Who best to talk about the Gonzalez tenure case? Since he’s an astronomer, how about another astronomer? Phil is unimpressed:
So when ISU denied Gonzalez tenure, I applauded them. Faculty members are de facto representatives of the University, and having one advocate for a provably wrong antiscientific load of crap… well, it seems counterproductive. Denying someone tenure on that basis alone is, in my opinion, perfectly valid, and in fact should be demanded.
It will feed their martyr complex a little more, but it’s true — when you’re trying to peddle weird pseudoscience and you don’t have the evidence to back it up, you don’t get to join the ranks of professional scientists.
And how about the opinion of someone who was there? Evil Monkey reports direct from Iowa, and he makes the point that Gonzalez’s grant record did not come close to that of his colleagues, and that’s counting an chunk of change straight from the Discovery Institute.
So Gonzalez brought in about 1/10th of the funds of his other colleagues, on average, at best. A good chunk of that went back to the University of Washington to pay a grad student, not ISU. The Templeton grant to write Privileged Planet would pay a portion of his salary, not fund research and advance the mission of his department. And the DI grant (having probably the most fortuitous timing I’ve ever seen) of $50k over 5 years won’t even pay a technician for two full years. The DI claims not much money is needed to do astronomy research, simply on a computer to crunch numbers (which is laughable as typically universities provide some computers to their professors). But somebody, be it a technician, a grad student, or a postdoc, has to be paid to collect data, which that requires salary, benefits, and ‘scope time. Obviously it does require serious cash, as his peers are pulling in over ten times the money Gonzalez is. By way of comparison, I coauthored a grant that netted $198,000 over the course of one year when I was a postdoc.
Poor Guillermo. What he should be doing is either writing grant proposals, or writing applications for jobs that have lesser requirements for bringing in external funds. Instead, he’s looking on as the DI digs a deep grave in which to bury his career.