Why do 99% of the major breakthroughs in maths/science come from men? Watch

Defensive Gnome
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Before I get swamped with comments like, "Women contribute lots towards scientific research", that's not what I'm referring to. I'm talking about breakthroughs in mathematics and the physical sciences that are considered revolutionary and/or very significant. For example, Newton's gravity, Mendeleev's periodic table, Darwin's evolution, Neil Bohr's quantum theory, Faraday's electricity, Einstein's theory of relativity, Watson and Crick's DNA etc.

Is it just a matter of women being dissuaded from academic research (particularly in mathematics and the physical sciences) until very recently?

Or does it come down to ability? From the studies done, the general consensus is that, whilst women have higher IQ's on average compared to men, there are far more men in the "genius" category compared to women. It's also been documented that men have better spatial visualisation abilities compared to women.

Do you think, if left to women, we would ever have made any of the breakthroughs in science (mainly physics) that require a great deal of visualisation like the theory of relativity or any of Newton's laws of motion?

Also, do you think women care far less about fundamental science and the fabric of the universe than men do?
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MrEFeynman
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The reasons are multifaceted. Ranging from historic, monetary (funding), social bias, under-representation, etc. Given a level playing field there is no evidence to support the idea that males have an inherent genetic disposition to outperform females in the field of theoretical research.
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icecube2000
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I think it's partly the lack of education/funding/resources available to women in the past, but also, due to bias in history and teaching, you never hear about all the scientific breakthroughs women did make.
http://www.ekgclasses.org/15-female-...ged-the-world/
Also, a lot of discoveries contributed to by women were take credit for exclusively by men.
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/n...story-science/
http://www.motherjones.com/media/201...erasure-credit
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Chief Wiggum
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(Original post by icecube2000)
I think it's partly the lack of education/funding/resources available to women in the past, but also, due to bias in history and teaching, you never hear about all the scientific breakthroughs women did make.
http://www.ekgclasses.org/15-female-...ged-the-world/
Also, a lot of discoveries contributed to by women were take credit for exclusively by men.
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/n...story-science/
http://www.motherjones.com/media/201...erasure-credit
I would actually say that Rosalind Franklin receives a disproportionally large amount of credit because she was female.

Her results certainly helped (although she did not appreciate the significance of them), but she did not come up with the structure of DNA. History is full of men who's results helped discoveries; they don't get that amount of coverage. Watson and Crick came up with the structure of DNA, they should deservedly get the vast vast majority of the credit.
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Spetznaaz
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(Original post by Chief Wiggum)
I would actually say that Rosalind Franklin receives a disproportionally large amount of credit because she was female.

Her results certainly helped, but she did not come up with the structure of DNA. History is full of men who's results helped discoveries; they don't get that amount of coverage. Watson and Crick came up with the structure of DNA, they should deservedly get the vast vast majority of the credit.
Pisses me right off when people spout that Rosalind Franklin discovered the structure of DNA rubbish, glad to see someone here knows better.

As for the thread - I personally believe the major factors are i.q and of course the fact men and women have different.. 'brains' if you will.
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Blutooth
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My girlfriend is on the same science degree at Oxford with me and she is brilliant, though in a different way. She isn't so good at following visuospatial patterns but has a great logical mind. She is probably as smart as me in that regard. She has also represented her state in maths olympiads.

However, she seems to care much less about maths in general and would rather be knitting, doing crafts or thinking about children playing.
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MagicNMedicine
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Where does the 99% figure come from?

Is this from bibliometric analysis? What was their citation threshold for defining a 'major breakthrough'?

Or have you just made it up?
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ClickItBack
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(Original post by Defensive Gnome)
Before I get swamped with comments like, "Women contribute lots towards scientific research", that's not what I'm referring to. I'm talking about breakthroughs in mathematics and the physical sciences that are considered revolutionary and/or very significant. For example, Newton's gravity, Mendeleev's periodic table, Darwin's evolution, Neil Bohr's quantum theory, Faraday's electricity, Einstein's theory of relativity, Watson and Crick's DNA etc.

Is it just a matter of women being dissuaded from academic research (particularly in mathematics and the physical sciences) until very recently?

Or does it come down to ability? From the studies done, the general consensus is that, whilst women have higher IQ's on average compared to men, there are far more men in the "genius" category compared to women. It's also been documented that men have better spatial visualisation abilities compared to women.

Do you think, if left to women, we would ever have made any of the breakthroughs in science (mainly physics) that require a great deal of visualisation like the theory of relativity or any of Newton's laws of motion?

Also, do you think women care far less about fundamental science and the fabric of the universe than men do?

(Original post by Blutooth)
My girlfriend is on the same science degree at Oxford with me and she is brilliant, though in a different way. She isn't so good at following visuospatial patterns but has a great logical mind. She is probably as smart as me in that regard. She has also represented her state in maths olympiads.

However, she seems to care much less about maths in general and would rather be knitting, doing crafts or thinking about children playing.
The bold bit in Blutooth's post sounds pretty sarcastic . . .

. . . but, there might be something in it. On a few different occasions when doing late night chilling with a bunch of guys and girls the (slightly tipsy) discussion would turn to 'what would you rather do: make a contribution that helps people in a practical way (e.g. reduce suffering, disease, difficulty etc) or make a contribution that furthers our absolute knowledge of reality, the universe etc'. Even before all these TSR feminist threads, it was very noticeable that far more of the girls went for the former and far more of the guys went for the latter, despite fairly equal subject representations. Not 100% of girls/guys, but maybe 80/20 split in both directions.
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Tillybop
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Technically Crick and Watson didn't make the break through on DNA alone. Rosalind Franklin (who was female) and Maurice Wilkins also did lots of work on it.
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username457532
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Traditionally a lot of the mathematical work was done by women like Henrietta Swan Leavitt which allowed the men to pretend that they were doing the real work. You're talking about a time when very few people were educated (and most were men) so of course most of the breakthroughs would be by men.
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tengentoppa
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Those who were educated in the past were predominantly male, so the fact that it's almost entirely men who made these discoveries is not surprising.

If, over the next 100 years, that is still the case then you could make a case that men are better disposed to making scientific breakthroughs.
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Blutooth
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(Original post by ClickItBack)
The bold bit in Blutooth's post sounds pretty sarcastic . . .

. . . but, there might be something in it. On a few different occasions when doing late night chilling with a bunch of guys and girls the (slightly tipsy) discussion would turn to 'what would you rather do: make a contribution that helps people in a practical way (e.g. reduce suffering, disease, difficulty etc) or make a contribution that furthers our absolute knowledge of reality, the universe etc'. Even before all these TSR feminist threads, it was very noticeable that far more of the girls went for the former and far more of the guys went for the latter, despite fairly equal subject representations. Not 100% of girls/guys, but maybe 80/20 split in both directions.
I was not even being sarcastic. This is the truth.
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limetang
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Well there are likely to be matters pertaining to sexism that are a cause of this, but I don't think we should rule out the possibility that there may be some sort of genetic bias in favour of men here that is also a factor.
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Harvey.Specter
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Because Men are better....duh
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Huskaris
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Because women don't have the same societal pressures on them to excel as men do. Men are pushed from an early age that success is measured through achievements, which are through money, academic merit, and being successful in your field. Therefore men have much heavier expectations in comparison to "look pretty, have kids whilst you are provided for financially."

This, when spun a different way looks like patriarchy, but from where I'm sitting I would say its a pretty sweet system to be the "oppressed victim" of.
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