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The Peril of Politicizing Science
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Its a beautiful thing, the destruction of words.
Dont you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow
the range of thought? In the end we shall make
thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no
words in which to express it.
George Orwell, 1984
Igrew up in a city that in its short history (barely over 150
years) had its name changed three times.
Founded in
1869 around a steel plant and several coal mines built by the
Welsh industrialist John Hughes, the settlement was originally
called Hughesovka (or Yuzovka). When the Bolsheviks came
to power in the 1917 Revolution, the new government of the
working class, the Soviets, set out to purge the country of
ideologically impure inuences in the name of the proletariat
and the worldwide struggle of the suppressed masses. Cities
and geographical landmarks were renamed,
statues were torn
down, books were burned, and many millions were jailed and
In due course, the commissars got to Yuzovka, and
the city was stripped of the name of its founder, a
representative of the hostile class of oppressors and a
Westerner. In modern terms, Hughes was canceled. For a
few months, the city was called Trotsk (after Leon Trotsky),
until Trotsky lost in the power struggle inside the party and
was himself canceled (see Figure 1). In 1924 the city became
the namesake of the new supreme leader of the Communist
Party (Stalin), and a few years later renamed to Stalino. My
mothers school certicates have Stalino on them. Following
Stalins death in 1953, the Communist party underwent some
reckoning and admitted that several decades of terror and
many millions of murdered citizens were somewhat excessive.
Stalin was canceled: his body was removed from the
Mausoleum at Red Square (where it had been displayed next
to Lenins); textbooks and encyclopedias were rewritten once
again; and the cities, institutions, and landmarks bearing his
name were promptly renamed. Stalino became Donetsk, after
the river Severskii Donets.
I came of age during a relatively mellow period of the Soviet
rule, post-Stalin. Still, the ideology permeated all aspects of life,
and survival required strict adherence to the party line and
enthusiastic displays of ideologically proper behavior. Not
joining a young communist organization (Komsomol) would
be career suicidenonmembers were barred from higher
education. Openly practicing religion could lead to more grim
consequences, up to imprisonment. So could reading the
wrong book (Orwell, Solzhenitsyn, etc.). Even a poetry book
that was not on the state-approved list could get one in trouble.
Mere compliance was not sucientthe ideology commit-
tees were constantly on the lookout for individuals whose
support of the regime was not suciently enthusiastic. It was
not uncommon to get disciplined for being too quiet during
mandatory political assemblies (politinformation or komso-
molskoe sobranie) or for showing up late to mandatory mass-
celebrations (such as the May or November demonstrations).
Once I got a notice for promoting an imperialistic agenda by
showing up in jeans for an informal school event. A friends
dossier was permanently blemishedmaking him ineligible for
Ph.D. programsfor not fully participating in a trip required
of university students: an act of voluntaryhelp to comrades
in collective farms (Figure 2).
Science was not spared from this strict ideological control.
Western inuences were considered to be dangerous. Text-
books and scientic papers tirelessly emphasized the priority
and pre-eminence of Russian and Soviet science. Entire
disciplines were declared ideologically impure, reactionary,
and hostile to the cause of working-class dominance and the
World Revolution. Notable examples of bourgeois pseudo-
scienceincluded genetics and cybernetics. Quantum mechan-
ics and general relativity were also criticized for insucient
alignment with dialectic materialism.
Most relevant to chemistry was the antiresonance campaign
The theory of resonating structures, which
brought Linus Pauling the Nobel prize in 1954, was deemed to
be bourgeois pseudoscience. Scientists who attempted to
defend the merits of the theory and its utility for understanding
chemical structures were accused of cosmopolitism(Western
sympathy) and servility to Western bourgeois science. Some
lost jobs. Two high-prole supporters of resonance theory,
Syrkin and Dyatkina, were eventually forced to confess their
ideological sins and to publicly denounce resonance. Mean-
while, other members of the community took this political
purge as an opportunity to advance at the expense of others.
As noted by many scholars,
including Pauling himself,
grassroots antiresonance campaign was driven by people who
were displeased with the alignment of forces in their science.
This is a recurring motif in all political campaigns within
science in Soviet Russia, Nazi Germany, and McCarthys
Americathose who are on the right sideof the issue can
jump a few rungs and take the place of those who were
canceled. By the time I studied quantum chemistry at Moscow
Received: May 7, 2021
Accepted: May 10, 2021
Published: June 10, 2021
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State University, resonance theory had been rehabilitated. Yet,
the history of the campaign and the injustices it entailed were
not discussed in the openthe Party did not welcome
conversations about its past mistakes. I remember hearing parts
of the story, narrated under someones breath at a party after
copious amounts of alcohol had loosened a tongue.
