Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Friday, 6 February 2004

A 'pushy female' delivers some well-deserved chastisement

Neuroscientist Susan Greenfield, a professor of pharmacology at Oxford University and the first female director of the Royal Institution, has delivered some merited criticism to anonymous critics who have threatened to resign from the Royal Society is she is made a Fellow of that august body:
"I think it is a great pity that those who do not have the courage to identify themselves can make unsubstantiated criticisms both of my science and of my activities in public communication."
and
"When it comes to engaging with the public, many scientists would argue that they do not have the time, the experience or, indeed, the motivation to give talks to the great unwashed. After all, it is no small feat to take your life's work and passion and strip it of all technical terminology and jargon to make it accessible. It involves ignoring the peer-revered trees to reveal the entire wood to a general audience in a clear, accurate and appealing way. Small wonder that, until now, such endeavours have been left to a small minority of media-hungry, luvvie apostates who, in the eyes of many 'normal' members of the white-coat community, are marginalised as 'real' scientists."


I can't get the feeling out of my mind that it is at least partly because she is a woman, and a clever and forthright one at that, which has particularly irked her cowardly detractors - 'cowardly' because they are unwilling to put their names to their criticisms. The final longer quote really says it all, I think.

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