MLA style: "The Nobel Prize in Physics 1918". Nobelprize.org. Nobel Media AB 2014. Web. 11 Jul 2018. a href="http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1918/">http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/physics/laureates/1918/ >

Topics: Commentary, Diversity, Diversity in Science, Existentialism, Women in Science

Max Karl Ernst Ludwig Planck Born: 23 April 1858, Kiel, Schleswig (now Germany) Died: 4 October 1947, Göttingen, West Germany (now Germany) Affiliation at the time of the award: Berlin University, Berlin, Germany Prize motivation: "in recognition of the services he rendered to the advancement of Physics by his discovery of energy quanta" Field: quantum mechanics Max Planck received his Nobel Prize one year later, in 1919. Prize share: 1/1

From which we get Planck's constant, Planck length, Planck time and the now infamous institute that bears his name, which I never dreamed I'd associate with bullying.

Women, LGBT, and people of color are typically attracted to STEM fields because of interest, acumen and being the unfortunate victims of bullying, cyber or otherwise.

It is usually what attracts us to science in the first place: a solace from the parts of life that's unpleasant, that results in noses being shoved in lockers (me), harassment or assault, both purely physical or sexual. Surely, this cannot happen in academia.

We convince ourselves of this by the STEM fields being inherently difficult and requiring crosscultural and oftentimes crossgender collaboration to solve complex problems. Utopias like Star Trek are envisioned on this premise: if only the species were more "logical," and not as inclined to the lesser angels of its reptilian cortex.

We were wrong...

Picture the scene: You are an enthusiastic young scientist, with, you think, the world at your feet. You have an exciting offer to join a world-leading research institute in another country. And then, to your dismay, you find yourself in a workplace where everything feels wrong. Your supervisor intimidates you and you receive upsetting e-mails, but the institute leadership seems indifferent. You are alone in a foreign culture, and you don’t know what to do. Your friends tell you to complain, but you are afraid of repercussions — and of losing the opportunity you fought so hard for. And, anyway, you don’t know who to trust.

This has apparently been the situation for years for some young researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics in Garching, Germany. Details of their struggles with alleged bullying by one of the directors — Guinevere Kauffmann — erupted in the media in the past two weeks.

According to the allegations, problems at the institute have simmered for years. The institute put in place coaching and monitoring for Kauffmann, who says: “I believe I have modified my behavior very substantially in the last 18 months since the complaints were made.” The institute also circulated an anonymous survey to young researchers, asking whether they think the problems are continuing and whether they have enough support. The results are to be presented to the institute this week, but, according to a leaked copy of the report, they show three fresh allegations of bullying against current staff, although it is not known against whom. The institute says it is investigating.

No place for bullies in science, Editorial, Nature

Related link:

Germany’s prestigious Max Planck Society investigates new allegatio..., Alison Abbott, Nature

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