Fast forward to 2021another century. The Cold War is a
distant memory and the country shown on my birth certicate
and school and university diplomas, the USSR, is no longer on
the map. But I nd myself experiencing its legacy some
thousands of miles to the west, as if I am living in an Orwellian
twilight zone. I witness ever-increasing attempts to subject
science and education to ideological control and censorship.
Just as in Soviet times, the censorship is being justied by the
greater good. Whereas in 1950, the greater good was advancing
the World Revolution (in the USSR; in the USA the greater
good meant ghting Communism), in 2021 the greater good is
Social Justice(the capitalization is important: Social Justice
is a specic ideology, with goals that have little in common
with what lower-case social justicemeans in plain
As in the USSR, the censorship is enthusiasti-
cally imposed also from the bottom, by members of the
scientic community, whose motives vary from naive idealism
to cynical power-grabbing.
Just as during the time of the Great Terror,
conspiracies and plots against the World Revolution were seen
everywhere, from illustrations in childrens books to hairstyles
and fashions; today we are told that racism, patriarchy,
misogyny, and other reprehensible ideas are encoded in
scientic terms, names of equations, and in plain English
words. We are told that in order to build a better world and to
address societal inequalities, we need to purge our literature of
the names of people whose personal records are not up to the
high standards of the self-anointed bearers of the new truth,
the Elect.
We are told that we need to rewrite our syllabi and
change the way we teach and speak.
As an example of political censorship and cancel culture,
consider a recent viewpoint
discussing the centuries-old
tradition of attaching names to scientic concepts and
discoveries (Archimedes Principle, Newtons Laws of Motion,
Schrödinger equation, Curie Law, etc.). The authors call for
vigilance in naming discoveries and assert that basing the
name with inclusive priorities may provide a path to a richer,
deeper, and more robust understanding of the science and its
advancement.Really? On what empirical grounds is this
based? History teaches us the opposite: the outcomes of the
merit-based science of liberal, pluralistic societies are vastly
superior to those of the ideologically controlled science of the
USSR and other totalitarian regimes.
The authors call for
removing the names of people who crossed the lineof moral
or ethical standards. Examples
include Fritz Haber, Peter
Debye, and William Shockley, but the list could have been
easily extended to include Stark (defended expulsion of Jews
from German institutions),
Heisenberg (led Germanys
nuclear weapons program),
and Schrödinger (had romantic
relationships with under-age girls).
Indeed, learned societies
are now devoting considerable eort to such renaming
campaignsamong the most-recent cancellations is the
renaming of the Fisher Prize by the Evolution Society, despite
well-argued opposition by 10 past presidents and vice-
presidents of the society.
There is no doubt that many famous scientists had views or
engaged in behaviors that, by todays standards, are not
Their scientic legacies are often mixed; for
example, Fritz Haber is both the father of modern chemical
warfare and the man whose development of nitrogen xation is
feeding the planet.
Scientists are not saints.
They are
human beings born into places and times they did not choose.
Just as their fellow human beings do, each nds his or her way
though the circumstances of their lives, such as totalitarian
regimes, world wars, and revolutions. Sometimes they made
the right choices, sometimes they erred. Some paid dearly for
their mistakes. Haber
was an avid German patriot, to the
extent that he actively developed chemical weapons in order to
provide Germany with military advantage. Yet, his motherland
rejected him because he was a Jew. He was barely able to
escape Germany, and part of his extended family perished in
the concentration camps. As eloquently stated by Stern in his
are we really so morally superior that we can judge a
Figure 1. Soviet history was constantly revised to keep up with the current party line. Historic photographs were routinely airbrushed and
textbooks rewritten to obliterate the canceled.
Left: Lenin speaking in Moscow to Red Army soldiers in 1920, with Leon Trotsky and Lev
Kamenev standing to his left side, on the steps to the right. Right: Same scene, with Trotsky and Kamenev airbrushed out, after they were canceled.
Once the heroes of the Revolution, they had become traitors and enemies of the people. (Photograph May 5, 1920, by G. P. Goldshtein. Part of the
David King Collection. Purchased from David King by Tate Archive 2016. Photo copyright Tate.)
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J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 2021, 12, 53715376
life by one disastrous deformation, which in some ways
epitomized his and his countrys worst faults?
Soviet history is full of examples of patriotic scientists who
were imprisoned and murdered by the regime while
proclaiming their unconditional loyalty to the World
Revolutionone such tragic gure was Hans Hellmann, who
ed Germany in 1933 (because of his Jewish wife) and, despite
multiple warnings, came to Russia (because he believed in the
socialist ideals), only to be executed by the Soviet regime as an
enemy of the people in 1938.
