Right Telescope, Wrong Name
JWST is great for science, but a toxic reminder of homophobia in the enterprise
This week, Science names as our Breakthrough of the Year the James Webb Space Telescope. There’s a great package of stories and video on this achievement.
In my editorial, I talk about the fact that the space program has always been about BOTH science and inspiration. Many scientists joined our profession due to motivation they got from the space program. But Jim Webb’s name is associated with purging of LGBTQ+ folks from NASA and with Congressional testimony asserting that it was a valid practice. Therefore, it is a reminder to us all - but especially to LGBTQ+ individuals — that homophobia has always existed in science - and still does. The fact that NASA posted a mealy-mouthed report doubling down on keeping the name, just rubs salt in the wound.
For a program known for courage, they certainly are not showing any.
Thanks for reading Science Forever! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.