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Caltech and Robert Millikan’s eugenical heritage



Caltech and Robert Millikan's eugenical heritage

For a list of institutions that increasingly face their racist past calculations, add the California Institute of Technology.

A petition calling for the removal of the name Robert A. Millikan from buildings, programs and open spaces on the Pasadena campus has collected 862 signatures since June 28, according to its originator, Michael Chwe, who received an economics degree from Caltech in 1985 and is now a professor political science at UCLA. The signatories included 51 faculty members and 448 alumni.

The organizers aim to force Caltech to recognize Millikan’s role in openly promoting racist eugenics doctrine and the policy of forced sterilization and segregation in schools and housing.

Robert Millikan is the patron saint of Caltech.

Michael Chwe, sponsor of the petition to remove the name Millikan from the Caltech campus

“He is not a small player, but an important operative in this campaign,” said Anthony M. Platt, a scholar at UC Berkeley who has studied Millikan’s role as leader of the Human Betterment Foundation, a group of wealthy and Californian people who have eugenics advocacy and sterilization forcibly influenced Nazi policies in the 1930s and 1940s.

The goals of this petition can result in an appalling reassessment of Caltech’s self-image. Some historical figures occupy a respected status such as Millikan at Caltech. He is usually given credit to start the conversion of the provincial Throop University into a global research center as it is today.

However, other similar figures who have been similar or are being removed by their institutions. Perhaps the most prominent is removal by Princeton name Woodrow Wilson from his residential college and public policy school. That’s in late recognition Wilson’s racism is uncompromising as president of Princeton, where he refused to accept black students, and as president of the U.S., when he reorganized federal civil services that had become integrated.

Caltech carefully noted the movement to erase Millikan’s name. “We take seriously the concerns raised by members of our community about this issue,” Shayna Chabner, head of university communications, told me via email.

Among the steps is to “form a task force representing the Caltech community – including trustees, alumni, students, faculty, postdoctoral scholars, and staff – to study and advise on Caltech’s policy to name buildings on campus: then, now, and in the future “

Universities also have promises to publish more detailed data about the diversity of teaching staff, staff, and students, conducting a “campus climate survey” to gather the personal experiences of Caltech students and to provide unbiased training on campus search committees.

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This seems to be a response to the June 25 statement by Caltech’s Black Scientist and Engineer stated that the lack of racial diversity permeated the campus. Of the 1,299 graduate students at Caltech, the group said, only 11 were black.

Millikan was Caltech’s first Nobel laureate – in physics in 1923, for setting the elementary electron charge – and served as its president (technically chairman of the executive board) for 24 years, longer than anyone else.

His name adorns buildings, rooms, and spaces across the campus; the nose on his chest overlooking the campus footpath had been worn on the bronze luster by generations of students who rubbed it for luck before taking their exams.

During his reign at Caltech, from 1921 to 1945, Millikan was one of the most famous and most respected scientists in the country. At the same time, he helped direct the Human Betterment Foundation, which tarnished the legacy that goes far beyond Caltech – the name Millikan graced the streets and public schools throughout Southland.

The Human Betterment Foundation is the brainchild of Ezra S. Gosney, who had settled in Pasadena with wealth from agriculture and real estate and founded the organization in 1929. Membership of this group guarantees wide influence.

That includes Rufus von KleinSmid, then USC president Lewis Terman, a Stanford psychologist who pioneered IQ studies, and Harry Chandler, publisher of the Los Angeles Times.

(The petition also calls for the renaming of Caltech’s Gosney Research Fund and Harry Chandler Dining Hall, among other facilities.)

Under Chandler’s leadership, according to Alexandra Minna Stern, a eugenics historian, from 1935 to 1941, The Times published a weekly column titled “Social Eugenics” by Fred Hogue, a eugenics fan. Become one Column 1936 Hogue praised “movements in Germany and other Nordic European countries for the elimination of improper reproduction.”

Millikan was not a charter member of the Human Betterment Foundation, but joined the council in 1937. His views on race and women are no secret – indeed, they were released by Caltech faculty member David Goodstein in the 2001 defense of Millikan against old accusations of academic fraud as “typical at the time from a man who grew up and has a background. “

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Goodstein acknowledged that Millikan in 1936 advised Duke University not to hire a female physics professor because there were no prominent female physicists in the US.

Writing his wife from Germany around the same time, he described the physicist Paul Ehrenfest as “a Polish or Hungarian Jew” who was “well-mannered and his attitude a little Hebrew (unfortunately) and to be fair, maybe I should say also that he is open-minded friendly , incredibly fast perceptions, and an atmosphere of universal interest are also characteristic of his race. ”

Eugenics is said to cover the world in the 1920s and 1930s. His American manifestation, according to Platt, is a dangerous right wing, which aims not only to promote procreation among the visible elite – that is, rich and white – but the suppression of procreation by groups that are considered undesirable.

