of Hungarian Jews, and especially from Eastern Hungry, at that? They were jokingly called the "men from Mars," and the joke was these Martians had landed and left these high-wire atomic physicists on earth.

How does this square with the world? I always keep this in mind when reading how men score better than women. I think back on media girl's statistics on women in physics. Hungry was at the top. The USA and Japan were not so hot.

I am getting ahead of myself, but these facts are interesting.


Let me add, no Jews worked on the German A-bomb, cf. "Heisenberg's War," ISBN 0-306-81011-5

Matsu's picture
Posted by Matsu on 18 February 2005 - 1:13pm
Hopkins and Summers

I think everyone is missing the big story- the big story is not what people do not know, it is what people know.

No one really knows all the real reasons these differences occur.

Everyone knows that campus is supposed to be a place of unrestricted free speech.

That is why I objected to Hopkins.

But I also published her full objection to me on my blog.

Gotham Image's picture
Posted by Gotham Image (not verified) on 19 February 2005 - 11:01am
Free speech and role

If Summers were speaking as a professor or even a researcher, I'd still rebut, but I would not call for his resignation -- at least not with anything beyond rhetorical barb.

But Summers speaks as president of Harvard. In that role, he has a huge influence on search and hiring practices, fundraising priorities, and (perhaps most important) the official public image of a top educational institution in this country.

A lot of people seem to be getting these two roles -- inquiring academic vs. institutional CEO -- mixed up, and cry foul, thinking they are speaking to academic freedom. But this is not about academic freedom but institutional policy, image and public rhetoric. Harvard can do what it wants, but it would strike me as a real shame if the trustees decide to retain a president who unapologetically uses such strained logic to justify his cheauvenistic attitudes.

media girl's picture
Posted by media girl on 19 February 2005 - 11:30am