Towers used data from publicly available work records to chart the careers of 57 postdoctoral researchers, including nine women, who worked on the 'DZero' particle detector at Fermilab in Batavia, Illinois, between 1998 and 2006. Towers herself worked as a postdoc on the project between 2000 and 2005. The findings of her survey were striking, she says. She claims that women did 40% more maintenance work than their male counterparts, and that female postdocs produced significantly more 'internal papers' per year. But based on that productivity they were only one-third as likely to be allocated conference talks as their male peers, she claims (http://arxiv.org/abs/0804.2026).
"Isn't this old news? Gender bias in physics? WTF, Drugmonkey, this isn't your beat."
Maybe, but only until clowns like this Paul Kantorek guy pop up in the comments over at Nature.
My experience as a physicist working with the occasional female colleagues leads me to a subjective impression that women really think differently. Female thinking seems to be more lateral then vertical. By that I mean, women in physics are generally harder working than male colleagues and are great co-workers in terms of encouragement, diligence, and backup support. They do not, however, contribute a great deal of original ideas and rigorous logical analysis to the research. Female judgment seems to more emotionally biased.
Sure it's the same bleeding stupidz antifeminist idiocy that pops up over and over again when some weebag thinks he's being funny or wants to minimize past "indiscretions" of a famous cretin. Don't we just get used to it?
Not when people like Carol Lee post these heartbreaking stories, I don't (again in the comments following the Nature article).
My dad was a solid state physicist and president of a prominent university. He claimed throughout my life that women did not have the innate ability to perform well in math, and were inferior in analytical thinking. Many of his colleagues thought in these absolute terms. When I declared my major as mechanical engineering at Stanford, my dad discouraged me, claiming that I did not have the innate ability. He argued that my brother did instead, despite my higher math SAT scores (~+200 points) and more advanced training in math (beyond calculus). Also, I inherited his brain, while my brother ended up with the fuzzy non-linear thinking of my mother. Now I am a professor at a prominent university, and my brother is a tech. My dad did concede that he was wrong before passing away.
And then I think heck yeah, I'm directing my readers to this story on the off chance they haven't seen it yet!
So go read the paper by Towers, will ya?
And then go smack some guy like Carol Lee's father upside the head before he screws up his daughter.