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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