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At the NAS meeting, Linda Wilson's remarks indicated that she deplores competitive machismo in science, which she sees as a male WASP style and one that women can and should change. At the same meeting, MIT astrophysicist Bernard Burke disputed this point, saying, "I think that's a ridiculous idea. That would be a terrible thing to happen for all of science. Above all, we must retain quality. . . . You don't get to do the best science by being a nice guy. Opportunism and competitiveness are esse

The Scientist Staff
Mar 15, 1992

At the NAS meeting, Linda Wilson's remarks indicated that she deplores competitive machismo in science, which she sees as a male WASP style and one that women can and should change. At the same meeting, MIT astrophysicist Bernard Burke disputed this point, saying, "I think that's a ridiculous idea. That would be a terrible thing to happen for all of science. Above all, we must retain quality. . . . You don't get to do the best science by being a nice guy. Opportunism and competitiveness are essential."

But another speaker at the meeting, Judith Liebman, graduate college dean at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, characterized Wilson's view as "epochal." She said: "It marks an end of what I'd call killer science--the attitude that `I must be first with the best of everything--the latest equipment, the best students, the most prestigious journals.'"

It would be nice to believe that. But...

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