Some famous scientists were brave dissidents, and some
were conformists and opportunists. Should we judge their
scientic contributions by their political standing, the extent to
which they collaborated with repressive regimes, or by how
wholesome their personal lives were? The authors of the
go as far as to suggest that we should use names of
scientic discoveries and institutions as a vehicle to promote
ideologythat is, as a propaganda toolas was done by the
Soviet, Nazi, and Maoist regimes.
The intersection of science, morality, and ideology has been
studied by many scholars and historians. History provides
ample evidence that totalitarian censorship of science is
harmful to the progress and well-being of societies. Mertons
norms of science prescribe a clear separation between science
and morality.
Particularly relevant is Mertons principle of
universality, which states that claims to truth are evaluated in
terms of universal or impersonal criteria, and not on the basis
of race, class, gender, religion, or nationality.
Simply put, we
should evaluate, reward, and acknowledge scientic contribu-
tions strictly on the basis of their intellectual merit and not on
the basis of personal traits of the scientists or a current political
Conversations about the history of science and the
complexity of its social and ethical aspects can enrich our
lives and should be a welcome addition to science curricula.
The history of science can teach us to appreciate the
complexity of the world and humanity. It can also help us to
navigate urgent contemporary issues.
Censorship and
cancellation will not make us smarter, will not lead to better
science, and will not help the next generation of scientists to
make better choices.
acknowledge historic
complexities and the fact that moral and ethical standards
change with time. They backed oDebyes cancellation,
quoting the decisions of investigative committees that
concluded that Debye did not cross the line. However, they
demand that the ShockleyQueisser limitbe renamed. They
call for Shockleys cancellation as punishment for his abhorrent
views on issues far outside his domain of expertise, such as
race, gender, and IQ. If, for the sake of argument, we divorce
ourselves from the charged political content of Shockleys
publications on these topics, we can compare his minimal
scholarly contribution in this domain to Paulings vitamin C
Should we cancel Pauling for overstepping the
domain of his competence and making medically dangerous
claims? Which one is the greater misconductpublishing a
paper with eugenic content or promoting vitamin C as a cure
for cancer? Note that in the case of both Pauling and Shockley,
the Mertonian principle of organized skepticism
has already
taken care of eectively separating the wheat from the cha:
while Shockleys detailed balance paper (ref 11 in the
viewpoint) is cited almost 7000 times, his paper on race and
IQ (ref 12 in the viewpoint) has a grand total of 15 citations.
Digging deeper into the Shockley case, many of his
biographers attribute his well-documented antisocial traits
and behaviors (social withdrawal and paranoia) to a mental
disorder and describe him as a high-functioning autist. In his
book The Gene, Mukherjee uses Shockley to illustrate the
ethical conundrums of gene editing,
by pointing out that the
same combination of genes can be both genius-enablingand
disease-enabling. What if Shockleys deplorable views were
the result of his mental disorder? Should we cancel him
anyway? I think we should discuss his mixed legacy and learn
from his complicated story, in the same way we can learn from
Fritz Habers and others. These stories can teach us about the
complexity of the world and of human minds, the importance
of tolerance and empathy. And we should leave the Shockley
Queisser limit (and other named discoveries and equations)
The issue of science moralization and censorship is older
than 20th century totalitarian regimes. For example, Giordano
Bruno was canceled (burned at the stake in 1600) because his
cosmological views were considered to be a threat to the
dominant ideology. The guardians of the truth, his prosecutors,
had the desire to serve freedom and promote the common
A century later, Leeuwenhoek self-censored his
studies and reports for oensive content (observations of
spermatozoa in semen).
In 1911, Marie Curie was
ostracized for immoral behavioran aair with a married
man (Langevin) following the tragic death of her husband
Pierre Curie. The chair of the Nobel Prize committee, Svante
Arrhenius, wrote to her advising that she not attend the ocial
ceremony for her Nobel Prize in Chemistry in view of her
questionable moral standing. Curie replied that she would be
present at the ceremony, becase the prize has been given to
her for her discovery of polonium and radiumand that there
is no relation between her scientic work and the facts of her
private life.
Today we regard this attempt to cancel Curie on
the grounds of her moral impurity as utterly absurd, yet we
continue to witness the intrusion of moral arguments into the
scientic domain.
Examples of past cancellations done in the name of
maintaining moral purity (as understood at the time) provide
a useful context for todays struggle between free speech and
Figure 2. Fourth-year chemistry students from Moscow State
University (the author is on the right) enjoying a short break in the
potato elds during mandatory farm labor, ca. 1987. The sticks were
used as aids for separating potatoes from the mud.
