On March 17, two University College London academics (Dr Hiranya Peiris and Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock) appeared on Newsnight to discuss recently announced discoveries from the Background Imaging of Cosmic Extragalactic Polarization 2 (Bicep2) experiment, regarding the early stages of the expansion of the universe.
On March 19, an item in the Daily Mail suggested that the participation of the two scientists was due to their ethnic background, nationality and gender, rather than expertise; it also incorrectly attributed the recent discoveries to "(white, male) American scientists". We offer unequivocal support to our two UCL colleagues, whose academic and public engagement records clearly prove they are excellent guests for the discussion of this topic. We regret the decision of the Daily Mail's columnist to perpetuate the tired stereotype of science as the preserve of white males, and to belittle the considerable achievements of two very successful members of our academic community.
We urge the Daily Mail to issue
an official, public apology to the two scientists involved; their columnist's
"apology" of March 21 is not sufficient, using the disparaging term
'ladies' rather than 'women' or, indeed, scientists/astronomers.
UCL UCU Executive Committee
Jon Butterworth - HoD in Physics and Astronomy
Mike Barlow - Head of the Astrophysics Group
Jonathan Tennyson - Massey Professor of Physics
Ofer Lahav -MAPS Vice Dean for Research and Perrin Professor of Astronomy
Giovanna Tinetti - Professor of Astrophysics
Tania Monteiro - Professor of Physics
Jon Agar - Professor of Science and Technology Studies
Serena Viti - Professor of Astrophysics
Gaetana Laricchia - Professor of Physics
Steven Miller – Professor of Science Communication and Planetary Science
Cecil Thompson - Co-chair of the UCL Race Equality Steering Group
Susan Michie – Professor of Health Psychology, UCL
Robert West – Professor of Health Psychology, UCL
Helen Hackett - Professor of English, UCL
Bas Aarts – Professor of English Linguistics, UCL
Susanne Kord – Professor of German, UCL
Lucie Clapp – Professor of Vascular Physiology, UCL
Cecile Laborde – Professor of Political Theory, UCL
Sean Wallis - UCL UCU president, London Region HE secretary and UCU NEC member
Tony Brown - UCL UCU Branch Secretary
Rachele De Felice -UCL UCU Executive Committee member
Mark Ford - Professor of English
Richard North - Professor of English
Philip Horne - Professor of English
Rachel Bowlby -Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature
Peter Swaab - Professor of English
Susan Irvine -Quain Professor of English Language and Literature
Rosemary Ashton - Emeritus Quain Professor of English Language and Literature
Is anyone surprised? I would not pick up my dog's faeces with the Daily Mail.
Well, imagine the looks you'd get from passers by - they might think you read the nasty little propaganda rag...
Astonishing that such blatant racism and sexism considered acceptable in 21st century media. One assumes, unless the Mail issues an official and public apology that they endorse these views and are happy to be seen as a racist and sexist rag.
Richard Le Corney2 months ago
Jason Rawlings2 months ago
Tom Pengilley2 months ago
- I'm very happy to do this. On behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society I sent a link to our supporting note to Paul Dacre and have also yet to receive a reply.
- The Daily Mail should apologise to both the UCL scientists and the BICEP2 science team.
- As a Professor of Astrophysical Sciences in Princeton University, I can attest to the high level of expertise Drs. Peiris and Aderin-Pocock have in the field of cosmology in general, and measurements of the Cosmic Microwave Background in particular.