The idea reached as high as the US Supreme Court and the famous 1927 ruling by Oliver Wendell Holmes in the case Buck vs. Bell, where Holmes upholds Virginia’s forced sterilization law by referring to Buck’s family, who are black, as a den of “degenerate offspring” and states, “Three generations of fools are enough.” In fact, Buck’s women have normal intelligence but are sterilized without their knowledge.

American Eugenicists found the same cause as the Nazi regime that emerged in Germany. In a 1934 articlePaul Popenoe, a lead researcher for the Human Betterment Foundation, salutes Adolf Hitler and the Nazis for their determination to achieve “national regeneration” by applying “biological principles to human society.”

Popenoe freely quotes from Hitler “Mein Kampf,” including his warning that “to prevent disabled people from producing offspring of the same defect, is an act dictated by the light of the clearest reason …. the most humane act of man.”

Popenoe reproduced the Nazi sterilization law as a whole and observed that while the law “could be considered better than the sterilization law in most American states, success … depends on a conservative, sympathetic, and intelligent administration. Apparently the Nazis did their best to prevent criticism of this score. ”

The Human Betterment Foundation only distinguishes good things from forced sterilization in California.

(Library of Congress)

Throughout the 1930s, Stern discovered, “California and German eugenicists exchanged ideas … and praised each other for increasing the sterilization program.” California, indeed, is a leader in the American sterilization movement.

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The forced sterilization law, which came into force in 1909, was one of the first in the country, and in 1938 more than 12,000 accidental sterilizers accounted for nearly half of everything in the entire country. In 1979, when state law was repealed, around 20,000 sterilizers have been done.

Platt Notes: “Nazi racial scientists were eager to find supporters and supporters in the US, and the foundation was pleased that they received praise from Western European countries.”

During Millikan’s tenure at Caltech, Platt reported, there was a quota that allowed for the appointment of only one full-time Jewish faculty member per year.

Perhaps most surprisingly, Millikan oversaw the acquisition of the archive of the Better Human Foundation and its financial assets for Caltech after Gosney’s death in 1942. Requirements accepted by Caltech calling for income from the Gost Research Fund produced by Caltech to “be devoted forever to the promotion of research to a biological base of human quality.”

The names of Human Betterment Foundation members and management have been moved to the trash by their institution. USC last month removed the name and statue of Von KleinSmid from a central building on the downtown Los Angeles campus.

The Palo Alto school district has chosen to take the name Terman from high school. The Pasadena Polytechnic School has erased the name Gosney from a hall named after him, and his Unitarian Unitarian Universalarian Church, which was founded with Millikan, last year erased his name from a room in his building.

Is Caltech able to face the past from its respected figure? The action might be inevitable, but it might not be easy.

“Robert Millikan is Caltech’s patron saint,” Chwe acknowledged, although he said that younger faculty members and students seemed to invest less in continuing to respect him than others.

Platt argues that Millikan’s review and institutional links to the eugenics movement have long been delayed. It lost its chance to do so in 1942, “when they took over the papers of the Human Betterment Foundation without questioning what it meant.”

Even after World War II, when the consequences of the embrace of Nazi eugenics were known, “there was no reflection at Caltech about what Millikan had followed.” That time may have arrived.

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Portuguese government highly appreciates the priorities of the Czech Presidency of the European Union – Observer



Portuguese government highly appreciates the priorities of the Czech Presidency of the European Union - Observer

The Secretary of State for European Affairs this Wednesday expressed full agreement with the five political priorities identified by the upcoming Czech Presidency of the European Council, highlighting issues of support for Ukraine and the energy transition.

The priorities of the Czech presidency will eventually become the priorities of the Portuguese government for the next six months. We hope that the Assembly of the Republic will follow this path,” said Thiago Antunes at the opening of the parliamentary debate on the priorities of the Czech presidency.

The Secretary of State for European Affairs began by setting the priorities of the executive branch in Prague for the second half of this year: managing the refugee crisis and the post-war reconstruction of Ukraine, energy security, strengthening European defense and cyber security, the strategic sustainability of the European economy, and the resilience of the democratic institutions of the European Union.

According to a member of the Portuguese government, the first priority is continued military assistance, humanitarian and financial to Ukraine“with the application of sanctions against Russia and its allies.”


“The European Union is facing the biggest wave of refugees since the Second World War, and the Czech Presidency proposes to mobilize and coordinate all the necessary resources for the reception and integration,” especially of children, he said.

Speaking about energy security, Thiago Antunes mentioned “the difficult but fast path that the European Union has already covered in a short period of time.”

