CharonY Posted April 9, 2016 Share Posted April 9, 2016 Well, he was a emeritus so his research output was (or should not) have been much of an issue. Notable researchers have, after the fact, supported him and the honorary president of the writer's association has resigned out of protest. So yes, there was a big issue but at least among the scientists and within Royal Society they were willing to reverse their position after the initial bad PR. At the same time, I have to say that the main culprits of the whole thing are not (IMO) the named institutions. Rather it is the modern news cycle which feeds off sensationalized tidbits, rapidly propagated through social media and with little regard for facts or clarifications. You will note that in a number of interviews Tim Hunt specifically decried Twitter blogging and similar outlets. After all, hardly anyone bothers to follow up anymore but it is so easy to twitter your indignation. And this is not a feminist or other group issue, it is a general issue with how we consume news and other information and where we take tidbits as knowledge. Since he is getting new appointments it is obvious that the professional world is able to cut to the nonsense. However, you will also have to see the whole issue from the administrative side of the organizations. They obviously care more about PR than anything else. After all an emeritus noble prize winner is one of the shiniest things you can get. While I certainly do not agree with those administrative decisions, I can at least see why they cut him off. Public institutions have to at least appear to react to public opinion as they can be put in problematic spots with e.g. politicians or others who may control funding. Many uni administrations treat profs as staff and/or decoration to attract student. Once one has been embroiled in something controversial, even if not of their own doing, they like to cut them off (after all, profs are a dime a dozen). That is one of the reasons why tenure is such an important fixture especially for research in potentially controversial areas. Here, it is an honorary position, and that is why they can do it. For them it is just the easy way out. Again, to me the issue is that we really have not learned to properly learned how to deal with modern communication, and frankly, neither do the media outlets. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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