October 5, 2009

Women and the Nobel Prize in Medicine

Nicholas Wade in the NYT reports:

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded this year to three American scientists who solved a problem of cell biology with deep relevance to cancer and aging. The three will receive equal shares of a prize worth around $1.4 million.

The recipients solved a longstanding puzzle involving the ends of chromosomes, the giant molecules of DNA that embody the genetic information. These ends, called telomeres, get shorter each time a cell divides and so serve as a kind of clock that counts off the cell’s allotted span of life.

The three winners are Elizabeth H. Blackburn of the University of California, San Francisco, Carol W. Greider of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Jack W. Szostak of Massachusetts General Hospital.

The two other 2009 hard science Nobels are not out yet, but this announcement reflects an on-going trend in which the top female scientific talent is concentrating in the life sciences and leaving the lifeless sciences, physics and chemistry, to the boys.

Here's a list of all female winners (keep in mind that there have been more multiple winners in recent years -- in other words, it's gotten easier to be a Nobel Laureate in recent years because prizes are more often fractured):
So, before 1965, women won five Nobels in physics or chemistry vs. only one in medicine. Since then, women have won zero in physics or chemistry (warning: this could change this week) versus nine in medicine.

This strikes me as healthy: women specializing in what they (and I, as a beneficiary of medical science) find most important. Of course, in the wake of the 2005 Larry Summers brouhaha, vast amounts of money are being spent to lure women scientists away from the life sciences and into the inanimate sciences in the name of diversity. Will all that money spent make humanity better off?

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

73 comments:

Dutch Boy said...

Physics and (inceasingly) chemistry are mathematically- inclined sciences. Perhaps this explains the pattern.

Archie Jockstrap said...

Telomeres ... yawn... of course the theoretical problem was mapped out by men, including the racist Watson, and one of the winners is being rewarded for her work done as a grad student in Joseph Gall's lab at Yale ... sorry, but women rarely have ground-breaking ideas in science ... it makes sense though that they would win nobels in the life sciences, because once you learn some methods (all the cool ones developed by men), you can hit upon novel things without being a genius...

for some reason there's a cottage industry of women working on telomeres ... probably because it was thought that if you can prevent telomere decay, you can stop aging, and we all know how much women hate aging... anyway, that is now a dead end.

kudzu bob said...

>Of course, in the wake of the 2005 Larry Summers brouhaha, vast amounts of money are being spent to lure women scientists away from medicine and into physics in the name of diversity. Will all that money spent make humanity better off?<

Maybe humanity someday dodges a Darwinian bullet because MIT admits a less-well qualified girl rather than an embittered, dateless genius with distinctly unconventional ideas regarding the feasibility of thousand-gigaton antimatter weapons. Instead, he becomes a watchmaker, or science fiction writer, or HBD blogger.

Ignaminious said...

Do you think there are any tokens among hard science nobel winners, Sailer.To be more specific, do you think there are any cases of a woman or a minority winning a nobel for not being a white male.Why I ask, is because there is alot of tokenism in hard sciences these days in my opinion. One example is Neil Tyson Degrasse, who has barely written any scientific papers since his disertation.But inspite of his lack of work in scientific research, he is the host of "Nova Science Now." This program I might add is supported and funded by National Science Foundation, which represents the mainstream opinions of the scientific community. Another example is the fact that at the college I'am attending, the minority faculty in the physics department are given special celebraty for doing nothing. And I'am not talking about asian professors, but black professors being paraded around as being geniuses for nothing. Please give me your opinion on this subject.

RWF said...

That list really does drive home just how extraordinary Marie Curie was.

The former Accutane Guy said...

OT: Calling all race datanauts... here's a very interesting summary of data from a major dating site about which races like which:

http://blog.okcupid.com/index.php/2009/10/05/your-race-affects-whether-people-write-you-back/

Summary: whites strongly prefer their own compared to other races, black women are open-minded, and the brothers just can't get a break. (Or is it just that whites get more responses and so can be choosier and that black males are doing a shotgun approach? Or is this a measure about how people come across with their writing?)

Anonymous said...

Even the Nobels prizes are fixed! Some might say the prize for literature is a tad political.

l said...