“The war in Ukraine has demonstrated that the European Union cannot depend on Russia for energy supply, and the mission of the Czech Presidency will now be to achieve progressive and rapid autonomization and modernization in the energy sector. Portugal has all the conditions to become a central player in the energy transition,” says the European Affairs portfolio holder.

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In his opening remarks, Thiago Antunes also mentioned the goals of the Czech Republic to strengthen European defense, namely through partnership with the Atlantic Alliance, in which he highlighted the issue of cyber security in preventing attacks.

The Secretary of State for European Affairs then spoke. “European problem of vulnerability” in the face of global supply chainscontrasting with the need for reindustrialization, and highlighted the “disturbing reality of inflation in all Member States”.

Regarding the sustainability of democratic institutions in the European Union, the fifth goal of the Prague government, Thiago Antunes noted that this is the least related priority to the war in Ukraine.

“But this will certainly be one of the most frequent topics in European debates in the near future,” he added.

During the debate, PSD MP Sergio Marques accused the Portuguese government of adopting a position of “restraint and reluctance, almost opposition to granting Ukraine candidate status, changing its position only at the last minute so as not to be speaking in private.”

Then Andre Ventura, the leader of Chega, accused the PS of “failing to decide” on Ukraine’s accession to the European Union.

PS MP Kapulas Santos said his party “could not disagree with the priorities of the Czech presidency” but wondered if the “European Union” would survive the impact of the new enlargement.

In turn, MP Bernardo Blanco from the Liberal Initiative said that regarding the priorities of the Czech presidency, the party “fully agrees with the first priority regarding Ukraine”, but refused to depend “on countries that pose a great geopolitical risk.” .”, such as Russia or China.

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Communist Diana Ferreira believed that “the goals that are adopted in this presidency in matters of energy or energy security are to protect the interests of big capital” and believed that “solving these problems is not at all a priority.”

Mariana Mortagua of BE asked for flexibility in the entry of refugees into the European Union, as happened with Ukrainians, criticizing the “absolute hypocrisy of double ‘standards'”.

In the same vein, PAN sole deputy Inés Souza Real refused to allow the European Union to treat people fleeing war “as first and second class refugees”, while Livre’s sole deputy Ruy Tavares questioned whether the Portuguese government would support a joint refugee resettlement program in the European Union.”

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PAN wants to abolish fees for teaching Portuguese abroad



PAN wants to abolish fees for teaching Portuguese abroad

O PAN has submitted a draft to Parliament to stop collecting tuition/entry fees for young Portuguese and descendants of Portuguese who attend or will attend Portuguese language teaching abroad.

The diploma, which was presented this Wednesday to the Assembly of the Republic, refers to a petition signed by 4,524 people that was delivered to Parliament in the previous legislature. Petition titled “Portuguese for all! Concerning the right of our children and young people to study Portuguese abroad, it proposes to “protect and strengthen the teaching of Portuguese among children and young people of Portuguese and Portuguese living abroad”.

PAN understands that the formal learning of the Portuguese language by Portuguese children and young people living abroad is “more than the right of these children and young people, is the responsibility of the state” and is a way to ensure the continuity of “Portuguese across borders”.

“Petition No. 168/XIV/2.ª gives the Assembly of the Republic the opportunity to review the state of the official network of teaching Portuguese abroad for the Portuguese and the descendants of the Portuguese, as well as to consider its problems and the causes of these problems. “, – says PAN.

The party, led by Inés Sousa Real, warns of “a small number of students studying Portuguese abroad” and justifies this fact with “mandatory attendance rates applicable to all students”.

“Currently, the school has about 20,000 students, which is a third of what it was in 2008. This situation is largely justified by the fact that in the 2012/2013 academic year there was a mandatory attendance rate for all students, which meant revenge on the idea that there are constitutional rights for the Portuguese community abroad, but they can only be exercised if they are paid, which is regrettable,” the document says.

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PAN also reports that even during the pandemic, students had to continue paying tuition fees “despite being unable to attend remote classes due to a lack of necessary resources.”

“In the previous legislature, the PAN at the headquarters of the Education Commission requested the Minister of Education for the designation of the revenues generated from the collection of tuition fees, but never received a clear answer,” the party points out, also mentioning that he had already submitted a draft resolution about the abolition of tuition/registration fees for these young people who are “only not moving forward due to the dissolution of the Assembly of the Republic”.

“As part of this initiative, PAN, in an effort to address this clearly defined problem, is proposing to abolish tuition fees for all Portuguese and Portuguese young people who attend or will attend Portuguese language teaching, from January 1, 2023, as this makes no sense in constitutional law payable, and that students have to pay for what is already funded by the Portuguese state,” the document says.

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What Makes Professional AV Solutions the Top Priority in Business Meetings



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