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CERN Suspends Physicist After Sexist Talk

CERN has suspended a physicist after he gave a talk at a workshop on high-energy physics and gender that contained sexist comments, BuzzFeed News reports.

In his talk, the University of Pisa's Alessandro Strumia, a visiting scientist at CERN, argued that men were being discriminated against in physics and that women were being promoted over men despite garnering few citations, which he used as a measure of quality, according to the BBC. BuzzFeed News notes that Strumia also bemoaned that Italy's National Institute for Nuclear Physics hired two women and not him. The Guardian adds that one of Strumia's slides read that physics was "invented and built by men, it's not by invitation."

"This workshop was continuously [saying]: 'men are bad, men are sexist, they discriminate against us' — lots of things like this," Strumia tells the Associated Press. "I did a check to see if this was true ... and the result was: That was not true."

 At New Scientist, Imperial College London's Jess Wade, who was there, writes that Strumia's claims were not backed by solid data and were harmful to the young physicists at the meeting. "When people in positions of power spread such ideas, they teach the next generation of scientists that such behavior is okay," she writes. "Obviously, it isn't."

In a statement, CERN says it has suspended Strumia as it investigates the event and that the institute "is fully committed to promoting diversity and equality at all levels."