The One Question This Brilliant Physicist Wants People To Stop Asking Her

Lisa Randall, the Harvard physicist and best-selling author of Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs, a fascinating look at the role that the former may have played in wiping out the latter, is a woman of many impressive distinctions.

To pick a few (but definitely not all), she was the first female theoretical physicist to get tenure at either Harvard or Princeton (she got tenure at both); one of the 100 most influential people of 2007, according to Time magazine; and, during the five-year period from 1999 to 2004, the most cited theoretical physicist in the world.

She is also sometimes referred to as “the physics babe.”

This last title may offer a window into why she reacted the way she did when The Huffington Post asked her to talk about what it’s like to be not just one of the most acclaimed scientists in the world, but, more specifically, a female scientist.

She was hesitant, to say the least. And that was before I even asked her about Larry Summers.

By taking time on these distractions you just make my job harder!” she shot back over email. “We all advance a lot further by going beyond this.”

Despite her initial reservations, Randall agreed to answer questions about the role of women in science — and why she wishes we could all just move on.

You mentioned before we talked that you had to be very careful with the “women” angle. I’d love to hear more about that — why do you think you have to be careful?

These issues are very important. However, there is an implicit assumption that any woman who achieves prominence in a male-dominated field will want to discuss them, rather than the actual thing that she does — which is very likely to be a lot more interesting. —> Read More