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J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 2021, 12, 53715376
cancel culture. In 1952, Alan Turing was canceled for being
gay. After he was convicted for gross indecencyand
subjected to chemical castration, he lost his consultancy job
for the British intelligence agency, despite his vital contribu-
tions to the war eort, and was denied entry to the United
States. About the same time, the University of Minnesota
revoked an oer from Michael McConnell for his intent to
marry another man.
McConnell sued, but lost, with the judge
decrying same-sex marriage a socially repugnant concept,
incompatible with holding a university position.
Todays censorship does not stop at purging the scientic
vocabulary of the names of scientists who crossed the lineor
fail the ideological litmus tests of the Elect.
In some
physics classes no longer teach Newtons Laws,
but the three fundamental laws of physics. Why was Newton
canceled? Because he was white, and the new ideology
calls for decentering whitenessand decolonizingthe
curriculum. A comment in Nature
calls for replacing the
accepted technical term quantum supremacyby quantum
advantage. The authors regard the English word supremacy
as violentand equate its usage with promoting racism and
colonialism. They also warn us about damageinicted by
using such terms as conquest. I assume divide-and-conquer
will have to go too. Remarkably, this Soviet-style ghost-chasing
gains traction. In partnership with their Diversity, Equity, and
Inclusion taskforce, the Information and Technology Services
Department of the University of Michigan set out to purge the
language within the university and without (by imposing
restrictions on university vendors) from such hurtful and racist
terms as picnic,brown bag lunch,black-and-white
thinking,master password,dummy variable,disabled
system,grandfathered account,strawman argument, and
long time no see.
The list is not exhaustive and will
continue to grow, warns the memo. Indeed, new words are
canceled every dayI just learned that the word normalwill
no longer be used on Dove soap packaging because it makes
most people feel excluded
(emphasis mine; see Figure 3).
Do words have life and power of their own? Can they really
cause injury? Do they carry hidden messages? The ideology
claims so and encourages us all to be on the constant lookout
for oenses. If you are not sure when you should be
oendedcheck out the list of microagressionsa quick
google search can deliver plenty of ocial documents from
serious institutions that, with a few exceptions, sound like a
sketch for the next Borat movie.
If nothing ts the bill, you
can always nd malice in the sounds of a foreign language. At
the University of Southern California, a professor was recently
suspended because students claimed to have been oended by
the sounds of Chinese words used to illustrate the concept of
ller words in a communications class.
Why did I devote a considerable amount of my time to
writing this essay? After all, I am no fan of Shockley; his
eugenic views disgust me. Notwithstanding his monumental
contributions to one of the most pressing problems we face
harnessing solar energyI would not want to sit next to him at
a dinner party. Yet, the term ShockleyQueisser limitelicits
no emotional response in me. Neither does Stark eect,
HaberBosch process,orDebye units. To most scientists,
these are convenient labels, which remind us that the
cathedrals of science are built by mere mortals,
and not
some deeply meaningful symbols of reverence. So why should
we not humor those who claim to feel dierently
and rename
everything in sight? After all, renaming equations is even easier
than renaming cities, buildings, or landmarks.
The answer is simple: our future is at stake. As a community,
we face an important choice. We can succumb to extreme left
ideology and spend the rest of our lives ghost-chasing and
witch-hunting, rewriting history, politicizing science, redening
elements of language, and turning STEM (science, technology,
engineering, and mathematics) education into a farce.
we can uphold a key principle of democratic societythe free
and uncensored exchange of ideasand continue our core
mission, the pursuit of truth, focusing attention on solving real,
important problems of humankind.
The lessons of history are numerous and unambiguous.
Despite vast natural and human resources, the USSR lost the
Cold War, crumbled, and collapsed. Interestingly, even the
leaders of the most repressive regimes were able to understand,
to some extent, the weakness of totalitarian science. For
example, in the midst of the Great Terror,
Kapitsa and Ioe
were able to convince Stalin about the importance of physics to
military and technological advantage, to the extent that he
reversed some arrests; for example, Fock and Landau were set
free (however, an estimated 10% of physicists perished
during this time
). In the late forties, after nuclear physicists
explained that without relativity theory there will be no nuclear
bomb, Stalin rolled back the planned campaign against physics
and instructed Beria to give physicists some space; this led to
signicant advances and accomplishments by Soviet scientists
in several domains. However, neither Stalin nor the subsequent
Soviet leaders were able to let go of the controls completely.
Government control over science turned out to be a grand
failure, and the attempts to patch the widening gap between
the West and the East by espionage did not help.
Russia is hopelessly behind the West, in both technology and
quality of life. The book Totalitarian Science and Technology
provides many more examples of such failed experiments.
