Controversy Over NAS Letter Rages On

Five months after it was delivered, a July letter from the National Academy of Sciences to a foreign associate member suggesting that he resign because of his alleged anti-Semitic activities is still generating controversy. Correspondence expressing support for the move, as well as letters protesting it, continue to arrive at the NAS office; two scientific societies have joined the chorus of supporters. The issue has focused attention on the criteria for membership in the academy, prompting so

Barbara Spector
Dec 6, 1992
Five months after it was delivered, a July letter from the National Academy of Sciences to a foreign associate member suggesting that he resign because of his alleged anti-Semitic activities is still generating controversy. Correspondence expressing support for the move, as well as letters protesting it, continue to arrive at the NAS office; two scientific societies have joined the chorus of supporters.

The issue has focused attention on the criteria for membership in the academy, prompting some to question the statement in the NAS bylaws that one's scientific contributions are the only determining factor.

The debate centers on Russian mathematician Igor R. Shafarevich, head of the algebra section of the V.A. Steklov Institute in Moscow, the mathematics institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (Barbara Spector, The Scientist, Sept. 28, 1992, page 1). In the 1970s, Shafarevich was a critic of the Soviet government, advocating increased human rights in the...

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