brain sizes: Einstein's and women's

John Knight jwknight at
Mon Aug 26 14:11:40 EST 2002

"Tom Breton" <tehom at> wrote in message
news:m37kii8c7x.fsf at
> Bob LeChevalier <lojbab at> writes:
> > Tom Breton <tehom at> wrote:
> First, let me get this out of the way:
> > >Thus when a prize is shared between man and woman, there's a
> > >legitimate suspicion that the man provided disproportionately more of
> > >the gravitas and credibility, since the woman also provided the
> > >rewarded quality of being female.
> >
> > Only for bigots like you who thing that one must be a man to have
> > gravitas and credibility.
> Bob, please.  I have only respect for you.  Can you at least try to
> respond to my points without personally attacking me?
> As for me, I do *not* consider you a bigot for believing in the Marie
> Curie exaggerations.  It seems to me that you are an honorable man who
> simply doesn't have enough skepticism towards Feminist claims.  It's a
> common failing, and nothing I would condemn you for, let alone call
> you names for.  Heck, sometimes I make that mistake myself, even
> though I conscientiously guard against it.
> You've put words in my mouth.  I know that you are an honorable man,
> and I'm sure you don't make a habit of twisting people's words to make
> your case.  I never said "one must be a man to have gravitas and
> credibility.".  I gave you a perfectly cogent argument about an issue
> you raised.  You've said nothing to rebut the premiss, nor the logic.
> You've only, and I'm *sure* accidentally, given the consequent a false
> antecedent.
> > >But there is also a legitimate question of favoritism towards a
> > >birth-group, women.  Consider just the facts we saw in the Curie case,
> > >well before Feminism reached its current power:
> >
> > In an era when women had virtually no respect in the sciences in
> > France, Marie Curie rose to the highest levels.
> One can read the phrase "women had virtually no respect in the
> sciences" in two ways.  One, the habitual Feminist reading, is that
> "equal" women were somehow kept down.  That's the outcome-oriented
> reading, where one assumes that all inputs are equal, and all
> differences are due to bias.
> The other reading, the opportunity-oriented reading, is that women got
> as much (or as arguments here have suggested, more) respect in
> proportion to their accomplishments, but had few accomplishments.
> Your argument appears to switch between readings, or else starts from
> an extremely disputed assumption.
> > >A confessed advocate for women scientists sitting on the nominating
> >
> > "confessed" - you make it sound like a sin.
> And don't you consider it wrong?  I'm sure you're not *for* bias.  In
> light your previous post, and your apparent assumption that the Nobel
> process is not biased, you may want to think about whether it's wrong.
> > >and taking direct action to secure a woman's nomination,
> >
> > She WASN'T nominated,
> OK, quibble, to secure her into whatever nebulous nomination-like
> status it has after they add her to the nomination.
> > yet she was already well know for the work.  He
> > simply asked why.
> Raising the issue to the committee and then to Pierre, seems to admit
> "took direct action".  "simply asked why" also seems to confer more
> innocence on that action than a sense of Realpolitik would dictate.

And there's the $64 million question.  Why did they have to ask Pierre in
the first place?  And the answer is that there were many other men who'd
published independent research findings, whereas Marie had published

And the writings that would have demonstrated the line of thinking of this
Nobel Prize winner were destroyed, at her request, in order to keep from
re-opening "the scandal".

A little bit too convenient, at the least.

> > >the admitted fact that Pierre secured Marie her part of the prize by
his letter,
> >
> > It is not "admitted".  Pierre's letter may or may not have had
> > anything to do with her getting the prize.  It was a letter to that
> > "advocate" who obviously already thought she was worthy of
> > consideration, not to the Nobel committee.
> It seems odd that a letter mentioned so frequently mentioned in the
> various histories is considered irrelevant.  If you say there are
> credible historians who believe it was irrelevant, I won't argue, but
> color me skeptical.

Why didn't the committee suggest that Pierre share the Nobel Prize with his
brother Jacques, who WAS renown, and who WAS published, in the field?  Or
with Gerhard Carl Schmidt who "concidentally" discovered polonium at the
same time as Marie?

