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Larry Summer's controversial remark at Harvard


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Recently Larry Summers, president of Harvard and Clinton's former Treasury Secretary, stirred up a controversy at a conference by saying women have a biological inaptitude that makes them less able to succeed in the math and sciences than men. This factor, he claims, is a reason why women are widely misrepresented in the math and sciences.

Summer's remarks created a furor among faculty members and students on campus, especially among female professors. Many called for his resignation. He later apologized for his remarks, but the furor still has not died down, and many notable women at Harvard refused to forgive him. Even male students were irked.

The aftermath inspired Time to write an article released this week about the validity of Summer's remarks and the scientific evidence that proves him right and wrong. For example, one of the facts stated in the Time article was that men's brains were bigger than women's, but the size of one's brain does not necessarily translate into intellectual achievement.

Another fact was that women use more parts of their brains in accomplishing a specific task, whereas activity in the male brain tend to be focused and confined to one region when accomplishing the same task. This could explain why women tend to be more diplomatic in public relations, especially as university presidents; while men tend to say things before thinking of its consequences, and as a result, offend certain people.

Finally, evidence from the math results in other countries proves that Summers was not really correct in his remarks. For example, girls in Iceland and Sweden far outperform boys in mathematics.

The Time article is worth reading, considering the controversy stirred by Summers' remarks, and the existing scientific evidence that proves him right and wrong.

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