Not to detract from these ladies' accomplishment, but there's some politics involved in the awarding of the Nobel Prize in any field. Did lightweight Paul Krugman really deserve to be recognized as one of the top thinkers in the world in economics? No.

Kevin K said...

Its unlikely anyone will be drawn away from medicine by some scholarship. Doctors are paid huge amounts of money compared to PhD physicists and chemists. Medicine is also far more protected from foreignization because of certification requirements and the difficulty of foreigners paying for medical school. Medicine has about a 5% foreign students where physics is easily around 50%.

Nanonymous said...

Do you think there are any tokens among hard science nobel winners, Sailer.

In short, no. Prizes are all about PR and all that, but in the end, even if comparably important research never wins a Nobel, every single instance of a woman awarded Nobel is for a remarkable discovery.

Kes said...

This study explores the relationship of the gender and race/ethnic composition of work groups for 2331 research and development professionals with measures of creative productivity and morale. We find that male professionals appear to be more innovative and more likely to remain in their laboratories in predominantly male work groups, while female professionals appear to find more job satisfaction in predominantly female work groups. We find that non-Hispanic white technical professionals appear to have more patents in racially balanced work groups (defined by an equal number of whites and nonwhites), but they appear to find more job satisfaction where whites are the majority and are more likely to remain in the laboratory in all-white work groups. The relationships of group composition for nonwhites differed by subgroup. Outcomes for black technical professionals were less favorable in racially balanced work groups. No significant relationships of work group composition were found for Asians and Hispanics. Link.

RobertHume said...

Lots of biology has become extremely data intensive and mathematical as signified by the techniques needed to decipher the human genome. Just look at the "nerds at work" in the Science article about the initial human genome work. I suspect that 30 years ago was pretty much the golden era for significant work by women in biology.

airtommy said...

there's some politics involved in the awarding of the Nobel Prize in any field. Did lightweight Paul Krugman really deserve to be recognized as one of the top thinkers in the world in economics?

The Economics award is NOT a Nobel Prize.

Mike M said...

I have met all of the recipients and know the science.

This is a major achievement that started with asking a fundamental question about eukaryotic cells: how do they replicate the ends of linear chromosomes.

Much of the early work was done on ciliated protozoa (think paramecium). These organisms have a 'germline" nucleus that just replicates and not much else and a second nucleus which results from fragmentation of chromosomes to gene size pieces. It turns out that these mini chromosomes replicate for many generations. Blackburn and Greider realized that this meant that there must be many telomeres (chromosome tips) and a substantial amount of the enzyme that regenerates them. Based on this inference, they a were able to make progress much faster than any system looking at many fewer telomeres in mammals or other model organism (e.g. 92 telomeres in humans, thousands in ciliated protozoa).

This is not an AA or PC award, just as Barbara McClintock's was not and Jani Nusslein's was not.

Since I started working in a lab (during my early time in the lab Ashe beat Conners) I have observed that there are a significant number of top-notch women biologists.

Biology appears to be an excellent middle ground for a mixing of approaches and skills. All the better for all of us.

Nanonymous said...

Its unlikely anyone will be drawn away from medicine by some scholarship. Doctors are paid huge amounts of money compared to PhD physicists and chemists.

FYI: As a rule, people who eventually end up getting Nobels in Medicine or Phyiology are not doctors but PhD biologists earning significantly less money than PhD physicists and chemists.

Anonymous said...

Paul Krugman is not a lightweight.

He's been a star in economics since he entered the profession.

Caligula said...

Men may be better but it's not like women are completely out of place. People forget Watson stole Rosalind Franklin's research.

Also remember that a PhD, especially in the sciences is a long and arduous process. The majority of a scientist's ground breaking research is usually done when they are in their 20s. There are many extremely capable women who choose to forego this route and decide to have a family in their prime child-bearing years.

SFG said...

"In short, no. Prizes are all about PR and all that, but in the end, even if comparably important research never wins a Nobel, every single instance of a woman awarded Nobel is for a remarkable discovery."

Depends what you mean by 'token'. While I'm sure this is good research, if they keep doing affirmative action it's going to be hard to use this as an indicator because it will no longer reflect the brilliant-scientist pool.