As the wife and lab flunky of a Nobel Prize winner, she was already
receiving the prize on behalf of her marriage, so what exactly could be the
purpose of adding her name to it?

> > >Marie's
> > >second prize for which the cited work was at best joint work with
> > >Pierre,
> >
> > Actually, Pierre had NO part in that work
> >
> >
> > >Turning to minerals, her attention was drawn to pitchblende, a mineral
> > > whose activity, superior to that of pure uranium, could only be
> > > explained by the presence in the ore of small quantities of an
> > > unknown substance of very high activity. Pierre Curie then joined her
> > > in the work that she had undertaken to resolve this problem and that
> > > led to the discovery of the new elements, polonium and radium. While
> > > Pierre Curie devoted himself chiefly to the physical study of the new
> > > radiations, Maria Curie struggled to obtain pure radium in the
> > > metallic state--achieved with the help of the chemist A. Debierne,
> > > one of Pierre Curie's pupils.
> >
> > Pierre was working on physics of radiation, while Marie was working on
> > the chemistry.
> You may want to reexamine that argument.  She got her second Nobel for
> (as credited to her) discovering two radioactive elements in 1898, not
> for later chemically isolating radium.
> I also note that what it actually says is that Pierre "chiefly"
> studied radiation, not that he sat on his butt and hummed whenever
> chemistry was involved.
> Now, I know that history is often slanted, and Feminist revisionist
> history is as common as dirt.  I also notice that this material, as
> well as a previous URL you gave and the AIP site, all shy away
> attributing the crucial events.  Eg phrases with muddled agents like
> "that led to the discovery of the new elements, polonium and radium".
> Common sense says that the part of the story we're not getting is
> favorable to Pierre.  You can call me what you like, but there's more
> credibility in my observation than in any Feminist history.

And the addition of words like "travesty if she didn't get the prize" and
"vital to the discovery", which appear in none of the original writings.

> > >a prize which the committee admitted (not noted on either site
> > >AFAICT) was aimed at giving her unshared recognition.
> >
> > If she deserved unshared recognition, then why is this an "admission"?
> Your question is oddly formed, since we do not agree on its antecedent
> "she deserved unshared recognition".
> In any event, it is an admission.  The aim of giving a previous winner
> a prize of her own is simply not a good reason to award a Nobel.  The
> winner's identity shouldn't be a factor, much less the most important
> one.  Do you disagree?

And, as you pointed out before, Pierre's contribution to the overall effort
can't just be summarily dismissed, particularly since we have no documents
that prove that Marie did any work on her own at all, and when we know that
his work was very well documented.

This prize could easily have been based solely on what he'd already done,
for all we know.

> > To the rest of us, the fact that she overcame the anti-female
> > bigotry in an era when there was no "affirmative action",
> Bob, can you please at least try not to use question-begging terms?  I
> don't consider "the anti-female bigotry" a fact and you know it.  I
> consider it Feminist revisionist history.
> Secondly, take a second look at what you wrote.  Is the absence of the
> institutionalized favoritism known as "affirmative action" really
> evidence of "anti-female bigotry"?  If you believe it is, then ISTM
> you have set the bar for "anti-female bigotry" so low as to make the
> term meaningless.

This, unfortunately, is what American feminazis believe, and it would still
be rampant of the voters of California hadn't thrown it out in an
overwhelming public mandate to outlaw affirmative action.

> > to become one of the
> > most highly recognized scientists in French history (even though she
> > was Polish by nationality),
> Consider what we're arguing, that's a bit circular, don't you think?

Particularly since France fell 1 to 2 decades behind the rest of the world
in nuclear energy, which "marked the end of the Anglo-Saxon monopoly" and
French Prime Minister Georges Bidault removed Marie's son-in-law without
explanation from his position as high commissioner, and a few months later
Irene (Marie's daughter) was also deprived of her position as commissioner
in the Commissariat a 1'Energie Atomique. They devoted themselves henceforth
to their own laboratory work and to teaching.

John Knight

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