Science, one of the top two scientific journals (quit yer cheezin, Cell, I think you know you are a total rag) covers the Tonegawa/MIT stuff in today’s issue. There is not a whole lot new from the Globe article earlier in the week, which we discussed here. We will quote a little from the end of the piece in Science (subscription wall) where we have some new info:
“Tonegawa’s supporters at MIT, however, say that any suggestion of gender bias is absurd. “To portray it as such sets back the cause for women scientists,” states a 7 July letter to Hockfield from a half-dozen Picower Institute faculty members. Tonegawa is under no obligation to collaborate with anyone, they write, adding that he contacted Karpova “at her instigation.” But other sources familiar with the content of e-mails sent by the 68-year-old Tonegawa to the postdoc say his words went beyond the issue of collaboration and conveyed hostility.
Reif says that he will chair a committee to investigate both the Karpova affair and how neuroscience is organized at the university, adding that “a bit of tension seems to be underlying this set of events.” And on 17 July, Hockfield wrote the women faculty members that MIT apologizes to Karpova “for any misunderstanding.” The gender issue may be beside the point, says MIT biologist Nancy Hopkins, who chaired a 1999 committee on gender bias and who signed the 30 June letter. “Regardless of the specifics of this case, this shows exactly why it is challenging to hire outstanding women at MIT,” says Hopkins.
Karpova says she is “very much upset” over the publicity. “I am trying to move on with my life, to get back to doing science,” she says.”
Emphasis is mine. We have a more solid assertion of the content of Tonegawa’s e-mails were hostile in apparent tone (if e-mail can have tone). Our very own UC has reported these same conclusions, and we have a quote from one of the original 11 signers of the letter of complaint. Finally we have a new quote from Dr. Karpova, essentially trying to not let this incident become a spot on her career, even though she didn’t even do anything wrong. This has been your science policy update. Is it too much to ask the Science write for one little typo? Susemu, anyone?