Anonymous said...

"Will all that money spent make humanity better off?"

No. But it will make Summers and his cohorts feel good.

sour grapes barometer said...

Archie Jockstrap has got his jockies in a twist at having to read about women who have done more in science than he has -- correct me if I'm wrong Archie -- and says, "Yawn ... telomeres.. ... sorry, but women rarely have ground-breaking ideas in science ..because once you learn some methods (all the cool ones developed by men), you can hit upon novel things without being a genius... ."

Classic. I don't wanna see people do something better than me. i want all the attention. Wah wah. Reminds me of the time a very good white singer performed at a NASA day party and all the black women loudly laughed and talked through her performance. Nobody shut them up and the lady just kept on singing.

OK. So what novel discoveries have you hit on?

Sometimes you just have to laugh. No matter what women accomplish in the sciences or anywhere she was not supposed to be any good at, there is always a Jockstrap who will cut it down. I have observed this in personal and public forums, and it is one thing the feminists were dead on about. If women achieve in an area men consider "theirs" be ready for cut downs and dismissals. It really, really gets to (some0 men. I guess stay at home dads on the playground must go through something similar. The moms don't think he's good enough.

Whether or not the "really cool" stuff was all discovered by men first, I'll check out from more reliable sources. In some forms of alternative medicine (the kind that has saved several individuals I know who had been condemned to death), women have been among the strongest innovators.
Jockstrap doesn't want girlz in his metaphorical treehouse.

Another commenter notes "In short, no. Prizes are all about PR and all that, but in the end, even if comparably important research never wins a Nobel, every single instance of a woman awarded Nobel is for a remarkable discovery."

So yeah. Remarkable discoveries. That sounds about right.

"...for some reason there's a cottage industry of women working on telomeres ... probably because it was thought that if you can prevent telomere decay, you can stop aging, and we all know how much women hate aging... anyway, that is now a dead end."

Women hate aging? Only women?

God god in heaven. Talk about sour grapes.
No wonder many thought Rosalind Franklin had been cheated out of her glory by the guys. It is so easy to believe, whether true or not.

While I don't know what Archie Jockstrap has been fiddling about with, I'll bet his petrie dish he hasn't accomplished anything near what the Nobel prize winners have done...and if you have discovered something, Archie, even something not too cool, again, let the world know.
Because I don't want to take any credit from someone who really does neat stuff just because I don't and/or can't.

Mr. Anon said...

"Ignaminious said...

One example is Neil Tyson Degrasse, who has barely written any scientific papers since his disertation."

You are right that his publication record is slight for someone in his position. And it seems likely to me, knowing how this country works, that his race played some part in his elevation to that of "the public face of astronomy".

That being said, he's no dummy, and I think Tyson is a better public representative for astronomy than the man who previously filled that role: Carl Sagan. Sagan was obnoxious and a prima donna, and interjected his dimwitted limousine liberal prejudices into everything. Whereas, as far as I have seen, when Tyson talks about science, he sticks to science, and does a pretty good job of it too.

ecrunner said...

Whether or not the Nobel means anything, its PR, whatever, the fact that this is deterring the US attention from the mounting health care reform battle is good enough for me; though I must say, it's always nice to hear something new that we are getting closer to helping disease and aging, whether or not it goes forward- we'll hope.

Mike in Massachusetts said...

Instead of looking at the many-times-distilled final product of that juggernaut that is today's system for manufacturing Science, what about looking at the inputs to the machine? Here are MIT's figures on undergrad enrollment, including a tally of female students in each major.

When I was there, Materials Science was the major for guys who didn't care what sort of engineering they studied, if only they could manage to get a date a little more easily. Surprised to see that it's under 50% female now; it always seemed that women were the majority.

Ignaminious said...

