Cern scientist Alessandro Strumia suspended after comments

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Yet it was at just such a meeting, in Cern, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research in Geneva, where Alessandro Strumia, professor of physics at the University of Pisa, decided to make his stand.

A senior scientist who said physics "was invented and built by men" has been suspended with immediate effect from working with Cern.

It is hard to know where would be a good place to argue that women are naturally less good at physics. He added that it would be men - for ideological reasons - who were discriminated against.

He said the data, which originated from published research papers from an online library, showed there was "no discrimination" in citations, in that male and female scientists were equally cited in presentations, but that when it came to hiring, women were favoured.

The organisation said it was "unfortunate" the views of the scientist, who works at a collaborating university, "risks overshadowing the important message and achievements of the event".

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The presentation by Alessandro Strumia of Pisa University was delivered Friday at the Geneva lab during a workshop on the relationship between high energy theory and gender.

"Diversity is a strong reality at CERN, and is also one of the core values underpinning our code of conduct".

Gianotti, from Rome, became the first woman to hold the five-year mandate as director general of Cern in 2016.

"I like physics and science because everyone can do what they want - I don't like it when there's social engineering to decide how many men, women and categories there should be", he said.

Cern - which now has its first ever woman director-general - said in an earlier statement the organisers were not aware of the content of the talk prior to the workshop.

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