Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Science Excellence

FSP reports on Canada's embarrassing inability to include any women in the short list of 36 for its Excellence Research chairs. For those of you who are logic challenged, with no women on the shortlist the final list was inevitably all white male (OK, so there was one south Asian looking guy). The chairs cover a broad range of fields, including life sciences subjects that are well represented by women.

The Canadian government managed to find a few ill informed apologists to suggest reasons why this may have happened, without putting too much emphasis on outright discrimination in academia. Some universities tried to, er, set things right in the usual manner, by hiring the chairs' spouses. One often hears complaints that affirmative action for women in science causes a drop in standards, but research shows that on the rare occasion that such measures are actually implemented, the women perform better, on average, than their male colleagues, and this is without taking into account the documented bias in judging the value of a woman's research.

Ah, the world of 2010. Those poor innocent Canadians forgot to do what they do in other countries: add a token woman or two to look good. Well, they won't forget next time. If they wise up, they can keep the old boys club going until, oh, maybe 2099. Oh, that's right, silly me. We'll all be starving and illiterate by then ...


  1. And if you're a man, you can go to yet another essentially all male conference on categories and physics this week.

  2. I had to extend the list of "quantum physicists" that my associate's technician / drafting students had to pick from for their essay in the physics class. It was entirely white male. I couldn't believe it when I first saw it.

  3. This is quite standard, Carl. It's amazing what you notice when you open your eyes.


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