He’s like a racist or a sexist, only for science. Maybe he could be called … a “scien-tist.”
Goran Hansson, head of the academy that awards the Nobel Prizes in science, is treading on dangerous ground and daring to suggest that the prizes should go to whomever makes the biggest contribution to scientific discovery.
Even if all the winners are men. White men.
Hansson, who leads the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, said people should win “because they made the most important discovery,” and not because it is some kind of status boost to which all races and genders deserve equal access.
Since the honors were introduced in 1901, 59 Nobel Prizes have gone to women. Marie Curie was the first woman to get the prize and remains the only woman to receive it twice. Maria Ressa was the only woman to receive one this year.
“It’s sad that there are so few women Nobel laureates and it reflects the unfair conditions in society, particularly in years past, but still existing. And there’s so much more to do,” Mr. Hansson told the AFP news agency, as reported by the BBC.
Still, that doesn’t mean he’s going to trade in scientific integrity for woke-ness.
“We have decided we will not have quotas for gender or ethnicity,” he said, explaining that the bold decision was “in line with the spirit of Alfred Nobel’s last will”.
Alfred Nobel was a Swedish industrialist and chemist who founded the prizes in his will, written in 1895, a year before he died.
“In the end, we will give the prize to those who are found the most worthy, those who have made the most important contributions,” Hansson said.
Last year, scientists Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer Doudna became the first two women to share a Nobel Prize when they were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for developing tools to edit DNA. It was the first time any of the science prizes had gone to two women without a male collaborator also listed.