Today, STEM holds the key to solving problems far more
important than the nuclear arms race: reversing climate
change, ghting global hunger and poverty, controlling
pandemics, and harnessing the power of new technologies
(quantum computing, bioengineering, and renewable energy)
for the benet of humanity.
Figure 3. Headline of the New York Times article
from 2021-03-13.
The word normalwill be removed from more than 200 beauty
products. The changes were long overdue and completely
necessary..., said Ateh Jewel, a beauty journalist and an advisory
board member of the British Beauty Council.
The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters Viewpoint
J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 2021, 12, 53715376
Normalizing ideological intrusion into science and abandon-
ing Mertonian principles
will cost us dearly. We cannot
aord it.
Anna I. Krylov
Complete contact information is available at:
Views expressed in this Viewpoint are those of the author and
not necessarily the views of the ACS.
The author declares no competing nancial interest.
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wrote in his letter to Frank Aydelotte in 1951: As to the Russian
scientists and the scientic controversies, I must say that I have great
diculty in understanding what is happening. The most likely
explanation seems to be that some of the Russian scientists are taking
advantage of the political situation to advance themselves at the
expense of their colleagues. Others are then drawn into the
controversy, and required by practical considerations to align
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would be objective. However, much of science is subjective and is
historically built on a small subset of privileged voices. I acknowledge
that the readings for this course, including the course reader and BCP
were authored by white men. Furthermore, the course often focuses
on historically important neuroscience experiments which were
mostly conducted by white men.
(15) Antiracist pedagogy: YALE Poorvu Center for teaching and
learning, (ac-
cessed 2021-03-21). Recommendations include decentering White-
ness in the course contentand creating assessments that enable
students to demonstrate dierent knowledge and ways of knowing.
Examples of good practices include Yale Associate Professor of
Computer Science ... includes discussions about the discriminatory
racial history of computer science and mathematics as a way to help
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thought of as being objective.
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often referred to by the acronym CUDOS, include the following: (i)
Communism: the common ownership of scientic discoveries,
according to which scientists give up intellectual property in exchange
for recognition; (ii) Universalism: according to which claims to truth
are evaluated in terms of universal or impersonal criteria, and not on
the basis of race, class, gender, religion, or nationality; (iii)
Disinterestedness: according to which scientists are rewarded for
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following: If your Lordship should consider that these observations
may disgust or scandalise the learned, I earnestly beg your Lordship to
regard them as private and to publish or destroy them as your
Lordship sees t.
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J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 2021, 12, 53715376
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decolonisationdrive. The Telegraph,2021;https://www.telegraph.
decolonisation-drive. A draft of inclusive curriculum development
at the Sheeld University (UK) states that Dirac, Laplace, Newton,
and Leibniz could be considered as beneting from colonial era
activityand, therefore, should be removed from the engineering
curriculum. Decolonising the curriculum is an ongoing process which
prompts us to incorporate historically marginalised or suppressed
knowledge into all all our students have the
opportunity to see themselves reected in what they are being
taught,said a spokesman of the University.
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(37) Taylor, D. B. Maker of Dove soap will drop the word normal
from beauty products; New York Times, 2021. https://www.nytimes.
(38) Examples of microagressions and recommendations on
inclusive language from University of California, University of
Colorado, University of Minnesota, and University of Michigan;
retrieved from internet.
1n6jB4oTDnrPqqKNVAHpA_MNwbK3TBGg; Link to exhibits,
(39) Soave, R. USC suspended a communications professor for
saying a Chinese word that sounds like a racial slur; Reason, 2020;
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breakfor giving Chinese word neigeas example; The Volokh
Conspiracy, Reason, 2020.
(41) A pathway to equitable math instruction: Resources and
guidance to support Black, LatinX, and Multilingual students to thrive
in grades 68. From the website: A
Pathway to Equitable Math Instruction is an actionable toolkit
designed to support equitable access to math standards for Black,
Latinx, and multilingual students in grades 68. We invite school
leaders, educators, and advocates to join us at these virtual
opportunities to dive deeper into each of the toolkit strides.The
program, which is supported by numerous educational boards and
foundations, including Los Angeles County Oce of Education and
Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, calls to dismantle white
supremacyin the classroom, which manifests itself by the focus is
on getting the rightanswerand asking students to show their
(42) McWhorter, J. Is it racist to expect black kids to do math for
black-kids; It Bears Mentioning, 2021.
(43) Klainerman, S. There is no such thing as whitemath.
Common Sense with Bari Weiss;
there-is-no-such-thing-as-white-math, 2021.
(44) Deift, P.; Jitomirskaya, S.; Klainerman, S. America is unking
math. Persuasion, 2021.
