Saturday, December 19, 2015

What is Connie St Louis' side of the story?

On December 9, 2015, Connie St Louis was interviewed by Aoibhinn Ní Shuilleabháin at Sci:Com 2015 in Athlone, Ireland. The intereview, including the Q & A was scheduled for 45 minutes and appears to have been done by video. The blurb called Tim Hunt's remarks one of "the biggest science communications stories of the year" and promised to let the audience "hear [St Louis'] side of the story".

I was intrigued. What, indeed, is Connie St Louis' side of the story half a year later? The Sci:Com interview offers an important contrast to Tim Hunt's interview with the historian Alan Macfarlane, which can be viewed on YouTube. It would be instructive to see St Louis' corresponding interview, but so far no effort has been made to make it public. (I would assume/hope the recording still exists.)* Indeed, so far, except for a few live tweets, I haven't been able to find an account of what St Louis said.

So, if anyone was there and took notes, I'd love to hear from you in the comments. This is also a call to the Sci:Com 2015 organizers to make the interview public and to Connie St Louis to write up her side of the story so that we can better understand her decision to tweet Tim Hunt's remarks the way she did, which subsequently had, as the conference blurb puts it, "a profound effect on both St Louis and Hunt." I'm especially curious know how she assesses the proportionality of cause and effect in this case, and what responsibility, if any, she sees herself as having for the long-term consequences of this episode for science and for science communication.

*Update: Sci:Com 2015 informs us that the interview was not recorded. That's a shame. It would have been a useful historical document. (But I should say that I fully respect the idea of not recording the interview. It allows for greater frankness.)

(Note: In observation of Pax Athena, I am not, at this time, inviting discussion, just documentation and straight reportage of what St Louis said. Anything "argumentative" in the comments will be deleted.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

It seems like third parties seeking to form opinions based on recollections of those who were there is how this whole kerfuffle started in the first place.