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How Workplace Climate Changes the Knowledge We Generate

8 Dec 2014, 18:30 UTC
How Workplace Climate Changes the Knowledge We Generate
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Reproduced from the June 2014 Issue of STATUS: A Report on Women in Astronomy. The article below is written by Meg Urry, Yale University, Department of Physics and Department of Astronomy. Based on a keynote address given at the University of California ADVANCE Roundtable in April 2014, at UC DavisSome years ago, at a major US university, a visiting faculty candidate was told by a senior colleague – an influential, Nobel prize-winning director of a major institute at that university – that she would not be welcome to work with him, that he would not allocate his institute’s resources to her, and that his research group would be reluctant to talk to her because they were basically in competition with her.She wisely decided to build her career elsewhere, but not before describing the problem and leaking his email to others at the university. The ensuing scandal created a classic conflict between bad behavior and first-rate science.Nobel Prize winners are important to universities; their presence conveys prestige and their work inspires the next generations of researchers. So the president of that university had to be thinking: maybe the guy acted stupidly but he's a Nobel Prize winner! He's done amazing science, ...

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