A letter to the PNAS editor which will never be published

“Starting out the year 2021 by looking back at the year 2020 might seem like an exercise in masochism, given the horrific loss of life, the untold economic hardships, the resurgence of white supremacy across the country

As a good friend and college and grad school classmate of Nick Cozzarelli who edited PNAS for 10 years, I find this statement by the current PNAS editor — May Berenbaum, unhelpful, unscientific and frankly appalling. Had Nick not been taken from us far too soon in 2006 by Burkitt’s lymphoma, he’d likely be editing PNAS still. Does the editor’s statement rank with any of Nick’s work on DNA gyrase or DNA topology?

It is an exercise in the religion of political correctness, showing adherence to its current catechism, for political correctness and wokeness is nothing but a religion for the secular.  In our town expressions of faith abound on front lawns complete with statues of the virgin and signs proclaiming “we believe in science’. There really is no difference.

How a hack like Berenbaum got to be editor is beyond me, given the women scientists of great stature around (Doudna, Ghez, Randall).

Is Nick — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicholas_R._Cozzarelli — an example of white supremacy? Nick’s father was an immigrant shoemaker from Jersey City and Nick worked his way through Princeton waiting on tables in commons.

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  • Grim Reaper  On January 19, 2021 at 11:06 am

    Well said. She really bugged me with that statement. I knew Nick and was saddened when he passed. Just viewMay as another slot filled by an acceptable sentinel of the left.

  • anon  On January 20, 2021 at 5:40 pm

    Is being the chief editor of PNAS even that desirable? I don’t think PNAS has that great reputation, though it probably depends on the field.

  • luysii  On January 20, 2021 at 5:45 pm

    It did have a poor reputation until Nick built it up during his 11 year term as editor until he died in 2006. It certainly is going downhill now.

  • Peter Shenkin  On January 22, 2021 at 2:00 am

    “Is Nick an example of White supremacy?”

    Since Nick died in 2006, the current Ed could not have been referring to NIck when she referred to the events of 2020, could she have? Unless I’m missing something, the above quote seems a non sequitur.

    Not that I feel the remark was in keeping with the gravitas that should pertain her office. She was parading her colors.

    When I was in grad school in the ’70s, PNAS was considered el primo. At the time, I understood, any Fellow of the NAS could publish or transmit any article for publication. That is, until Pauling tried to publish something implying that Vitamin C would prevent cancer. It caused quite a shrek when the then editor quashed it.

    • luysii  On January 22, 2021 at 7:30 am

      Probably should have said “Is Nick an example of White Privilege?”

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