In The New Republic, Martin Peretz defends Harvard President Lawrence Summers’ remarks about investigating the possibility of gender differences in science and math.
What led him to wonder whether there might be small genetic variations between men and women in quantitative capacity, I suspect, was his genuine surprise that women have not risen in the fields of physics, engineering, and mathematics as fast as he thinks they could and should. He isn’t in the least bit oblivious to the lingering prejudices against women in the academy. (After all, his mother is a retired professor of public policy at the Wharton School of Business and his “significant other,” Elisa New, is a professor of English at Harvard and a valued contributor to The New Republic.)
Summers’s “problem” is that he submits every argument with a grain of evidence behind it to serious and scrupulous scrutiny. And this scares our supposedly daring academic culture, which lives in fear of what it refuses to know.
Peretz is married to Marie Curie’s granddaughter. Eve Curie, now 100, is his mother-in-law. I didn’t know that.