You are right Mr. Anon on all your points. Carl Sagon is possibly the worst advocate of science in mainstream american media history, with the exception of course being Al Gore. Degrasse in my opinion really would be a good professor of astrophysics at a state university, if he was not a celebraty. I just do not understand the obession with him that people seem to have. They treat him as if he was Newton, going to tell us once in for all, how the world actually works. He, however, is very good at explaining science and sticking to it, as you, Anon, have already pointed out. I just wonder what, besides race, would make him a celebraty. Maybe he is not as important as I think he is in the scientific community. If he was actually writing papers and doing research, he would not be able to host his television show and do media apperances. But also I do not find him very charismatic or lucid, so maybe my skpeticism is a matter of taste. Also, he is strangely silent about subjects involving HBD, which I find interesting. And lastly, he seems to never talk about race, which is quite refreshing for a black intellectual with his amount of public exposure. Sailer should do an article about Degrasse. Why, because he actually comes off as the sort of post-racial messiah that white liberals expected Obama to manifest as. Maybe Degrasse's popularity is the fact that he truly represents a blackman who is intergrated in white society, doing a job normally done by whites and asians that requires a considerable degree of intellect even as a token. Any thoughts anybody?

jody said...

my girlfriend in college is now a professor in biology at one of the UC campuses. so, add one more anecdote to the list. her dad was an immunology professor at yale though. could simply be a matter of being like dad.

i am not under the impression that any nobel science prize was an affirmative action award.

disturbing trend (well, maybe not really): blackburn is australian, and szostak is british. only one actual american won a nobel prize in medicine here.

the other nobel prizes, economics and literature and peace, do not carry nearly the heft of the nobel science prizes. the economics prize, which seems to masquerade as an award for figuring out something important, is probably the most insidious. a lot of economics is just plain wrong, and has little predictive capability. it's nothing like the science awards. indeed, an award in psychology would be more appropriate. psychology has done more to help us understand the world than economics, by a large margin.

Matt G. said...

I think I can speak to this post since I am currently a chemistry grad student. Outside of physical and theoretical chemistry, most chemistry is conceptual and isn't very math driven.
Women can be good chemists, even excellent ones, but I doubt there will be any more female nobel prize winners in the future than in the past. Most of the female students I see come from an upper middle class or wealthy background. For most of them it seems like a hobby. After graduating they may work a few years but then will start having kids and won't be in the work force very much thereafter, if at all. I think to become a nobel prize winner one has to be deeply driven and willing to devout one's life to research. Most women I see treat it like a 9-5 bank job. Ironically (or not) two of the best female students I have encountered were devout christians. One quit grad school completely after she found out she was pregnant to focus exclusively on her child. The other one simply wanted to teach after graduating, but was hounded constantly by her liberal advisors who wanted her to become a professor at a major research uni. The liberalism among the chem faculty seems to be just as bad as what you'd encounter in a english or history department. Laboratory chemistry with it's toxic chemicals and complex instruments is such a prototypical male occupation that it makes me wonder why so many women want to do it. The physical sciences don't have much status in our society, but they do have some. If the physical sciences had the same status as auto repair you'd probably never see any females in a chemistry lab.

Anonymous said...

"The three will receive equal shares of a prize worth around $1.4 million."



Thats $400K each, probably not 15 home runs of a major league player's salary. Just think, Meagan Fox (idiot) or Olivia Wilde (bigger idiot) will make more than that in 15 minutes of acting in their next AWFUL movie than three ladies who actually accomplished something that will truly benefit (rather than abuse) humanity. Its saddening.

Ignaminious said...

You know Olivia Wilde is related to Alexander Cockburn of Counterpunch.org.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olivia_Wilde

Steve Sailer said...

"You know Olivia Wilde is related to Alexander Cockburn of Counterpunch.org."

Which makes her related to Evelyn Waugh: her grandfather Claude Cockburn was Waugh's cousin.

Anonymous said...

Uh, lame sample size bro. Generalizing from shit like this is a joke. You and the MSM have a lot in common I guess.

Ignaminious said...

NO WAY IS WAUGH RELATED TO COCKBURNS!!! Stop messing with us Sailer.

Steve Sailer said...

Claude Cockburn on his cousin Evelyn Waugh:

http://www.counterpunch.org/claud04262003.html

Ignaminious said...

I was joking, not generalising. Anoymous, get a sense of humor.

Ignaminious said...

