CERN suspends scientist over 'offensive' address on women and science

October 1, 2018
The European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN) has disavowed a guest scientist who claimed physics was "built by men"

Europe's physics lab CERN on Monday suspended a scientist over a lecture that suggested physics was "built by men" and accused women of demanding specialist jobs without suitable qualifications.

The by Alessandro Strumia of Pisa University was delivered Friday at the Geneva lab during a workshop on the relationship between high energy theory and .

The presentation—which includes various slides, charts and graphs—appears to claim that men face discrimination in the field of physics.

One pictorial series suggests that women line up to take gender studies and then later protest over a lack of jobs in stem fields, an umbrella term that covers areas like chemistry and engineering.

"Physics invented and built by men, it's not by invitation," one slide says.

"CERN considers the presentation delivered by an invited scientist during a workshop on High Energy Theory and Gender as highly offensive," the lab said in a statement.

"It has therefore decided to remove the slides from the online repository, in line with a Code of Conduct that does not tolerate personal attacks and insults."

In a second statement, the lab said it had "suspended the scientist from any activity at CERN with immediate effect, pending investigation into last week's event."

The presentation was one of 38 delivered at the workshop, CERN noted, warning that the offensive material "risks overshadowing the important message and achievements of the event".

CERN, the French acronym for the European Centre for Nuclear Research, is for the first time being led by a female director general: Fabiola Gianotti, an Italian expert in experimental particle , took charge in 2016.

The lab has said that despite efforts to close its own , women still account for less than 20 percent of staff.

The lab notes that it has backed initiatives aimed at boosting female participation in the sciences.

"Diversity is a strong reality at CERN, and is also one of the core values underpinning our Code of Conduct," the statement said.

"The Organisation is fully committed to promoting diversity and equality at all levels."

Explore further: Italian physicist Gianotti first woman to lead Cern

Related Stories

First-ever colour X-ray on a human

July 12, 2018

New Zealand scientists have performed the first-ever 3-D, colour X-ray on a human, using a technique that promises to improve the field of medical diagnostics, said Europe's CERN physics lab which contributed imaging technology.

Top lab CERN launches key new accelerator

May 9, 2017

Europe's top physics lab CERN launched its newest particle accelerator on Tuesday, billed as a key step towards future experiments that could unlock the universe's greatest mysteries.

Recommended for you

Study reveals properties of a Type Ib supernova in NGC 4080

March 25, 2019

A recent study conducted by astronomers has revealed important observational properties of a Type Ib supernova designated MASTER OT J120451.50+265946.6, which exploded in the galaxy NGC 4080. The research, presented in a ...

Catalyst advance removes pollutants at low temperatures

March 25, 2019

Researchers at Washington State University, University of New Mexico, Eindhoven University of Technology, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have developed a catalyst that can both withstand high temperatures and convert ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.