Take That

A Great Week for Women in Science

Just four years ago, Larry Summers—then the president of Harvard—suggested that women were innately inferior to men at science. Three Nobel prizes for women scientists this week should be a nail in Summers’ theory’s coffin. “In the late 1960s there were essentially no women on the science faculties of places like Harvard, Cal Tech and MIT (where I now work as a professor of molecular biology),” Nancy Hopkins, a molecular biologist at MIT, writes. “Things began to change dramatically in the early 1970s, thanks to affirmative-action measures taken under Richard Nixon. Those included the “Shultz regs” (George Shultz was Nixon's Secretary of Labor), which required universities to hire women onto their faculties or risk losing their federal funding. The Nobel Prizes in medicine this week are the end result of those laws.”