@Sailer
I find it strange that I was reading your review of Thomas Wolfe's book "I Charlotte Sims" tonight,where you mention Waugh in the review. And now Waugh has appeared second time tonight, without me expecting it to happen.

Fred said...

Steve, this is off-topic, but I thought you might be interested in seeing this op/ed by Michael Milken in the Financial Times, since I think you've mentioned here that you have been an attendee at his institute's events. Here's the paragraph that leaped out at me,

"The return on investment in education is apparent in a comparison of Singapore and Jamaica, former British colonies that once shared many similarities. In the early 1960s, each had a population of 1.6m and almost exactly the same gross domestic product per capita – about 2,200 current US dollars. Then they diverged. Jamaica stuck to agriculture, mining and tourism while Singapore focused on educating its people, who expanded manufacturing capacity and developed advanced technology. Today, Singapore’s GDP per capita is nearly $39,000 (€26,800, £24,500) – more than seven times that of Jamaica."

Milken is a genius. Do you think he really believes that Singapore's people are smarter and more productive because Singapore "focused on educating its people", or is he deliberately deluding himself? This is like writing that Singapore could have produced the world's fastest man, but Jamaica did instead because it was more focused on the 100 meter dash.

Truth said...

"Instead, he becomes a watchmaker, or science fiction writer, or HBD blogger."

I vote for #3, when you fail at the first two, it's hard to blame anyone.

"Just think, Meagan Fox (idiot) or Olivia Wilde (bigger idiot) will make more than that in 15 minutes of acting in their next AWFUL movie than three ladies who actually accomplished something that will truly benefit (rather than abuse) humanity. Its saddening."

Yes but will 11 million people pay $10 a pop to see them write an equasion on opening weekend?

This is America my friend, a capitalist country in case you were unaware.

Mark said...

One example [of minority tokenism] is Neil Tyson Degrasse, who has barely written any scientific papers since his disertation.But inspite of his lack of work in scientific research, he is the host of "Nova Science Now."

My biology text a few years back had, every few chapters, interviews with various "leading figures" in the science. Most of the interviewees, including the white women, talked about important research they had done. The racial minorities talked mostly about being minorities in science. Their research contributions were nil. The books authors only had to find one or two Hispanics and one or two blacks in the entire country who had made any contribution in the field at all, and yet apparently they couldn't.

Truth(er) said...

"When I was there, Materials Science was the major for guys who didn't care what sort of engineering they studied, if only they could manage to get a date a little more easily. Surprised to see that it's under 50% female now; it always seemed that women were the majority."

Material Science and Chemical engineering seem to have a lot of women graduates. I would guess these are less competitive engineering disciplines compared to Electrical/computer engineering. Since there is relatively less money, the disciplines attract fewer competent males, so it's easier for the women to get good grades.

Anonymous said...

"Degrasse in my opinion really would be a good professor of astrophysics at a state university, if he was not a celebraty. I just do not understand the obession with him that people seem to have. They treat him as if he was Newton, going to tell us once in for all, how the world actually works. He, however, is very good at explaining science and sticking to it, as you, Anon, have already pointed out. I just wonder what, besides race, would make him a celebraty."

The ability to spell 'celebrity' correctly, perhaps?

Gc said...

The Swedes sure have done well in Nobel prize game with respect to their average intelligence and population. http://www.iqcomparisonsite.com/Nobels.aspx

Anonymous said...

This is America my friend, a capitalist country in case you were unaware. Truth re Meagan Fox & Nobel prizes.

America was also a capitalist country in 1959. I would be interested to know the disparity between starlets pay back then and a Nobel winners jackpot.

fortisn said...

The former Accutane Guy,
maybe the OJ effect?

headache said...

Paul Krugman is not a lightweight.

He's been a star in economics since he entered the profession.


Paul Krugman has been a MSM star since he entered the "profession".

Anonymous said...

"Paul Krugman is not a lightweight.

He's been a star in economics since he entered the profession.

Paul Krugman has been a MSM star since he entered the "profession".


He's multi-talented?



