What a hideous shirt.

So, presumably you’ve all heard about the magnificent achievement of the ESA team who put the spacecraft Rosetta in orbit around comet 67P/Churymov-Gerasimenko and then managed to successfully land the Philae spacecraft on it?

The potential information about conditions in the early solar system we can glean from mining the comet is exciting. What is more so is the technical knowledge necessary to land on the comet and keep the lander working in limited sunlight. With a bit of luck, once the batteries die, there might just be enough light for the solar panels to continue powering it.

Consider this, also, in less than a century humanity has gone from biplanes made of balserwood and canvas to spaceships. What a journey!

It is such a shame that the achievement has been overshadowed by a particularly hideous shirt.

Sartorially speaking, it’s bloody ugly. Professionally speaking, it is unprofessional to go to an international news conference in a loud, badly coordinated shirt and no tie.

But the scientist wearing it has been attacked for being sexist and the reason women don’t get into the STEM professions. He has been forced to apologise publicly and humiliatingly.

Here is my problem: people say that this sort of garment shows science is an all boys club, while ignoring the women who were a part of the team.

Secondly, it is not the perception of STEM professions as male professions that make females reluctant to go in to the sciences, it’s that we’re told, insidiously, from an early age that girls can’t do STEM. In television programmes, books, magazines, even in school, it is made clear that female scientists, mathematicians and engineers are rarities, and never made any significant discoveries. Only men did that sort of thing.

Please excuse me while I howl with laughter.

So, here’s a couple of suggestions, stop telling girls they shouldn’t enter the STEM professions and start highlighting the women already in them.

Instead of talking about an ugly shirt.

Now I have to go to work,




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