The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters Viewpoint
J. Phys. Chem. Lett. 2021, 12, 53715376
... These include efforts to rename buildings, lectures, and awards whose namesakes have expressed views that are now widely regarded as racist, ableist, or misogynist. 25,[27][28][29] Language guidelines adopted by scholarly journals, in an effort to avoid bigotry in scientic literature, are also offered as examples of suppression. 26,28 Lists are assembled of academics who have supposedly been "cancelled", 24,34 and the climate of contemporary academia is compared to the atmosphere that existed under totalitarian governments in the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, and North Korea; 25,[27][28][29]35 to China's Cultural Revolution; 46 to the anti-Communist "Red Scare" of 1950s America; 29,39,49 and to the self-censure practiced by Copernicus and Galileo, under threat of death. ...
... 25,[27][28][29] Language guidelines adopted by scholarly journals, in an effort to avoid bigotry in scientic literature, are also offered as examples of suppression. 26,28 Lists are assembled of academics who have supposedly been "cancelled", 24,34 and the climate of contemporary academia is compared to the atmosphere that existed under totalitarian governments in the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, and North Korea; 25,[27][28][29]35 to China's Cultural Revolution; 46 to the anti-Communist "Red Scare" of 1950s America; 29,39,49 and to the self-censure practiced by Copernicus and Galileo, under threat of death. 24 Rebuttals to some of these arguments can be found elsewhere, 58-61 but a brief recapitulation will keep my arguments self-contained. ...
... 520 His rants against a "radical vigilante woke mob" 521,522 are indistinguishable (to my ears) from the language used by academics who defend birthright speech. [24][25][26][27][29][30][31][32][33][34][35][36][37][38] Whereas the latter group's premise is that academics are devouring their own academic freedom, these examples encapsulate how catchphrases such as "woke identity" and "woke activism" are in fact used by politicians as a pretense to restrict speech, under the guise of a crusade against a purportedly anti-speech "cancel culture". [523][524][525][526][527][528] It is these restrictions, rather than squabbles about offensive remarks by this or that academic, that are having a real impact on academic freedom. ...
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A vocal group of academic scientists have repeatedly articulated the idea that academic freedom is under attack from within academia. Examples of supposed suppression of free expression often involve diversity,...
... In this Guest Commentary, we suggest that the aforementioned efforts by universities and scientific journals, which are aimed at promoting inclusivity, are nothing at all like the actions of a totalitarian government, as some have suggested. 2,16,17 Diversity efforts, especially those targeting faculty hiring, have sometimes been mischaracterized as exercises in "critical race theory", but this is equally hyperbolic in our view. The question that we address is whether inclusivity efforts generally constitute unreasonable censorship and political correctness, or whether they are instead manifestations of a long-overdue reckoning about values. ...
... Nevertheless, those comparisons have been made. 2,16,17 Un-naming the Buildings. Recently, four buildings at the University of California, Berkeley, were "un-named" following a substantive and transparent process that acknowledged both the eponymous individuals' contributions to their disciplines and to the university, but also their considerable flaws. ...
... These social media platforms have brought rapid changes to the public communication landscape and are now widely used by individuals and organizations to share, discuss, and promote content, including health-related content (Afful-Dadzie et al., 2021;Chen & Wang, 2021). Similar to most social media content, health-related discussions are often polarized, contain undisclosed conflicts of interest, and are riddled with misinformation and/or disinformation (Jenkins et al., 2020;Krylov, 2021;Muhammed & Mathew, 2022;Suarez-Lledo & Alvarez-Galvez, 2021). With the versatile roles that social media plays in American life, it has had a profound impact on public health issues. ...
Synthetic pesticides are important agricultural tools that increase crop yield and help feed the world's growing population. These products are also highly regulated to balance benefits and potential environmental and human risks. Public perception of pesticide use, safety, and regulation is an important topic necessitating discussion across a variety of stakeholders from lay consumers to regulatory agencies since attitudes toward this subject could differ markedly. Individuals and organizations can perceive the same message(s) about pesticides differently due to prior differences in technical knowledge, perceptions, attitudes, and individual or group circumstances. Social media platforms, like Twitter, include both individuals and organizations and function as a townhall where each group promotes their topics of interest, shares their perspectives, and engages in both well-informed and mis-informed discussions. We analyzed public Twitter posts about pesticides by user group, time, and location to understand their communication behaviors, including their sentiments and discussion topics using machine learning-based text analysis methods. We extracted tweets related to pesticides between 2013 and 2021 based on relevant keywords developed through a 'snowball' sampling process. Each tweet was grouped into individual vs. organizational groups, then further categorized into media, government, industry, academia, and three types of non-governmental organizations. We compared topic distributions within and between those groups using topic modeling, and then applied sentiment analysis to understand the public's attitudes toward pesticide safety and regulation. Individual accounts expressed concerns about health and environmental risks, while industry and government accounts focused on agricultural usage and regulations. Public perceptions are heavily skewed towards negative sentiments, although this varies geographically. Our findings can help managers and decision-makers understand public sentiments, priorities, and perceptions, and provide insights into public discourse on pesticides.
