A scientist who said that physics was “invented and built by men” has been suspended from the European Nuclear Research Centre (Cern) with immediate effect.
Italian lecturer Professor Alessandro Strumia claimed that male physicists were being discriminated against due to ideology, as he gave a presentation at a Cern workshop last week.
The organisation deemed the presentation “highly offensive” and cleared it from its website, adding that Strumia was suspended on Monday pending investigation.
In a statement on Monday, the “culturally diverse” organisation said: “Cern suspended the scientist from any activity at Cern with immediate effect, pending investigation into last week’s event.
“Cern is a culturally diverse organisation bringing together people of many different nationalities. It is a place where everyone is welcome, and all have the same opportunities, regardless of ethnicity, beliefs, gender or sexual orientation.
“Indeed, diversity is one of the core values underpinning our Code of Conduct and the Organization is fully committed to promoting diversity and equality at all levels.
The organisation is fully committed to promoting diversity and equality at all levels.Cern
“Cern always strives to carry out its scientific mission in a peaceful and inclusive environment.”
The centre’s current director-general, Fabiola Gianotti, became the first woman to hold the position when she was appointed in 2016.
The organisation said Strumia’s presentation, given at a workshop to discuss equal opportunities in the field, risked “overshadowing the important message and achievements of the event”.
He presented findings from a study involving research papers from an online library.
Through a number of slides, he claimed that the results showed that women were hired over men who had more citings in scientific publications, which implied they were of higher quality.
Strumia then claimed a woman was once hired over him for a job he was more qualified for.
One of his slides also claimed “Oxford University extends exam times for women’s benefit” and that Italy provided “free or cheaper university for STEM female students”.
He also cited a study which he said indicated that “men prefer to work with things and women prefer working with people”.
Cern said it was unaware of the content of his presentation beforehand.
His comments, which were reportedly delivered to mostly female audience, were widely condemned.
The centre discovered the Higgs Boson in 2012.