Currents 045: Dorian Abbot on Protecting Academic Freedom



Jim has a timely discussion with geophysicist Dorian Abbot, whose public lecture was recently canceled by MIT—Jim’s alma mater—due to Dorian’s views on affirmative action. They discuss the (unrelated) scientific content of the canceled lecture, Abbot’s & Ivan Marinovic’s proposed Merit, Fairness, and Equality (MFE) framework, the Chicago Principlesthe Kalven Report, mainstream support for merit-based hiring decisions, the relationship between liberal humanism & academic freedom, results of a secret-ballot poll of MIT faculty, how Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) functions in current hiring systems, the goal of a university, what listeners can do to fight for academic freedom, a proposal for a Center for a Free Society at the University of Chicago, and much more.

Dorian Abbot is an associate professor in the Department of Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago. He uses mathematical and computational models to understand and explain fundamental problems in Earth and Planetary Sciences. He has worked on problems related to climate, paleoclimate, the cryosphere, planetary habitability, and exoplanets.