... Magazines such as "Teaching Tolerance" started to appear, and in the aftermath of 9/11, the lesson plan "Tolerance in Times of Trial" was developed by Public Broadcasting Service for increasing tolerance towards Muslims and Islam. Furthermore, in the academic world, tolerance of different perspectives and methods has been argued for as being necessary for psychological research (Zitzmann & Loreth, 2021) and for preventing science moralisation and (self-)censorship (Krylov, 2021). ...
... Increasingly since about the middle of the 20 th century (Bauer, 2017, p. 17 ff.), researchers have worked in an hypercompetitive environment in which career advancement and even career survival has demanded constantly successful grant-getting and prolific publishing-as well as not rocking any boats, be they norms of the specialist technical community or of one's vocational environment that may have no obvious relevance to technical expertise: In many places, for example, at the very least lip service is expected nowadays to the values of "equity, diversity, inclusion" (Krylov, 2021). ...
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This book should be required reading for all scholars and students of Science and Technology Studies (STS), which encompasses the history and sociology of science and the interaction of science with society as a whole.1 Anomalists will find the discovery narrative engrossing and the whole book rewarding, well worth coping with the occasional technicalities. Lay readers should likewise appreciate Part 1 and will miss little of importance to them by scanning Part 2 more rapidly. Cosmic Rain is really several books in one. Most directly, it is a fascinating scientific detective story. At the same time, as Frank recognized (p. 4), it is an important case study in the history of science, illuminating most particularly the circumstances of scientific breakthroughs that are surprising and unforeseen. Frank’s experiences illustrate several general points about the manner in which science receives—or rather, resists—startling novelty. Furthermore, this book is a very detailed first-hand description of scientific activity, warts and all, that should enable non-scientists to begin to recognize that scientific activity is very much like other human activities: influenced by human behavior and human psychology, not only by the objective technical considerations. Louis Frank was a distinguished physicist at the University of Iowa whose specialty was plasma physics. In the early 1980s, he was puzzled by persistent dark spots in ultraviolet (UV) images of the outer reaches of the Earth taken from a satellite, the Dynamics Explorer, which carried several instruments that were Frank’s responsibility.
... Increasingly since about the middle of the 20 th century (Bauer, 2017, p. 17 ff.), researchers have worked in an hypercompetitive environment in which career advancement and even career survival has demanded constantly successful grant-getting and prolific publishing-as well as not rocking any boats, be they norms of the specialist technical community or of one's vocational environment that may have no obvious relevance to technical expertise: In many places, for example, at the very least lip service is expected nowadays to the values of "equity, diversity, inclusion" (Krylov, 2021). ...
Full-text available
Standardized taxonomies and lists of birds were created to improve communication. They are linguistic infrastructure―biodiversity indices and dictionaries―that have been painstakingly built and maintained and that have enhanced regional and global participation in the study and enjoyment of birds. Inclusion of people has been a core objective in creating and maintaining these standardized lists, and dissatisfaction and desires to overwrite objectionable names have been associated with them for nearly two centuries. Suggestions that bird names should be changed are continuous. Today, these suggestions include the view that some bird names must be changed to make them more accurate, inoffensive, and culturally appropriate to further increase diversity and inclusion among ornithologists and bird watchers. The latter, meritorious goal has been largely successful thus far despite many ongoing objections. Historic examples indicate that large-scale name changes, however, are not needed to accomplish major societal goals of inclusion. Some barriers to inclusion likely remain, and some changes are likely needed for English names. Often overlooked or underappreciated in name change discussions are that: 1) standardized names lists have had staggering success in fostering inclusion of diverse participants globally; 2) stability is vital in such systems, and destabilization is exclusionary; 3) dissatisfaction with such lists and the names they include has been ongoing since these naming systems began; 4) important flexibilities exist in conjunction with these communication systems that enhance local and regional communication (e.g., alternative names in English and other languages); and 5) cultural values, important as they are, are neither universally shared nor constant, and thus bring inherent divisiveness and instability when used as a central reason for change. Consideration of standardized lists of bird names as communication systems in the fuller context of history, language, and culture will improve our management of these systems and their continued utility in fostering inclusion. With standardized, stable, naming systems acting as a skeleton, proactively building outwards, both within and among languages and cultures, offers a positive and productive way to increase inclusion and to improve cultural and biodiversity conservation.