Anyway, the Cockburns are some of my favorite people. Great journalism from the brothers less prone to grandstanding and amazing invective from Alexander (his exchanges with Christopher Hitchens are delightful).

jody said...

there are some major weaknesses in using nobel science prizes to gauge and measure HBD ideas. for instance they completely and totally ignore both engineering and almost all science done outside of the university.

edwin hubble, who probably did more than anybody else in the last 100 years to help us understand our universe, was ineligible to receive the physics prize. ray damadian, the guy who developed the MRI, and who was actually awarded by several other groups, like MIT, as the inventor of MRI, was not given the physics prize by the nobel committee. he even considered legal action.

this is one of the reasons that stephanie kwolek, the woman who invented kevlar, cannot win the chemistry prize.

AMac said...

Upthread, Mike M said...

I have met all of the recipients and know the science...

Excellent description of the telomerase problem. From what I know (less than you), I concur. In casual encounters, Greider always struck me as a capable, focused, and smart scientist.

kudzu bob said...

>I vote for #3, when you fail at the first two, it's hard to blame anyone.<

Read the post again. My hypothetical wannabe mad scientist failed at nothing, but rather was stymied by affirmative action. You missed the point utterly.

Dutch Boy said...

BTW - my son just started a Geology major at a university and discovered to his surprise that the students were overwhelmingly female.

albertosaurus said...

Assuming that the IQ of Nobel Prize winners is 145 (I read that somewhere), assume that women have an IQ five points less than males (this is probably a little too large a difference), assume that blacks have IQ's one sigma below whites (the real fogure is a little more), and finally assume that I have done the math right then we should expect about 26 men to be smart enough for every one women. Whites would be 433 times more frequent than blacks.

Therefore on smarts alone we should have expected about 25 women to have won the prize and maybe one black since 1901.

Truth said...

In 1959 Marilyn Monroe received $100,000 for two months of work in "Some Like it Hot." That's about 6 million dollars yearly salary in today's standards. The nobel prize in 1988 was $390,000.

Davout said...

"Material Science and Chemical engineering seem to have a lot of women graduates."

At some universities, credits within chemical engineering are transferrable, after two years, to medically related undergraduate programs (e.g. immunology). This is not true for other engineering disciplines. Further, the grades required to get into chemical engg. are lower than those to get into immunology. So, some girls, without the requisite grades to get into immunology outright, use chem. engg. as a conduit to get into immunology after two years.

Anonymous said...

Women have a few important breakthroughs to their credit:

fire, cooking, clothing (sewing, textiles), ceramics, agriculture . . .

Anonymous said...

"Maybe he is not as important as I think he is in the scientific community."

First, it's Neil Degrasse Tyson, not Tyson Degrasse. Second, to answer your question requires defining the word "important." Tyson does not publish actively in astronomical research. Looking up his publication record, it looks like he never did (a couple of first author papers shortly after his PhD). However, there is more than one way to be important in science and Tyson is influential. He is a gem on the public outreach front and behind the scenes he sits on a number of panels that influence future directions and funding in the field.

Josh said...

"Jamaica stuck to agriculture, mining and tourism while Singapore focused on educating its people, who expanded manufacturing capacity and developed advanced technology."

Fred, I don't know - maybe Milken is unaware of HBD?

Would an article which explained the difference in terms of evolutionary histories & different average cognitive abilities get published in the Financial Times?

Anonymous said...

"BTW - my son just started a Geology major at a university and discovered to his surprise that the students were overwhelmingly female."


Headed for the oil patch?

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with Mike M. and Matt G. It is great if some talented women want to work hard and contribute to the advancement of science or any other field. I doubt any men feel aggrieved by competent women being welcomed in using their talents.

However, many women don't want to do that, even if potentially they could. There is considerable pressure on women to pursue careers instead of full time motherhood even when they don't really want careers.

Women should be neither pressured into nor out of careers.

Truth said...

"You missed the point utterly.

No, I think you missed the point entirely, because if MIT wanted some chick instead of him, there are a whole hell of a lot of other physics programs.

none of the above said...

In fact, we would be wise to work out some ways to make a successful career in science more consistent with having and raising kids. If we could do it, we'd end up with more good scientists, and having a small positive effect on the genepool, as more first rate thinkers had kids.