ConspectusWe introduce the term discipline-based diversity research (DBDR) to capture the emerging field of research advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging with specificity to a given discipline. Contextualizing a human dynamic through a disciplinary lens has already given rise to discipline-based education research (DBER). The modalities through which students and practitioners think and process information are a reflection of a given discipline, and it tends to give rise to its professional practices. Through DBER, such specification is necessary in addressing evidence-based practices that are effective for teaching a particular subject. Likewise, the inequities and opportunities within a given field (and its professional culture) must be addressed within a disciplinary lens. Thus, the findings from social science in diversity in arbitrary contexts must be analyzed, interpreted, applied, and researched within a given discipline.One specific challenge to academic chemistry is the lack of inclusion in the sense that the faculties in research-active chemistry departments are far from diverse. We recapitulate the percentage of women and under-represented person of color (URPOC) professors over the past 20 years reported by us and other sources. The data admits to linear fits with high confidence. Assuming this linearity holds, the gender gap in representation would be bridged only in 2062, and the threshold of 20% of the faculty as URPOC would be reached only in 2113. While the community has actively engaged in modifying practices and procedures to redress this grim projection, it should be clear that more needs to be done.Toward this objective, we have been driven by the top-down hypothesis that solutions must be led intentionally through the top─that is, by department heads and chairs─because they are the stewards of the infrastructure. Department chairs and the chemistry community have engaged in DBDR through biennial workshops─that is, through the Open Chemistry Collaborative in Diversity Equity (OXIDE)'s National Diversity Equity Workshops (NDEWs)─to survey and evaluate existing policies and practices aimed at advancing inclusive excellence. This has led to research-based recommendations for the implementation of solutions in chemistry departments. This includes (i) engaging in community, (ii) conducting authentic and open searches, and (iii) recognizing and rewarding inclusive excellence. What makes them DBDR in chemistry is that we have to articulate and contextualize these solutions in terms of practices and procedures that we conduct in chemistry, assess their efficacy, and promote them across our discipline. Furthermore, we must offer theories of change for reforming them while offering frameworks that fit within how chemists think and practice.In this Account, we demonstrate how DBDR has taken root in chemistry, forecast where this emerging field may go, and provide a blueprint for how it might be replicated in other disciplines.
Varieties of modern philosophies of mathematical and natural sciences are represented. Specific features of those sciences are analyzed on the basis of graph classifications of the respective philosophies. The importance of reconstructions of practical theories is emphasized for all kinds of philosophies of science used by them. The first part outlines the purpose of the article and considers subject and theoretical, the se- cond — evaluative, nominal, theoretical-reconstructive and linguistic-reconstructive classifica- tions of philosophies of science. The conclusions are made about the problematic application of these classifications to the philosophies of social sciences and humanities.
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History of Vlasov and Jeans equations is presented and analyzed. The situation in the Former Soviet Union is connected to the modern situation in the post-Soviet countries. Physics of Landau damping is discussed.
IN spite of my letter in NATURE of February 24, there still seems to exist in English scientific circles a misunderstanding of the attitude of the new Government in Germany towards science and of the reasons why Jewish scientists have left the country. May I be allowed therefore to point out the following facts ?
Onkel Fritz: In his lecture at the Centennial Celebration of The Fritz Haber Institute, Fritz Stern reflects on the strengths and flaws of the Institute's founder. Can we judge a person without considering the historical and cultural context? In a sense, Haber's life encompassing triumph and tragedy is a reflection of his country at that time.
Alexandr I. Solzhenitsyn, novelista soviético (1918-2008), hizo estudios en la Facultad de Física y Matemáticas de Moscú. Intervino en la Segunda Guerra Mundial y en 1945 fue arrestado y deportado a Siberia por criticar al régimen de Stalin. En 1969 lo expulsaron de la Unión de Escritores. Paradójicamente, en 1970 fue laureado con el Premio Nobel, aunque no quiso ir a recibirlo a Estocolmo por temor a que no le permitieran volver a Rusia. Sin embargo, en 1974, cuando aparecen en Francia los primeros capítulos de Archipiélago Gulag, el autor es detenido y parte al exilio. Pasa algunos períodos en Alemania y Suiza y luego se establece en los Estados Unidos. Desintegrada la URSS, regresa a Rusia en 1994, donde publica El grano en la piedra del molino. Algunas otras obras son: Un día en la vida de Iván Denisovich (1962); El primer círculo y Pabellón de cancerosos (1969).
There is no such thing as “white” math. Common Sense with Bari Weiss
  • S Klainerman
It Bears Mentioning, 2021. (43) Klainerman, S. There is no such thing as "white" math. Common Sense with Bari Weiss; there-is-no-such-thing-as-white-math, 2021.