MaryJ said...

In fact, we would be wise to work out some ways to make a successful career in science more consistent with having and raising kids.
------

From the news reports I read, both Blackburn and Greider have at least one kid.

MaryJ said...

That list really does drive home just how extraordinary Marie Curie was.
------
She not only won two Nobels, but also gave birth to another Nobel-winner, as Irene Joliot-Curie (1935 awardee) was her daughter. I wonder what her current descendents are up to?

Anonymous said...

"I wonder what her current descendents are up to?"


physics, I believe. her family never lost its fame in France.




and academia is such a ridiculous road these days I wouldn't be surprised if we saw less women, even though they have greater opportunity. what i mean by this is that kids enter top PhD programs with no guarantee of ever getting a legitimate academic job, much less funding for their own elite lab. its simply so competitive now that even brilliant people can't rationally expect to succeed at the level they want (tenured professor at a research school). the people in college now who wind up getting the great jobs will be both brilliant and pathologically dedicated--who else would gamble on 6 years + postdoc without more assurance?

kudzu bob said...

>if MIT wanted some chick instead of him, there are a whole hell of a lot of other physics programs<

But only one MIT.

Truth said...

"But only one MIT."

There was only one Olivia Brown when I was in High School too, but I didn't plan on dying a bitter virgin just because she didn't invite me to bed.

Biodome said...

"BTW - my son just started a Geology major at a university and discovered to his surprise that the students were overwhelmingly female."

The "Earth Sciences" aren't exactly the most rigorous science fields out there. They have a reputation for having relatively lots of girls for a non humanities field.

ironrailsironweights said...

An Israeli woman was just announced as one of the three Chemistry winners.

Peter

anony-mouse said...

Oops. I guess the Nobel committee has been reading iSteve and wants to prove him wrong.

Dutch Boy said...

Biodome said:
The "Earth Sciences" aren't exactly the most rigorous science fields out there. They have a reputation for having relatively lots of girls for a non humanities field.
Comment: Perhaps not; however, the Geophysics class is no gimme. The future is going to be a mad scramble for resources (oil, precious and non-precious metals and potable water). There may be a significant demand for geologists (assuming they will not all be imported from China or India!). I assumed the "roughing it" aspect of geology would turn off the girls but perhaps not.

Anonymous said...

"An Israeli woman was just announced as one of the three Chemistry winners.

Peter"

Jockstrap says so what. Chemistry is just high falutin' cooking. No big deal for women to dig it.

Anonymous said...

A(n other) anonymous said:

America was also a capitalist country in 1959. I would be interested to know the disparity between starlets pay back then and a Nobel winners jackpot.

And Truth responded:

In 1959 Marilyn Monroe received $100,000 for two months of work in "Some Like it Hot." That's about 6 million dollars yearly salary in today's standards. The nobel prize in 1988 was $390,000.

According to the Inflation Calculator (www.westegg.com/inflation/), $100,000 in 1959 is equivalent to about $730,000 today. If Monroe earned that salary for a full twelve months, her income for 1959 would have been the equivalent of about $4.4 million in 2009.

Going in the other direction, a $1.4 million Nobel Prize in 2009 is the equivalent of about $192,000 in 1959 dollars.

On one hand, A-list movie stars earn a lot more than A-list scientists. That was true in 1959 and probably every year since Hollywood invented the star system. The priorities may be screwed up, but they are not new. On the other hand, Monroe's pay as an actress was her livelihood. The Nobel Prize is just that: a prize to reward exceptional achievement, not a salary. It's not really an apt comparison.

kudzu bob said...

Too bad about Olivia, Truth. But hey, who wants to spend time with somebody who constantly has to have things explained to him but still misunderstands them? Kind of like your relationship to this blog, come to think.

Truth said...

Are you saying Olivia's dumb? Now I'm MAD!

David said...

> First, it's Neil Degrasse Tyson, not Tyson Degrasse. <

All apologies, Mr. Degrasse.

Stats Man said...

You really should read Le Griffe du Lion. Even if women and men have the same median IQ, they do not have equal high IQ populations due to their different sigmas. And the farther out you go on the tails, the greater the proportional disparity.